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.
One of the garden beds, with clouds of airy purple flowers from Russian sage (Salvia yangii, Zones 4–9)
Double-flowered tulips begin the drama in spring.
The incredible Montana sky hovers over the pond.
A 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.
A monarch butterfly fuels up at the waystation.
Bright red hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus hybrid, Zones 4–10) light up the summer garden.
A 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!
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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.
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.
Simply fabulous! Beautiful photos! More please?!
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!
Beautiful Montana got even more beautiful two years ago when you started creating such a lovely garden there. Thank you for sharing the photos.
Beautiful garden and photos but the one of the pond, sky and reflections just took my breath away!
Amazing garden - kudos on a terrific job!
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