Garden Photo of the Day

Looking Back on Last Year and Ahead to This Year

Beauties of the year just past

Trailing nasturtium

Today we’re off to Washington State, where we’re visiting with Melina Mantey and looking back on the year past in the garden.

I don’t know about you all, but after 2020 I am more grateful for my garden than ever before. Being able to follow the growing seasons and the garden chores that come with each new month kept time marching on last year and gave my brain a bit of a break from everything going on. I landscaped every square inch of my garden, even areas I promised my husband I would leave alone, because I wanted to add in even more color and experiment with new plants. I’ve been working on my garden in Zone 8a since 2013, but the biggest changes have happened in 2019 and 2020. As with many people, my garden serves as a self-prescribed medicine for my mental health. And during the most challenging of times is when my garden undergoes the biggest changes and gives way to the most beautiful and uplifting landscapes.

While it can be hard to feel grateful for times that can cause us so much pain, I look around my space and feel gratitude for what I’ve been able to achieve, especially in those moments. And even though some of us are just coming out of the rain, snow, and mud season, I’m continuing to rub my dirt-stained hands together in plant-crazed glee, looking forward to what this year’s garden will bring. Taking into consideration all of the seedlings I have growing in my greenhouse, there will be some beautiful things going on in my landscape (fingers crossed!). Until it warms up, though, let me just go through those seed magazines one more time …

Close-up of Honeywort Kiwi Blue‘Kiwi Blue’ honeywort(Cerinthe major ‘Kiwi Blue’, annual)

backyard garden bed full of flowersThis backyard landscape includes rudbeckia (Rudbeckia hirta, Zones 3–7), sedum (Hylotelephium ‘Herbstfreude’, Zones 3–9), hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla, Zones 5–9), coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata, Zones 3–9), Verbena bonariensis (Zones 7–10 or as an annual), Mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima, Zones 7–10), blue fescue grass (Festuca glauca, Zones 4–8).

Trailing nasturtiumTrailing nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus, annual) and bee

plants underneath a windowHellebore (Helleborus hybrid, Zones 4–9), bellflowers (Campanula sp.), Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas, Zones 7–10), pansies (Viola × wittrockiana, cool season annual), little heath pieris (Pieris japonica ‘Little Heath’, Zone 6–8).

Front window box with hostasFront window box with hostas (Zones 3–9), dusty miller (Jacobaea maritima, Zones 7–10 or as an annual), Alberta spruce (Picea glauca ‘Conica’, Zones 3–7), pansies, hellebores.

African daisiesAfrican daisies (Osteospermum, annual)

garden bed and pond in the shadeHydrangeas, hostas, hellebore, twilight nandina (Nandina domestica, Zones 6–9)

container planting on a fenceLobelia (Lobelia erinus, annual), nasturtiums, Martha Washington geranium (Pelargonium hybrid, annual), verbena (annual), ‘Mezoo Trailing Red’ Livingstone daisy (Dorotheanthus bellidiformis ‘Mezoo Trailing Red’, Zones 10–11 or as an annual).

purple and white phloxPhlox (Phlox paniculata, Zones 4–8)

garden bed in the shadeWendy’s Wish salvia (Salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish’, Zones 9–10 or as an annual), hostas, hydrangeas, ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius, Zones 3–7), smokebush (Cotinus coggygria, Zones 4–8), euonymus (Euonymus japonicus, Zones 5–9), black mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nigrescens’, Zones 5–9), and sedum.

fall container plantingOrnamental cabbage with pansies, photographed in the fall


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 04/13/2021

    Wow, that little heath pieris is gorgeous!

  2. User avater
    simplesue 04/13/2021

    I didn't get an email notice for Photo of the Day, so I came looking for the new post!
    So glad I did!
    Very inspiring, gorgeous flower photos!
    Fabulous perennial beds!
    That photo with the tree stump with a planter and the two glowing lavender/purple flowers in the middle if the phot that look like some variety of Campanula....oh I wish you could tell me the name of those- they are luminous!
    Very inspiring, gorgeous flower photos!

  3. User avater
    cynthia2020 04/13/2021

    Melissa - regarding "plant-crazed glee" - haha! I know that feeling!
    But also love the solid and pleasant in-the-moment awareness of working in soil.
    Thank you for sharing your gardening story.
    I have heard great things about that Wendy’s Wish salvia that you have - and I like the curving lines of your flower bed boarder and the lush green of the lawn.

  4. gardendevas 04/13/2021

    Yes, my garden also got me through the last year!! It was healing to spend extra time out there — one big advantage to working from home,
    What a gorgeous blue hydrangea, and lovely colorful combinations.

  5. [email protected] 04/17/2021

    For some reason, I am just seeing this post today, 4/17, but am so glad to see it. The Osteospermum absolutely stopped me in my tracks! Gonna have to look for some of those colors, but all I see for sale are quite a bit more subdued.Do you grow those from seed? Loved all your photos!

  6. PatrickHale 08/17/2021

    Gardening is one of the healthiest and most beneficial hobbies I have ever experienced. It is exceedingly beneficial for our current and future life as plants are responsible for creating various natural things such as fruits, vegetables, and most importantly oxygen. I also read legit service review of the people before hiring an online writer to assist me in my essay so that I could take care of my plants.

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