Garden Photo of the Day

Midspring Pleasures

Today we’re in Northern California, enjoying the pleasures of Donna Vail’s riverside garden.

Living on the banks of a river can be a gardening challenge when the view makes you want to just sit and relax. But there is much to do in the Vails’ garden.

Flower carpet rosesFlower carpet roses (Zones 4–11) on the banks of the Smith River.

garden pathA path is always nice to keep you out of the elements.

PetuniasPetunias blooming under a charming birdhouse

Brachyscome ‘Radiant Magenta’Brachyscome ‘Radiant Magenta’ (Zones 10–11 or as an annual)

double flowered lily blossomBirdbath with double-flowered lily blossom

weeping cherryBoxwoods (Buxus sp., Zones 5–9), maples (Acer palmatum, Zones 5–9), and weeping cherry (Prunus, Zones 5–9)

GeraniumsGeraniums (Pelargonium hybrid, Zones 8–10 or as annual) and weeping cherry

Geraniums along the river

Baby tears plantBaby tears (Soleirolia soleirolii, Zones 10–11, or as an annual or houseplant)

hybrid rhododendronsA hybrid rhododendron with soft, buff-yellow flowers


Have a garden you’d like to share?

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To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

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View Comments


  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 05/21/2020

    What a gorgeous setting and good for you, Donna, for creating your own beautiful garden areas so your views both near and far are all a visual delight. You obviously have a well developed sense of artistry... as evidenced by the photo of the birdbath and colorful lily bloom and the other charming vignettes you photographed. Thanks for sharing your personal paradise.

    1. Therivergirl 05/21/2020

      Thank you. And you have an artistry with you beautiful words.

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 05/21/2020

    Put Donna's name in the search box & you can see previous submissions of her's. BTW, Donna, adore that rhodie!

    1. Therivergirl 05/21/2020

      I was so lucky to have moved into to this property with established Rhodies. But there wasn’t much else growing on the lot with flowers so I’ve had my work cut out for me.

  3. PattyLouise 05/21/2020

    Wow this is lovely! Especially love the boxwood walk!

    1. Therivergirl 05/21/2020

      Thank you. I just planted cat’s pajamas nepata between each one. Oh I can’t wait until they fill in.

  4. karen49 05/21/2020

    I love, love your garden and its setting. What a haven in thesse time. Very calming. Thanks for sharing! Enjoy!!

    1. Therivergirl 05/21/2020

      I was my pleasure to submit these. Glad you enjoyed them.

  5. annek 05/21/2020

    Absolutely gorgeous. You have the ultimate “borrowed view” for your charming and well tended garden

    1. Therivergirl 05/21/2020

      A labor of love for sure. Plus I have the help of my brother and husband to do the heavier and harder duties.

  6. User avater
    simplesue 05/21/2020

    I like your use of natural wood as a garden ornament. Such a relaxing garden, I can hear the water go by! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Therivergirl 05/21/2020

      Yes living along the river bank you get a ton of wood ending up on the property. So I’m trying to make good use of it and make it look nicer.

  7. bdowen 05/21/2020

    Your setting is spectacular. I can imagine wonderful days of gardening, then kayaking, then back to the garden. That rhododendron you showed is such a beautiful combination of my favorite colors. Thank you for sharing your garden.

    1. Therivergirl 05/21/2020

      It has been a dream come true to get this property. Glad you enjoyed the pictures.

  8. [email protected] 05/21/2020

    What a beautiful garden in one of my favorite places! Went to school at Humboldt, and roaming up to your area was a favorite expedition. And one of my husband's favorite fishing spots. Are these pix current? I need to get busy, you have really inspired me!! All gorgeous- thanks!

    1. Therivergirl 05/23/2020

      Hi, yes the pictures are current. My property is in a sweet spot. I have two large boulder out cropping at either end the view. I have a 20’ swimming hole behind the house. And all the fishermen like to fish on the river across from me. Tourist and locals swim over from Ruby park and jump off the boulders. Wildlife is abundant. I have three beaver dams too. It’s magical.

  9. [email protected] 05/21/2020

    ps. Deer? Doesn't look like you have a single pesky critter- Or perhaps you have a dog? Looks just perfect!

    1. Therivergirl 05/23/2020

      Deer are not abundant in my neighborhood. Yay. So no issues. Hard to keep a bird feeder out with all the bears. Most of the wildlife is in or a above the river. Beavers,, otters, seals, bald eagles, egrets, herons, ducks and more.

  10. user-5117752 05/22/2020

    My, my, my! What an amazing setting and lovely gardens! I, too, love your use of the drift wood, your pots and plantings. Not sure which picture/planting was my favorite but I'm intrigued by the Brachyscome. I love the color and form and I'm not sure we see that here in Western North Carolina as an annual. Maybe I just haven't been looking hard enough because I certainly would use it. Do send more photos, please!

    1. Therivergirl 05/23/2020

      Oh the brachyscome here is blooming year around. What a plant. So close to the ground and no dead heading. As if the garden isn’t magical enough, living on the river is so exciting. I get to see regularly, bald eagles, beavers, seals, otters, ducks, egrets, herons and more!

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