Garden Photo of the Day

One Year in a New Garden

Cutting back weeds to make way for flowers

garden bed full of annual and perennial flowers

This is Joseph, your GPOD editor, welcoming you to my new garden in South Bend, Indiana. I moved here almost exactly a year ago. When I moved in, the garden had been abandoned for two years and had turned into a mass of invasive weeds.

shrubby plants along a wooden fenceThis area along the back fence was lined with invasive shrubby honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii, Zones 3–8). Cutting it all out was quite a task.

garden area in front of fence after invasive plants removedMy goal the first fall was to get everything cleared out, including the weeds dug out, and the ground all ready for planting.

garden bed full of annual and perennial flowersAnd here’s what the same bed looks like today. Long-term, I think it’ll be mostly perennials, but I wanted to get it filled in fast, so there are lots of annuals mixed in, like this wonderful red Salvia microphylla (Zones 7–9 or as an annual). The hummingbirds come by a few times every day and visit each flower.

garden bed un full blooms with various colored flowersHere’s looking down the bed in the other direction. I’m fairly happy with it, but I will do some moving around and replacing this fall. Dahlias (Dahlia variablis, Zones 8–11 or as a tender bulb) in the back are just coming into bloom.

close up of Penstemon with bright pink flowers and yellow flowers behindThis is one of my favorite plants of the year, something I’d not grown before: Penstemon × mexicale (Zones 5–8). It is a complex hybrid of several North American native speces and has bloomed nonstop all summer. The bees love it. Penstemon generally prefers well-drained soils, and mine is sandy, so I hope it’ll be long-lived.

close up of small purple iris flowerAnother favorite plant this year is Iris dichotoma. I’m not sure this will be hardy for me; most sites list it as Zone 6, and I’m on the edge of Zones 5 and 6. But even if it doesn’t come back, I’m enjoying it as an annual. These beautiful flowers are sometimes called “vespers iris” because they open up in the late afternoon each day.

window box with bright pink flowers, chartreuse foliage, and dark foliageIn the front of the house I added window boxes. They have grown a little out of hand! I might try a simpler planting next year.


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View Comments


  1. Marilyne0 08/17/2022

    Taking care of flowers, gardening is a really nice hobby. It's a great feeling to see those plants growing flowers. basket random

  2. gardendevas 08/17/2022

    Kudos Joseph, on that daunting cleanup and floral loveliness!
    My mother lived in that area for nearly forty years. On my regular visits from NE Ohio I always observed how lushly everything grew. And her climate was always milder than our zone 5, with spring coming a few weeks earlier, and fall a little later.

  3. User avater
    musabasjoosue 08/17/2022

    Starting a garden from scratch can be hard work. Nice job Joseph!

  4. Meelianthus 08/17/2022

    I love your riot of colors Joseph, and especially admire your window box plantings.

  5. jos29803 08/17/2022

    Removing overgrown weeds and vines, starting from scratch is a major job, that was me in 2007, but the joy and beauty you see as you make progress gives you such a feeling of accomplishment. Good luck in your new home and happy gardening.

  6. garden1953 08/17/2022

    Job well done. It looks gorgeous! I’m sure the pollinators appreciate all your hard work!

  7. cheryl_c 08/17/2022

    Having cleared bush honeysuckle from a friend's gardens, one last October, and one in April, I have some idea of the chore that you faced! How did you deal with all the roots left? Your annuals are spectacular, and I really love the sophistication of your window box - don't change it too much next year!!

  8. celoni 08/17/2022

    Starting a new bed - the best of gardening. We have all been surprised at the abundance of the potato vine!!!

  9. btucker9675 08/17/2022

    This is a beautiful kaleidoscope of a garden - makes me happy! Good job!

  10. perenniallycrazy 08/18/2022

    That's quite the transformation - daunting start and amazing results in record time! Hats off to you.

  11. User avater
    simplesue 08/18/2022

    I love your flower border with the annuals & perennials mixed together- it has such a classic look, reminiscent of some historic garden paintings from turn of the century to around 1930s!
    I really-really love your garden style!

  12. perennialgrdnr_z4b 08/18/2022

    Hi Joseph, I love the views of your new long border and if that is a newly added fence at the end, I think it looks great! It looks like you may have just missed some serious storm damage judging by the neighboring garage! I also love your new window box planting. Did you build the box yourself or find one ready made? I need to replace my window boxes too.

    Keep up the good work, Cheers!

  13. busybee4 08/19/2022

    Your new garden is turning out so beautifully! Love your new plants. Congratulations & Enjoy!

    Melissa Grosso

  14. lynda_t 08/25/2022

    I am sure it was hard work but your results are very rewarding!

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