Garden Photo of the Day

Nina’s garden in Montana, Day 1

Vegetable garden --after (2013)-- Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Nina Eadie

Last summer I had a wonderful opportunity to visit Nina Eadie’s (wildthyme) garden in Montana, and I’ve been wanting to feature it on the GPOD ever since. Today’s the day!

Vegetable garden –before (2007)– Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Nina Eadie

Nina says, “When we moved into our USDA Hardiness Zone 4 house in Corvallis, Montana, 7 years ago, there was a tiny square of lawn in front of and behind the house, and the rest of the 1+ acre was a field of “ankle busters” with shoulder high weeds. One of our first projects was to capture a low moisture, low maintenance perimeter with fencing, trees, mulch, and a dry streambed with a walking path (we’ll see that Wednesday).

Vegetable garden –after (2011)– Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Nina Eadie

“The next was a vegetable garden and dog yard on the south side of the house. The perennial garden is evolving, as is the rest of the yard, but our gardening season here is so short that the progress is sometimes maddeningly slow. Still, for the first time this summer I was able to spend time just enjoying the little progress we have made while making plans for next year’s assault!”

Vegetable garden (2013) Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Nina Eadie

She’s so modest. Nina’s garden is beautiful, and well-kept, and charming. Today’s batch of photos are from Nina, and tomorrow I’ll share a batch of my photos from her garden. Then on Wednesday we’ll see Nina’s dry stream bed. Then we’ll see another garden from Nina on Thursday. Stay tuned!

Vegetable garden (2013) Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Nina Eadie

It’s almost SPRING, people! I know you’re going through your photos from last year, planning what you’ll do differently this year. Send some of those photos in to me! [email protected]

Vegetable garden (2013) Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Nina Eadie
‘John Cabot’ rose and rhubarb before bloom (2013) Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Nina Eadie
‘John Cabot’ rose from the other side during bloom (2013) Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Nina Eadie
Perennial bed (2009) Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Nina Eadie
Hummingbird in perennial bed (2009) Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Nina Eadie

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  1. deeinde 03/03/2014

    Wildthyme, your gardens are wonderful! What a view you have!
    I can't wait to see more!

  2. user-1020932 03/03/2014

    i woke up today to an ice storm warning and an Inbox of messages saying "look at gpod" i'm glad i did. Nina, i love this place / the big sky, the mountain view, the rhubarb that looks like Gunnera! favorite is the view of the vegetable garden, looking forward to the rest of the week

  3. flowerladydi 03/03/2014

    What a transformation Nina! It is fabulous!!! That rhubarb is phenomanel!!!,, I'll bet you have some awefully good pies!,,,, What you have done in such a short period is so great! What else do you have in that garden???, and your rose is awesome!!
    I so love to see before and after photos,,,, it is so great to see the love and hard work that goes into everything,,, I would love to see more photos!

  4. mainer59 03/03/2014

    I love the formal layout of your vegetable garden, 3rd photo down. It can be hard to garden with a view, and your view is extraordinary.

  5. wGardens 03/03/2014

    Oh, My! I am lovin' your vegetable garden! How I wish I had an area to do something similar. Fab! The rhubarb is awesome. Nice to see the photos before things were filled in. Quite an impressive view of the mountains! Looking forward to more photos and seeing your various projects. Great!

  6. greengenes 03/03/2014

    What a vision to wake up to! You have done such a dramatic change! The vegi beds are wonderful but I really like to cabot rose! You have the big open wide sky! Love it! Its going to be hard to wait to see the rest! thanks for sending these in!

  7. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 03/03/2014

    Great transformation. And that mountainous backdrop! Who knew rhubarb could look so grand, but i think it is native to Siberia so no wonder it is quite happy in zone 4! Looking forward to more.

  8. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/03/2014

    Wow, Nina, your second picture down certainly shows how Montana earned the nickname "Big Sky Country" (ha, and I'll be embarrassed if I'm mis-remembering that 5th grade bit of info). What is the beautiful snow topped mountain range that you look out on?
    Your structure that anchors the end of the veggi bed is so handsome and looks like it is set up for grilling the freshly picked harvest.
    Everything is lush and wonderful. I'm definitely eager to see the the couple of days' installments.

  9. tractor1 03/03/2014

    An awesome location facing the Bitteroot Mountains. Montana was high on my places to retire list, I came very close to living in Columbia Falls. Your vegetable garden is fantastic, won't be long you'll be setting up a farm stand for your neighbors. And I love your outdoor kitchen, and I see a pet bowl there, someone else must love that kitchen. Thank you, Nina, and I'm looking forward to seeing more.

  10. bee1nine 03/03/2014

    Hi Nina, Indeed yes, the wide-open sky and mountainous backdrop must also be quite unbelievable at night with all the stars, constellation's, moon, behold!
    And wonderfully executed transformation thus far that was
    once weeds!!

  11. rwotzak 03/03/2014

    That's great! Grow, harvest, clean, and grill your veggies all in one location.

  12. pattyspencer 03/03/2014

    Beautiful place and I love the transformation from "nothing" to "something" I can't imagine the beauty you wake up to and go to sleep by every day - I don't think I'd ever get anything done for looking at the scenery all the time. Looking forward to more picture.

  13. wittyone 03/03/2014

    Zowee! That rhubarb is amazing. I know rhubarb is a heavy feeder but you must feed that guy three times a day!

  14. HaughtND 03/03/2014

    Nina, I love your garden! It is very organized and inviting. I awoke to -3, it has been below zero the past week, so I hope my Zone 4 plants are surviving. The only hope is the snow cover, which we don't have much of. My Zone 4 plants up against my foundation will probably fair the best through all this. Your garden definitely compliments the MT beauty of mountains, wooded valleys, and open sky! I look forward to more photos this week. Linda and Sophie dog

  15. Aarchman07030 03/03/2014

    Beautiful. People toss the word "vision" around, but my hat is off to you for your hard work and vision.

    I LOVE the formal line of rectangular raised beds with the octagon and the fountain at the center(?), all anchored by the pavilion. LeNotre could not have done better!

    Looking forward to more photos.

  16. wildthyme 03/03/2014

    Thank you everyone for your responses to our garden! You know how it is with your own garden: all you ever see are the unfinished projects, the weeds, etc., so it's encouraging to read all your kind comments. Meander, Tractor1 has accurately ID'd those mountains as the Bitterroots, the ones Lewis & Clark described as "the most terrible of mountains." The Bitterroots run down the west side of our valley and the Sapphires down the east, and the Bitterroot River runs down the middle. It is definitely Big Sky country, and we love the view, but it can be a challenge trying to create a sense of focus in the garden.

  17. wildthyme 03/03/2014

    I love that everyone loves the rhubarb! It is a beast isn't it!?! I wish I knew the variety, but it was just a little start that I picked up at the local farmers market. It's really quite a picturesque plant in the garden and so undemanding that I'm thinking of taking some cuttings to fill in a few other garden spots (and yes, I do love rhubarb pie!).

  18. janetsfolly 03/03/2014

    Wow, Nina! What a transformation! I also am in love with the pavilion and the excellent water feature in your garden. Is it fed by a well? Reminds me of the pool in Mr. McGregor's garden! (At least the one I've always imagined :-).) Rhubarb as architectural focal point is an unprecedented concept to me, but yours is so amazing! A beautiful place to garden and I must admit I'd be stopping to rest and gaze out to those mountains quite often. Looking forward to the rest of this week, for sure!

  19. janeeliz 03/03/2014

    Such a dramatic heavenly it must be gardening there! Lovely vegetable garden design. Plants all look very happy. You've done a great job! I look forward to seeing more in the next few days.

  20. GrannyMay 03/03/2014

    Like everyone else, I love the rhubarb! And the wonderful veggie garden - both beautiful and functional. I have never seen one so well thought out. Of course I have to mention the gorgeous John Cabot rose as well, and the humongous strawberry plants and vegetables. Nina you HAD to be happy with the results of all that work! Can't wait to see more photos.

    What do you feed everything with?

  21. cwheat000 03/03/2014

    It must be a little trickier to garden in your location, but the extrodinary setting must make it worthwhile. Everything you have done is top notch- the raised bed design, the bbq, the thriving plants,etc. I will definitely be adding more rhubarb to my perennial beds, after seeing your fine specimen.

  22. GrannyCC 03/03/2014

    Wow what a beautiful setting and your garden adds to it all. I love the boxes for the vegetable garden. I am thinking of sweet talking my son into building some. What type of wood did you use and what are the dimensions? They look like a good size. Obviously you have used good soil with the size of the rhubarb and squash. Looking forward to more pictures.

    Welcome back Jeff.

  23. sheila_schultz 03/03/2014

    Nina, your vision is as incredible as the view that frames your gardens. The trees, the raised vegie beds, the rhubarb on steroids, your outdoor kitchen... all surrounded by the drama only a magnificent mountain range can bring. Can't wait for the rest of the week!

  24. TeriCA 03/03/2014

    This is the first time I've seen an edible garden so exquisitely blended with ornamentals, I love the beauty and functionality of your landscape!! Can hardly for wait to see the next photos! Your lawn is so green and beautiful up there, but unfortunately in CA...because we are a perpetual drought state...which people are just waking up to...we are having encourage people, to not have big lawn areas...we just don't get the rain to support it. But love seeing it where it is climate appropriate!! What a great job!

  25. CJgardens 03/03/2014

    Such beautiful vistas and gardens. As many others commented, it is a gorgeous, well thought out designed veggie garden. I'm very envious of your outdoor kitchen area. I appreciated the "before" photo of your rose; I'm new to growing roses and liked seeing how you pruned it to produce those cascades of blossoms. Looking forward to the additional pictures.
    Carol Jean

  26. ancientgardener 03/03/2014

    Love before and afters. What a paradise you have created. Am looking forward to seeing more of your creativity.

  27. wildthyme 03/03/2014

    JanetsFolly, the water feature is kind of a funny story. It was broken and buried in the weeds when we moved in, and I was going to get rid of it. But over that first winter I became quite fond on the "little man," so much so that when we put in the vegetable garden I decided to put him front & center! It isn't piped, I just fill it by hand. But it does make a soothing, cooling sound when I'm working in the garden, and the birds love it.

    GrannyMay, although I feed the seedlings that I start in the greenhouse, once things are in the ground they're on their own. I do top-dress all the raised beds (including ones you can't see on the other side of the barbeque) with local compost in the fall so it can percolate into the beds over the winter; that way I don't have to dig the beds. We have MONSTER weeds here in Montana and not turning the soil over really helps keep them under control.

  28. celiahoneysuckle 03/03/2014

    All I can say right now is WOW!

  29. wildthyme 03/03/2014

    TeriCA, the lawn . . . as a former Californian I appreciate your water predicament. The lawn outside the vegetable garden is our dog-yard, and it's fairly small. But the lawn out back (which you can't see in these photos) is bigger than I would like for a variety of reasons including the ones you've expressed. I would like to replace some of it with planting beds on the inside of the lower fence.

    CJGardens, the rose pruning has been an exercise in trial & error. When the bushes were young, when the canes came up in the spring and were pliable I bent them and tied one to each of the fencerails, one going right and one going left. Once these main canes were established, each fall I just prune back their side shoots to about 6 - 8" and just above a bud facing the direction I would like it to grow. The rest of the year I just cut out any new canes as they come up unless I need them to replace an old cane or one that has died. It took several years, but now it just takes a little work in the spring and then again in the fall.

  30. wildthyme 03/03/2014

    GrannyCC, the raised beds are 4' wide & 8' long. I can just barely reach the center of each bed, so I'm glad we didn't make them any wider. They are higher than they need to be as far as the vegetables are concerned, but it helps them warm up faster, and it sure is easier on the back! They're redwood, which would have been prohibitively expensive under normal circumstances, but we moved here right when the bottom fell out of the Montana construction boom, so local lumberyards were stuck with a ton of wood that they were practically giving away. The bed in the center is octagonal, and you would have laughed to see us trying to figure out what angle to cut the ends! The answer was simple (as it always is once you figure it out): you just take 360 degrees and divide it by the number of sides, then divide that between the two ends of each side. Still, it was difficult enough that we made the center (where the little man is) square!

  31. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/03/2014

    Nina, thanks so much for popping back in... answering questions and sharing some of your gardening anecdotes.
    Congrats on your fortuitous timing in making the move to MT and getting all those enviable bargains on wood. Gardeners put in so much sweat's nice when you can get a price break on raw materials!

  32. Yeddi 03/03/2014

    Gosh! I am so impressed with all your planning. My own garden just sort of happened as I went along - clearly I have a lot to learn from everyone. Thank you for showing us the right way to start.

  33. GrannyMay 03/03/2014

    Nina thanks for explaining what you do to feed your plants. It must be great compost and and wonderful soil to start with, to get such lush growth.

    It is interesting how we are now told NOT to cultivate the soil any more than absolutely necessary. That practice certainly seems to be working well for you. If I had the beds to experiment with, I would try it both ways and do a comparison.

  34. janetsfolly 03/03/2014

    Nina, thanks so much for the back stories! Makes your garden that much more interesting.

  35. PamWittenberg 03/04/2014

    That view of the mountains and sky beyond the vegetable garden makes me able to smell and feel the air and the "Big Sky" of Montana!

    Breathtaking views both in the distance and close up!

  36. Meelianthus 03/04/2014

    WOW! WOW! Hello Nina ~ Your entire property is so wonderful. The creativity of your gardens is beautiful. Those raised beds
    are a work of art and great structures for functionality. The transformation shows tremendous work and a love of what you have accomplished. Amazing views all around from your charming outdoors kitchen. Do you use this facility a lot? So many scenic views that I would love to paint, thank you for sharing your joy Nina and I look forward to more. Lucky Michelle!

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