Garden Photo of the Day

Mary’s squirrel-friendly garden in Florida

Today’s photos are from Mary Laughman in Florida. She says, “Over the last eight years, my husband and I have transformed our backyard into our own personal haven. It started out with nothing but St. Augustine grass and throughout the years we have laid flagstone walkways and formed garden beds that not only the bees, butterflies, and birds enjoy, but also an abundant amount of squirrels. My creative husband has made a number of birdhouses in addition to a squirrel feeder. We have discovered that if squirrels have their own food source, they leave the bird feeders alone.

Because of the high humidity and heat of the Florida summers, I have planted quite a number of drought resistance plants such as cannas, azaleas, Knockout roses, taro, agapanthus, and sedems throughout the flower beds. As a focal point we created a garden berm where a thirteen-foot-tall white-flowered chaste tree grows, and below it stands an angel statue that is surrounded by creeping Jenny.

My husband also created an espalier using copper pipe and wire which is threaded on the diagonal, which supports a Bougainvillea that blooms in early spring. We have discovered that one can never underestimate the power of green in the garden. It is soothing, powerful, and pleasing.”

Lovely, Mary! We so rarely see gardens in Florida on the GPOD. Thanks so much for submitting photos!

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View Comments


  1. perenniallycrazy 08/14/2014

    Thanks for sharing a peek of your tranquil tropical haven with us Mary. Please tell your husband that those birdhouses and squirrel feeder are absolutely adorable. I love each and every one of them. I'm sure the birds and squirrels do too.

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 08/15/2014

    Mary, your garden is beautiful and so impeccably maintained. It's quite a treat to see a chaste tree as such a well groomed, mature looking focal point...sometimes they die back here where I live. Your husband's craftsmanship is very impressive...doing those shingle roofs certainly takes a talent for detail work. All his finishing touches add so much to your garden's ambiance.

  3. NCYarden 08/15/2014

    Wow what a tidy garden. Yay - I celebrate your Chaste tree. I too have one as a focal point in my garden that I have trained into a limbed-up tree over many years as a partial canopy over our patio. Such a cool plant, and the bees, butterflies and birds love it. Great plan for the squirrels. Thank you for sharing.

  4. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 08/15/2014

    Very cool.

  5. greengenes 08/15/2014

    Green and more green! I love it so! Your little haven is beautiful, Mary. You and your husband have created a wonderful place for birds and squirrels. Their homes and feeders are so nice against the tall trunks of the pine and the lovely grass. I really like the trellis your husband made for your bougainvillea. I can just imagine what that must look like when its in bloom! Thanks for the peak in Florida! Happy gardening!

  6. annek 08/15/2014

    Being from up north, I'd never seen a chaste tree, so I was impressed by the lovely specimen in your yard. Spring blossoms must be quite the sight! You've created a lovely garden and your husband's charming bird houses and squirrel feeders are enviable. Job well done!

  7. GrannyMay 08/15/2014

    There is nothing so satisfying as starting from scratch and creating a garden that fulfills your own vision! How lovely to share that space with birds and squirrels in a way that also considers the constraints of your climate. Well done!

  8. wittyone 08/15/2014

    Oh my! CHASTE TREE ENVY going on strong here! I love the look of the first photograph---it looks so neat and orderly. But when I read the description I absolutely fell in love with it. I have a chaste tree---but of course this far north it is only a tallish bush. The tree form is absolutely gorgeous and would be enough even without your lovely little paths surrounding it.

  9. Cenepk10 08/15/2014

    Whew !!! I can feel the humidity from here in Georgia ! Lush & beautiful, Job well done & I can see your personality through your garden from here as well.

  10. marika200 08/15/2014

    So stunning! I agree about the squirrels. They have their own huge oak tree with 2 feeders and never bother the birds' feeders. What a beautiful place to sit and reflect!

  11. eddireid 08/15/2014

    What a pretty garden, Mary! The whole space is tranquil and I can just imagine sitting out there viewing all the surrounding trees while listening to the birds singing and the squirrels chattering. Absolutely lovely and worth all you and your husband's hard work. Love the birdhouses, too.

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