Garden Photo of the Day

Gwen’s garden in Kansas

Photo/Illustration: All photos courtesy of Gwen Chance

Today’s photos are from Gwen Chance in southeast Kansas. She says, “I started gardening in 1990 with a few day lilies around a tree and then in 1999 I got serious about it.

“In 1999 the guys in my family (two boys and husband) built the arbor. My youngest son Dustin designed it and they built it together. Having the structure helped me focus on building a garden around it. Then in 2002-2003 Dustin designed and built the little garden shed in his spare time so I would have somewhere to store tools, etc. Of course, that called for more gardens!

“I have peonies, irises, bee balms, hostas, oakleaf hydrangas, and around 125 different varities of dayliles, along with some annuals. When I run out of room I just move the rock edge out more and make a little more room for my new plant. I also have around 30 containers and hanging baskets that I fill each spring with annuals.

“The summer of 2003 Dustin (age 27) was killed in an automobile accident. He did not have the shed completely finished so my other son, Brent, and my husband finished the shed. I now have a garden around the shed in memory of Dustin. The garden has been a healing place for me and I spend many, many hours there.

“Our summers are hot and sometimes dry so my dad, who owns the land next to mine, helped us put in a buried line from the pond and we hooked up a small pump which is how I water my garden. My dream would be to have an irrigation system (instead of watering by hand) so I could water my whole garden with the pond water. I mostly fertilize with composted leaves and manure from my friend’s and my dad’s farm.

“One of my favorite things to do is visit botanical gardens in different states and to stop along the way at garden centers. I have been known to even bring a new plant home sitting between my feet in the front seat! My husband just shakes his head.”

Both the arbor and the shed are wonderful, Gwen, and I love all your daylilies. Dustin’s garden is a fine tribute. It’s lovely. That sunset–wow! ***Want to see more gardens in Kansas? Click HERE.***

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Comments

  1. flowerladydi 03/24/2014

    Good morning Gwen!
    Your gardens are so charming!! SOOOOO many daylilies, and they are wonderful!,,,I am so very sorry about the loss of your son,,,, I can not even imagine losing a child,,,, he truly is with you though every day in the lovely shed,,, as well as your heart,,, and that of his brother and Dad as well. Together you have all created a fabulous garden! Love your path,,,, the wheel barral is so great!, and I can just imagine how lovely it is to sit at your little ice cream table
    under the arbor and relax and take in all the beauty that you have created. How nice to have so open farm land as well as your Dad! around you too!,,,, and that sunset was just awesome!
    Thank you for sharing,,, I love it all!

  2. mainer59 03/24/2014

    I love daylilies and I love the way you have used them as curving borders and around the pergolas. When I think of Kansas, I think "flat", but your photos show what an inviting place it can be. Now Miss Kim's students will have another toad to look at!

  3. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 03/24/2014

    A lovely garden, moving story and touching tribute. Thanks for sharing it. Love the tree frog in the calla lily.

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/24/2014

    Hi, Gwen, I think many of us here in gpod land know what an initial few daylilies can lead to...and your pictures show it beautifully. If you are anything like me, in your imagination, you see those daylilies in bloom as soon as the the plant breaks dormancy... and the anticipation just builds and builds. And then the color festival finally begins and it's all you hoped it would be. But, yet, there's always just one more daylily that needs to come home with you and join the party, right?
    Your son was very talented and it has to be a poignant comfort to have the structures that came into being because of his vision as a permanent part of your garden.

    I, too, smiled at the last picture and thought of the fun 'Miss Kim' and her children would have making up delightful stories about the little frog in the calla lily. So sweet!

  5. annred97 03/24/2014

    Beautiful gardens Gwen! I live in Kansas too and know how challenging it can be to garden here. Your gardens are wonderful. Love the way you've mixed the daylilies in with many other perennials!

  6. cwheat000 03/24/2014

    Those daylilies will get you every time. It looks like you have found a home for a LOT of plants. You have placed them beautifully in your lovely farm setting. Your guys are very talented. The pergola and shed are wonderful,and anchor the gardens so well, in that wide open space. Your loss is beyond words.

  7. tractor1 03/24/2014

    Gwen, I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your son, losing a child is the heaviest burdon that can befall a parent.

    I love your Kansas oasis, everything is picture perfect, especially those structures. And that fountain is lovely.

    One method for having an irrigation system from a pond is to install a water tower, pump pond water into the tank, then irrigate by gravity... choose the highest point on your property, then the tank structure needn't be very tall... can even be hidden with evergreen shrubs/conifers... and some water towers can be quite decorative. With a float switch in the tank pond water will pump automatically so the tank needn't be very large... something to think on. Thank you for sharing, Gwen.

  8. MissKimmy 03/24/2014

    Hello everyone!! "Miss Kim" here - Oh gosh Gwen, thank you for the beautiful pictures this morning... your gardens are just so lovely. The children will really love the little frog in the calla lily! I already have up it on my computer screen as they will be in in just a few moments!

    Gwen, I am so sorry for the loss of your son... Thank you for sharing your touching story.

  9. pattyspencer 03/24/2014

    What a beautiful arbor and shed and what a beautiful tribute to your son! I love all the flowers you've planted and that sunset is gorgeous! You truly have created a labor of love!!

  10. greengenes 03/24/2014

    Good morning, Gwen and all you out there in gardenland..Quite a beautiful place! I so love what it all stands for, for you and your remaining family! Many warm hugs and hopes for you, Gwen. Iam so glad you found gardening as a way to go on easier. Actually it seems your son left you a future of gardening! It also sounds like you got "bit by the gardening bug"! Isnt it fun! You have a great sense of flow and design. The shot of the little frog is so sweet! Its all great! Thanks so much for sharing your life, Gwen! Have a great spring!
    Oh, and tractor1, your idea of a irrigations system is awesome! Thanks!

  11. bee1nine 03/24/2014

    Hi Gwen, Wow...where do I begin...To me, most absolutely beautiful describes your sun-loving and color-packed garden
    beds! And to the wonderful craftsmanship and design that went
    into the fine arbor structure and especially to your very dear garden shed.
    Just want you to know, I can understand perhaps the tender,
    yet sweet memories you, hubby and Brent may feel when gazing
    out at times at these structures, without beloved Dustin.
    I do believe though, he has been very much watching over you
    all!!
    May I add, my husband and I also have gone through the death
    of a child. Our ONLY child (Amie) age: 20. It has been 25 yrs.
    now. Gardening has certainly been the most therapeutic source for me...and I do have a memory garden.
    Thank-you sincerely for sharing your touching story and
    marvelous tribute!! :)

  12. John429 03/24/2014

    Gwen,

    Your garden really looks like heaven on Earth - so very, very, beautiful! It brought tears to my eyes to hear of your loss of Dustin. With the wonderful garden structures around you that he lovingly helped make for you as well as your memorial garden to him, I can see how this special garden is a healing place for you. Thank you so much for sharing your special and very meaningful garden with us.

  13. Sheila_Schultz 03/24/2014

    Gwen, your gardens are as beautiful as your family that created them with love. Thank you for letting us see part of your world.

  14. GrannyMay 03/24/2014

    Gwen, thank you for sharing both your beautiful garden and the poignant story of your son Dustin's part in its creation. May his contribution to your garden structures continue to bring healing and happy memories.

    Love the combinations perennials and of course the wonderful daylilies! Also like how you can just pop in new plants by moving out the brick edging, making it very easy for your garden to continue to grow. Please do send more photos as it does!

  15. user-7006902 03/24/2014

    Your garden is truly a magical and healing place - even through the screen. It must be why you are blessed with amazing sunsets - a reflection of the colors of your blooms. I love your frog friend!

  16. Annek 03/24/2014

    Oh, the photos! The most charming garden shed, the beautiful, full, gorgeous hostas, the brilliant sunset, amazing daylillies, the cheery calla frog and Dustin's story...have all made me very introspective today. The tribute garden is a wonderfully healing way to honor your son.

  17. wildthyme 03/24/2014

    Gwen, what a unique arbor design. Beautiful open garden views, with some of my favorite plants!

  18. GrannyCC 03/24/2014

    Gwen thank you for sharing your wonderful garden. It is a beautiful tribute to your son Dustin. He was certainly a talented young man. So sorry to hear of your loss.

    Beautiful beds of daylilies and perennials, love the wheelbarrow and the beautiful sunset.

  19. janetsfolly 03/24/2014

    Gwen, thank you for sharing a very special story of your very special son and family. The talent and beauty you have all brought to this garden are a wonderful tribute. I can't imagine the depth of your loss.
    It's hard to pick a favorite photo but I do love the wheelbarrow and the frog pic is made so perfect by the gorgeous color of that calla! I'll add my encouragement to the chorus for irrigation systems: I keep a large veg garden as well as several (somewhat neglected) perennial beds. When my dear SO decided I was spending WAY too much time hand watering, he installed a pump on our pond and ran underground lines to a drip system in the big garden and hose bibs at each bed, to which I attached soaker hoses. Now I just start the pump as needed and everything gets a good drink! I will add that last summer, which was ridiculously wet, I never used it once!
    Happy gardening!

  20. User avater
    HelloFromMD 03/24/2014

    Hi Gwen,

    Love your sunny borders! Love all the bright hot colors. I like your edging with 'Black Scallop' Ajuga. Not easy to use black in the garden. I tried Cimicifuga 'Hillside Black Beauty', but I didn't site it in a moist enough spot and lost it. I am interested in experimenting with rich dark hues to create depth and a little mystery. What are your top 3 day lilies?

  21. User avater
    HelloFromMD 03/24/2014

    Hi again

    I am wowed by your triple pergola. Gwen, you have a Pergola!, which is a huge leap beyond an arbor. An amazing design. Looks fantastic.

  22. JaneEliz 03/24/2014

    Gwen, thank you for sharing your lovely garden and moving story with us. It is such a beautiful memorial garden. Dustin's shed is charming and I'm sure it brings you joy having it be such a part of the special space you have created in that wonderful spot you have. The little frog is very dear... what a beautiful resting place he chose.

  23. OneKSGardner 03/24/2014

    Thank you all for the kind words and compliments! I have enjoyed reading each one. Thanks also for the information concerning irrigation with the pond water! (tractor1)

    I just now realized I needed to set up an account so I can post on here! I am somewhat computer challenged! lol

    I love how gardening unites people from all walks of life and have throughly enjoyed being able to share my garden with you all!!

  24. OneKSGardner 03/24/2014

    janetsfolly: I read with interest your garden watering system from your pond. Do you filter the water? Does the pond water plug up the soaker hoses? It does sound wonderful to just lay that hose on the ground and let it do its thing!

  25. darylsavage 03/25/2014

    Gwen,
    Thanks for sharing. I am really noticing lately how many sites have a section that includes either called a memory, or meditation garden, along with the traditional tree-planting in honor of someone deceased. There was a program on 13 recently about the 911 memorial in NYC which described the huge tree planting they installed there for the 911 victims. I am hoping to visit it this spring; it sounds like a very inspiring memorial. I don't think anyone would begrudge you buying any plant you want if it pleases you. I am very sorry for your loss.

  26. OneKSGardner 03/26/2014

    Hello from MD: you ask what my three favorite day lilies are. I have thought about your question and must tell you I can't narrow it down! Last summer I planted twenty new ones and can hardly wait for them to bloom! I have fallen for the new ones that are ruffled and I especially love the pink ones. One of the new ones called Clothed in Glory was very pretty, also Ida's Braid was beautiful.

  27. CJgardens 03/26/2014

    Gwen,
    Thanks for sharing your story. So sorry for your loss. The beautiful pergola and garden shed are wonderful lasting memories of his talent and love for you. Love the unique design of the pergola and the charm of the shed. 125 different varieties of daylilies is amazing. I have many less but can't help adding more every year and I couldn't pick a favorite either. The gorgeous purple calla lily photo has inspired me to try the colored calla lilies again. I can grow the white ones but struggle with the colors. I visit garden centers on vacation too. I'd rather buy a plant than a t-shirt or sweatshirt for a souvenier.
    Thanks for sharing.

  28. Yeddi 03/26/2014

    Hello Gwen,
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful garden and the family story which is so much a part of it all. I know what it is like to lose a beloved son, too. My response to dealing with it all was to create a garden for him. Stephen's Garden is approached through a gate and borders a large pond. My family all chose a special tree to plant in the garden which was started in 2008 and now is looking quite mature and full. I, too, spend many peaceful hours out there - just me and the birds and bees and my beautiful memories.

    Day Lilies! Aah! How can we not become collectors? I don't have a huge number and I HAVE to plant them within a fenced area as the deer love them. A few years ago I attended a talk by a lily grower who kindly brought plants to sell - amongst them were some unnamed varieties which he had not yet decided to carry on breeding.I am SO proud of those beautiful plants and watch eagerly every spring for the first green shoots.
    Happy gardening, Happy thoughts.

  29. Yeddi 03/26/2014

    Hello Gwen,
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful garden and the family story which is so much a part of it all. I know what it is like to lose a beloved son, too. My response to dealing with it all was to create a garden for him. Stephen's Garden is approached through a gate and borders a large pond. My family all chose a special tree to plant in the garden which was started in 2008 and now is looking quite mature and full. I, too, spend many peaceful hours out there - just me and the birds and bees and my beautiful memories.

    Day Lilies! Aah! How can we not become collectors? I don't have a huge number and I HAVE to plant them within a fenced area as the deer love them. A few years ago I attended a talk by a lily grower who kindly brought plants to sell - amongst them were some unnamed varieties which he had not yet decided to carry on breeding.I am SO proud of those beautiful plants and watch eagerly every spring for the first green shoots.
    Happy gardening, Happy thoughts.

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