Trisha Burdick sent in these photos from her garden in Excelsior, Minnesota, which is in the chilly Zone 4. But as they show, a cold climate doesn’t mean you can’t have an incredibly beautiful garden!
Foliage is king here. Variegated hostas start the show in the front, while blue spruce (Picea pungens, Zones 3–8) makes a dramatic silver-blue backdrop. To the right, columnar dark-leaved beeches (Fagus sylvatica, Zones 4–8; probably the cultivar ‘Dawyck Purple’) contrast beautifully with the variegated and silvery-blue foliage. Columnar varieties of trees, which grow tall and narrow instead of wide and spreading, are a great choice for small gardens.
Yellow variegated hostas echo perfectly the emerging greenish-white flowers of the panicle hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata, Zones 3–7). Repeating the same plants and colors really unifies this garden view to incredible effect.
A vine-covered arch welcomes you into the garden oasis.
Variegated five-leaf aralia (Eleutherococcus sieboldianus ‘Variegatus’, Zones 4–9) in the centerpiece of this image. This durable, easy-to-grow shrub native to Japan grows happily in a wide range of climates and conditions, thriving in sun or shade. The small greenish-white flowers aren’t much to write home about; this is a plant you grow for its foliage.
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Beautifully composed and lushly planted, this garden seems quite mature, although some of the young trees and evergreens suggest the execution of more recent design than one might imagine. The lawn looks immaculate, too, on those hillocks!
That compression of time seems to parallel the compression of the growing season in Zone 4 which has so many plants in simultaneous bloom in these lovely photos.
We thank you for sharing your achievement, Trisha!
Beautifully done. Yes, our upper midwest season may be short but it can be stunning as you have shown.
I always get an attack of blue spruce envy when I see how healthy they look in zone 4 gardens. Yours make such a handsome backdrop for all the rest of your beautiful plants.
Trisha - I love the contrast of so much dark green foliage with the white and cream flowers and variegated leaves. You also captured the small hills in beautifully neat lawn and edging in a lovely composition with a lot of depth for photo of the day! Thank you for sharing your hard work with us.
Your garden's like a good painting- it has areas of intense interest and then calm areas of rolling hills of grass- it's a masterpiece!
I just love it!
Luscious and beautiful!!! I would like nothing more than to roll around those marvelous hillocks and fall into the bed of hydrangeas and hostas. I also love the blue spruces but just be aware because I put one in years ago not fully understanding how big it would get and, now, maybe 8 years since planting, it has overgrown its space, looking magnificent, but taking over a path and a lot of garden space. Maybe it's worth just having that exquisite tree!!!
Trisha, you have created visual magic with your Minnesota gardens. I am particularly enchanted with the pairing of the blue spruce and dark-leaved beeches. Your vision is sublime.
What a beautiful garden, so lush. My first introduction to Hostas was as a small child when our new neighbor FROM Minnesota brought some with her when she moved next door in our Ballard (Seattle, WA) neighborhood. She divided one and gave it to my Mom.....and of course I too love Hostas. They thrive in both areas. Thanks for sharing your garden.
You obviously love variegation as much as I do, and have made expert use of it. Gorgeous!
Beautiful gardens. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you all for your feedback. It was a solid area of buckthorn 15 years ago. It is a much improved use of that space. It is a great place for my hosta collection. It is a wonderful calm shaded location on our property. We have enjoyed it more than we expected.
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