Garden Photo of the Day

Julie’s garden in British Columbia, Day 1

Ligularia 'The Rocket', Ligularia dentata, foxgloves, Physocarpus opulifolius 'Diabolo', birch trees. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Julie Flatt

Today’s photos (and tomorrow’s) are from Julie Flatt in Victoria, BC. She says, “Originally just a grassy patch for the kids and dogs to tear around in, this backyard was transformed into a woodland garden four years ago. I had intended to plant just a few of our favourite trees with an underplanting of ferns. However, a number of very nice perennials and shrubs followed me home from the nursery!

A cabana to keep us dry during Victoria’s frequent rain. The chartreuse walls are painted louvre doors picked up from the “free store”. The hanging tea caddy was found in the recycle centre. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Julie Flatt

“Husband Terry did the heavy work and was very patient when I asked to have things dug up and moved, sometimes three or five times. We now have plenty of shade on our small city plot, so the neighbour next door has kindly given over a section of her sunny front yard for us to plant our veg. These garden photos were taken last June after an unusually chilly spring.” Gorgeous, Julie!

***Today we’re featuring Julie’s covered seating area–we’ll see photos of other areas of her garden tomorrow. Stay tuned!***

Plants are varigated comfrey, fuchias, pennstemon. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Julie Flatt

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View Comments


  1. user-1020932 04/17/2013

    all that in four years. absolutely beautiful and i bet Terry is absolutely exhausted! you are lucky to have neighbors who share like that

  2. user-1020932 04/17/2013

    i just did a google image search for victoria,,,,,,are there any spots in that city that are not just spectacularly beautiful?

  3. dukeofargy 04/17/2013

    This is VERY attractive. I appreciate all the work you've done. Can I ask what the material is on top of the cabana? Is it strong enough to support the winter snow or do you remove it for the winter?

  4. briandowns 04/17/2013

    The finest compliment that can be uttered about a garden is " I want to be there". And I do.

  5. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 04/17/2013

    We've visited Victoria twice and great gardens like this are part of the draw and charm. Love the colors you have painted. I've never seen penstemon grown in pots. Very cool.

  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/17/2013

    Ha, Julie, what is with that phenomenon of plants just following an innocent bystander home?? It has happened to me on numerous occasions and , of course, the only humane thing to do is to give them a home...looks like you and your good sport Terry have found perfect spots for each of your purchases. Thanks so much for identifying things in your pictures...I needed the help. Initially, I mistakenly thought your ligularia dentata was the most humongous heuchera I'd ever seen and I sure as heck wanted to know your secret recipe for fertilizer!
    I admire your zest for color in your fence and small building....very attractive combination.

  7. briandowns 04/17/2013

    The thing that just brings it altogether is the chartreuse (sp?) back-drop. It's what really says " this is a garden ", other than the to-die-for plants.

  8. Quiltingmamma 04/17/2013

    Sigh, that is hometown for me. A far cry from my current Ontario environment.
    The material on the roof of both the shed and seating area is rippled fibreglass board. It is pretty strong, particularly due to the rippling, but snow doesn't stay long in Victoria. The product is also slick, so with the wet snows and temperate climate, it tends to slide off fairly quickly. Sorry to usurp the question to Julie, but just in case she misses the question Dukeofargy

  9. restofyourlife 04/17/2013

    Your garden is on steroids! Triggering fond memories of visiting Butchart Gardens probably a stone's throw away from your lush garden. I'll be there for a spot of tea.

  10. GarPho 04/17/2013

    Love your selection of plants. Most people would buy a lot of small plants for a small place, but you have made an instantly satisfying, dramatic and lovely garden. Great design.

  11. tractor1 04/17/2013

    dukeofargy: Good question about the cabana roof... but it appears that Victoria doesn't receive much snow and what does fall is a relatively small amount at a time. And if that roof is lexon that material is very strong and withstands cold well without crazing, plus that structure looks very sturdy and with no large unsupported areas. I would think Victoria being right on the bay the large body of water moderates the winter temperatures. I like that translucent roof, and I think Victoria recieves a lot of rain so it offers good protection while letting light through... I can sit out there every day while enjoying a 2ni or three. ;) I really like that little cottage with its corrogated roof too.
    So far from what I can see that looks like a wonderful garden, I can't wait to see lots more... I'd especially like to see those "favorite" trees and hope they're IDed.

  12. hummergirl 04/17/2013

    Wow - just lovely places to sit back and enjoy the view - to die for! I love the color and plant combinations - am going to copy the idea of using bigger, showier plants instead of all the mainstays I usually use. Just in time too, I am going on Friday to greenhouses to shop!! Thanks so much for sharing your pictures, can't wait for the next batch!

  13. Happily_Gardening 04/17/2013

    Ah, peaceful and soothing...your own little piece of heaven.
    Curious question, I noticed two pictures signed, are there more photos on her website?

  14. pattyspencer 04/17/2013

    Beautiful - love how it's so lush. Looks like a great escape place to be. Love the shed with the roof - blue is a perfect color to blend with all your green.

  15. Nancy9350 04/17/2013

    Your garden zone is more like ours on the Oregon coast than most photos posted here. I love your garden, its lushness and coziness, and I love that you've picked up treasures at recycling centers and etc. Have a great gardening year!

  16. Statues 04/17/2013

    Love your garden. Your foxgloves are beautiful. Are they planted in shade, some shade or sun? I've had trouble growing them. Just beautiful. Also what fertilizer do you use?

  17. sheila_schultz 04/17/2013

    More... I really need to see MORE Julie! I love it all, but especially the balance of the 3 tall, white pots filled with Penstemon. They rock! Can't wait for tomorrow.

  18. cwheat000 04/18/2013

    Unique, lush and very nice! I love the variegated comfrey. I think Fine Gardening highlighted that plant many issues ago, and I was intrigued. I don't know anyone ,but you, that has it.

  19. SweetPeaGardens 04/18/2013

    Thank you for all the very nice comments! Here are some answers:Fertilizer - just our own compost, and there is always a thick layer of leaf mulch. The foxgloves are in the shade of the birch trees. When the foxgloves die back, the Polystichum munitum (Western Sword ferns) are on display. The cabana roof is rippled plastic, shed roof rippled metal. There was absolutely no snow in Victoria this winter, so Terry and I travelled to Arizona in February to get some. Thanks Sedona!

  20. darylsavage 04/18/2013

    I agree with GarPho that choosing a few larger plants rather than a bunch of small ones was a great design choice. I think ligularia are underused, and your pictures really show people how great they are. I may try them myself this year for one corner of my yard where nothing seems to take off.

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