Garden Photo of the Day

Garden Scenes From Northern Ohio

Some favorite plants and combinations

I’m Leigh Davenport, a northern Ohio gardener with over two decades of experience.

larkspurThis is my favorite color combination in the gardens now, Lemony Lace elderberry (Sambucus racemosa, Zone 3–7) and larkspur. Many of the best garden combinations are serendipitous, but this is one I planned that really works. Back in the chill of February, I planted QIS Dark Blue larkspur (Consolida ajacis, annual) seed from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Larkspur actually needs the freezing and thawing to help it germinate. It’s one tough customer. And it self-sows. Lovely!

nigellaMore larkspur, mixing with another annual that likes to germinate and grow in cool early spring soils—nigella (Nigella damascena, annual).

Old-fashioned peoniesOld-fashioned peonies (Zones 3–8) in bloom.

mistflowerMonarch butterflies on a huge patch of blue mistflower (Conoclinum coelestinum, Zones 5–9). This North American native perennial blooms from summer into fall with masses of fluffy lavender-blue flowers that are beloved by butterflies. Be warned, though—it spreads, so give it room to run.

flowering tobaccoThe dramatic white flowers of flowering tobacco (Nicotiana sylvestris, annual) show up beautifully against a backdrop of darker foliage and flowers. If you let it go to seed, it will often self-sow around the garden.

Waterlily autumn crocusWaterlily autumn crocus (Colchicum ‘Waterlily’, Zones 4–7) is a bulb that puts up leaves in spring, retreats underground all summer, and then produces these dramatic flowers in fall.

peony poppyThe ruffled petals of a peony poppy (Papaver somniferum, annual) are almost upstaged by the beautiful silvery foliage. These poppies are another annual that germinates and grows best in the cool part of the year and will happily self-sow in most gardens, provided you haven’t put down too thick a layer of mulch for the seedlings to get a foothold.


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View Comments


  1. virginiacoulter 07/06/2020

    Thank you for the beautiful and eye catching color combination of the dark blue larkspur with the chartreuse sambucus. I'm going to imitate it with lady's mantle and May Night salvia.

  2. sandyprowse 07/06/2020

    Not just stunning pictures and colour combinations from your garden Leigh but wonderful hints such as planting larkspur seeds in February and the beautiful fluffy Blue Mistflower that will spread in the garden. Thank you for your post. I enjoyed it.

  3. coastalgardener 07/06/2020

    Beautiful flowers and beautiful photos of them. Thank you for sharing this lovely garden with us all.

  4. sagebird52 07/06/2020

    Love the color and contrasts- thanks

  5. User avater
    treasuresmom 07/06/2020

    Oh, my, love that monarch pic!

  6. Maggieat11 07/06/2020

    Your photos are lovely! Great plant combinations. Thanks so much for sharing; hope you send in more!

  7. wittyone 07/06/2020

    The monarchs are gorgeous. I've seen so few butterflies of any variety so far this season-----lucky you (and them) with all those visiting your garden.

    The combination of the chartreuse sambucus and larkspur is gorgeous! I already had that sambucus on my list to get this fall and am certainly going to try some larkspur to go with it.

    Isn't it wonderful when combinations, planned or otherwise, work out in actuality?

  8. User avater
    simplesue 07/06/2020

    I'm so inspired after seeing your photos and reading about your garden.
    I'm so glad you included your personal experience with he Larkspur and the Purple Mist Flowers...and even provided the place you bought the seeds for the Larkspur!
    Very helpful!
    I saved several of your photos and information to my garden files and I shared your Nicotinia photo with my sister-in-law too!
    Those pink poppies are also amazing...thanks for sharing!

  9. btucker9675 07/06/2020

    Lovely! Going to look for the purple mist flowers for the pollinator section of my back garden.

  10. User avater
    cynthia2020 07/08/2020

    Leigh - enjoyed the photos and story regarding your Consolida ajacis!
    I experimented with growing dwarf Delphinium for the first time this year. Conditions not great - but had the time to experiment.

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