Garden Photo of the Day

Looking Back at Summer

Remembering warmer times

Thomas Charbonneau gardens in St. Paul, Minnesota, in frigid Zone 4, where winter has abruptly ended this year’s gardening. So today we’re joining him in looking back at the summer garden and anticipating the arrival of spring and tulips!

Cheery sunflowers (Helianthus annuus, annual) are the epitome of summer. And not only does their beauty feed the gardener’s soul, but they make terrific cut flowers, they are a great source of food for bees and other pollinators (as long as you don’t plant the pollenless varieties), and after flowering has finished, the seed heads become natural bird feeders.

An old-fashioned tiger lily (Lilium lancifolium, Zones 3–9). This classic lily is a a great example of a “pass-along plant.” You don’t see it for sale too often, and most people who have one were given bulbs by a friend. It is vigorous, usually easy to grow, and produces loads of bright orange-spotted flowers. Be aware that people use the name of “tiger lily” for a bunch of different plants, so if someone offers you one, it might be this, another lily, or possibly a daylily.

Daylily ‘Wilson Spider’ (Hemerocallis ‘Wilson Spider’, Zones 3–9). This is a classic example of a spider-form daylily. Spider daylilies have long, narrow petals, which often curl and twist in beautiful ways.

Ligularia ‘The Rocket’ (Zones 4–8) mixes its ragged-edged leaves and tall spikes of yellow flowers with hostas and ferns in a shade bed.

Daylilies are real workhorses in the garden, producing a lot of flowers and asking very little in return.

Daylily ‘Red Flag’ (Hemerocallis ‘Red Flag’, Zones 3–9)

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus, annual) tumbles down over a stone wall. If you want to recreate this look in your garden, read the variety descriptions carefully. Some varieties of nasturtiums grow long, trailing, or even climbing vines, while others form tight, compact mounds. Both are great; it just depends on what you want from them.

Winter is coming, and the hostas are putting on their fall colors.

Snow is here.

How long until spring arrives?


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 12/16/2019

    I really enjoyed the 4 season walk about through your garden, Thomas. Seems like you have lots to look at, enjoy and inspire regardless of the time of year. Even the winter scene touches this gardener's heart. Well done!

  2. btucker9675 12/16/2019

    The photo of the snowy tree is just gorgeous! What a beautiful garden you have, all year long.

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 12/16/2019

    Red & yellow/gold daylilies are my faves. I am going to make note of your daylily ‘Red Flag’ & try to order it this spring.

  4. toweringpines 12/16/2019

    Love the whole post but mostly the last pic.
    GPOD has been doing a great job with posts!

  5. User avater
    simplesue 12/16/2019

    So pretty! Love those Nasturtiums !

  6. RB2T 12/16/2019

    Hello Thomas, I am north of you in Canada in zone 3 and I really appreciated your garden. The two daylilies you spotlighted are lovely and I will be looking for them.

  7. [email protected] 12/16/2019

    Loved your pix! Awesome hardscape, but I really love the Tiger Lilies! Wish I was a neighbor, to have some passed along to me. Guess I will have to seek them out here in Washington state.

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