Garden Photo of the Day

More from Sue’s garden in Arkansas

Old window refitted with mirrors (fools almost everyone) – the two large hosta directly in front are ‘Empress Wu’

Today’s photos are from Sue Strong in northwestern Arkansas, who we first visited back in December, when her garden was 2 1/2 years old (refresh your memory HERE). A few months have passes, and Sue is back with an update!

An old gate mounted on fence with ‘Rosy Returns’ daylilies in front

She says, “Since finishing almost all the hardscape and plantings last fall (are we ever really finished?), I had time this spring to decorate many garden areas with vintage and natural ornamentation.  I love the character and age vintage tools and galvanized containers add to a garden. I also like to incorporate natural materials like stone and driftwood whenever I can.

An old iron cooking pot on a tripod planted with a ‘Green Mountain’ boxwood and miniature petunias

We had a very harsh winter and late spring this year, but a wonderful summer to make up for it, so everything that survived the extreme cold is flourishing. It’s remarkable how much the plants grow and fill out each year. Soon I will have a mature garden.”

Old rustic bench and galvanized watering cans with vintage pulleys mounted on the fence behind

Looks mature to me already, Sue! Everything looks great. Keep sending us updates!

Large piece of driftwood anchors a bed of hosta and creeping Jenny

The season is winding down, everyone! Get outside with that camera. We need to see your garden! Yes I said NEED. Not WANT. NEED.

Side of my garden shed decorated with an old rustic bench, garden tools, and a fluted galvanized tub planted with ‘Nantucket’ hydrangea
Clematis ‘Niobe’ supported on a piece of driftwood attached to the fence
Vignette of vintage garden tools mounted on vegetable garden fence
Galvanized watering cans and a mop bucket planted with red geraniums decorate my lower deck
Galvanized watering cans hanging on vegetable garden fence above tub filled with herbs
A rock found on an Arkansas mountaintop that I keep filled with water for the cardinals – it’s their favorite watering hole
Vintage galvanized and copper containers filled with white geraniums and begonias decorate my upper deck
Finally, the most beautiful of all my natural garden “ornaments” – Catfish – my companion and supervisor!

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View Comments


  1. perenniallycrazy 08/26/2014

    What an absolutely charming garden Sue! I really love your addition of the vintage tools and galvanized containers. Can you share your secret of where you are able to find these wonderful vintage additions please?

    Hope we see more of your garden in the years to come.

    1. NWAgardener 08/26/2014

      Thank you all for the wonderful feedback! I apologize for the delay in replying, but I have been outside watering. The past two weeks have been very hot with no rain. I'm hoping that will change soon.

      Perennially Crazy - We have lots of wonder flea markets, antique shops and estate sales here in NW Arkansas. I get most of the old garden tools at estate sales very cheaply. The galvanized items I find at flea markets and antique malls. Check these out in your area and you will soon learn which shops have the items you are looking for and which have the best prices. Even if you come home empty handed, the hunt is half the fun!

      Helen Fuller - I love birds and would do nothing to hurt them. That is why I was very careful the place the window/mirror beneath and behind the Eastern Red Cedar. I have monitored it very closely and have never seen a bird (even the babies) fly toward it. I do appreciate your concern.

      Meander1 - because your comments are always so thoughtful and your gardens so exquisite, I am especially gratified. I believe a garden's design is as important as its plants; however, I often start with a plant (or plants) that I can't resist and then try to incorporate them in my overall design. :-)

      All - the rock was a gift from the man who has done all the wonderful stonework in my yard. He found them (I actually have two) over 20 years ago and said they belonged in my gardens. They are very special.

      Michelle - thank you for GPOD and Happy Gardening!

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 08/26/2014

    Sue, I'm just going to say are amazing! Not only are all your plants maturing and thriving but the ornamentation vignettes you have added are all thoroughly delightful. I love the repetition of the galvanized metal objects and how you have grouped things so there is such a feeling of harmony. And your beautiful Catfish is perfectly color coordinated with all the warm gray tones so he/she goes with everything.
    In rereading your story from your earlier posting, I see that you are a retired accountant and risk manager...based on these pictures, you could have been equally successful in an artistic endeavor. You have quite a gift for "exterior decorating"!

  3. greengenes 08/26/2014

    It's all so very nice, sue. I so enjoy the picture of catfish. Your gardens do look mature already and have a nice finished and clean look to them. Your rock you found is to die for! Nice addition! In the past pictures the castor bean is absolutely beautiful! You are so enjoying gardening! Thanks for sharing with us!

  4. wGardens 08/26/2014

    I am lovin' your garden as well. You have a wonderful sense of design and your photos are great at capturing your artistic and gardening talents, And what a fabulous rock find! Thank you for sharing~ I enjoyed your photos very much! (Catfish looks like a very special kitty!)

  5. mms54 08/26/2014

    Sue, I love the old watering cans and other galvanized pieces that you've incorporated into your garden design! Thanks for sharing your delightful garden!

  6. NCYarden 08/26/2014

    I love the garden art accents. I thrive on visual stimulation everywhere, so I celebrate your use of these varied items mixed among the plants. The rock has to be my favorite - a wonderful find and perfect watering hole for sure. And there is nothing like the living sculptures of garden cats (Beverley Nichols anyone?). Thanks for sharing.

  7. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 08/26/2014

    You've quite a knack for decorating! Looks great.

  8. thevioletfern 08/26/2014

    Wonderful decor! You really have an eye. While I have used logs and driftwood, I haven't gone beyond ... clearly I can expand my garden decor ... inspirational! I especially love the clematis on that driftwood! Your garden looks beautifully mature and I "woo" those Wu Hostas!

  9. helenfuller 08/26/2014

    Love your pictures! However, must mention that while it's ever so pretty, mirrors in the garden can cause injury or even death to our birds. Birdbrains that they are, they think the reflection is just more open space and will fly directly into it. Please reconsider before using mirrors.. Hang an empty frame where birds can fly through, not crash and burn...

  10. annek 08/26/2014

    Sue, I am enthralled with your artistic garden! It is so clever and creative. Your galvanized watering cans and planters are the creme de la creme of decorating charm and add a nice vintage flair to your yard. The watering stone is not only unique, but I'm sure the birds are singing your praises too. Thanks for the treat

  11. GrannyCC 08/26/2014

    Really enjoyed your garden Sue. That is quite a selection of galvanized watering cans not always easy to find. Great work.

  12. sheila_schultz 08/26/2014

    Sue, your gardens are filled with such charm... they have a warmth about them that just invites you to sit and chat for a while. Lovely.

  13. schatzi 08/26/2014

    Gorgeous garden! I am usually not a fan of garden art, but I love yours. Also the delightful and handsome Catfish. The clematis on the driftwood is wonderful. I must find more driftwood...and that watering rock is a great find.

  14. lesliefarrelldelongpre 08/26/2014

    I Loved the way you interspersed the antiques and favorite collections. It made such an interesting garden, with the plants complementing the collections, and the collections complementing the plants. Well done, and what a fun garden to look at!

  15. foxglove12 08/27/2014

    I love your water can collection and Catfish of course :)

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