Garden Photo of the Day

Mary’s Perfectly Imperfect Garden

Celebrating the joy of gardening

close up of purple Foxgloves flower spires

Mary gardens in Zone 6a on what she calls her “Imperfect Acre.” She likes to celebrate gardening with all the flaws and to remind everyone that a garden doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful and to bring you a lot of joy.

pink petunias next to plants with chartreuse and dark red foliageAnnuals are a great way to bring a lot of easy-to-care-for beauty to the garden. This trio is made up of Petunia ‘Supertunia Bordeaux’ (Zones 9–11 or as an annual), ‘Vino’ coleus (Coleus scutellarioides ‘Vino’, Zones 9–11 or as an annual), and a yellow-leaved sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas, Zones 9–11 or as an annual or tender bulb).

new hydrangea planted in a new garden bed covered in cardboardMary is adding a new flower bed to the garden. She began by planting her largest plant, a hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens, Zones 3–9), and then covering the area with cardboard. The cardboard will smother out the grass and weeds so she doesn’t have to dig them out.

newly planted garden bed with mulchMary placed about 2 inches of compost on top of the cardboard, planted small plants directly into the compost, and covered the area with a layer of mulch. A lot of people recommend waiting a while before planting so that the cardboard has time to break down, but Mary just planted right away.

garden bed in full bloom with pink and purple flowersAnd here is that bed all filled in! It looks pretty fantastic.

close up of blue Delphinium flowersA gorgeous delphinium (Delphinium elatum, Zones 4–8). It’s hard to beat delphiniums for those dramatic spires of true-blue flowers.

close up of purple Foxgloves flower spiresFoxgloves (Digitalis purpurea, Zones 3–8) are biennials, meaning they grow leaves their first year and then shoot up, flower, and die their second year. But if you don’t mulch too thickly they’ll often self-sow, so you’ll have them around every year.

water fountain behind a row of plantsThis fountain is a beautiful centerpiece to the garden and fills it with the sound of running water.

close up of light orange rose‘Nitty Gritty Peach’ rose glows in the morning sun.

two huge pink hibiscus flowersHibiscus ‘Summerific Cherry Choco Latte’ (Zones 5–9) show off with massive flowers in July.

If you want to see more from Mary’s garden, check out her Instagram: @the_imperfect_acre


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  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 10/04/2022

    Love the delphinium. Wish I could grow them here in the deep south where it is very hot & humid.

    1. TheImperfectAcre 10/05/2022

      Thank you! I'm so sorry that you can't grow delphiniums in your area. I can't imagine my garden without them. Have you tried larkspur? They are somewhat similar to delphiniums, but smaller and the foliage has a finer texture. I treat them like annuals and chill the seeds in the freezer before planting in the fall.

  2. User avater
    simplesue 10/04/2022

    I also love that shade of delphinium, looks like Morning Lights or Blue Lace!
    Your Foxgloves, and Hibiscus are gorgeous!

    1. TheImperfectAcre 10/05/2022

      Thank you very much! Yes that color on the delphinium is gorgeous isn't it? I collected some seeds from it this year and hope I can grow more with that color.

  3. btucker9675 10/04/2022

    Foxgloves = stunning!! Also, your crop of cardboard is looking very healthy! : )

    1. TheImperfectAcre 10/05/2022

      Foxgloves are a must have in my garden! I can't get enough of them! I am always saving cardboard for my garden. Hahaha! Cardboard works well for smothering out the grass and weeds. I won't be using landscape fabric anymore.

  4. sheila_schultz 10/04/2022

    The true beauty of gardening is spending time digging in the earth and bringing joy to our inner selves. You are doing this splendidly, Mary! Kudos!

    1. TheImperfectAcre 10/05/2022

      Thank you so much!

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