Garden Photo of the Day

Part 2: An Awesome Summer in PA

By: Kim Charles

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Bobo’

Back with more summer eye candy from Kevin Kelly's PA garden.

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Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’

Molinia caerulea ‘Skyracer’, Hydrangea paniculata ‘Little Lime’, Prunus laurocerasus ‘Otto Luyken’,Picea pungens ‘Montgomery’, Pinus densiflora ‘Aurea’.

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Pinky Winky’

Supertunia, Vista Bubblegum

Pennisetum setaceum ‘Fireworks’, Angelonia angustifolia ‘Serenita Pink’,Ipomoea batatas ‘Blackie’, Calibrachoa ‘Cosmos Pink’

Begonia, Bacopa

Caladium, Impatiens, Hedera helix ‘Variegata’

Callicarpa dichomata ‘Duet’, Rudbeckia hirta

Succulents (includes Manfreda undulata ‘Cherry Chocolate Chip’, and Mangave ‘Silver Fox’)Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ in background.

View Comments


  1. frankgreenhalgh 09/07/2017

    Wow Kev. - Part 2 is as amazing as Part 1. I'm very impressed with your Hydrangeas (Bobo, Pinky Winky (it does roll-off-the-tongue nicely), Limelight & Little lime); with the touch of class your feature ornaments and pots add to the appeal of your garden; and with your photography (not too shabby at all!). Your garden is soooo good that continuous improvement is going to be a challenge - a nice one though - and I'm sure that you are more than capable of meeting the challenge. The acid test will be future GPOD posts - no pressure mate!
    All the very best to you, Kathy and your son on his big day (undisclosed source of this information). Your garden is certainly in tip-top shape if you have visitors associated with the important occasion. Cheers from Oz

    1. user-7007498 09/07/2017

      Thanks, Frank. I love panicle hydrangeas because of their late bloom and that they bloom on new wood so the buds don't freeze off in harsh winters or early spring freezes.

      Thanks on the wishes for my son's upcoming wedding. Getting really excited. His fiancé and her extended family are wonderful people, so we feel very blessed to include them into our family.

      Check out the bonus photos I added when you get a chance.

  2. user-7007498 09/07/2017

    Bonus Photos for Day 2:

    Supertunia BubbleGum Vista, Knockout Roses, Coleus, Sedum 'Maestro'

    1st anemone bloom of the season.

    Eurybia divaricata, Liriope

    View to my patio off the kitchen

  3. user-7007498 09/07/2017

    Thanks, Diane. I have a few containers that I really loved this year. I can thank GPOD for getting me excited about succulents. I am in the process of figuring out where to overwinter them now that my collection is increasing.

  4. user-7007498 09/07/2017

    Bonus Photos for day 2: (2nd group)
    Sorry, I couldn't resist

    This is one of my new trees, Cornus mas, just planted.

    Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea 'Skyracer'

    Delicate Tricyrtis hirta blooming over a clump of impatiens

    Pinus strobus 'Tiny Kurls', Duranta, Acer palmatum 'Kandy Kitchen'

    1. frankgreenhalgh 09/07/2017

      Glad you couldn't resist Kev. Lovely colour, structure and composition. Thanks for the 'bonus' series.

      1. user-7007498 09/07/2017

        My pleasure, Frank. Have a wonderful day in Oz. Make sure you send us some spring photos of your garden.

  5. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/07/2017

    Happy good morning, Kevin...well, I'm happy because it is Day 2 of your pictures and they are awesome. And you just gave me my first google search exercise of the day with the bonus pic of Pinus strobus 'Tiny Kurls'. I was curious what its size projection is supposed to be since it has such an adorable name. I totally share your enthusiasm for the paniculate type hydrangeas...could you write a little about your approach to pruning them? I have a 'Pinky Winky' (one of those names that elicit a smile) that I planted 2 years ago and I'd love to see it become as bloom filled as yours.
    When it comes to your 'Vista Bubblegum', I think the name should be changed to SuperDuper supertunia...gotta' ask what your secret is to have such lush and healthy container compositions. They are sooo impressive! Well, I could go on and on... sincerely rhapsodizing about each picture...but I'm sure Fine Gardening would prefer I didn't write a book. You're obviously a very hardworking and gifted gardener and I'm so glad you are such a enthusiastic gpod contributer.

    Best wishes to you and your family on the upcoming special event.

    1. user-7007498 09/07/2017

      Thanks so much, Michaele. I had a crazy day at work so I couldn't respond earlier.

      I always love when another garden post makes me do a google search. I have learned so much from this site. 'Tiny Kurls' is a great and very interesting pine. Very slow growing. I have 2. The oldest is about 10 years old and is about 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Easy to tuck in.

      I bought 'Pinky Winky' because of the name. Just had to have it. The name makes people think it is a small hydrangea, though. In spring, just as the buds swell, I prune off any weak stems, them prune each branch down to strong buds. I like to stagger the height by about 8-12 inches to create a more interesting shape. Depending how tall I want the hydrangea to grow will determine the height of the cuts. If I want more blooms, though smaller and on weaker stems, I will lightly prune again in 3-4 weeks before the buds set.

      Vista Bubblegum is the best petunia I have ever planted. I water it ever other day and give it a dose of fish fertilizer ever 2 weeks.

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 09/08/2017

        Thanks for the walk through of your hydrangea paniculate pruning technique...sounds like I need to be a bit braver and more proactive in cutting back my 'Pinky Winky' next spring. I like the idea of staggering the height of the branches to get a fuller bloom effect and I might even experiment with trying a second round of pruning...ha, just call me Edwina Scissorhands.

  6. greengenes 09/07/2017

    It is so wonderful to see your plantings once again! Beautiful combinations for sure! I never knew there was a varigated callicarpa! On my list for sure! Well it has been a wonderful two days! And i have to thank Kim Charles for putting all these together! We as gardeners thank you for all the inspirations and work you do putting our gardens on GPOD!

    1. user-7007498 09/07/2017

      Hi, Jeanne. The variegated callicarpa is a gorgeous shrub, but the berries are white and can only be seen close up. That said, I grow it for the foliage. The rudbeckia growing into is particularly beautiful in person

    2. Kim_Charles 09/07/2017

      Thanks for your compliment Jeanne! Still hoping to get mine on one of these days. I just need to start organizing them a bit. Stay tuned!

      1. greengenes 09/07/2017

        You are so welcome... yes, we would love to see what you are up to!

  7. User avater
    treasuresmom 09/07/2017

    For some reason I stopped getting emails on Aug 31 so I didn't see your shares. As usual, everything is gorgeous. Love the coneflowers which rank right up there in my top 5 plants. Mine did not do very well this summer due to a little too much rain after having extremely dry conditions the last 2 years.

    1. user-7007498 09/07/2017

      Thanks. I hope you went back and checked out part one from yesterday. I also stopped getting emails at the same time. I let Kim now, but it still hasn't been fixed.

    2. Kim_Charles 09/07/2017

      We have switched over our email to a new style. Let me know if you are still not receiving them. Thanks.

      1. User avater
        treasuresmom 09/18/2017

        Kim, I am still not getting emails. I tried signing up again but it didn't work. I have no idea what my old login was - just know my disqus one. What can I do?

        1. Kim_Charles 09/18/2017

          Good sorry to hear that you are still having this issue. Can I get your email address? We are looking into this on our end. Please send it to: [email protected]. Thank you.

  8. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 09/07/2017

    Superb. That's a great lantern and your succulent container continues to be a success!

    1. user-7007498 09/07/2017

      Hi, Tim. The lantern holds the little tea candles. Sometimes I have it lit in the evenings.

      I am loving succulents more and more. I just ordered some cool bowls (3) for succulents which I will plant next spring.

  9. user-4691082 09/07/2017

    Kevin, you are an addict! You are going to need a 12 step program! I love that first photo and I can picture it in your side yard...and you can't tell from the photo, but the sambucus is pruned into a tree! I moved my little one from an area that was too wet to a container for the summer. Now I need to find a home for it! Love all of the bonus photos!

    1. user-7007498 09/07/2017

      Thanks Rhonda. I doubt the 12 step program will be enough. When that couple from the Australian Tour said I showed restraint, it really spurred me on.

      Hope you sambucus likes its new digs.

      1. frankgreenhalgh 09/07/2017

        Kev., were the Aussies being facetious or what?

        1. user-7007498 09/07/2017

          I think the couple was being very serious. They said it in a complementary way, like having an occasional open spot was refreshing. I took it as a challenge.

  10. Sunshine111 09/07/2017

    Looking good Kevin! I am seeing some similarities between your garden and mine, though yours looks much more lush and mine is in the process of being redone!

    1. user-7007498 09/07/2017

      Thanks Lily. I am garden addicted. This summer has been perfect weather and the plants have really taken off.

  11. sheila_schultz 09/07/2017

    You've given us a fun 2nd day of photos Kevin and it was pretty sneaky getting in not one but two sets of bonus shots! One would get the impression you kind of like this gardening 'thing'! It gave me a chuckle when you mentioned trying to figure out where to overwinter your growing collection of succulents. You're hooked!!! I think one of the reason's my husband is happy we've moved is that the massive migration of cacti and succulents in and out of our house no longer looms in his future. Our Chiropractor wasn't as pleased!!! Haha!

    1. user-7007498 09/07/2017

      Great story, Sheila. Had to laugh. My wife doesn't like many plants in the house, so I am now committed to my new basement hideaway. Sort of a man cave for gardeners.

      1. sheila_schultz 09/07/2017

        You won't have to go to the gym for a while after you go up and down the stairs over and over and over! I know, my winter garden was housed on our 2nd floor! Have fun!

  12. floreyd 09/07/2017

    Apparently Hbg was the place to be if you were a hydrangea this summer. Stunning shots, Kevin. Also, does the variegated callicarpa flower and produce berries as showy as the American beautyberry?

    1. user-7007498 09/07/2017

      The hydrangeas have loved the cooler temps and abundant rain. Best blooms ever.

      The berries on the callicarpa are white and only show closeup. I grow this plant for its foliage

  13. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 09/07/2017

    Kevin, thanks so much for a second day of making me feel like an underachiever:) I'm kidding, of course, since there is no catching up to your beautiful garden. You have, however, extended my "need to get" plant list and you've also put a name on one of my grasses that I purchased a few years back. It's a stand out in our garden and no one has been able to tell me that it is molinia caerulea ' Skyracer'. Thanks so much for treating us to two days of your hard work and for all of the extra photos. Best of luck with the wedding.

    1. user-7007498 09/07/2017

      Thanks again for the compliment Linda, but you are anything but an underachiever. Your garden is beautiful.

      Glad to help with the grass. I love it in the front of the bed since it is a great see through plant and has such clean vertical lines in bloom.

  14. user-7008735 09/07/2017

    A wonderful abundance of flowers -- and photos, Kevin! I love the contrast of your sturdy stone Japanese lantern with the panicles of hydrangea and the sprays of Heuchera flowers. The bonus photo of the rosy anemone against the tree trunk is perhaps my favourite. I really love the tall anemones for the way they bring fresh pink and white to the late summer garden, but I'm always a little sad when they start blooming since it's a sign that summer is winding down. Alas! Thanks for sharing with us!

    1. user-7007498 09/07/2017

      Thanks again, Lorraine. I have been working had over the past few years to find interesting combinations of garden ornaments and plants, whether that be stones or containers or statues. Sometimes I hit it right.

      Ditto your sentiments about anemones.

  15. schatzi 09/07/2017

    Wow, Kevin! Resistance is futile, luckily - thanks for the extra pictures - where your garden is concerned, more is better. You are the total package - gorgeous containers as well as beautiful landscaping. Love it all. Enjoy the wedding.

    1. user-7007498 09/07/2017

      Thanks, Shirley. After sending 20 photos to Kim, I was wondering what to do with the others that I really liked. Thanks for supporting my indulgence.

  16. btucker9675 09/07/2017

    I'm "green" with envy!! : )

    1. user-7007498 09/07/2017

      Thanks, Beth. If you look carefully at my garden, you will see that I am "green and gold" :)

  17. Maggieat11 09/07/2017

    Fabulous, Kevin. I have enjoyed ALL your wonderful photos. You and your gardens are truly are an inspiration to us. I so love your enthusiasm and all the information you share with us. (Is there a book in you waiting to be written?) Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. user-7007498 09/07/2017

      Thanks you so much, Margaret. I am so smitten with gardens and plants. I have learned so much from other, and on this site, I love to share as much as possible. I hope to retire in about 3 years from my "real job", so who knows what the future might hold.

  18. Chris_N 09/07/2017

    Wow. Just, wow. Love the canna (Australia?) poking up through the echinacea. Not to mention the Vista Bubblegum coming through the birdcage. It's a great petunia and you came up with a novel way to display it. Thanks for the bonus pics as well!

    1. user-7007498 09/07/2017

      Thanks, Chris. Lately I have been tucking in cannas amongst perennials that have a loose habit. The leaf contrast is great, and they provide additional support for their neighbors (and take up very little horizontal space. The birdcage has been a very fun container.

  19. tennisluv 09/07/2017

    Ok, enough with the gorgeous gardens and planters. I keep thinking I might eventually have enough courage to send in pics of my before and after 'one year' pictures. But then here you come again and there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY I could ever do that. That said, all of you, not just Kevin, are such an inspiration of what a gardener can achieve and I thank all of you for sharing your lovely gardens.

    Kevin, after posting unbelievable pictures of your gardens, you follow it up with outstanding pics of your planters. Would you please come to Georgia and help me with mine? Saved a couple to my container folder for future ideas. THANKS so much for sharing.

    1. user-7007498 09/08/2017

      Thanks, Sonya, for your compliments. Do not fear to share your garden with us. The gardeners on GPOD are wonderful and supportive people. We all remember when we started done the road to our passion. I can't tell you how many plants I have killed, or trashed, just moved around. But each time, I learn from my mistakes.

      I feel that I learn something everyday from GPOD, and that has helped me be a better gardener. I am flattered that you have saved a few container ideas for the future. That is how I started. Happy gardening.

  20. user-7008421 09/07/2017

    Your gardens are lovely! I don't know how you find the time or energy to plant and maintain them but I'm certainly glad you do and that you share them with us! Your beds are picture-perfect and certainly made my day a lot more enjoyable just looking at your gorgeous photos. Happy gardening!

    1. user-7007498 09/08/2017

      Thank you, Karen, for your kind remarks. Gardening is a great way to unwind after a long day at work. To me, it is fun to be out with the plants, birds, butterflies, and bees. I am glad you enjoyed the photos.

  21. user-6536305 09/08/2017

    I am speechless! I just keep saying wow, wow, wow at keyboard. Thanks for sharing!

  22. perenniallycrazy 09/08/2017

    Quite the awesome snapshots of your garden right now Kevin! Looks like your garden has enjoyed the summer immensely. I just love all your hydrangeas and conifers!

    1. user-7007498 09/11/2017

      Hi, Cherry. I didn't see your post the first and second time around. This summer has been the best gardening summer that I can remember. I know things have been tough this summer in the PNW. I have fallen in love with panicle hydrangeas and oak leaf hydrangeas. They have become impressive accents to my other plantings. Conifers get me through then winter months. Thanks for your post.

  23. User avater
    gringopeligroso 09/08/2017

    What a GREAT 2 day journal!!
    Sorry for the late's been crazy here, too and I didn't wind up yesterday until a few minutes shy of today! By then I was nodding and stumbling. (Thankfully, I wasn't behind the wheel!) All I can do now is echo what others have expressed!! Are you up for yet another encore bow to us, your adoring fans?!!!
    It appears you've started with a typical suburban lot, as far as size goes, but have taken that footprint and maximized it's potential. My gardens may be larger, (and still in the installation phase) but you've demonstrated beautifully how to make the most of what you've got! For me, your sanctuary and masterpiece has accomplished several important and sometimes elusive goals which I'm still working towards here.
    The variety you've collected is amazing! And, yet somehow I get the feeling "there's always room for just one more!! I expecially appreciate the surprises!! E.g.: the Cordyline and Duranta popping out!! And, is that a Canna x 'Australia' venturing forth? (They're hardy here.) Very few of us in the temperate regions mix dramatic tropicals into their carefully balanced palette of colours and textures; although this hesitation appears to be changing. Boston Ferns on the porch are a start, and there's SO many other possibilities available! Very glad to see another spirit pushing the envelope!!!
    Your skill with the lenses is also honed!! Nice, nice captures of your realm! One of the reasons I dabble in the dirt is for the photographic opportunities, and I've found "film" to be a valuable tool for documentation, as well. MOST of my shots are for viewing pleasure and memories. But, lately I've been recording the "oops" and the frustrations, too. ALL experienced and wise gardeners tell us to keep notes. SO darn true!! But, there's also the chances to trap some beautiful beams and perhaps a touch of animation if we're diligent and our timing is keen!! And, as everyone on this site knows, it's SO nice to be able to re-visit colourful retreats on dark and dreary Winter days!! I know I'll be revisiting THIS posting during the coming dearth! Thanx in advance for the beautiful anti-dote!!
    Perhaps my strongest compliment (and deepest envy) is how you've managed to make your selections "flow." I, too, have a "Collector's Garden," and I find the most challenge in trying to make everyone in the room get along with each other....and then the larger difficulty of having those "rooms" play nicely and blend with and into their neighbours. Your vignettes show skill and experience at both, and I have and will learn much from your tour! It's really NOT how much you have, it's how you make the most of what you've been blessed with. (....hmmmmm....Horty-culture AND Philosophy in the same sentence....hope you have your boots on!!)
    Before the "stuff" gets any deeper, I'll sign off and will second Ms. Ho's response, as I had the same reaction as she: "Wow, wow, WOW!!!"


    1. user-7007498 09/12/2017

      Jesse, I was just reviewing my post from last week and saw that you had commented. Thanks so much for your very kind words.

      This garden has been such a pleasure and a fabulous learning experience over the past 20 years. Since gardens are alive and always changing, the plants require periodic editing (shaping, moving, or sometimes composting). This allows my to challenge my creative side.

      Like you, I photograph the garden throughout the year to document my success and failures. I often go back to my photos and remove all color, which is very helpful to evaluate forms and textures. I find when I get this right, the garden looks very pleasing and balanced (color can be so distracting). I often wander in the garden in the moonlight for the same purpose. I have made many editing decisions based on the nighttime look of the garden.

      I have felt that it has been only the last 5 years that I consider myself a good gardener. It is fun to look at older sections of the garden to see how much my style and ability has changed. Due to the size of my garden, I have broken it into many smaller mini-rooms by restricting the views via curved beds and putting larger evergreens dotted near the front of the borders. It allows me to collect plants into each of these mini-rooms without looking chaotic. I then unified the beds by repeating 5-9 plants of variegated liriope and strategically using larger gold plants to create a calmness.

      Thanks again. I reviewed your post from your garden in Oklahoma. Awesome.

  24. Beadlily 09/12/2017

    I am catching up on my GPOD. What beautiful pictures to view before I turn in for the night. I am certain I will have good dreams--of gardens!

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