Garden Photo of the Day

John’s California Garden

A riot of color through the seasons

Today John Erskine is sharing his garden with us, which we have visited before (Change Up Your Garden).

This past year I’ve been lucky enough to be able to work from home. So during the week, I’ve made many trips to my garden to see how it looks at different times during the day and to find interesting new views that show off different plant combinations. I continue to tweak my garden, moving things around, trying new plants, and removing plants that are unhappy or that I am no longer interested in. I still haven’t figured out how to combine floral abundance with low maintenance, but I’m working on it.

Barcelona tulipsTulips and other bulbs make a colorful splash in March here in the San Francisco Bay Area. The vibrant colors are always welcome after the winter. ‘Barcelona’ tulips are featured here.

Douglas irisThis Douglas iris (Iris ‘PB&J’, Zones 6–9) is very happy in partial shade in spring. This is one of the Pacific Coast irises, a group of species (and hybrids between them) native to the Pacific Coast of North America and perfectly adapted to the climates there.

Chicago Peace roseI love the soft colors of this ‘Chicago Peace’ rose.

agrostemmaIt’s a riot of colors and flowers in this bed in spring, which includes agrostemma (Agrostemma ‘Milas’, annual), baby blue eyes (Nemophila menziesii, annual), ursinia (Ursinia anthemoides ‘Solar Fire’, annual), and others.

Marjorie Fair rosesSeveral ‘Marjorie Fair’ roses fill this heart-shaped bed outlined with a boxwood hedge.

CrocosmiaCrocosmia, Agapanthus, and a Hydrangea combine with a Trachelium caeruleum (Zones 7–10) for a vibrant display of color in summer. The Trachelium reseeds and is generally welcome wherever it pops up.

sweet autumn clematisThis sweet autumn clematis (Clematis paniculata, Zones 4–8) climbed into this abandoned fountain and is very happy.


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.

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View Comments


  1. cynthia2020 01/14/2021

    Hi, John. Thank you for sharing your gorgeous plant photos and your gardening philosophy. I especially like the bed with the agrostemma and the baby blue eyes.

    1. User avater
      johninsancarlos 01/14/2021

      Thanks so much! That flower bed with the agrostemma is the star of my garden.

  2. Maggieat11 01/14/2021

    Beautiful! And that's a show-stopping daylily!

    1. User avater
      johninsancarlos 01/14/2021

      Thank you for your kind words.

  3. sagebird52 01/14/2021

    Diverse, imaginative, and absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

    1. User avater
      johninsancarlos 01/14/2021

      I'm glad you like it! The garden never looks exactly the same from year to year, so each year is a surprise.

  4. User avater
    treasuresmom 01/14/2021

    Love that bed with the baby blue eyes. The mix of colors is so very pretty.

    1. User avater
      treasuresmom 01/14/2021

      BTW, if you haven't clicked on the link & visited John's other submission, then you are missing a real treat.

      1. User avater
        simplesue 01/14/2021

        I'm gunna go look! Thanks!

    2. User avater
      johninsancarlos 01/14/2021

      I never get tired of baby blue eyes. It's always welcome!

  5. User avater
    simplesue 01/14/2021

    I'm so loving your Trachelium caeruleum (Zones 7–10)...and me in zone 6b...sigh...well I might try to push the growing zone! Never say never!
    Great "portrait of a rose" with the path out of focus in the background and the huge sharp focus of the rose! Very artistic.
    Now...going to go look at your other garden photos on FGPof the Day.

    1. User avater
      johninsancarlos 01/14/2021

      The Trachelium is worth a try! I also suffer from zone denial (only 1 of my 3 peonies actually blooms...).

  6. btucker9675 01/14/2021

    Beautiful - especially enjoyed the Douglas irises. In my opinion, you live in one of the most beautiful areas in the world - thank you for sharing your garden!

    1. User avater
      johninsancarlos 01/14/2021

      Thank you for your kind words! The climate here in the bay area does offer some fun gardening opportunities.

  7. Sunshine111 01/14/2021

    So lovely John! I especially loved the Hydrangea, Crocosmia and Agapanthus combination 😊 Trachelium is new to me, but I love it!

    1. User avater
      johninsancarlos 01/14/2021

      Thank you for your comments! I really like that combination too. Sometimes I'm just looking for an open spot for a new plant or bulb, and it works out.

  8. user-5117752 01/16/2021

    Oh, so lovely!!! I ditto everything everybody has said! I'm kind of glad for the rest from gardening right now in western North Carolina but your photos are so inspiring on this dreary winter's day. Thank you for taking the time to share.

    1. User avater
      johninsancarlos 01/25/2021

      Thank you so much for your kind comments! My garden is resting right now - dormant - but there is no rest for this California gardener, though sometimes I wish I could rest. January is the time to pick up the last of the leaves, and trim/spray the roses. There's always something to do.

  9. blondie3 01/20/2021

    Love the boxwood heart with the pink in the middle, Love the grassy path, I find them so inviting, the rose is beautiful, Thank you for sharing, all of your flowers are beautiful, can’t wait til spring!

    1. User avater
      johninsancarlos 01/25/2021

      Thank you for noticing the heart and grassy paths! I just love grass paths - I even added one winding up my slope a couple of weeks ago. They frame the flower beds so nicely. Can't wait until Spring!

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