Garden Photo of the Day

Peg’s garden in Michigan, Day 1

Today's photos are from Peg McCann. Peg sent in so many great photos that we'll have another set tomorrow. Some of her descriptions apply to tomorrow's shots…but here's the first set. Peg says, "I've gardened in St. Joseph, Michigan, in Zone 6, for 25+ years, and the garden keeps changing. I've a weak spot for unusual plants, which do not show well in photos of the garden, but perhaps there's enough decent garden photos here to interest you.
   Our yard is at the top of a wooded bluff, so the the gardens are the foreground of our views to the north. The sunny spot has flowers to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, while I've planted the shadier areas with wildflowers and/or plants with interesting foliage. A garden pond has been great fun, with a dozen frogs, birds bathing, and a small trickling stream surrounded by mosses and dimunitive ferns. Hypertufa containers with miniature plants and alpines are sited for up-close viewing.
   On the west, in a raised area, is a parrotia tree pruned up to showcase its lovely curved limbs, with daffodils followed by hostas beneath it. A brick path on the east is home to interesting ferns best seen up close, as well as a darmera plant starting to impress in its 3rd year. Its flowers show in the early spring shot.
   In the sunny garden near the road I've put bold flowers as well as some unusual plants to interest the neighborhood walkers. The winter heaths bloom as early as the crocuses and are welcomed by early bees. I don't see them used much around here but golly, a tidy evergreen that flowers in March and April! What's not to like?" I LOVE your garden, Peg! So natural and fascinating, and GREEN! I can't wait for everyone to see tomorrow's set of photos.

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  1. Nurserynotnordstroms 02/24/2015

    Peg as I started to read the descriptions of your gardens I could hardly wait to view your photos. (I was tempted to skip the rest of the intro)I LOVE ferns and so your gardens are very appealing to me,you can't ever have enough ferns. The pond and the frogs are something I actually long for in my gardens but I don't have the space for a pond. Do you enjoy the sounds of the frogs in the evenings?summer it probably gets pretty riotous. I made several hypertufa containers this summer it's a little more work than I had anticipated,but I really enjoyed the creative possibilities.Did you make all of yours? I am looking forward to seeing the next set of photos tomorrow ,because I want to stroll your paths and peak into each beautiful garden area.

    1. pegmccann 02/24/2015

      Frog and toad sounds are great here, not too much. Yes, I made the hypertufa containers, by covering rigid styrofoam so they aren't as heavy as the solid ones. Fernwood Botanical Garden is near here and many of my ferns came from there, as well as Arrowhead Alpines and wherever I can find them. Thank you all for your kind comments!

  2. greengenes 02/24/2015

    Green through and through! Its lovely, Peg! And for your cats to be able to roam freely would be so sweet! Here we have coyotes and they do roam around 24/7. Yes, isn't the heath a wonderful plant! I have been planting more of it around here this winter. Iam using the "Kramers Red" that Monrovia puts out. It brings such a wonderful color in the early months of the year. The rabbits like it though and some of the plantings look like I have mowed it! I looked up the parotia tree and what a tree indeed! I cant wait to see more of your gardens tomorrow! The little sidewalk with the round pavers is quite nice and the photo of the frogs too! The fern shot with the little rock waterway is so cool. I have been wondering about this low spot we have and to put a drain ditch in it but I didn't want to use plastic drain pipe. This is totally the answer! I just wish I saved all the little rocks in all the past gardening episodes! Again, its all so lovely and free flowing! Thanks so much for brightening up our day today!

    1. Nurserynotnordstroms 02/24/2015

      Jeanne,why not a rain garden in that area? Our state was paying for people to put rain gardens in on there property,the neighborhoods were canvased and people were asked did they want to divert there run off from down spouts. (We have I think six on our street) they look nice and the water collection sight can be beautiful. The most beautiful one I saw was on an NPA tour. You may want to see if that would suit your needs also.

      1. greengenes 02/24/2015

        Hi Peg.. That's so funny you should mention that. I am having the "conservation district" come out to our garden club meeting next month to give a talk on this and I have thought about this for here on our property. The only problem, I think, is that there isn't anywhere for the water to go but a few feet to the back of the property line. So the water kind of sits and drains that way. I just don't want it to sit in the edge of the lawn and around two new beds I put in. I already lost a snakebark maple from the standing water. But we will see what they can do at this up coming meeting. I love the look of the rocks and ferns. It is in a shady spot and we have hoards of ferns in the woods. I will let you know what I decide to do! Thanks so much!

      2. greengenes 02/24/2015

        Sorry Glenda, I put Pegs name in the beginning. How are you? Thanks for the suggestion!

        1. Nurserynotnordstroms 02/24/2015

          That's ok,if I can find a photo from the garden walk of this one particular rain garden I will share it with you, it didn't look like the typical rain garden it was lovely and I was even surprised it was a rain garden. We are doing well we spent all of yesterday looking for birch trees with multiple trunks,tough one to find. We did order some so not sure what they will look like we aren't obbligated to take them if we don't like the way they look. They will go in the ravine with up lights on them,should look pretty from above on the deck. We have been busy with tiding up the gardens and a new short French drain. I was able to cross most of my list off. YIPPEE. We are looking forward to seeing you again. If we were to spend the night out your direction after the garden tours,any suggestions of a really great place to stay?

  3. wGardens 02/24/2015

    Minus 26 this morning so this is an especially welcome post! Loving all your wonderful plants/design and photo comp. Fabulous frog photo! Would love to visit in person.... looking forward to tomorrows photos! Thank you for sharing your piece of "heaven"!.

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/24/2015

      Minus 9 this morning in Columbus. Unfortunately, Margaret, you win! Stay warm and safe! :)

      1. wGardens 02/24/2015

        Thanks, Tim! You as well. Glad we have the snow cover but I'm sure we will lose some plants~

    2. MichelleGervais 02/24/2015

      -9 here in CT this morning, too!

      1. Nurserynotnordstroms 02/24/2015

        So sad you are having the bitter cold,I'm sure many precautions need to be taken in the cold like that. I am hopeful you and everyone else with these weather conditions stays safe. Hope you able to work from home? May be you need to catch a plane and photograph somewhere for the magazine(Perhaps Hawaii or Palm Springs )

        1. MichelleGervais 02/24/2015

          Ooooh, Palm Springs! That's high on my list of places to visit in my lifetime... We're not doing too bad. We're so used to the cold now that 15F feels balmy!

          1. Nurserynotnordstroms 02/24/2015

            My daughter is there as we speak and it's in the 80's they are swimming in 89degree salt water pool.......sigh great does that sound.

    3. Meelianthus 02/24/2015

      So sorry for your COLD ! Hope it will all be over soon - or will it go on thru the rest of winter? Hopefully Spring will bring some warmth for you - all of you. Think cherry green thoughts and stay warm ^_^

      1. wGardens 02/24/2015

        Thank you. The rest of the week is going to be cold too, after tomorrow. Spring will probably come late! Looking forward to the Philly Flower Show on Saturday.... at least it will be "Spring" for a DAY!

        1. Meelianthus 02/25/2015

          So great you have an upcoming Flower Show. Don't you just love those events?! Have fun and think GREEN.

    4. pegmccann 02/24/2015

      If you're ever near St. Joe, Mich., let me know. We have some wonderful gardens and nurseries in the area and I always like to talk gardens!

      1. wGardens 02/24/2015

        Thank you so much. I would LOVE that!

  4. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/24/2015

    What's not to love? :) I'm hoping we'll see some shots of what's in your planters. i've been drooling over Alpines on a Danish couple's web page, lately. Are you near Arrowhead Alpines, by any chance? Love their plants. Love your pond and pond plants; the bullfrogs and the fabulous, frilly ferns; the dense, almost wild plantings. What a treat.

    1. pegmccann 02/24/2015

      Many of my plants are from Arrowhead Alpines, but they are a few hours away. There's another seller of little plants, Benedict's, in Napanee, Indiana, but no mail order. I took frog pictures mostly to ID them, they are green frogs, not bullfrogs. Very similar. The hypertufa containers are made by putting the cement mix over rigid styrofoam so they aren't as heavy as most. If there's interest I suppose I could figure out how to put the directions here.

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/24/2015

        Thanks, Peg. That's very cool. I am anxious for my Arrowhead Alpines order to get here, or at least anxious for spring to get here! I guess I have most frogs categorized as bullfrogs and leopard frogs. Glad to know. Have your hypertufa planters held up well? I think there are all sorts of online resources explaining how to make hypertufa. Anxious to see tomorrow's photos. Thanks for sharing.

  5. user-1020932 02/24/2015

    Thank God, for GPOD and Peg McCann,,,,,so much green and i have nothing but white. beautiful naturalistic garden and i really do love it all, , , is that a Sophora tree flowering and what is the large leafed plant 10th photo down. those frogs make me really long for spring, can't wait for tomorrow's photos and they might just save my life

    1. pegmccann 02/24/2015

      Darmera peltata. It's taken 3 years to be eyecatching. I especially like it against the ferns. The flower comes up before the leaves; look in the lower left of an early spring photo in the next set.

  6. hortiphila 02/24/2015

    Peg, green is good on a day like today, my desire for color is becoming all consuming! Beautiful garden! Is that a Yellowwood tree (Cladrastis kentukea) with its fragrant, dangling, white panicles? If so, how long have you had it? How much of this wooded bluff do you command? Have you had any trouble with exotic invasive plants trying to take over?

    1. user-1020932 02/24/2015

      yellowwood! and i said Sophora, coffee had not kicked in

    2. pegmccann 02/24/2015

      Got in in 1993 from Wayside. The lot goes over the hill to a stream, so we have about 2/3 acre. I patrol our little woods to remove garlic mustard, norway maple, grapevines, bittersweet, honeysuckle, and poison ivy (though it's native).

  7. User avater
    meander_michaele 02/24/2015

    Peg, today's pictures are just what the doctor ordered...a reminder of how life affirming the color green is...esp. when it is as vibrant as it appears in your garden. Is the large leafed plant the darmera you made mention of? It certainly makes a wonderful companion for your interesting ferns. I, too, was wondering about the white flowering tree? Those somewhat wisteria like white racemes reminded me of the blooms of the yellowwood tree (which I have) but I didn't think it was hardy for your growing zone. In which picture is the Parrotia tree? Doing a google image search on it showed some photos with fabulous fall that true of yours? Looking forward to seeing more from you tomorrow!

    1. pegmccann 02/24/2015

      Yes, it's yellowwood. We are 6a, nearly 6b, this close to Lake Michigan. That was the best flowering year we've had. Parrotia trunks show tomorrow. I get good fall color on it some years, while in other years the leaves stay on, and green, well into winter, bypassing fall color completely.

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 02/24/2015

        We have had our yellowwood in place for about 13 years and it has been only a sporadic bloomer. Only one year ranked as truly memorable when it comes to the flowering and it was fun to see. However, I love the tree anyway because it has such nice branching and appealing smooth gray bark. How nice for you that the lake effect gives you a milder climate than some parts of MI.

  8. annek 02/24/2015

    Fabulous, Peg! Your gardens are so inviting and carefree (ha! I'm sure that's a deceiving statement as you probably put lots of care into them). A lovely view on this cold, snowy day!

  9. janeeliz 02/24/2015

    Utterly charming and I do pine for green after seeing this lovely garden! SO many interesting plants arranged so naturally! Can't wait for tomorrow's batch!

  10. GrannyMay 02/24/2015

    Peg, love your natural look garden with all the green and textures! Special favourite photos are the frogs and cats by the water features and the huge leaves and the ferns and the hypertufa pots and.... Can't wait for tomorrow to see more!

  11. gmajunk 02/24/2015

    With all the snow in Colorado, this was really needed. made my day. thank you!

  12. Cenepk10 02/24/2015

    Oh good gravy !!! You trying to make me quit gardening altogether, Peg ??? Just 1/2 kidding…..Peg - That is so gorgeous- I became excited just looking at the pics.. Almost like being there. Thanks so much for provoking me to jealousy. :)

    1. pegmccann 02/24/2015

      Don't quit! I've heard people say that about large, meticulous, fussy gardens but mine is pretty casual.

  13. schatzi 02/24/2015

    Neat paths, neatly arranged hypertufas, colorful flowers, and green, green, green! Love it! And it looks like your beautiful cats do too. The frogs are cool and the ferns are gorgeous. The super frilly one looks like one I have with an unpronounceable name. Love ferns, have lots of native ones, just bought a bunch more of other types. Jean, if you need stones, I'll share. I live on the rock pile the last glacier left. Excellent drainage, risk life and limb trying to dig in it. Looking forward to tomorrow's pictures.

    1. greengenes 02/25/2015

      That's funny Shirley! When we built our house my husband purchased too much drain rock and we placed it in the weeds way back then and now and the past few years iam regretting that we did that! I never thought I would be doing what iam doing today.... Its gotta be a disease, gardening and such. It just keeps going and going and well I guess addictive. Sweet! It could be worse I suppose! I hope you are enjoying this weather. It looks like the frost weve had for the last two nights hasn't really damaged too much. Take care Shirley and have fun!

  14. Meelianthus 02/24/2015

    I love your gardens Peg. You have done such a lovely job making everything look so lush and natural. I am a great fern enthusiast, they add so much to the garden. I do love the Korean Rock Fern also and they are so hardy aren't they. Beautiful cat also and those frogs are adorable ! Thanks for sharing your creativity and looking forward to tomorrow.

  15. user-7007140 02/24/2015

    What a beautiful garden,Peg! This is my kind of garden- full of natural plantings, violets and dandelions in the grass, meandering walks, shade, pussy cats, frogs- just lovely. Looking forward to spring here when I,too, can wander.

  16. imsoshy 03/14/2015

    Me, too...just love it!!! Getting a tree trimmed in a little while, then leave the downed parts to remain as homes for wildlife!!! Just love the naturalness of your photos. Can't wait for tomorrow to see what else you have!!!

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