Garden Photo of the Day

Neither Clay, Nor Rabbits, Nor Hungry Squirrels …

Favorite survivors of an upstate New York gardener

Hi, I’m Deidre Gilchrest and I’m a backyard gardener. Where I live in upstate New York, the soil is clay. It’s been quite the challenge, mostly through trial and error, to learn what will and won’t survive. Then there are the rabbits and squirrels to contend with. One season they almost wiped my garden out, along with a gopher who took up residency in my neighbor’s yard. They mowed all my heirloom roses, my fruit trees, and any soft vegetation they could eat. You’d think I’d throw in the towel, but it just made me more determined to find ways to learn and succeed in my gardening. My favorites in my garden are my morning glories and my mock orange shrub. This year I’m hoping my snowball viburnum will put on an even bigger show than last year. The huge snowballs bring me such joy. We have so many birds in our garden, but my favorite is the cardinal, as he sings to me while I’m hard at work planting or weeding. This spring I’m adding raised garden beds to my yard in hopes of growing vegetables alongside my beautiful flowers. I’m in Zone 5, so hopefully spring will be here soon.

A path leads you deep into the lush garden.

Shrubs and perennials are mixed together for a full, diverse border.

Yucca flowers (Yucca filamentosa, Zones 5–10) make a tremendous statement in summer.


A purple moment in the garden, highlighted by a beautiful vine-draped arch.

A thick evergreen hedge forms a backdrop for this part of the garden.


All birds are welcome, but bright red cardinals particularly so.

English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia, Zones 5 –8) looks so beautiful. I wish you could smell it too!


Purple morning glories (Ipomoea tricolor, annual) living up to their name and being simply glorious!


Have a garden you’d like to share?


Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

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.

If you want to send photos in separate emails to the GPOD email box that is just fine.

Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

You don’t have to be a professional garden photographer – check out our garden photography tips!

Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.

View Comments


  1. flowerladydi 04/19/2018

    Lush and charming garden Deirdre! Love your mix of color and texture,,,, While many do not care for Morning Glories,, I, like you love them! Especially the purple! Yours is great! What a beautiful Japanese Maple I see as well, along with the Viburnum Plicatum, or it looks like one anyhow, possibly Mariessii? Beautiful! Great shot of the Cardinal as well! Yes, they are so beautiful with such a sweet song! Great lavender as well!~ Thanks for sharing!

  2. NCYarden 04/19/2018

    My goodness, Deidre. What a gorgeous garden, especially considering your pest challenges. I celebrate your perseverance. Plants show resilience and so must we. So many wonderful plants in your garden, something to see everywhere. I too love how the garden brings the birds...such nice company. Yes, Spring has been a little shy this year. Hopefully you see its presence soon. Thanks for sharing.

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 04/19/2018

    Love the area with the evergreen hedge. Especially like that curving walk in there. Everything is so nice. I don't know how you keep on going with rabbits everywhere.

  4. User avater
    user-7007816 04/19/2018

    Deidre, what an amazing job you have done, both with the shrubs and the perennials. I have faced similar challenges here in Michigan so I can appreciate your efforts. Thanks for sharing.

  5. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/19/2018

    I guess another title for your story and gardening situation is 'Where There's a Will, There's a Way'...and, you, dear lady, evidently have a very strong will! Your garden is beautiful, lush and abounds with a delightful diversity of plants. It doesn't look like you have waved the white flag of surrender on such delectable treats like hosta or dayliies, either. I love your pictures and your strong gardening spirit.

  6. User avater
    PKKing 04/19/2018

    Your garden is peaceful and so serene. It's obvious that you've worked diligently to make it that way so I hope you spend many peaceful hours just enjoying the fruit of your labor while at rest in your garden.

  7. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 04/19/2018

    That's quite a back yard: I'm impressed! Sound like you and I share the same pests. Sometimes they bring me to despair, but then I pick my self up and enter the fray!

  8. Vezpasia 04/19/2018

    Wonderful, absolutely my favorite kind of garden, love all the long shots so we can see your lovely spaces! So inspiring!

  9. Doxnmomx2 04/19/2018

    What inspiration! I love everything about your garden! Such wildlife including the pink flamingo. Who knew they visited New York? :) Thank you for persevering. You're inspiring me as I look out my window and see my visiting cardinals!

  10. LaurelEm 04/19/2018

    Very beautiful garden. I too have the kinds of pest that you do, only add the groundhog to the list.
    What is the Miscanthus that you have in the first picture ? I am guessing Miscanthus? That has a beautiful ghostly air to it.

  11. Maggieat11 04/19/2018

    You have certainly conquered your goal in a grand way! Your gardens are so full and lush with a good diversity! Congratulations on a job well done.

  12. sheila_schultz 04/19/2018

    Deidre, your gardens are so rich with diversity in plant life, they are stunning. No one would guess after studying each shot so see what treasures are contained that you have ever had a problem with any sort of pest or voracious critter! You are one strong willed and incredibly determined gardener... a true force of nature!
    PS Lucky you to be in the path of beautiful cardinals. I've missed their sweet songs since we moved from IL 13 years ago.

  13. btucker9675 04/19/2018

    Lovely, lovely garden - the brick paths are especially nice. Birds are one of my favorite benefits of gardens - here in NC, I have multiple feeders and the cardinals, Eastern bluebirds (we have a nesting pair), Eastern towhees, chickadees, purple finches, etc., serenade us daily, particularly this time of the year. The hummingbirds are also returning from their wintering grounds far south - so far just the the male ruby throated staking out their territories, but the rest will follow soon. They are a delight!

  14. user-7003263 04/19/2018

    Deidre, you backyard garden is stunning. The brick path calls for a visitor to wander down it to explore among the many beautiful plants you have planted and managed to protect from the nuisance animals we all have at one time or another dealt with. Your mix of perennials, shrubs and conifers is perfect. I bet the cardinals love the shrub border at the back of you property where they can nest and raise their young. I have several families that live in my garden. Thanks for sharing your clay garden with another clay gardener in the deep south.

  15. foxglove12 04/20/2018

    Love your beautiful lush borders!

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest