Garden Photo of the Day

Garden of the Kings

A garden made of rescues

long garden path with bridge that cuts through garden beds and small pond

My name is Joanne Guerriero, and this is the garden created by my dad, Donald King, age 88. It’s located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, a 6B zone.

Nineteen years ago when my parents (Don and Barbara) moved into this home, there was a bit of structure in the backyard garden—a brick patio and a small pond.

Since then, Don has created a bit-wild, naturalistic, whimsical environment that fills the yard. Being friendly with a large local landscape designer gave Don access to the business’ “burn pile” made up of dying, damaged, or otherwise discarded plants. More than 75% of the garden’s plantings Don nurtured back to health. They are recycled “rescues” that were removed from other gardens!

The garden is populated with perennial plants, flowers, and shrubs, and Don adds annuals for color and interest. The garden is laid out in vignettes, with sculptures, reimagined trash, structures he has built (dry well and dry bed, outhouse, stone walls, bridges, walkways) and recycled natural materials dotting the landscape. It’s a low-maintenance wonderland and my dad’s pride.

Each year I create a monthly calendar made up of 12 garden photos and then share copies with family members. We call it “The Garden of the Kings Calendar.”

white arbor over a brick path leading to houseAn arbor makes a great entrance to a brick path lined with daylilies (Hemerocallis hybrid, Zones 3–9).

small outhouse with wooden flowers aroundA little outhouse serves as a garden sculpture in a quiet, mossy corner.

long garden path with bridge that cuts through garden beds and small pondThere is so much to take in here—the bridge over a pond filled with water lilies (Nymphaea, Zones 5–9), the beautiful brick path, the arbor that draws the eye, and the tall trees beyond. And don’t miss the little alligator hanging out on the bridge!

sunny lawn transitioning to shady gardenThis is a lovely spot to sit and take in the garden, and it’s a perfect transition from a grassy lawn in a more sunny spot to the moss lawn in more shade.

garden pond covered in waterliliesLook how healthy and lush the water lilies are! You can barely see the water.

unique garden art surrounded by green foliageA fascinating piece of repurposed garden art

fountain birdbath surrounded by green grass and foliageA frog fountain birdbath at the edge of the pond.

white metal body form in the gardenCreative garden art set against lush greenery

ceramic pot as a focal point in the lush green gardenA simple ceramic planter serves as a focal point.

stone bust amongst large planting of hostasA bust contemplates the beautiful hostas (Hosta hybrids, Zones 3–9)

dry streambed in the gardenA dry streambed runs through the garden.


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View Comments


  1. sandyprowse 09/28/2023

    Joanne, I loved every single part of your dad’s garden. It is amazing. Must be a joy to walk through. Sheer happiness to be found there. Give him a pat on the back for me. Well done!

  2. User avater
    user-7007816 09/28/2023

    I like the whole idea of using recycled plants and materials in creating a garden. So well done.

  3. janetsydoruk 09/28/2023

    It’s a wonderful garden. Your dad did an amazing job. It’s fun and interesting. Thank you.

  4. user-7821942 09/28/2023

    A beautiful reflection of a beautiful life. Gardens speak of those who create them and your father's garden speaks of joy, peace, amusement, wonder, and a man who is at home in his own skin. Well done. Thanks for sharing and offering all gardens a dose of inspiration.

  5. User avater
    simplesue 09/28/2023

    Oh I just love that he has "rescue plants", rejected by other gardeners just because they weren't shaped right, or needed some care to recover!
    The frog fountain birdbath is such a nice garden ornament...I loved it so much I saved the photo!
    The water lilies are amazing with the wooden walk over the pond....the whole garden is really pretty and relaxing.

  6. User avater
    treasuresmom 09/28/2023

    Oh my, how wonderful! I sure wish I had some of his energy.

  7. bsavage 09/28/2023

    Just beautiful, all of it!

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