Garden Photo of the Day

Pam’s Garden in Montana

New climate, new garden

garden bed full fo pink and purple flowers

My name is Pam Alvord. In 2019 I submitted photos of our North Carolina garden in Zone 7B (Learning From Gardening in Different Climates). I explained that I have gardened and lived in many states and climates around the country. Two years ago, my husband and I moved to south-central Montana (Zone 4b) to retire and be close to family. We purchased a 27-year-old home on 2½ acres with an abundance of mature trees and a pond in an established neighborhood. The yard and home were in need of some TLC, so we got right to work painting the whole house, expanding existing garden beds and building new ones. My husband built raised beds, and we have planted 100s of plants to bring my love of a cottage garden to life. In the short time we’ve been here, I have planted over 1000 spring bulbs and have added plants, water sources, and food to certify our yard as a Wildlife Habitat and Monarch Waystation. Learning to go with the nature of Montana, with hot, dry summers, cold snowy winters, and wind has been a challenge, but the wide open skies with the most incredible sunrises and sunsets are so worth it. Further plans are for more raised beds, native landscaping, and a greenhouse. Being retired, we are enjoying every step to make it our own.

garden bed full fo pink and purple flowersOne of the garden beds, with clouds of airy purple flowers from Russian sage (Salvia yangii, Zones 4–9)

collage of pink, yellow, and red tulipsDouble-flowered tulips begin the drama in spring.

colorful sunset over a large pondThe incredible Montana sky hovers over the pond.

swallowtail butterfly flying over pink lantana flowersA swallowtail butterfly comes in to sample nectar from lantana (Lantana camara, Zones 9–11 or as an annual).

Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus, annual) are beautiful and a great food source for pollinators, and birds will feast on the seeds once they mature.

monarch butterfly on a spire of pink flowersA monarch butterfly fuels up at the waystation.

bright red hibiscus and small yellow flowers under a white trellisBright red hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus hybrid, Zones 4–10) light up the summer garden.

hanging basket full of orange flowers hanging from a garden arborA cheerful hanging basket of million bells (Calibrachoa hybrid, Zones 9–11 or as an annual)


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.

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

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

View Comments


  1. barbmrgich 02/06/2023

    Good morning, Pam. Your gardens are beautiful! I greatly admire your ability to move to different climates and adjust to the differences the climate dictates. North Carolina to Montana must be quite a culture shock! I hope you will not be offended when I say that your "Monarch butterfly" is actually a Viceroy. You can easily tell by the black line across its hindwing. Just google Viceroy butterfly and you will see.

  2. sandyprowse 02/06/2023

    Quite the move from moderate North Carolina to the Northern State of Montana. However, the picture of the pond and the lovely Montana sky made me realize the beauty you now have there. You have made a fantastic garden. I very much enjoyed hearing about it and seeing the exquisite photographs. Well done.

  3. user-5117752 02/06/2023

    Simply fabulous! Beautiful photos! More please?!

  4. User avater
    simplesue 02/06/2023

    That bed of airy Russian sage around the birdbath is so pretty.
    Your pond view with the sky- wow!
    And those pristine white painted fences, everything is so orderly and beautiful!
    You two have done an amazing job with all that land!

  5. gardenconcierge 02/06/2023

    Beautiful Montana got even more beautiful two years ago when you started creating such a lovely garden there. Thank you for sharing the photos.

  6. User avater
    bdowen 02/06/2023

    Beautiful garden and photos but the one of the pond, sky and reflections just took my breath away!

  7. btucker9675 02/07/2023

    Amazing garden - kudos on a terrific job!

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest