Garden Photo of the Day

Making a Garden That Takes the Drought

It has been dry, but this garden still looks great

Ellie Gilbert of Plymouth, Massachusetts, sent in these photos earlier in the summer, when she said that they had been having terribly dry weather and the garden was struggling a bit. You certainly can’t tell that from these photos! I think gardeners often only see what is wrong with their gardens—the plant they wish they had moved, the weeds they wish they had pulled, or the shrub that isn’t flowering quite as much as last year. That’s one of the things I love about the Garden Photo of the Day. Sharing your garden and hearing other people respond to it can be a great way to appreciate everything that is going great, not just everything on your to-do list that you haven’t gotten to yet. So if you are on the fence about sharing your garden on the GPOD, I hope you’ll take the plunge. We’d all love to see it—and believe me, we’ll happily focus on the flowers and not the flaws!

The hillside and gardens around the patio. You can see here one reason why this garden is holding up well despite the hot, dry weather: plenty of mulch. Mulch works wonders to keep soil most and help plants fight drought.

Another corner of the garden around the patio, with everything look practically perfect!

Dealing with drought in the garden can be a matter of choosing the right plants, and this purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea, Zones 3–9) is a great choice. Native to the prairie, coneflowers have deep root systems that help them keep on keeping on when other plants have given up. To maximize drought tolerance, plant them properly (we’ve got a guide here) and keep them well watered their first season as they are getting established.


Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum × superbum, Zones 5–8) is another reliable perennial that performs in less-than-ideal conditions.

And of course, if you want a garden that will always look good, it is hard to go wrong with a nice daylily (Hemerocallis hybrid, Zones 3–9).


Have a garden you’d like to share?


Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

If you want to send photos in separate emails to the GPOD email box that is just fine.

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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 09/14/2018

    Oh, my, how do you keep all that beauty weeded?

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/14/2018

    Ellie, you must have very (very) high standards because your garden looks fabulous...not a hint of "struggling" shows up in the photos. All your plants look healthy and lush and your pathways of beautiful green grass flow like a gentle stream. I love the graduating heights of the plants on your slope...showing different colors and textures. Everything is impeccably maintained and immensely pleasing. Pretty darned impressive and inspiring!

  3. btucker9675 09/14/2018

    Gorgeous garden!!!

  4. cheryl_c 09/14/2018

    Hi, Ellie, So glad you shared these photos even though you felt the gardens were not at their best - Your gardens are fabulous! The second picture is my favorite - what well behaved plants you have! Please send some more photos in soon, since you have gotten some rain in the mean time!

  5. perenniallycrazy 09/15/2018

    What a gorgeous garden Ellie!

  6. user-5117752 09/16/2018

    Now, Ellie!!! Really!!! And, haven't we seen your garden before with the slope in full bloom? Well, anyway, how beautifully planned your garden is!!! I do hope you'll send in pics of how it fared the rest of the summer. You really have a marvelous sense about how a garden should look, such a pleasing area to wander around! Thank you for taking the time to share it with us!

  7. ancientgardener 09/16/2018

    That hillside with it's lovely green grass walkway looks like it was cared for by a team of gardeners!! You've done a great job.

  8. annegad 09/10/2019

    I love your understory woodland area. It is so beautifully planted. It's very difficult to find complementary specimens for shady areas. Gorgeous!

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