Garden Photo of the Day

A Yard of Poison Ivy Turned Into a Flower Garden

Filling the garden with carpets of blue flowers

Today’s photos come from Jan Garrabrandt.

Although it’s been a cool and windy spring in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the flowers are really putting on a show. I started my inn 23 years ago on half an acre of mostly poison ivy. Little by little, friends and family gave me their favorite perennials, and I bought more than I care to admit. Our soil is the richest nonirrigated soil in the country, so thanks to that, my gardens thrive.

creeping phloxThis picture shows my creeping phlox (Phlox subulata, Zones 3–9) with a cameo by Lucy the cat. I add a little to the planting every year.

daffodilsMy daffodils in this picture are along our sidewalk on Main Street.

Virginia bluebellsThe Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica, Zones 3–8) were a gift from a friend in town. I love blue flowers, and he couldn’t believe that I didn’t have any in my gardens. So he gave me the seeds for these, but it took several tries to establish them.

cherry tree in bloomOur cherry tree (possibly Prunus serrulata ‘Kanzan’, Zones 5–9) is probably about 20 years old, and I love it more and more every year.

violetsI brought “a few” violets (Viola sororia, Zones 3–7) from our old house–23 years ago. As you can see, they have multiplied and made themselves plentiful. Others may call them weeds, but I like the color of the blooms and the green heart-shaped leaves so much better than just mulch underneath.


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View Comments


  1. PattyLouise 05/08/2020

    Your hard work paid off! Lovely!

    1. ArtistInn 05/08/2020

      Thank you so much

  2. nwphillygardener 05/08/2020

    I really appreciate seeing plantings in big drifts. Thanks for sharing some of yours!

    1. ArtistInn 05/08/2020

      Thank you - I think they are so relaxing to look at. And let's face it, plants are friendly!

  3. sagebird52 05/08/2020

    Really awesome, great job. The violets are really pretty and the rest is very impressive

    1. ArtistInn 05/08/2020


  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 05/08/2020

    Confession time, Jan, your modest reference to starting an inn 23 years ago, triggered my curiosity so I did a google search to see what your inn looked like. The interior and exterior are lovely, very picturesque, and it seems like you could have lots more garden pictures to share because your surrounding garden beds are full of plant goodies and objects of interest. You must have lots of energy to keep up with everything.

    1. ArtistInn 05/08/2020

      Yes, thank you. I'm working on that! I do all the gardening, cleaning, cooking (ah, not so much right now) but anything where I have to sit in front of the computer - that takes me the longest!

  5. User avater
    simplesue 05/08/2020

    Love that grouping of violets, and the cat with that appears to be admiring the phlox!
    Getting rid of poison ivy is a real chore, looks like you did an excellent job, and a beautiful make-over!

    1. ArtistInn 05/08/2020

      We are still pulling it. It was thick as a rope going up trees. Disgusting! And I'm very allergic.

  6. Patchworkgardener 05/08/2020

    Kudos to you. It’s all beautiful. I love violets and have lots of them. I also have some poison ivy...any tips on pulling it out safely? You’ve done a great job. I agree with meander. Hope you’ll send more pictures

  7. User avater
    bdowen 05/09/2020

    I'm always on the lookout for poison ivy plants brought to my garden courtesy of our many birds. I'm also very allergic to it so I can appreciate the work you have done to transform your "patch" into such a beautiful and welcoming garden. Yes, more photos?

  8. User avater
    GeorgeMendoza 05/28/2020

    Thanks for sharing this information!

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