Garden Photo of the Day

Hosta Collectors in Michigan

Sculptures, plants, and lots of hostas make a beautiful space

garden bed with lots of different hosta varieties and pink flowers

Today we’re in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with Sharon and Michael Darga.

When we moved into our home in 1982, the backyard was overgrown with scrub and poison ivy. Through years of hard work, we steadily cleared and planted, gradually expanding each year. The constantly evolving garden has now moved into “any space that we can find” to plant. The garden focuses on a variety of ferns, epimediums, hostas, ornamental trees, and shrubs. We have over 200 varieties of hostas and have collected all of the Hosta of the Year varieties from 1996 to the present.

front yard garden full of blue and green conifers and red flowersThe front of the house has been filled with a variety of conifers, which include Pinus strobus ‘Squiggles’ (Zones 3–8), concolor fir (Abies concolor, Zones 3–7), and ‘Golden Spreader’ Caucasian fir (Abies nordmanniana ‘Golden Spreader’, Zones 4–6).

garden bed with lots of different hosta varieties and pink flowersLeading into the backyard is a variety of hostas (including Hosta ‘Royal Wedding’ and ‘Sum and Substance’, Zones 3–8) and a river of rocks collected on various trips.

shaded garden bed with conifers, hosta, and one container plantingA mulch path winds through the yard. As you walk, you will see various sculptures, hostas (here you see the variety ‘Guardian Angel’), Japanese maples (Acer palmatum, Zones 5–9), and pots for color throughout the summer.

garden bed with evergreen plants and pagodaA tall sculptural Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Ryusen’, Zones 5–9), a pagoda, and a weeping blue Colorado spruce (Picea pungens, Zones 2–7) highlight this area.

garden bed with evergreen plants and a larger planter with colorful annualsAnother sculpture (this one called “Story Teller”) and a variety of ferns adorn this section, along with Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra, Zones 5–9). An annual pot is added for height and background interest. Himalayan maidenhair fern (Adiantum venustum, Zones 4–8) provides a soft ground cover.

dark green garden bench surrounded by foliage plantsA sculptural bunny on the right (named Chauncy) highlights the back, with more hostas and a bench for taking it all in.


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  1. User avater
    simplesue 08/24/2022

    You have a beautiful contemporary home and what a great garden!
    So many little surprises to see down every turn, sculptures, benches, ornamental rocks, gazing balls and a wonderful variety of plants creating such a garden masterpiece!
    Oh and the Hosta' 'em!

    1. NoDeer 08/25/2022

      Thank you so much for your kind comments!

  2. rosys_villa 08/24/2022

    I love your garden and how the color gently caresses your home. It makes me want to sit on the blue bench, in a complementary color of course, and enjoy all the serenity! Thank you for sharing.

    1. NoDeer 08/25/2022

      Thank you so much for your kind comments!

  3. cheryl_c 08/24/2022

    My reaction is like rosys - it looks like your home has pulled the covers right up to its chin! It looks so cozy and hugged by the land. What wonderful gardens and sculptures - thank you so much for sharing, and send some more pictures when you can. I love Chauncy!

    1. NoDeer 08/25/2022

      We love Chauncy too! And he wears a Santa hat during the holiday! He's quite handsome :)

  4. [email protected] 08/24/2022

    I think my favorite shot is of the front of your house, with the conifers, but then I also like everything else! Thanks for sharing your beautiful gardens. How big is your property? You have managed to put in so many gorgeous plants!

    1. NoDeer 08/25/2022

      We sit on approximately 1/3 acre, so not very big. That is likely a good thing or we would then have more property to create gardens on!

  5. [email protected] 08/24/2022

    One more thing: I'm trying to identify the hosta in the far left lower corner with Sum and Substance. I don't think that one is Royal Wedding, but I love the way it looks like a bouquet, rather than a mound. Any help out there?

    1. NoDeer 08/25/2022

      Unfortunately I tried to id it with two different plant apps with no luck. There is no longer a tag. Back in the day I used to label everything, but over the years tags get lost and not replaced. Sorry that I can't help.

  6. Maggieat11 08/25/2022

    Love your gardens; so inviting, so beautiful. I'm hoping that you will post more photos.🌱

    1. NoDeer 08/25/2022

      Thank you! I didn't know that we could do that (I am new to this), but perhaps next spring I will offer more.

  7. gardendevas 08/25/2022

    Just gorgeous! (Was your garden part of the Ann Arbor Garden Walk this year…? Looks familiar.)

    1. NoDeer 08/25/2022

      It sure was :) Our third and final Garden Walk :)

      1. gardendevas 08/25/2022

        Was such a pleasure to visit!

  8. pegmccann 08/25/2022

    Thanks for posting--lots of good ideas here! In the photo with the circular sculpture and Sum and Substance, what are the plants in front of it, plants that are not astilbe nor hosta, one with dark foliage and one with yellowish foliage? They look a bit like very small spirea shrubs, but that seems unlikely.

    1. NoDeer 08/25/2022

      They are burberry. My husband got three different colors and in the spring they are just vibrant. Unfortunately there is not the full sun there that they would like so they are back to green in the summer months. But, what a show in the spring. Good eye noticing them!

  9. User avater
    rockrockinrobin 08/29/2022

    Beautiful garden and I love that you did it yourselves. Your first pic with the conifers is an inspiration to me. I will return to your photos as we plan our new gardens.

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