Garden Photo of the Day

Looking Back at an Old Garden

What worked in a Michigan garden

various pink, white, and yellow flowers in the garden

Today Joe is sharing his former garden with us.

This was the garden I made over a decade ago at the first house I ever owned, in central Michigan.

front yard with no plants of landscapingThis is how it started—not much there, and the house needed a lot of work too. It was fun starting with a blank slate, but so much work.

front yard garden with new path and lawnA year later, the house was looking better, but I still a lot to do with the gardening.

mass planting of purple Campanula with red and white flowers near byA big mass of Campanula carpatica (Zones 4–9) looked amazing and bloomed nearly nonstop. But these turned out to be very short-lived perennials, and faded away.

front steps surrounded by tulips and other bulbs in springI love bulbs, so lots of tulips and daffodils added color to the front garden in the spring.

close up of bright purple AnemoneIn a shaded part of the garden, windflowers (Anemone blanda, Zones 4–8) carried on the spring-bulb flower scheme.

a small but densely planted garden bedI planted a lot in these front beds in early summer. Dense planting means less space for weeds to grow!

wispy pink flowers paired with green foliageA combination I loved was silvery leaves of cardoon (Cynara cardunculus, Zones 5–9), dark fine foliage of bronze fennel (Foeniculum vulgare, Zones 4–9), and ornamental onions (Allium christophii, Zones 5–8).

various pink, white, and yellow flowers in the gardenThis wasn’t planned. A bed in the back where I put plants I wasn’t sure what to do with sometimes looked better than my intentional gardens!

pink and white petunias lining a front walkwayOld-fashioned petunias line the front walk. I like their looser growth habit that fills in and lets the different colors mix together.


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View Comments


  1. sandyprowse 01/20/2023

    You did a great job. Love the garden! Inspirational.

  2. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 01/20/2023

    Looks great for all your hard work

  3. User avater
    user-7007816 01/20/2023

    A great job on both the house and gardens.

  4. wittyone 01/20/2023

    I can see how much work went into the gardens and know that probably more time and effort brought that house back to life. I always feel sad when I see a neglected house just waiting for someone to step and and do something for it. It just needs the right person for the job. Befores and afters give a clear view of the possibilities that can be accomplished with some good planning and a lot of hard work.

  5. User avater
    simplesue 01/20/2023

    Wow, great make-over of house and garden! I love your choices of flowers Campanula carpatica , and windflowers (Anemone blanda,...I totally understand looking back at a former garden...I still think of one I created and left behind also. At least it's all a learning experience and a memory to cherish.

  6. User avater
    treasuresmom 01/20/2023

    I love seeing a transformation. It was all so very lovely.

  7. btucker9675 01/20/2023

    You did a terrific job on both the house and the gardens - charming! I hope whoever lives there now appreciates it all and continues to care for both. Thanks for sharing!

  8. [email protected] 01/20/2023

    Loved all the photos, but was especially impressed with all the progress you made in one year- with both the garden and the house and walkway- everything!

  9. jos29803 01/20/2023

    You have a good eye; the transformation made the house look even better. I hope it's still getting TLC.

  10. shereads 11/14/2023

    Amazing job on this sweet little property! I love the Cardoon, Fennel and Christofii combination. Beautiful!

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