Garden Photo of the Day

From Jungle to Garden

Formerly overgrown and full of holes . . .

Today we’re visiting Tonya Keck’s garden in Davis, California.

We bought our house eight years ago. It was a foreclosure and had been vacant for over a year. The kitchen windows all look out to the backyard. It was a jungle with many fruit trees and big holes where plants had been removed, but I loved it! Over the years I’ve had success with many types of geraniums, Japanese maples (Acer palmatum, Zones 5–9), roses (Rosa hybrids), lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus, Zones 9–10), giant bird of paradise (Strelitzia nicolai, Zones 9–10), and lantana (Lantana camara, Zones 8–10 or as annual). We invite the neighbors over for outdoor movie nights all summer long!

A rosebud just beginning to unfurl, promising bright color and fragrance to come.

A couple of ladybugs taking a break from gobbling up aphids have found a beautiful, romantic spot to, um, get up close and personal with each other. That is good news for the garden. Ladybug larvae are even more voracious than the adult beetles, and since they can’t fly when immature, they stay in your garden gobbling up all sorts of problem-causing insects.

A sun-soaked patio dotted with lush containers. Those of us not lucky enough to be living in California can note jealously the ripe lemons hanging from a tree in the top of the photo.

A garden sculpture nestled down in the lush plantings.

Between a Japanese maple and a bird of paradise plant is a simple bench inviting you to stop, rest, and enjoy.

Nemesia is a beautiful annual, best suited to climates where you have cool nights or during the cooler temperatures of fall and spring. New breeding has greatly expanded the color range and temperature tolerance of this group, and it is easy to see why their vivid colors make such an impact in the garden.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 04/29/2019

    Just lovely! Love that sculpture especially,

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/29/2019

    How wonderful that you and this house and yard found each other. You turned the house into a home and the jungly yard into welcoming garden areas. I can well imagine how satisfying it is to look out your kitchen windows nowadays and see all the beauty that you have created.

  3. User avater
    simplesue 04/29/2019

    You had me at lemons (yup I'm jealous LOL!) and ladybugs! Such a peaceful looking garden, it looks so warm and inviting and I can almost feel the sun and smell fragrant California just looking at your photos. Nice work!

  4. btucker9675 04/29/2019

    Gorgeous - You have given me yet another case of garden envy!

  5. cheryl_c 04/29/2019

    The second shot, of the rose bud, with the 'orange' (or tera cotta) chairs in the background, show your interest in both the small vignettes and in the larger picture. Kudos to you on an excellent garden re-make over a fairly short period of time. Hope you have more pictures to share soon!

  6. Musette1 04/29/2019

    I love the juxtaposition from bold, bright color to the quieter green spaces (such as where that bench is located) - that looks like a very lucky house and garden, to have you caring for it!

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