Garden Photo of the Day

John’s garden in New Jersey, revisited

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of John Markowski

It’s been awhile since we’ve visited John Markowski’s garden in New Jersey! (refresh your memory HERE & HERE) John sent in some photos yesterday of what’s going on in his garden now, and it’s so nice to revisit it.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of John Markowski

He says, “I garden in Zone 6B in central New Jersey and have two big issues I need to contend with. My clay soil drains very poorly (apparently we have a high water table in my town) and the plants have to deal with wet feet a good part of the year. I also have swarms of deer who visit frequently and destroy everything in their path (RIP peonies). As a result, I rely more and more on ornamental grasses and native perennials and shrubs. These include Joe Pye weed, amsonia (bluestar), milkweed, clethra (summersweet), monarda (bee balm) and others. Keeping it native has clearly increased the number of critter visitors so it is tough to really complain about my conditions.”

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of John Markowski

Despite the challenges, your garden is lovely, John! **Be sure to visit John’s BLOG!**

This is prime time to take some photos in your garden. So get out there with your cameras and send some in! Email them to [email protected].

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of John Markowski
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of John Markowski
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of John Markowski
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of John Markowski
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of John Markowski
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of John Markowski
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of John Markowski
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of John Markowski
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of John Markowski

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View Comments


  1. user-1020932 08/16/2013

    great garden, John, i will dive into your blog this weekend while it rains,,,,,,,,,,,,,again. i think here at home and in other gardens i have enjoyed various Joe Pye varieties more than any other plant, especially Little Joe as it withstood the constant downpours and all the others got beaten into weird configurations. looks like you've conquered your deer swarms, clay soil and high water table because everything looks great. do you grow Calycanthus? deer proof and smells delicious for at least 2 months

  2. flowerladydi 08/16/2013

    Lovely John!

    Your grasses are great!,,, and I LOVE seeing the photos of the butterflies and
    hummingbird moths! I have only seen white butterflies in my garden this year!,,, you are lucky!!! The hummingbird moths are so much fun!

    Looks great!!!

  3. User avater
    HelloFromMD 08/16/2013

    Hi John,

    I recognized your garden since I follow your blog. Love the chair and plants under the tree. The challenge now is to actually sit in your chair. Two years ago we bought 3 adirondack chairs and haven't used them once this summer. I'll blame it on the rain and all the weeds I have to pull so no time to sit down.

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 08/16/2013

    John, I really enjoyed seeing your garden in its mid summer glory when the flower blooms are showing off and many of the large grass clumps are waiting for their turn in the spotlight. Of course, the switch grasses are doing their thing with their delightfully airy plumes and look quite alluring.
    I was hoping to be all productive today with weeding and mulching but now I'm hoping for some rain so I can spend more time reading your has such a great title!

  5. tractor1 08/16/2013

    John's property has the relaxing spacious appearance that I like. Native plants are fine, I don't quite understand those who attempt to cram their property piller to post with plantings that clearly belong in other biomes. I'm in the same zone but my Catskill whitetails would decimate my coneflowers but they totally ignore peonies. A good way to deal with clay soil and a high water table is to create berms of rich top soil for planting beds, and they needn't be too high, often just six inches of soil will solve the problem. John, you did a grand job in so few years, thank you for sharing.

  6. wittyone 08/16/2013

    I love the pic of the joe pye weed framed by the zebra (?) grass, Just beautiful with the sun slanting through it.

    And who could resist the blue grey chair underneath that wonderful big shade tree?


  7. user-7006902 08/16/2013

    I have to applaud you for gardening with natives! I garden with natives and I don't even have deer (for which I am very, very grateful). I do see an increase in bees and other insects, and bird varieties. Here the house sparrow reigns but I've managed to attract a few migrating warblers in spite of them! Love that Joe Pye this time of year!

  8. GrannyMay 08/16/2013

    After seeing these wonderful combinations of grasses and natives I just had to go to your blog to see more! Such a great obsession to have John. Love your photos, your chosen plants and your enthusiasm.

  9. Wife_Mother_Gardener 08/16/2013

    Beautiful summer garden! Thanks for sharing, John!

  10. bee1nine 08/16/2013

    John, WOW- Totally surprised to see your name come up for
    Today's featured photo's! As I too, follow your fun and some
    times humorous blog. ..and truth be told, do recognize these
    wonderful photo's. Challenges yes,..but you always seem to work around them with terrific results!
    * John's ornamental grass collection is fantastic, I might
    add. Have learned much about these signature plants of today's naturalistic landscaping - just by his experience and
    Till next time, John!

  11. cwheat000 08/16/2013

    John you have a beautiful and well thought out garden. You prove that going native doesn't have to be hum drum. I don't have enough discipline to go totally native, but I am appreciating it's merits more and more. I love all the wildlife it attracts ( your hummingbird moth photo is fantastic!), it's easiness, and most of all how effortlessly it blends into the larger landscape.

  12. arthurb3 08/16/2013

    Beautiful! I love grasses!

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