Garden Photo of the Day

Gardening Through a Difficult Year

Growing things helps!

grandchild in the garden

Today we’re in Williams Lake, British Columbia, Canada, visiting with Kim Herdman.

gardeners posing in her gardenThe year 2020 was very stressful for everyone with the pandemic, and for us the pandemic just made everything that challenged us that much worse. Michael had to be hospitalized numerous times and even air-ambulanced to Vancouver (seven hours away) for a month. The stress of his condition for me was only made bearable by the garden. I had to do many of the jobs he usually did and even had to hire a young, strong teenage boy to help get some really big jobs done. I think it was the garden and seeing it that helped Michael to keep going even when doctors gave up hope on him.

garden seating areaThis is one of the big jobs that was finished with the help of a strong teenage boy! The sitting area was enlarged as well as the path into it. Something to think about when designing: physical ability and safety. Funny how when you age or get struck with illness or disability, you realize that the once-secret path is not so practical!

secluded seating areaBefore the construction to enlarge the sitting area and path into it, this is how the area looked. Definitely not enough room for anyone with mobility issues.

self-seeding perennialsThe voluptuousness of plants that go wild! Self-seeding is a bonus that gardeners should appreciate. Last year saw so many self-seeded babies after we were away for the whole 2019 season that I gave away carloads. It seemed like there was an endless supply.

Space coast seashells daylilyI am so glad that after three years my ‘Space Coast Seashells’ daylily (Hemerocallis ‘Space Coast Seashells’, Zones 3–9) finally bloomed.

grandchild in the gardenSpending time with grandkids is our greatest joy, and they always have so much fun in the garden, whether it is playing with water or rocks or helping me “whack” the plants when deadheading. And digging potatoes was like finding buried treasure!

Blooms of springBlooms of spring are harbingers of hope.

purple and yellow irisesSeeing beauty just helps take all the cares away.

vegetable gardenMy turn at planting the veggies. It was a terrible year for bugs, slugs, cabbage worms, and carrot maggots. But that is gardening. You’ve always got to think next year will be better. And that is a good mantra for all of us: next could be better. I am so looking forward to saying goodbye to COVID. Hopefully we will all take away the lessons that we have learned and will continue to grow.

squash grown verticallyI grew squash up the wall! It saved space, and because it was such a cool, rainy year, the plants produced more and had no pests.


Have a garden you’d like to share?

Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

If you want to send photos in separate emails to the GPOD email box that is just fine.

Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

You don’t have to be a professional garden photographer – check out our garden photography tips!

Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.

View Comments


  1. Rebeccazone7 02/16/2021

    I love everything about all of it. Your pictures and posts have saved me from a serious MOOD...thank you. I love the sporadic nature of it...the red poppies and looks like purple spirea. Of course the big rocks bordering the seating area are a big I garden in sand close to the shore.

    1. nwphillygardener 02/16/2021

      Hopefully, Rebecca, your location lets you plant some lavender and other plants that those of us with clay or loamy soils cannot sustain.

      1. Rebeccazone7 02/17/2021

        Yes, you are right, I do have a ton of lavender. I guess we are always in awe of what we can't grow.

  2. sohappygardening 02/16/2021

    You’ve shown your gardens beautifully. Well done! Best wishes and happy health to both of you.

  3. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 02/16/2021

    Thanks for opening your garden by sharing your photos. Wishing you and your family a better 2021 and
    many more happy years together to enjoy your garden.

  4. nwphillygardener 02/16/2021

    It's that urge to overcome hardships and forge ahead, even enlisting helpers in the garden, that may help us mark the moment with renewal. Creative efforts with the "bones" of a mature garden allow us to make great use of all the volunteer plants and divisions.

  5. mgol1068 02/16/2021

    Beautiful gardens, and we all understand how your garden continues to help your family through this difficult time. Just lovely.

  6. bdowen 02/16/2021

    So much joy in that spread of tulips in the bright sunlight. The overlapping layers of triangles in the daylily and the delicate frills of the iris caught my eye right away. Wishing you both health and many years in your beautiful garden.

  7. cynthia2020 02/16/2021

    Kim - thank you for sharing the beautiful garden you and Michael have worked on so lovingly! The photo of the squirt gun scene really made me smile. Your family story of the past year made my eyes well up. I admire your strength. Best wishes to you and Michael.

  8. User avater
    simplesue 02/16/2021

    You all look so happy in your garden, such a nice story of how you've overcome the life challenges that came your way in 2020.
    Ahhh the magic of gardening, something not everyone has discovered, but- those who do garden- know that magic!
    Such a happy looking garden, and the newly enlarged seating area really is nice!

  9. User avater
    treasuresmom 02/16/2021

    Oh, my, love that squash. BTW, for those who are interested, put Kim's name in the search box & you can find one other submission for her.

  10. btucker9675 02/16/2021

    Thank you for sharing your story - best wishes to Michael for good health - and your so very pretty garden. Love the photos of both the sitting area with the "secret" path and the now easier to maneuver path. I, too, believe that the tenaciousness that gardening requires helps us to deal with the ups and downs of life in general. And we are rewarded with beauty and bounty!

  11. Cenepk10 02/16/2021

    Yes ! Gardening is a wonderful distractic & marvelous for one’s sanity. May your health & garden continue to prosper.

  12. cindijacobs 02/16/2021

    Hope you and Michael are well now and will be able to enjoy the spring gardens. Enlarging the seating area worked really well and having a helper is huge. Gardens are something to look forward to for sure and yours is beautiful! Thanks for sharing

  13. schatzi 02/16/2021

    Kim, covering your newly planted carrot bed with light-weight row cover will prevent the carrotfly from damaging your crop. Btw, you have a beautiful garden. Love the iris and the squash wall.

  14. JohnsonofMillCreek 02/16/2021

    I am so happy that your Michael is well and back home to enjoy the garden with you. My husband and I are of that certain age where width of pathways is of concern; so glad you mentioned it as we are about to embark on a needed redesign of our back and side gardens.....and I want a sitting area away from our house. Yours looks delightful. Take care and yes, gardening is a lifesaver, mood lifter and total joy no matter what the world or Mother Nature throw at us. Stay Well!

  15. Maggieat11 02/16/2021

    I enjoyed your post very much. Loved your new sitting area, those large rocks are fabulous. And the squash wall... wonderful idea. I have the Space coast Sea Shells ordered. I already have Space Coast Behavior Pattern which is easily my fave.
    Best wishes to you both for good health and much garden enjoyment.

  16. kimyh 02/20/2021

    Thank you for all the lovely comments. Gardening gives us support and so much learning. It gets me out and at it every day. It is a source for meeting new found friends and a warm hello from strangers. After this pandemic year we are looking forward to having coffee in the garden with friends and family in hopefully a few will be cool but we are all yearning for companionship! Cheers!

  17. carolineyoungwilliams 02/22/2021

    Kim, you and Michael have done an awesome job creating this beautiful work of art. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful garden. Pandemic, health issues or other stressful challenges, you have created a beautiful array of peace, hope and encouragement for us all. Blessings to you both.

  18. elnorahaley 12/10/2021

    Lots of happy colors and very healthy looking plants. So sorry that the dramatic disaster of a home fire forced you to start anew io games. But you obviously have embraced the challenge and created much beauty in your new situation. Merry Christmas to all GPOD-ers who celebrate the day.

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest