Garden Photo of the Day

Marina’s Garden in Beeton, Ontario

Overcoming poor soil with smart plant choices

front yard garden in early fall

Today we’re seeing photos of Marina’s beautiful garden in Beeton, Ontario, which is thriving despite a challenging start.

I just wanted to share a few pictures of my garden. I started it in 2018 after we moved to a newly constructed house and waited for a couple of years for our yard to be graded by the builder. Gardening at the new place proved to be difficult. Our house is built on an engineered fill with a thin layer of bad soil. To make a long story short, despite all the hardships and bunnies, our garden is getting better and better every year. Please note that it is still very young. The front yard is four years old, and the backyard is three years old.

front yard garden in springThe front garden in spring looks beautiful, with many plant choices that will thrive in poor soil, including the bright pink splash of moss phlox (Phlox subulata, Zones 3–9) and yellow bearded irises (Iris hybrid, bearded group, Zones 3–8).

garden in early spring with bulbs in bloomEarlier in the spring it was all about the blooming bulbs, as the other perennials were beginning to wake up from their winter dormancy.

front yard garden in early fallAs summer comes to a close, the perennial foliage turns color, and stones and evergreen creeping junipers (Juniperus horizontalis, Zones 3–9) provide interest and texture through the winter.

plant with large green leavesThe unusual bloom of Pinellia tripartita (Zones 5–9) makes it an interesting plant, but it can spread aggressively sometimes.

front yard garden full of plantsA look down through the front garden to the street in the spring reveals perennials bursting into growth.

back yard garden at sunsetIn the back garden, beds are overflowing with lush plants despite being only a few years old.

front yard garden in bloomThe front garden is proof that you can make a marvelous garden even in a new, small space.


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View Comments


  1. Maggieat11 07/04/2022

    Great job, looks like you are succeeding well with your efforts! Probably the best yard in the neighborhood!

  2. sandyprowse 07/04/2022

    A truly lovely garden, excellent work in spite of the difficulties you encountered. Well done!

  3. nwphilagardener 07/04/2022

    A great start indeed. But I truly warn gardeners NOT to plant Pinellia ternata which is an ineradicatable menace to gardens here in the Mid-Atlantic region. In the many public gardens with vast horticultural expertise, this seemingly innocuous plant cannot be removed and can easily spread by multiple means. Even when excavating an area where this plant has been seen, it can regenerate years later from the slightest root fiber. This also makes sharing plants where it has been seen a truly unfortunate means of infecting a friend or neighbor's garden. Surely it's ornamental value is not so special to justify it's presence. The hooded spaeths left unchecked will form seeds that can blow into neighbors gardens. Of course Ontario's climate may make this less of a rogue nuisance. But for GOPD readers, please avoid introducing this plant which is often spread unknowingly by shared plants with the best of intentions. It's like a venereal disease that you will have to treat for the rest of your garden's life!

  4. wittyone 07/04/2022

    Looks as though you are doing something right. Your garden certainly showcases your determination and labor. My goodness the soil (what on earth is "engineered fill?) you started with sounds totally unworkable. Maybe the finished product of the future lawn areas of newly built houses is the reason that so many new owners just go with foundation plantings and that's it. Any attempts by them to do much more are doomed to failure. It takes some real resolve to dig in and do the hard work of remediating the soil. Huge amounts of compost, shredded leaves, and manure will eventually give the persistent gardener something that will actually grow something.

    You are doing an excellent job. Keep up the good work. It can only get better as your soil improves with additions.

  5. garden1953 07/04/2022

    Very pretty. Great work!

  6. User avater
    treasuresmom 07/04/2022

    Your front garden is so very pretty.

  7. User avater
    simplesue 07/04/2022

    Your garden is an oasis in a desert of plain grass lawns.
    I'm so impressed with your creative garden design showing other neighbors what is possible with imagination.
    Imagination and having vision to do something like you have with your yard is something you probably take for granted, but I'm realizing it is a gift not everyone has.
    Your garden is just gorgeous, seriously a success!

  8. [email protected] 07/04/2022

    Whatever you have been doing, keep doing it! Except for the invasive plant- those will break your heart and your hoe! It's so exciting to see, in maybe the third or fourth year, your perennials and shrubs take off and astound you! Great job of making your yard stand out in a beautiful manner. Thanks!

  9. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 07/04/2022

    Hopefully, you can inspire some of your neighbors to try their own hand at gardening.

  10. katherine_8 07/05/2022

    Hello from Mississauga :)
    Beautiful garden, both front & back. You have overcome so many soil and gardening challenges and succeeded!! Your gardens will hopefully serve as a role model for the entire neighbourhood and get others out there to pretty up their yards.
    Way to go. Congratulations!!

  11. wildthyme 07/06/2022

    Having just moved into a new home I fully understand the challenges of compacted earth, unidentified "fill," etc. You've done a great job, though. Thank you for sharing!

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