Garden Photo of the Day

A Garden Full of Memories

Barbara Downing Owening sent in these photos in memory of her brother Ken.

When Fine Gardening first began the GPOD feature, I began to encourage my brothers to collect their photos and share their beautiful gardens. See Doug’s garden GPOD in Pennsylvania (and mine in Massachusetts).

I’m a New England gardener, so my brother and sister-in-law’s garden in California was always a mystery to me—that you needed to add a new spigot to the watering system if you added a new plant, that there really would not be rain all summer. I began taking photos of their garden. When Ken died last summer, I wanted to pull my photos together in his memory, especially since he found so much joy in his garden projects. My sister-in-law was very helpful in adding more photos and lots of detailed information about the plants. I hope you enjoy this tour of their garden.

When they first bought their house, the yard was a wasteland. So much has changed in 33 years of TLC. When there are abundant winter and spring rains, the entry garden afterward is colorful with tulips, geraniums, and calla lilies.

The ‘Razzleberri’ fringe bush is in full bloom next to the Meyer lemon tree as we move into the backyard.

Spanish lavender, freesias, Japanese maple, ‘Razzleberry’ fringe bush, and manzanita

Ken made this entry trellis with the trimmings from grapevines. Red-orange sparaxis lines the stone path into the backyard.

Farther through the yard, grassy areas have been replaced with more drought-tolerant plants, mulched beds, and paths that entice adults as well as children. Ken’s Toroid sculpture becomes a focal point as you meander down the hill.

Begin the walk down into the garden areas where the grass used to be, pausing to admire the pelargonium, Santa Barbara daisy, rock purslane, lavender, and various sages.

For many years, the lower section of the yard was dominated by a huge poplar. When that had to be removed, a large area became available for gardening. Note the areas of thirsty grass to appreciate the changes to come.

Ken’s sense of humor comes through in the stone stream bed and ceramic fish.

Coastal redwoods form a soothing background to the lower area of the garden. In front are Japanese maple, fortnight lily, euphorbia, and agapanthus.

Ken loved to work with wood. Here you can see the Japanese maple through the moon-window trellis he designed, which is covered with jasmine.


Have a garden you’d like to share?


Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

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.

If you want to send photos in separate emails to the GPOD email box that is just fine.

Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

You don’t have to be a professional garden photographer – check out our garden photography tips!

Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.