Garden Photo of the Day

Gardening in the Midwest

Perennials shine in this garden

Today we’re in the Midwest visiting Vanessa Lehnhoff’s beautiful garden.

HostasHostas (Hosta hybrids, Zones 3–9) are a staple of Midwestern shade gardens, and for good reason: They thrive through cold snowy winters and look great through summer heat. Just protect them from hungry deer and they give great beauty for very little work.

AstilbeAstilbe (Astilbe chinensis, Zones 3–8) is another stalwart of the shade garden. It is intolerant of dry soil but otherwise easy to please, and it rewards the gardener with masses of frothy blooms in summer when shade gardens are often looking a bit dull.

front gardenLooking down at the front garden, shrubs provide a sturdy green backdrop for blooming perennials.

pink peoniesPeonies (Paeonia hybrids, Zones 3–8) are often seen in their big, blowsy, double-flowered forms, but single peonies like this have a simplicity and grace of just a single row of petals around the bright yellow stamens in the center. Single peonies are also less likely to flop over than the heavy, many-petaled forms.

Irises in bloomOn the left side is a Siberian iris (Iris siberica, Zones 3–8), and on the right is a variegated Dalmatian iris (Iris pallida, Zones 4–9), which has colorful striped foliage in addition to the fragrant lavender blooms.

summer-blooming perennialsA mix of summer-blooming perennials: pink garden phlox (Phlox paniculata, Zones 4–8) and surprise lily (Lycoris squamigera, Zones 5–9) with yellow tall coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata, Zones 3–9).

Closeup of astilbeClose-up of astilbe coming into bloom with a carpet of hostas behind it.


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View Comments


  1. Rebeccazone7 12/18/2020

    Love, love love the Peony...I have such trouble with mine. I'm in awe that they can actually look like this. I also love the white astilbe. I was gifted one by my neighbor and am anxious to see if it works where I put it. I had a few trees taken down, so the light will be tricky. Thank all you gardeners for posting your flowers, it's such a treat to wake up to the positive.

  2. garden1953 12/18/2020

    Beautiful gardens! Thank you for sharing.

  3. PattyLouise 12/18/2020

    Your flowers are such beautiful colors & are so lush! Love the iris & phlox!

  4. User avater
    treasuresmom 12/18/2020

    That peony is gorgeous!

  5. User avater
    simplesue 12/18/2020

    After seeing your" surprise lily (Lycoris squamigera" in that pretty grouping I'm just gunna have to buy one for myself!
    So nice to tour your pretty garden on this snowy day winter day!

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