Garden Photo of the Day

High Summer in Alice’s Garden

Plants that look good despite hungry beetles

garden bed with pink flowers and yellow ornamental grass

Alice Fleurkens is welcoming us into her Sweaburg, Ontario, garden today.

It has been a bad year for bugs—thousands of Japanese beetles it seems—and they eat, and eat. It is discouraging, but despite it all we have flowers.

colorful container planting in front of various shrubs and treesLuckily, the beetles leave this elephant’s ear (Colocasia esculenta, Zones 7–10 or as a tender bulb) alone.

shade garden with various foliage plantsThis garden is under a maple tree. It’s kind of weedy right now because we have been away and have had a fair amount of rain in that time, even though it was quite dry when we got home.

colorful wind chime in a garden bedThe dahlias in this spot have not done well, although some others in different spots got much bigger. I think the rabbits kept eating them in the spring. I have been collecting handblown glass and chandelier crystals. It is fun watching them in the sun.

close up of orange zinniasAn orange zinnia (Zinnia elegans, annual) reaches for the sky.

close up of garden bed with lots of bright pink, red and white flowersMy riot of color in the front garden right now includes some mums; they should be nice next month. I bought them in the fall, and after they were done flowering I cut off all the dead flowers and planted them. Some survived, and some did not.

bucket of water full of japanese beetlesHere’s a two-day catch of beetles. Knocking Japanese beetles into a bucket of water like this is a pesticide-free way to reduce their numbers in the garden. Hold the bucket under the plants and they’ll just drop straight in.

garden bed with pink flowers and yellow ornamental grassI love this yellow grass (Hakonechloa macra, Zones 5–9), which seems to do great in the sun.

garden bed with red flowers and foliageFoliage and flowers provide color in this garden. The creeping phlox (Phlox subulata, Zones 2–8) has an ant nest in it, and so do many of the coral bells (Heuchera hybrids, Zones 4–8); I’m not sure what to do about that. The ground cover in the bottom left, fleece flower (Persicaria affinis, Zones 5–8), is one of my favorites. It’s low maintenance and easy to control, and it has beautiful fall color.

close up of garden bed with red and green foliageThe grass in the front with the interesting red foliage is ‘Burgundy Bunny’ pennisetum (Pennisetum ‘Burgundy Bunny’, Zones 5–9). A gardening friend down the road gifted it to me.

close up of large hostas in a garden bedHostas are covering the bare bottom of this evergreen. I planted them for that reason, and they took off like wildfire. They seem to love that spot.


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View Comments


  1. [email protected] 08/15/2023

    Love how you mix textures, colors and different leaves in the flower beds. Your begonias make everything "pop", looks great. Thanks for sharing.

  2. islandlover 08/15/2023

    Fabulous gardens! I love the vignettes and colors and many textures. I use begonias for pops of color also. They are deer and bug resistant and over winter easily in a cold basement. They may look dead in the spring but ‘spring’ back quickly and are ‘free’ plants. Happy gardening everyone.

  3. Oxdriftgardener 08/15/2023

    Looking good despite all the challenges. OMG, not a pretty picture but the bucket of beetles sure backed up your statement about how bad they were! That is one definite advantage of gardening in Northwestern Ontario. We have lots of other munchers but not that one, thank the lucky stars

  4. user-7821942 08/15/2023

    Lovely gardens! I especially like the use of stones to make terraces which gives height and added interest. I am inspired to try this as well. Your conifers are so pretty and form a wonderful backdrop to your flowers, hosta, and grasses. Your use of glass and crystals made me smile; in the south, many of us have bottle trees in our gardens. As for the Japanese beetles, there are so many that at first glance, I thought it was a bucket of berries!

  5. nicki_s 08/15/2023

    Alice, your commentary reflects the reality of gardening: every year something is working against us, whether it's Japanese beetles, deer, or the weather. But we persevere and adapt, as your beautiful gardens show! I love your use of stones, both large and small, and you've given me several good plant ideas, such as trying fleece flower as a groundcover.

  6. User avater
    cynthia2020 08/15/2023

    Hi, Alice. I enjoyed looking at all of your photos and also reading about issues going on in your garden. I wasn't familiar with Persicaria affinis, and looked up some information about it. Thank you for sharing!

  7. User avater
    simplesue 08/15/2023

    Nice use of stones in your garden and beautiful perennial beds!

  8. btucker9675 08/15/2023

    Glad to hear someone else say it's been the worse year for Japanese beetles! I have been beside myself trying to get rid of them... Your garden is so pretty and I love the ornaments as well.

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