Garden Photo of the Day

From Zero to Garden in 18 Months

Making a new garden from scratch

Today’s photos come from Lori Ann Fowler.

I wanted to submit some photos of my husband’s garden at our home in Newhalem, Washington. I say “my husband’s garden” simply because as senior gardener for Seattle City Light, I have turned this plot of land completely over to his design and care.

What makes his garden so unique is that he has created this in 18 months from turf grass and weeds. Newhalem is located in the North Cascades National Park, so you can imagine that winters are harsh and present a challenge unlike the gardening challenges of our former home on the coast. Bruce has created a haven along our Skagit River home with the use of color and texture to create rooms for relaxation, healing, and entertainment. It is also a haven for wildlife. Migrating rufous hummingbirds find adequate forage alongside solitary bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.

Bruce mixes herbs and vegetables throughout the front and backyard gardens.

Bruce inherited his love of gardening and roses from his mother, and he and I became Master Gardeners many years ago when we lived in Bend and on the coast of Oregon—two very different climates and growing zones. What I admire the most is his fearlessness to try combinations and to move a plant if it is unhappy in its current location.

A large-flowered clematis hybrid (Zones 4–9) loaded down with flowers.

It’s hard to believe this garden is only 18 months old.

A beautiful planter, with a view of the Skagit River.

Diverse textures and colors from foliage.

Purple leaves and flowers contrast with yellow and variegated-foliage plants.

Diverse annuals and perennials mingle together harmoniously.

This rose, ‘All Fired Up’, has yet to find a permanent home in a bed. It resides in a container on the patio for now.

A tiny bunny statue nestled among the flowers.

The leaves on this heuchera perfectly echo the colors of the spirea it is planted next to.

A final view of this lovely garden.


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To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

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View Comments


  1. Chellemp 07/03/2019

    I love Bruce's garden. The colors and textures are amazing. But I truly don't know how he accomplished it. If it were my garden I'd be sitting in one of those chairs staring out to the beautiful Skagit River!

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 07/03/2019

    I really don't know what to say. This is totally amazing!

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 07/03/2019

    Your name & job rang a bell with me & I just had to search. This is what I found. Such a shame a link was not included in the write up.

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 07/03/2019

    Thanks for the link, treasuresmom...without a doubt, Lori's artistic containers at the power company were quite special. Looks like her husband has exceptional talent, as well.
    Has to be pretty amazing to have the beautiful Skagit river rushing past and adding to the overall ambiance of the landscaping. Ha, talk about a water feature as part of the garden.

  5. User avater
    simplesue 07/03/2019

    What an accomplishment- only 18 months. And a river for a neighbor- what a dream location! I like that idea of mixing herbs and vegetables throughout the garden, instead of a designated vegetable plot. Well done!

  6. btucker9675 07/03/2019

    Wow - amazing accomplishment and artistic eye! That beautiful river must be his Muse.

  7. cheryl_c 07/03/2019

    Hi, Bruce, What an amazing garden you have created - wow, that Master Gardener course you and your wife took so many years ago really took root and grew! I love your combinations and the boldness of your color schemes. What have you got planned for the next 18 months?

  8. User avater
    ParksWesley 07/04/2019

    It's great!

  9. User avater
    AnnaMartinez 07/06/2019


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