Garden Photo of the Day

Late Summer in Michigan

Celebrating the season

bright pink begonias growing underneath various shade plants

Today we’re in Nella’s Michigan garden.

Usually my spring garden is my favorite. It’s a lovely welcome to the new gardening season after a cold, gray Michigan winter. This year I was rewarded with lush, full, late summer blooms after a summer so dry that we only cut the lawn once in the month of June. I garden in a space that was totally shaded by overgrown trees when I first bought the house. Twenty-seven years and 15 fewer trees later, I have mostly partial shade. I retired last June, so this was my first gardening season when I could wander out to the garden at sunrise and putz around until mid-morning most days.

I went crazy on pots this year! The final count on August 1 , front and back, was 26! That’s a record for me. Admittedly, some I bought specifically to fill in gaps before this year’s neighborhood garden walk. Some are my every-year standards. Some I bought at the end of the season because I couldn’t resist the sale price. Would I do it again? Maybe, but not all at once. It was a gradual thing as I saw a need for a pot or I had plants but no spot for them in a bed.

close up of various summer in late summerLate summer splendor includes coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea, Zones 4–9), tall phlox (Phlox paniculata, Zones 4–8), and black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida, Zones 3–9).

close up of large maroon leaf with small pink flowers underneathBold leaves of a castor bean (Ricinus communis, Zones 9–11 or as an annual) with pink turtlehead (Chelone obliqua, Zones 5–9)

close up of container planting with various foliage plantsThis container is filled with shade-loving plants including Caladium (Zones 8–10 or as a tender bulb) and trailing creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’, Zones 3–9).

close up of pink Panicle hydrangea flower next to variegated foliagePanicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata, Zones 3–8) blooms blushing pink as they age.

potted variegated fern on top of stone statuePan, the god of fields, groves, and wooded glens, greets Nella each morning when she opens the curtains. This year he has a crown of variegated fern.

bright pink begonias growing underneath various shade plantsBright pink begonias (Begonia hybrid, Zones 8–11 or as an annual) line the edge of a bed full of shade-loving perennials.

hydrangea and variegated hostas next to stone pathHosta and hydrangea spill over onto a stone path.


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View Comments


  1. user-7821942 09/14/2023

    Beautiful and bountiful garden. Everything looks so lush and inviting. Congratulations on your retirement.

  2. User avater
    user-7007816 09/14/2023

    I thoroughly enjoyed your garden. The statue of Pan was particularly fun. I also live in Michigan and can relate that our gardens have really come alive this fall. Thanks for sharing

    1. User avater
      simplesue 09/14/2023

      Nice! And I see a greenhouse!

  3. User avater
    simplesue 09/14/2023

    Oh your Pan statue- so cool, I love it! Also love your combination of tall phlox with the purple coneflowers- such a nice blend!

  4. islandlover 09/14/2023

    Your gardens are lush and beautiful. I love how you did the stone path!

  5. btucker9675 09/14/2023

    Pan has done an excellent job with your garden this season! I especially love the photo of the echinacea, black eyed susans and phlox - so meadow-y and pretty. The soft green "fluted" container is lovely. Everything is lovely!

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