Garden Photo of the Day

Garden Details

Focusing on the small things

Today’s photos come from Ellen Kirby in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. We previously featured her garden here, here, and here.

This photo focuses in on a tiny piece of beauty. Sometimes in the garden we’re so focused on the big flowers and leaves and our garden design that we forget that the most magical moments can be just a bit of bright green moss thriving among the stones.

Mist flower (Conoclinum coelestinum, Zones 5–10) is a wonderful little wildflower that is native to a wide swath of eastern North America but not grown enough in gardens. The airy blue flowers keep coming all summer and well into fall, it is beloved of butterflies and other pollinators, and generally it is a wonderful little plant. It does like to spread, however, so give it room, and plant taller plants around it that won’t be gobbled up.

Azaleas are always wonderful. Every southern garden has bunches of them, and you always need more.

Garlic chives (Allium tuberosum, Zones 3–9) is a fantastic plant that is both edible and ornamental. The leaves have a flavor similar to that of chives and can be used the same way in cooking, and the white flowers appear in late summer, right when you need something new and beautiful in the garden the most. Pollinators, especially butterflies, adore the flowers as well. But, again, be warned that it likes to spread. Each clump will grow slowly, and if you let it, it can seed around, so cut off the faded flowers if you’d like it to stay a little more restrained.


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  1. avongardener 09/26/2019

    Thank you for sharing beautiful pictures of your garden. It’s interesting to see a Blue Mist flower. I don’t think many people know much about this native plant. I planted one last year in my perennial bed, hoping to have some late fall color. Unfortunately, the plant didn’t grow well in my garden. It spread almost four feet wide and tall. Was weak and floppy and eventually I had to pull out the tangled mess and replace it with agastache. It was disappointing. I was looking forward to the beautiful lavender blue blooms of this plant. Looks like you are having good luck with your plant.

    1. User avater
      simplesue 09/26/2019

      I was intrigued by the Mist Flower, and was interested to learn about your experience. What zone are you in? Thanks for sharing that info on how large it got.

      1. avongardener 09/26/2019

        I’m in zone 6 (central Connecticut). I wonder why my plant failed. When I bought it from my local nursery, it was like the picture here, just smaller. I don’t think it was the soil, as I did not fertilize it as it prefers lean soil.

        1. avongardener 09/26/2019

          I forgot to add SimpleSue that I enjoy reading your comments on this blog. I appreciate the words of appreciation that you and few others, regularly offer to other gardeners who share their pictures on this site. I’m sure it means a lot to them. Thank you!

          1. User avater
            simplesue 12/17/2019

            Oh thank you! I just found this message from you. I really enjoy everyone sharing their garden photos- I think it's so much fun to get a virtual tour of real people's gardens!

    2. WinstonSalem 10/04/2019

      The Blue Mist flower came to my garden as a gift from birds or insects. At first, I thought it was a weed and I pulled it but gradually (because of it the gift that keeps on giving), it bloomed and I loved the color. I then started to let it grow and simply pulled it up where I didn't want it. It's very easy to pull up. As a result, I have drifts of it everywhere and it blooms late summer when I need some color. In one area the rabbits kept "pruning it" and that has the most beautiful flowers of all. Yesterday I saw two monarchs nectar on it and a multitude of pollinating insects. I'm in Zone 7.

      1. User avater
        simplesue 12/17/2019

        That's so interesting. I'v had those little "gifts" from birds or insects also! I have to make an effort to find that Mist flower (Conoclinum coelestinum, Zones 5–10) for sale...I can't wait for a bird LOL!

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 09/26/2019

    I have an acre of land & in 3 places had Mist flower that had planted itself. Sadly we have had 3 summers of extreme drought & I am now down to 1 clump. Yours is so pretty.

  3. User avater
    simplesue 09/26/2019

    That Mist Flower is so pretty and looks interesting, but no sure the size of my garden could handle it.. Love the moss photos. I agree you have to look at a garden three different ways- up close, and from a distance, and somewhere in-between to enjoy all of it. Thanks for sharing!

  4. WinstonSalem 10/04/2019

    Another plant that I recommend for the fall is Solidago rugosa Fireworks. With its spray of bright yellow flower, It provides a great combo with the Blue Mist flower.

    1. User avater
      simplesue 12/17/2019

      I just google Solidago rugosa Fireworks...indeed pretty and aptly named! Thanks for the info!

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