Garden Photo of the Day

Helen’s Mostly Native Garden

Caring for a beautiful part of the world

close up of rain garden swale and pond surrounded by plants

My name is Helen Stephenson, and I have been gardening in the Halton Region of Ontario for over 20 years. For the past 10 years I have tried to plant mostly native species. I am on the northern edge of the Carolinian eco-region, which is an area that makes up just 1% of Canada’s total land area but contains more flora and fauna species than any other ecosystem in Canada. I believe it is my duty to preserve this little bit of heaven on earth!

rain garden swale with grasses and plants planted throughoutMy husband and I put in a rain garden swale not long after we moved in to deal with the periodic flooding that was occurring during the spring melts and after heavy rains in the summer. In this garden we have blue flag iris (Iris versicolor, Zones 2–7), turtlehead (Chelone obliqua, Zones 5–9), and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum, Zones 3–9).

close up of rain garden swale and pond surrounded by plantsWe also added a pond, which is surrounded by anemone (Anemone canadensis, Zones 3–8), cranesbill (Geranium maculatum, Zones 3–8), monkey flower (Mimulus ringens, Zones 3–8) and an Ohio buckeye tree (Aesculus glabra, Zones 3–7).

close up of marsh marigold plant next to pondI took this photo of a marsh marigold plant (Caltha palustris, Zones 3–7) earlier in the spring.

orange Michigan lilies nodding over garden pondNow the Michigan lilies (Lilium michiganense, Zones 4–8) are in full bloom.

close up of light pink Columbine flowerElsewhere in the garden, columbine (Aquilegia canadensis, Zones 3–8) are blooming . . .

close up of pink Prairie smoke seedheads

. . . while the beautiful seed heads of prairie smoke (Geum triflorum, Zones 3–7) sway in the breeze.

Beyond the flora, we get all sorts of wonderful wildlife visiting the garden. I am sure gardeners with a keen eye noticed the two very overgrown apple trees in the background. The trees produce a lot of apples, but each and every one of them gets gobbled up by the wildlife that visit my garden. Foxes, the occasional heron, raccoons, many different bird species, and more all contribute to my tiny, thriving ecosystem.

I hope to share more photos later in the season as more plants come into bloom!


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View Comments


  1. bsavage 07/06/2023

    Very lovely! Well done to you!

  2. User avater
    user-7007816 07/06/2023

    Wonderful garden. I really like your focus on native plants.

  3. martha26 07/06/2023

    Lovely garden - it is especially nice to see so many native plants suitable for my zone.

  4. btucker9675 07/06/2023

    Can't even express how much I love your garden... it's perfection!

  5. User avater
    simplesue 07/07/2023

    Your prairie smoke plant is so pretty, love all the appreciation for nature in your garden!

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