Garden Photo of the Day

Marsha’s garden in Illinois

This is Hemerocallis 'Paper Butterfly' in the foreground and Hemerocallis 'Archangel' behind it. I love the colors with the color of the pebbles. Photo/Illustration: All photos courtesy of Marsha Fogarty

Today’s photos are from Marsha Fogarty. She says, “I live in Normal, Illinois, in the central part of the state. I’ve been in this 1948 house since 1995, and gardening since 1985. I’m an architect by training, but I’ve also worked in a greenhouse/garden center for two seasons, and worked for a landscaper (doing mostly garden maintenance) for several years as a second job.

The garden surrounds a house with a walkout basement in the back. This slope is along the south side of the house.

“I love flowering perennial plants, especially the lily form. I do most of the work in the garden myself, though my husband is the groundsman, mowing and edging and sometimes trimming shrubs, but we don’t often agree on that last part. We hired a landscape contractor last year to add some ledgestone steps, which led to some other reworking.

The basement door is at the bottom of two hills, so we had a problem with water running under the door during a heavy rain. I dug this dry stream bed and we haven’t had a problem since then.

“These photos are now “before” pictures, as we lost the big locust tree in the middle of the yard in November. I’m still waiting for the stump to be ground out, hoping that happens while the ground is still frozen. The tree was truly the center of the garden, governing the light and moisture conditions, and even the shape of the beds. So it’s all up for grabs now.

View from near the top of the brick stair along the west side of the house. The lady fern and Hosta ‘Royal Standard’ are some of my favorite plants.

“I also removed a large yew that I thought was out of scale, and I’m regretting that. I’ve already rearranged some things, and we’ll see what happens in the coming year when the garden is in full sun. The front of the house is in mostly sun, so I have a large supply of plants to use.”

This view is from the bottom of the hill. From here you can see the entire garden, with the bank that wraps around the garage.

Beautiful combos, and what a lovely dry streambed! Wow, Marsha, that will be a huge adjustment without the locust, but just think of all the plants you can try now! I can’t wait to see what you do. Be sure to give us updates. Thanks for sharing!

Clockwise from bottom left: Hosta ‘Blue Cadet’; Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’; Hosta ‘Sagae’; Hemerocallis ‘Little Wine Cup’.

——Winter is the perfect time to take a photographic stroll through the photos you took in your garden this year……and then send some in to me at [email protected]!

One of my favorite images, this is the bank of Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ that was many years in the making, combined with Hosta ‘Halcyon’ and Iberian iris ‘King of Kings’.
A favorite plant combination: Hemerocallis ‘Exalted Ruler’, whose color is impossible for me to capture– it’s old rose with a tangerine throat, with hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ hosta, and a different coleus every year.
I love this time of year, before the real flower shows begin, the foliage is still very fresh and the textures are lovely. Here is daylily foliage in the foreground, Allium sphaerocephalon (drumstick allium); and hostas ‘Halcyon’ and ‘Regal Splenor’; and Asiatic lily foliage.
Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ in foreground with Hemerocallis ‘Lilting Lavender’ behind.

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View Comments


  1. gloriaj 01/21/2014

    Marsha, I"m up a little earlier than usual and I am so glad I am to stroll your beautiful garden. Your color combination and textures are amazing. Your Hakonechios macro is one I have been trying to combine with my H. Halcyon. Yours makes me want to try again. I also enjoyed your Daylilies especially the ones with the Coleus. You have done yourself proud. I look forward to seeing more.

  2. user-1020932 01/21/2014

    all beautiful and HEALTHY! my favorite , too, is the photo of the forest grass. something about those fresh greens/yellows that perk me up. good luck with the transition from the high canopy of the locust into a brave new world.

  3. GardeningRocks 01/21/2014

    It is all so beautifully done! It will be fun to see how it transitions with the change in lighting. I love the dry stream bed. Gardens created based on necessity are really the best!

  4. greengenes 01/21/2014

    Wow! Marsha, you made me fall inlove with daylilies all over again! Your combinations are great and I really am reminded of spring when looking at all the different colors if green! You do a great job at texturing and there isn't a leaf out of place! We can sure tell someone loves to garden there! Love the idea of the dry stream bed by your back door. I cant wait to see it in the summer! Please keep sending pics for us to see! Spring is just around the corner! WooHoo!!!

  5. greengenes 01/21/2014

    Oh, its too bad you lost the locust tree! What nice muted shade that must of provided. What I do on old stumps around our place is I put a huge pot of flowering plants on it or a pot of carex grass and it looks pretty nice. But its something you have to keep watered. Just an idea for you. I have seen also where people would chainsaw carve a design in the stump. Or make it into a okay okay iam going to go get my tea! Happy gardening, Marsha

  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 01/21/2014

    Hi, Marsha, sincerest condolences on the loss of your garden stalwart, the locust tree. Your very attractive dry stream bed reveals you to be a master of the lemonade out of lemons situation so the additional sun will offer opportunities. I don't know how tall the remaining stump is but the other day I was on Pinterst and happened to type in its search bar, "old tree stumps". I have a modest one I have been mulling over whether to get fun and creative with. Oh, my, some awesome pictures popped up. I'm drawn to some with the gnome or hobbit house look...possibilities, possibilities!
    Your plant combinations are wonderful and your "stream" of the
    Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' is perfection. I have to admit I am surprised is does so well in IL...I wasn't expecting that.

  7. mainer59 01/21/2014

    What a relaxing looking garden, lush but serene. I guess I can't get the adjectives right, but I love it! I wouldn't think of hosta and daylilies together. Were both on the edge of their sun needs? It is a pity about the tree, but it will give you a wonderful opportunity to get those creative juices rolling again.

  8. flowerladydi 01/21/2014

    Marsha,,,, it is just lovely!,,,, and my favorite,, shade!,,,, then I read about the loss of your tree,, and I too am so sorry for your loss,,,,I too lost a focal ' shade ' tree, and it does throw things for a loop,,,, but, from the artistry I see in your yard, you will be able to work it out,,,,,
    Your lillies are beautiful!,, Love the Krossa Regal with the lavender lily,,, all your hosta look so very healthy!,, and of course the hakonechloa is just fabulous!
    Lovely dry bed too,,, as are your ferns!
    Again,, good luck this coming season,,, I know how frustsrated and saddened you must be,,,, gardening is everchanging.

  9. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 01/21/2014

    Let's see. A dry stream bed with great rocks, mixed with lots of my favorite plants, in a garden with not a single leaf out of place. What's not to love?

  10. tractor1 01/21/2014

    Great textures and colors and everything so tidy. All the plants look very healthy. Just a guess but the water problem could be run off from the garage roof, there's no gutter, and I'd get those branches off the roof, they're obviously from an overhanging tree that needs removal. I like the top photo on the right, rings my bells, and that sunny glade to the upper right makes the property look like it goes on forever. A very nice garden, Marsha, thank you for sharing.

  11. sumhillgardener 01/21/2014

    I simply must use day lilies more after seeing yours. While I seem to be able to keep deer off hostas with spraying I have trouble staying ahead of their munching the lilies. Yours are lovely and in great combinations! I too love them with the pebbles. Thank you for naming them ! That coleus is perfect. Beautiful garden !

  12. celiahoneysuckle 01/21/2014

    Hi Marsha. You've inspired me to get cracking in my garden this year, thanks.

  13. Annesfirst 01/21/2014

    You have a fabulous color sense! And the textures!!! It was a shame about the locust, but with your vision, I am sure something beautiful will come of it. I can't wait to see more.

  14. satisfaction 01/21/2014

    It is all beautiful! I love the dry stream bed and well-manicured gardens. I'm jealous over the Hakonechloa grass too!! Are you in Zone 6? In my Zone 4 garden it gets about half that size by the end of the season. Don't let the loss of the tree get you down. Opportunities will arise.

  15. annek 01/21/2014

    After viewing your gorgeous gardens, I am officially longing for spring. I enjoy so many if your garden beds, it would take a book to comment on them all. Suffice to say, you're a master at designing and color combinations. Thank you for an intermittent dose of summer!

  16. annek 01/21/2014

    After viewing your gorgeous gardens, I am officially longing for spring. I enjoy so many of your garden beds, it would take a book to comment on them all. Suffice to say, you're a master at designing and color combinations. Thank you for an intermittent dose of summer!

  17. AnneinQC 01/21/2014

    wonderful garden! I agree with all the other commenters. I really need to look at perennials more for my garden, I spend too much too lusting after shrubs but your garden reminds me that there is so much out there beyond the shrub world. I also am envious of your Hakonechios macro, I live in Canada (zone 5 here probably 4 in the US) and it does grow but very slowly. It may be years before I see a clump like that but worth the wait for sure. I look forward to see what you do without your big shade tree, I'm sure it will be wonderful. Love the dry stream bed too. Thanks for the super pictures and captions.

  18. Marsha1 01/21/2014

    Wow! All the comments are so kind. And I love that so many of you are early birds! This is kinda like being on the garden walk - what's more fun than talking to gardeners about your garden.

    Yes, my garden is in zone 5. The Hakone grass is one of the plants I moved here from my garden in Chicago, so the clump has been many years in the making, and I've added to it over time. It was struggling right at the drip line of the locust tree, but when the redbud grew enough to provide some shade, it took off. It really can't tolerate much sun, but it doesn't demand a lot of watering. Time will tell if the redbud will be enough with the locust gone. I might be building a lot of arbors!

    I'll respond again this evening - thanks, this has been a good experience!

  19. GrannyMay 01/21/2014

    Marsha, so sorry that you lost your locust tree, devastating in a mature garden. By now, you are probably full of ideas to make the most of the increased light. Your architectural background is evident in your wonderful garden design - taking advantage of the shade, the slope and the microclimate. Beautiful combinations of lovely daylilies and hostas! Also the gorgeous dry riverbed, the flowing Hakonechloa macra, the ferns and low groundcovers! Would love to see photos of the lilies and irises in bloom as well. Thank you!

  20. User avater
    HelloFromMD 01/21/2014

    Hi Marsha,

    Sorry about the locust tree. I'm sure you will retain more of your plants then you might think especially if you are willing to water more often. I just did a light study and have found out that my 'sunny border' is down from 4 hours of sun to less than 2. The reverse problem. Would some fast growing deciduous shrubs help shade your hostas? It seems most plants love morning sun and the shade loving ones dislike afternoon sun. When do your hostas get sunlight?

  21. User avater
    HelloFromMD 01/21/2014

    Marsha, could you please recommend some day lilies that can still flower heavily in some shade? I still have some spots with 4 hours of sun that I would like to have some color. Thanks.

  22. n2hostas 01/21/2014

    Outstanding, loved the curves and the dry creek bed. Everything looks so healthy and fresh. Enjoyed it even more on this very frigid snowy winter morning.

  23. wGardens 01/21/2014

    Oh, these photos are fabulous! I LOVE your combinations AND photo compositions. Your garden is tour worthy; the photos should grace a calendar!
    Love the Paper Butterfly Daylily... is that your fave... if not, which one is?
    Also love the top right photo especially. Also, could you tell us about the structure in the back? Great focal point!

    Looking forward to seeing more photos and seeing what you do with your new area of change! Thank you!

  24. GrannyCC 01/21/2014

    Love the Dayliles and the Hosta combo. They all look so healthy and robust. Beautiful design with the sweeping beds and the slight slope. Hope all goes well in the transition from shade to sun.

  25. sheila_schultz 01/21/2014

    If anyone is up the the challenge of switching from a shade to a sun garden, it's you Marsha! Your gardens are absolutely beautiful, and I think you may have actually enticed me into adding a daylily or 3 to my gardens. Yours are amazing... I'm drooling over your Hakonechloa, for the life of me I can't keep them alive.

  26. user-1020932 01/21/2014

    i can't grow it at home either, Sheila , but it seems to thrive in clients gardens. maybe i take more care with it when i'm paid to!

  27. perenniallycrazy 01/21/2014

    Marsha, these BEFORE photos sure look amazing already so like everyone else, I look forward to the AFTER photos. I surely appreciate how long it took you to grow your Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola') - they are surely worth the wait! How do you keep your garden slug free?

    Your daylilies are totally amazing. Perhaps it's time for you to hook up with Nancy from Wisconsin?

    Have a great day everyone!

  28. quinquek 01/21/2014

    All so beautiful! And I now know what to pair with my Hosta 'Krossa Regal' which are sitting, lonesome, behind a rhodo. I very much like the dry stream bed which I also have a place for. Good luck with the transition to more sun. I'm sure whatever you do will be fabulous. Thanks for supplying so many identifications.

    Michelle, I think we need a calendar for next year that features photos from GPOD!

  29. BethinIowa 01/21/2014

    Hi Marsha, and thanks for the inspiring tour of your gorgeous work with plants and arrangement and shape and flow---everything! That dry stream bed is one of the most attractive I've ever seen and I am already thinking about one for my yard. We have sort of a little standing river in our back yard when the snows melt all at once or when we have heavy rain, which is often in Iowa, and I'm thinking your idea might help AND be beautiful, too. Did you put any type of weed barrier under the stones, etc.?

  30. cwheat000 01/21/2014

    Marsha, your garden is fabulous! Everything is so huge and well groomed. Your daylilies are divine. What spectacular color! Thank you for including the variety names.

  31. Marsha1 01/22/2014

    Thanks again for the kind encouragement! I'll try to answer the questions that have popped up in the thread: I've found daylilies are quite shade tolerant, some varieties more than others of course. I've had to move things around to get the best performance. It seems almost nothing is my garden is where I intended it to be! The plant picks its spot! The best bloomers in light shade have been 'Lullaby Baby'and 'Lilting Lavendar'. As the locust tree declined, it lost more and more of the canopy, so some areas were already pretty open. My neighbor to the west (our gardens meet in the middle) has a large Norway maple in her yard, so I have afternoon shade from that.

    Yes, 'Paper Butterfly' is one of my favorites. It wasn't super vigorous among the tree roots (there are 3 plants there), so we'll see what happens.

  32. Marsha1 01/22/2014

    Thanks also for the sympathy for the loss of our "garden stalwart" - it truly was that! And thank you for the ideas for tree stumps. You've given me a lot to think about. I've received many compliments on my tidiness -full disclosure: I snap most of my photos right after I've tidied up a spot! My entire garden is not generally spit spot clean all at once!

    My garden is not slug free at all. I try to use hosta with thick leaves, so it takes the slugs longer to chew through them. The hummingbirds around here love the blooms on 'Krossa Regal' which is one of the most slug resistant. However, I use a lot of hosta 'Francee', 'Royal Standard', and 'Lancefolia', but they all bloom so nicely and put up fresh foliage after blooming. I just try not to look too closely at them when they're holey.

  33. NevadaSue 01/22/2014

    Marsha I love your garden. It is beautiful everywhere I look :). The grass path wandering around the house is so inviting, I love the feel it gives. I too love all the green foliage and you have so tastefully added just enough color along the way. Beautiful! You have me thinking again as I create my yard here in Nevada. Thanks :)

  34. quinquek 01/22/2014

    Marsha,I forgot to ask yesterday (who knows if you'll see this today!) but it looks (3rd pic down on left)like you have vinca under the trees, but I also see clear space between the vinca and the daylilies. My vinca is overrunning everything in it's path including some azaleas, and I think the neighboring county lines are on its agenda. Do you just keep ripping it out? It looks like there is a nicely defined line there!Thanks!

  35. Marsha1 01/22/2014

    quinquek: I edge the vinca bed several times during the season to maintain the edge. I try to do it first before Easter - just before it blooms. It's not a terrifically large circle, so it doesn't take much time. I rake the vines toward the edge, and then I use a half-moon edger. I used to put off mulching until after the locust dropped all of its flowers, and I would trim with hedge shears before mulching. Then it would be time for the daylilies to bloom, so they'd be tidied up nicely, just in time.

  36. quinquek 01/22/2014

    Thanks, Marsha! Last year in desperation I ran over as much as I could get to with the lawnmower. I'm sure it will rebound with twice it's normal enthusiasm. I'll try your approach.

  37. djjennings 01/22/2014

    Thank You for sharing not only the photos of your beautiful gardens, but the specific cultivar names! This will help me select new plants to try in my own gardens.

  38. CJgardens 01/22/2014

    I'm late to the party but had to comment on your beautiful gardens. As a fellow midwest gardener we use many of the same plants. My favorite photo is with Exalted Ruler and the coleus; I will have to place coleus beside some of my daylilies if I can match the colors like you have. Further, I agree with your attitude of looking past the slug holes in some of the leaves.
    Thanks for sharing your garden. Good luck with reworking the now more sunny bed.

  39. Marsha1 01/23/2014

    CJgardens, the color if Exalted Ruler is not nearly so pink really. I've tried year after year to capture the color in a photo with no success. The color is best described as old rose, and the throat is a deep tangerine. It looks amazing with the blue spring foliage of the hosta and is one of the earliest bloomers. Another clump sale trophy fromHornbaker's!

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