Garden Photo of the Day

Garden Perfection, 40+ Years in the Making: Part 2

More scenes from a gorgeous garden

We’re back for day 2 of Elaine’s spectacular garden. Creating this garden from an empty 1-acre lot has been a project more than 40 years in the making, and the results are incredible.

It is all about the foliage. Variegated and yellow-leaved shrubs dominate this scene, and the effect is magical—simple, effective, and very low maintenance.

A bird bath nested between shade-loving perennials. I wish I had as beautiful a spot to take a bath as the birds in Elaine’s garden do!

Rhododendron in bloom, with the bright flowers of red buckeye (Aesculus pavia, Zones 4–8) in the background.

Sometimes we gardeners spend too much time looking down at the ground and not enough time looking up to enjoy the magic of sunlight filtering through the leaves of our beloved trees. This photo makes me want to go out and look at my garden differently.

The vertical spire of a foxglove (Digitalis purpurea, Zones 4–8) in flower echoes the strong vertical lines of tree trunks behind it.

Fragrant trumpets of a lily, probably the regal lily (Lilium regale, Zones 4–8).

Feathery plumes of astilbe (Astilbe sp.) flowers, with the bold leaves of a ligularia (Ligularia dentata, Zones 4–8) behind it.

A tapestry in green, no flowers required.

Double-flowered breadseed poppies (Papaver somniferum, annual).

The deep, rich blue of this container sets off the foliage of the perennials and shrubs around it.

Foxtail lilies (Eremurus sp.) look like they’re glowing as they catch the sun.


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View Comments


  1. Quiltingmamma 06/11/2019

    Sigh. I am in love. You have an exquisite property - built from the heart. These pictures must inspire a new gardener owner to buy and cherish it.

  2. nwphillygardener 06/11/2019

    Yet more incredible photos of this garden! I can't believe how compelling an image could come from a foxglove and adjacent tree trunk. And the shade gardener's opportunity for glamorous colored bloom are embodied in the image of the Astilbe. Thanks for sharing your photography insights in a lovely garden we all hope is fully appreciated by the next folks to own the property.

  3. rosys_villa 06/11/2019

    I SO want to live here! It almost makes me want to move!!! Thank you for sharing ?

  4. poest 06/11/2019

    very nice selection of plantings, and beautifully photographed.

  5. Doxnmomx2 06/11/2019

    What a wonderful mix of color, texture, light, dark, manmade, and natural. Absolute perfection! So heartbreaking to think you're leaving this treasure and truly hope the next owner embraces the beauty and continues to care for this lovely place you've created.

  6. joygirl 06/11/2019

    Thanks everybody, you have been kind, in this series you see a lot of the woodlands where the plants are true woodland creatures and I don't have to water them , the woodland floor is covered by natives like trilliums and dicentra formosa. The plants are large scale plants that I could never use in my garden, they work with the towering Douglas firs. Rhododendrons are repeated through the woodlands punctuated by acanthopanax, choisya' Aztec pearl", enkianthus campanulatus, aralia alata 'Variegata and aurea marginata, acer Japonicum' Shirasawanum', hydrangea quercifolia and H. aspera. Thanks once agin, hope someone who has a passion and love for beauty takes over, I would not mind mentoring them.

  7. User avater
    lollygardens 06/11/2019

    These pictures of your garden are so beautiful! They really draw me in and I want so much to peek around the corner and meander along and see what other magic unfolds! Your passion is evident and inspiring. Best of luck in your move and the next adventure. Thank you for sharing your lovely garden.

  8. User avater
    simplesue 06/11/2019

    I'm inspired and that is the ultimate compliment!
    Foliage and flowers and woods- my idea of a great garden!

  9. User avater
    treasuresmom 06/11/2019

    Love those lilies. Wonder what the blue is behind them?

  10. carolineyoungwilliams 06/11/2019

    Elaine, the editors were right when they said a spectacular truly is. Your hard work is paying off. Thank you for sharing your creativity with the flowers and the glimpses of light from a different prospective. You have inspired me to go back and invest more time and creativity in my shade areas. Thank you.

  11. joygirl 06/11/2019

    the blue flower is phlox paniculata' Blue paradise'.

  12. nwphillygardener 06/12/2019

    The fun thing about the P. "Blue Paradise" (at least in my zone 7, Philadelphia property) is that it turns pink during the heat of the day, but returns to a blue color in the mornings and cooler evenings.

  13. joygirl 06/12/2019

    That does not happen with mine, but phlox Nicky fades in the sun. The heliopsis next to the phlox and aster dumosus in Sept. with their purple and gold color combination make you gasp.

  14. coastalgardener 06/19/2019

    I'm speechless...Your garden is just spectacular and I'm sure it's even better than the photos. Thank you so much for sharing your creativity.

  15. deeinde 06/25/2019

    Your garden is beautiful!
    What's the variegated foliage in the 'tapestry of green' photo?

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