Garden Photo of the Day

Kathy’s Labor of Love

A beautiful space made with hard work

water fountain surrounded by hydrangeas and ornamental grass

Today we’re visiting Kathy Bishop’s beautiful garden.

I live in Portland, Oregon, and my garden has evolved endlessly for the past 25 years. This started as a bare quarter-acre dirt lot in a basic suburban neighborhood. After having the original layout and design done by a professional landscaper and seeing areas that were just not working, I have redone the entire garden.

I went through the Master Gardener program about 20 years ago and am totally self-taught through research and trial and error.

My garden is a labor of love, my joy and escape. I want to convey to any aspiring gardener that they can create a garden they love; it just takes a plan, hard work, and determination and often can be done on a modest budget.

garden border along a wooden fenceHighlights of the back garden border include arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis, Zones 2–7) and the bright red blooms of fan scarlet lobelia (Lobelia ‘Fan Scarlet’, Zones 5–9).

garden full of fall flowersThe back border transforms in the fall, with color from fall leaves, the pink blooms of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Zones 3–8), and many other perennials.

red flowers in front of a variegated shrubFan scarlet lobelia glows against the variegated foliage of Salix ‘Hakuro Nishiki’ (Zones 5–8).

bird bath surrounded by lush plantsThe birdbath in the border makes a wonderful focal point amid all the lush perennials.

garden bed in full bloomIt’s cool to see the same spot a little later in the season, as the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ flower buds develop, the lobelia just keeps on blooming, and some cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus, annual) join the scene.

seating area with pergola looking out at the gardenThis picture shows that a charming outdoor eating space can be created with a couple of card tables, a table cloth, and a couple of mismatched chairs.

water fountain surrounded by hydrangeas and ornamental grassThis photo is at the left of the back border. It gets more shade, so I have Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra, Zones 5–9), hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla, Zones 5–9), and Corsican mint (Mentha requienii, Zones 6–9), with some impatiens (Impatiens walleriana, Zones 9–11 or as an annual) crowning Boswell’s head.

hydrangeas surrounded by other flowersThis section of my back border tends to get a bit more shade. Lots of hydrangeas are joined by perennials, including Coreopsis, Carex ‘Toffee Twist’ (Zones 7–10), Japanese forest grass, black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’, Zones 5–9), and chameleon plant (Houttuynia cordata, Zones 4–10).

shade garden full of hydrangeas and ornamental grassAnother view of the shady part of the border

small blue garden shed surrounded by plantsThe walk to the adorable garden shed is complete with chalk hopscotch.


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View Comments


  1. runfortheroses 05/17/2022

    Great garden, Kathy! I especially like your use of stones (dry riverbed?) to edge the garden bed. Creates a great effect

  2. garden1953 05/17/2022

    Very beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  3. user-6964848 05/17/2022

    Very beautifully done! You have an eye for form and color balance. LOVE the rock riverbed.

  4. gardendevas 05/17/2022

    A beautiful garden indeed, Kathy! Lush and filled with color and texture - just joyous. Your love and enjoyment of it shows!

  5. User avater
    user-7007816 05/17/2022

    What a beautiful setting you have created. I particularly like the photo from your outdoor eating space.

  6. margotnavarre 05/17/2022

    Beautiful work. Your hard work and passion has paid off. It looks like a great garden to relax and enjoy and take it all in. Congratulations.

  7. User avater
    treasuresmom 05/17/2022

    Absolutely gorgeous!

  8. user-5117752 05/17/2022

    I'm at a loss for words! I just love the dry river bed! What a statement! And your colors and the lushness of the garden overall is simply wonderful! I'd hate to be asked which photo I like best. Just stunning!!! Thank you for taking the time to share your hard work and great design with us all!

  9. User avater
    simplesue 05/17/2022

    The scene of the table/chairs just glows, what nice place to view you garden, and what a great view it is...and a view you created.
    So many different plants and all thriving!
    Love the Japanese Forest Grass with the fountain!

  10. moyra_b 05/17/2022

    So lovely!! I was surprised to see you had chameleon plant...everything I've read about that says not to plant it because it is so invasive, and almost impossible to get rid off; do you find that is the case?

    1. joe_green_thumb 05/18/2022

      I’ve heard the same thing. I bought a chameleon plant at a nursery here where I live in Washington state. Before I planted it, I researched it and saw a lot of bad reviews about it on Dave’s Garden dot com about it being invasive and hard to get rid of. I brought it back to the nursery and told them and got my money back. So glad I didn’t plant it.

  11. fromvirginia 05/17/2022

    Absolutely charming. Everything looks lush and shows a real eye for design. The last two pictures are especially lovely.

  12. btucker9675 05/17/2022

    This is everything a garden should be - perfect! The river rock "streams", that adorable shed, the little Easter Island head... it's all marvelous!

  13. jos29803 05/17/2022

    Spectacular!! Love the dry riverbed and the sharp edges, which make the overall garden and plants look stunning. I am a rock fan, so your garden absolutely appeals to me.

  14. DotTrust 05/18/2022

    Thank you so much for your lovely compliments! I'm glad you enjoy the pictures. I do put a lot of thought into my composition and framing, and I'm always striving to create beautiful images. The last two pictures are some of my favorites, too. I'm really drawn to nature photography, and I love finding ways to capture the beauty of the natural world. Check my blog

  15. DotTrust 05/20/2022

    Hunting with air rifles is a fun and exciting way to enjoy the outdoors. Air rifles are much quieter than firearms, making them less intimidating to other hunters and game animals. In addition, they're easier to use and maintain, making them ideal for many hunters .

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