Garden Photo of the Day

Marian’s garden in Idaho

Looking from yard onto lower pond. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Marian Lane

Today’s photos are from Marian Lane in Fairfield, Idaho. She says, “This is my garden, inspired a TON by reading Fine Gardening magazine and it’s all bonus material. Before, this was a flat alfalfa field. Other than the backhoe to position and bring in the really heavy boulders, all the rocks, trees, plants were my labor and hunting finds.

Shaded herb area early spring, looking to Sawtooth mountains. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Marian Lane

“In true gardening fashion, not a single rock was to be had on this clay-heavy land. I had to hunt down every rock you see. My husband built all the buildings and created the ponds. We have two connected 32′ ponds off the back of the house and a small 6′ pond on the walk to the front door. It’s a work in progress as I discover things that work and need reworked.

Lower 32′ pond. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Marian Lane

“It’s a challenge here in Fairfield. It’s high mountain desert/prairie with Zone 4 winters with 50 mph winds at times. Our growing season is very short, with frosts into June, and often beginning at the end of August. It then warms up for a beautiful fall and if I pay attention and cover my containers, I can have beauty into late September. Winter can be lovely, and I included a few photos taken early morning, or as with the pines, in the middle of the night with only the christmas lights as illumination.

Looking down side yard to barn. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Marian Lane

“We are surrounded by fields but the foothills are only two miles to the south and the Sawtooth mountain range just six miles to the north. I love the little paradise we have created for our family.”

So pretty, Marian. I can’t believe you moved all those rocks!! Strong back?!

The chicken house. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Marian Lane
Not the best shot, but river walk path along north of house to hot tub/patio area. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Marian Lane
Little pond along front entryway. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Marian Lane
Scrapper taking a drink from a pond. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Marian Lane
Early morning looking through aspen thicket toward Sawtooth/Soldier mountains. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Marian Lane
Cold early morning. The oxygen bubblers keep the ponds open until is stays below zero. We then axe open the pond at the bubbler so birds have water in the winter. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Marian Lane
The barn in the early sunrise. We have great vistas! Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Marian Lane
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Marian Lane

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  1. user-1020932 07/15/2013

    that's not a home garden it's a resort! and i want to live in the chicken house. absolutely beautiful , Marian, a spectacular and monumental garden project. i even love the winter photos and i'm not a winter person. you have created a truly wonderful space

  2. user-1020932 07/15/2013

    still admiring the photos and i have renamed the chicken house, it's Cluckingham Palace

  3. tractor1 07/15/2013

    I love Idaho, my NY license plate says IDAHO... I was going to retire in Sandpoint, Bonner County, 80 acres on Selles Rd, but later thought it a bit too desolate/isolated for old age. What wonderful photos, the best by far.

  4. JonMoss 07/15/2013

    Is that a Russian Olive over the pond? I've always liked their bonsai like qualities.
    @ Mr. Tractor, I have my eye on a piece of Bonner County too. Its about 20 miles north or Priest River off of Bear Paw Road.

  5. JonMoss 07/15/2013

    Is that a Russian Olive over the pond? I've always liked their bonsai like qualities.

  6. pattyspencer 07/15/2013

    Wow - just WOW!

  7. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/15/2013

    Great to to see the different seasons in your beautiful garden. They all evoked strong feelings of being there. And of course i love the stonework!

  8. gramamarg 07/15/2013

    Very inspirational considering whereit started from.

  9. User avater
    meander_michaele 07/15/2013

    Marian, what a fabulous paradise you and your husband have created. tntreeman nailed does have a welcoming resort quality...maybe because of the generous proportions of the 2 large water features and the fabulous views of the sweeping sky and the mountains.
    All your rock work is great and seems so agelessly settled in position. I'm sure Fine Gardening awards you a gold star as a high achiever reader!

  10. Aarchman07030 07/15/2013

    I'm having trouble wrapping my head around the amount of effort implied by the photographs and the description of the "before" conditions. The results are extraordinary--my hat is off to you and your husband.

    The winter photos, too, are wonderful. I suspect today's GPOD e-mail has put "move to Idaho" on a lot of people's "what if" lists. Even the difficult climactic scenario you describe is somehow charming and romantic when the reality of it is someone else's headache!

    Congratulations, and thanks for sharing!

  11. lynnedale 07/15/2013

    Marian, you are a kindred spirit. My husband and I call it terraforming, because when we tell people we garden, they get an image of someone deadheading roses with white gloves.

  12. Quiltingmamma 07/15/2013

    What a lovely place you have developed for yourself. Lovely. I particularly love the low view photograph through the grass towards the Sawtooth mountains and the Cluckingham Palace. Not any chicken house I could design. Great job!

  13. LWyre 07/15/2013

    Beautiful! I love the seasons and the beauty captured in each of them. My favorite might be the wintry scene with the beautiful open pond! I also love all the shades of green/blue/grays in the larger cover photo, around the pond. Looks like a wonderful place. I live in Minnesota and can relate to the shortened seasons, and the beauty of each season. thanks for sharing.

  14. cwheat000 07/15/2013

    Most gardens are just a collection of plants.I love the beauty of each and every plant, and will continue to collect them. What really makes a great garden however, or should I say landscape, is really just an extension of the greatest gardener of all, mother nature.( Check out the Piet Oudolf garden from several GPOD's ago.)You have chosen a spot that is heaven on earth, and just enhanced it. You didn't try to re-create it. The results are spectacular. You got the scale of your projects just right( i.e.huge). I am sure your climatic challenges are many, but your efforts are well rewarded with amazing beauty. Your Christmas tree shot is one of the best I have every seen.

  15. GrannyMay 07/15/2013

    Marion, what an amazing amount of work you and your husband have done! You have created a paradise anyone would be thrilled to live in, having enhanced, not spoiled, the natural beauty with ponds, plants and rock formations.

    A place for all seasons. I can imagine the sound of sleigh bells in the peaceful Christmas scene. Do you have other animals as well as chickens and Scrapper?

  16. Valania 07/15/2013

    So beautiful and so natural! All of your rocks look like they have been there forever. I especially like the one that is on its end. Every season, lovely! Thanks for thinking of the birds too in the winter! I bet your house is beautiful too on the inside!

  17. Nurserynotnordstroms 07/15/2013

    I wasn't going to comment because I have a lot to do today but I can't get over what you have done. You have a great eye for composition. I love the photo of the river rock path. So very Zen and the shaded herb area. Thank you so much for sharing. Have a happy day.

  18. ancientgardener 07/15/2013

    Each day the gardens are a delight, but yours made my day. The ponds are so clear and landscaped so well. (I,too, have a large pond, but have algae problems-what's your secret?) The early morning scene is beautiful. You are a photographer as well as a superb gardener. Absolutely lovely.

  19. ancientgardener 07/15/2013

    Michelle -- Thank you for giving us gardeners this treat each morning. We don't take it for granted. Hope to get pictures of my garden to submit one of these days.

  20. sheila_schultz 07/15/2013

    Marion, you and your husband were truly inspired when you created this beautiful landscape. There is no question that you love the land that surrounds your family. Lucky all of you!

  21. tarsier 07/15/2013

    Wow! What a joy to see the product when you multiply massive hard work x really thoughtful design.

    I am hoping you did not actually use a strong back to move those rocks! As a home gardener, what tool(s) do you use to position such large/heavy rocks?

    It seems that in addition to making a garden that delights the soul, you have given nature a gift by making a number of complex ecosystems that should support various animals. Thanks for that.

  22. briandowns 07/15/2013

    As we face solid mid 90's this week in the Mid Atlantic, it's cool ( sorry ) to see those icy shots, in particular.

  23. crazeknot 07/15/2013

    Marian you out did yourself, what a beautiful garden you've created.

  24. Meelianthus 07/15/2013

    Truly spectacular - the beauty of your gardens and ALL of the work that you have done.

  25. lovemyyard 07/15/2013

    Marion, you have truly changed the way I think about Idaho. I must be a NY idiot to think you could only grow potatoes!!!!! I am inspired and I love the peace that I see in your landscaping. You have created a beautiful refuge!

  26. blue_nigella 07/16/2013

    Marian and carpenter husband, Magnificent, MAGNIFICENT, MAGNIFICENT!!!!! Your garden photos take my breath away--such beauty! Tntreeman is correct in naming the chicken house Cluckingham Palace. Thank you so much for sharing.

  27. janeeliz 07/16/2013

    Such splendor..the views, the garden you have created, your photos! It's hard to imagine how much work, yet how exciting, it must have been to change that alfalfa field into this 'wonder-filled' space.

  28. mommalane 07/17/2013

    Thank you everyone for sharing our yard and the very kind words. To answer a lot of questions in one go....Yes, we have many critters; pack goats, a horse, our chickens, a couple of ducks who think they are chickens (they won't swim in the ponds haha), cats and a couple dogs. I scavenged rocks from our county and neighboring counties. I moved all the rocks myself (I'm small but strong and use proper mechanics....and good levers). Yes, it's a Russian olive, started from a volunteer at my folk's place outside of Boise. Evil trees on the unsuspecting, but they are lovely to look at and smell awesome in the spring. They feed the birds as do many of our other trees and flowers. We keep the pond chopped open over the oxygenators to water the birds we feed when it's below zero. Most all our trees were either twigs from mail companies or one gallon starts from local nurseries. The wind row ( in the winter photos) were locally grown lodge pole pines that we planted when they were 3 feet tall. My design is, as I said, VERY MUCH inspired by this magazine, and a lot of trial and error. It's a work in progress as I find plants and designs that work and replace things that become too much work. I hope I have changed others ideas of what Idaho can be. That said.....I'd still like to practice landscaping in Hawaii in the winter ;) It's just darn cold here.

  29. perenniallycrazy 07/17/2013

    Through this blog I've seen so many versions of paradise on earth. Yours is absolutely beautiful and carved from the heart! Please share your slice of paradise with us regularly Marian.

  30. maryannnewcomer 12/20/2013

    Marian, I just came across your beautiful garden. Wow. In Fairfield? Woman, you are some gardener! That is gorgeous. I am over here in the Boise Banana Belt. I love it. Thanks for sharing w/FG readers.

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