Garden Photo of the Day

Peg’s garden in Michigan, Day 2

Let's spend another day in Peg McCann's garden! In case you missed it yesterday, she said, "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?"

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  1. perenniallycrazy 02/25/2015

    I am in love with your intensely beautiful natural garden Peggy! So many specimens to admire and appreciate in every photo. I'll definitely be back to take a 2nd, 3rd, 4th look again and again. I'm fairly young in the gardening years of experience and knowledge so I hope my garden will look like yours when I am gardening 25 years. Thank you for sharing your slice of heaven with us!

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 02/25/2015

    Peg, I am so glad you included more than one picture of your wonderfully pruned up parrotia tree. I just love when a talented (and brave) gardener uses their pruner and lopper to create an outdoor living sculpture. And that retaining wall is quite wonderful...did you or a family member have a hand in creating it? All your plant combinations are delightful and seem to get along with each other beautifully. And count me a fan of your pitcher plant clump..those colorful tips certainly catch the eye!

    1. pegmccann 02/25/2015

      The retaining wall and similar stonework elsewhere were here before us, and we haven't seen any others like it. Looks like panels were poured flat in a form, then fieldstones added, then the panels put up. Would welcome clues.

  3. Nurserynotnordstroms 02/25/2015

    Peg on picture number nine on the left side do you remember what that plant is with the cut out leaves. I love that plant and know I have seen it before but I can't place it,is it a bloodroot?I'm really really bad with names of plants I just enjoy growing them. Your gardens are packed with interest and I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed seeing so many of your beautiful plants. Is the trillium a native?i haven't seen that one before. My red trillium is up about 5" and I can't wait for it to bloom,I moved it though so we will see if it blooms again for me this year. Our native trilliums are just coming up too I think, I did some rearranging last year so some of it is still a bit of a mystery to me. We added so many new plants late in the season and I'm hoping they all come back,it's exciting to see them emerging. Do you coppice your smoke bush?some say to do it others don't,curious on your thoughts. Thank you Peg,day two did not disappoint at all and I am looking forward to having you share more photos in the future.

    1. pegmccann 02/25/2015

      Yes, it's bloodroot with the distinctive cut leaves--also maidenhair fern just unrolling and the coarser sensitive fern, not yet full size, to the left. The stemmed, red trillium is T. erectum, native to Michigan but this was purchased.

      1. Nurserynotnordstroms 02/25/2015

        I hope my bloodroot comes back I have lost one,(unless it's there this year) and then spent way to much on a double one but I love the leaves. What is your secret to growing them. Or did you just plop them in and watched them grow?do you leave your sarracenia out all year and how do you care for yours,I bring mine in and enjoy them in my living room for the winter.

        1. pegmccann 02/28/2015

          The sarracenia is out all year. I have it in a sunken pot with no drainage holes, with peat and sphagnum instead of soil, and do give it some extra water now and then. Bloodroot was transplanted in when dormant and given time. The soil there is rich and it's in complete shade, near the north side of the house. The wildflowers take years to establish and spread.

          1. Nurserynotnordstroms 02/28/2015

            Well Peg,it seems I have done all all I can for my Blooroot plant it's been planted the same as yours so fingers crossed it comes back this year. If not I might just have to have to buy another one just for the leaf shape. Thank you for the reply and happy gardening.

    2. User avater
      meander_michaele 02/25/2015

      Thanks for asking about the smoke bush, Glenda. When I was looking at those burgundy/purplish leaves in the last picture, that was the plant that came to mind but I was puzzled by how short the stems seemed...almost like it was a reseeding of baby smoke bushes

      1. Nurserynotnordstroms 02/25/2015

        Do you have one? We put one in last year so I am super excited to see it this year,I am hoping it to is a nonsmoker (like Tim said he he that was a funny one Tim) I prefer just the beautiful leaves form and color it adds.

      2. Nurserynotnordstroms 02/25/2015

        Do you have a smoke bush?or bloodroot plant,I am hoping mine comes back.

        1. User avater
          meander_michaele 02/26/2015

          No, I don't have a smokebush...and that's one of those head scratchers where i knock I myself on the side of the head and ask, "why not?" I think if/when I get one, I will keep it well cut back because I so love the vibrancy of the leaf color on the new growth.

  4. wGardens 02/25/2015

    I have enjoyed your photos very much~ just wonderful. You have used some great plant material.... love the foliage contrasts. Your hypertufa pots look great. (I make them too) The parrotia tree is a beauty. Great sculptural effect. And what fun the Pitcher plant is! Thank you for sharing!

  5. pegmccann 02/25/2015

    Since I didn't figure out how to caption the photos, here's some commentary. Photos 1-2-3 show parrotia tree underplanted with daffodils then hosta, a very easy combo that hides the foliage. I dump lots of leaves over the whole thing in the fall. 4-5, sunshine, bold colors and some unusual plants to interest the many walkers in our neighborhood. 6, hypertufa containers in the shade, with miniature ferns, hosta, mosses, etc. These are built over styrofoam so aren't very heavy. 7, foliage: shiny hellebore, silvery fern similar to J. painted fern, and probably 'Pewter Veil' heuchera. 8: lower center, dull, heart-shaped leaves is Saruma
    henryi, Chinese ginger, a couple of feet tall and 1" yellow flowers most of the summer, maidenhair fern, a few other larger ferns 9, bloodroot, maroon Trillum flexipes, maidenhair and sensitive ferns 10 Hakonechloa
    macra 'Aureola' grass, native wild ginger, Trillium luteum leaves, and something I don't remember now! 11 A southern pitcher plant, Sarracenia
    leucophylla 'Dana's Delight', I've had it here a few years, along with our native, shorter, S. purpurea. The trifoliate bogbean and rushes are in the background and some little variegated sedum to the right 12, last one, big leaves to upper left are prairie dock, a favorite for the thick, rough leaves. White flower is Valeriana
    officinalis, spreads a bit much. The purple is smokebush, coppiced. It hasn't done as well as I want, probably because it's not in full sun here. Trees keep growing!

    1. Nurserynotnordstroms 02/25/2015

      Oh Peg Thank you for listing all of that ,this answers so many questions and I can look a few things up. Love your ferns and how you are a true plant collecter,just keep comingling and planting it's a talent you are obviously fantastic at.

  6. greengenes 02/25/2015

    How wonderful the world of green is! Its so nice to see more of your gardens, Peg. Every picture is worth looking at for a while. I so love the parotia tree. The trunk is beautiful and even the leaves look great! I might have to find a spot for one around here. You have many little tucked in treasures. That is an interesting rock wall. Did you guys make this or is this a city street wall? Well its been quite nice to experience your gardens and I would so enjoy seeing more this spring and summer and fall and....thanks so much for the beautiful start of the day

  7. VikkiVA 02/25/2015

    Peg, Love those hyper tufa containers! I've often thought about making one or two but haven't gotten up the courage. Your garden is beautiful and as a big fan of ferns I especially enjoyed seeing your assortment. Is that a smoke bush I spotted in the last picture? I have one also but I apparently got a "non-smoker" because mine has never bloomed! Does your bush smoke? Vikki in VA.

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/25/2015

      Just had to tell you what I chuckle I got from your Cotinus, who is apparently a non-smoker. Way ahead of the curve in the plant world and should get a discount on his insurance!

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 02/25/2015

        Ha, good one, Tim and VikkiB...thanks for the laugh!

    2. Nurserynotnordstroms 02/25/2015

      Vikki,I am hoping mine doesn't flower I like them more for the leaf color and form. This is the first year in my garden so we will see what it does.

  8. annek 02/25/2015

    The parrotia tree is a stunner! Have you been happy with it? i googled it and And read in several blogs that it doesn't like moist winter soils. Some complained that it got too big, but I wonder if those same people didn't keep it pruned. I simply love everything about your garden. The trillium are so sweet, the stone wall enchanting and the hyper tufa pots make me want to go out in the currently freezing weather and make some! Where do you find your stryrofoam forms? Okay, no more questions.....for now.

    1. digginWA 02/25/2015

      Parrotia can get big (40'x40') but the Vanessa and Ruby Vase cultivars are supposedly narrower. There is a killer specimen at the Miller Garden, and it is one of the Great Plant Picks, so it must do well in the PNW to be on that list. I'd plant one if I had the room.

      1. annek 02/27/2015

        Thanks for the clarification, Tia. With your valuable info, I think I'll try to locate one of the cultivars you mentioned.

  9. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/25/2015

    Peg, thanks so much for the comment below giving information about each of the photos. Today again, "What's not to love": the gorgeous Parrotia trunk; the healthy trillium clump: the dainty damsel fly on the Hakonechloa. Wonderful. So in one of the back hypertufa planters is a fern with a small hosta. The foliage looks like Adiantum pedatum to me, but the structure is not there. Do recall what it is? Love it.
    I'm thinking of getting a Sarracenia this year and Dana's delight was at the top of my list. So glad you shared this photo.

  10. NCYarden 02/25/2015

    I am really enjoying the tremendous mix of plants in your garden. Collections are so much fun to see how they mix and mingle.. I totally admire all your pruning endeavor. I love to "train" trees into the beautiful structures that are awaiting discovery, so much so that my wife has endearingly nicknamed our garden the "torture garden," because of all the pruning and straps and stakes. Thank goodness for the resilience of plants, I say. Your hypertufa micro landscapes bring a smile to my face, because it is so fun to garden at all levels and sizes...gardens within gardens. And as usual I am envious of the hostas. I am beginning to feel I am the only one with voles. Thanks for sharing.

  11. GrannyMay 02/25/2015

    Peg thank you for sharing your passion with us. There is so much to study in each of your photos that one would have to visit in person to see it all. I am totally envious of your beautiful unusual trilliums as well as your hostas. Rabbits and deer kept mine from growing, never mind blooming.

    1. pegmccann 02/28/2015

      Our deer don't go after the trilliums, but the hosta I spray with Liquid Fence, helps a lot so far.

  12. Cenepk10 02/25/2015

    Magnificent ..truly Magnificent

  13. sheila_schultz 02/25/2015

    Your gardens are simply stunning, Peg. You have put together such thoughtful combinations featuring 'not your everyday' plants... The sidewalk in front of your home must be filled with all the 'walkers' that decide to take a break so they can marvel at all the details that make up your garden beds.

  14. schatzi 02/25/2015

    Good morning. I echo everyone's comments and add this: love, love, love it! The subtle color contrasts and great texture contrast in pic 7 are amazing. I also have a wine red trillium that a friend gave me years ago, not up yet, but it has mottled leaves and the blossoms do not open. Beautiful anyway. I am also a plant collector and I hope my gardens look as good as yours eventually. There are just so many irresistible plants out there... Thanks for another day of inspiration and beauty.

  15. juliekoricanhoover 02/25/2015

    Beautiful, Peg! I grew up in Stevensville and my parents still live in St. Joe! Thanks so much for sharing your amazing gardens! Absolutely love the square stone containers. Love seeing these pictures on a very cold day! I was featured in Julie's garden in PA the other day!

    1. pegmccann 02/28/2015

      Stop by next time you are in the area -- we are in the phone book.

  16. thevioletfern 02/25/2015

    Paradise! Beautiful combination of forms and textures. In LOVE.

  17. Meelianthus 02/25/2015

    Peg, your gardens are enchanting, such a wonderful collection of interesting plants. That charming wall looks great with your hosta bed. You can never have enough hostas, right !

    And your pitcher plants are a delight, fun, and so strange. I would love to wander thru you gardens so as not to miss a single thing. Thanks for day 2 of this trip and for the list of all your treasures.

  18. user-7007140 02/25/2015

    Day 2 does not disappoint! Your garden is truly stunningly put together very carefully and cleverly. I love the Parrotia - will it growin Zone 4b, I wonder. We are supposed to be 5, but I don't believe it.
    Thank you so much for the detailed plant list, that is more than just helpful.
    I didn't know either that continus could be coppiced - I have let mine grow but high winds have caused havoc. Now I know that it can be made neat again. I tell you, this blog is unbelievably helpful.
    Happy gardening.

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/25/2015

      Now, now, Eddi. We are allegedly zone 6 and I plant like I live in zone 7. Please don't burst my zone-denial bubble! :)
      Parrotia should be good-to-go in zones 4 and up. cheers.

      1. user-7007140 02/27/2015

        I'm so happy to hear about the Parrotia.
        Re the zoning; I have suffered too many losses with plants labeled as Zone 5, so I'm no longer very gullible. We live about 25 miles nw of you and not protected by other buildings - what we do have are wind tunnel conditions straight out of the west. I think the Parrotia should live in a sheltered spot through the gate. Will see where I can buy one - preferably bare root - that's another pet peeve - root bound plants. Poor things!

        1. User avater
          Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/28/2015

          I have a friend who only uses zone 5 and below plants here. It's the smart way to go! It is amazing, too, how much heat all of the buildings hold. I may lament about looking out on cars, power lines and alleys instead of broad vistas and forests, but I do benefit from the microclimates! I'm in agreement about root-bound plants. I like smaller plants that I can make almost bare root. Things do so much better growing in one soil than a pot of nursery soil stuck in our heavy soil!

        2. pegmccann 02/28/2015

          Parrotia was from Wavecrest Nursery, near you and worth a visit, lots of unusual woody plants. I got it small, of course, so it would fit in the car and not be too expensive, b&b. The microclimate sure makes a difference, doesn't it!

    2. Nurserynotnordstroms 02/25/2015

      Yes I learn a lot myself,let me know what your smoke bush does after it has been coppiced. Mine is to young yet so I haven't had a chance to do it,so much great information here.

    3. pegmccann 02/28/2015

      Dirr has it as maybe 4, 5 for sure, but see the comments below. Fine Gardening told me about coppicing it. I've only done it a few years now but think it's the way to go for its present site.

  19. User avater
    HelloFromMD 02/25/2015

    Thanks for that burst of color from the Sarracenia. Red is my favorite color so I'm also loving that trillium. I'm glad you have the good fortune to garden in both sun and shade and that passerby's can share in the joy.

  20. foxglove12 02/26/2015

    Its all beautiful. Love the parrotia and those trough planters. I saw those planters in England, unfortunately too heavy to bring home :(

  21. janeeliz 02/27/2015

    I'm drooling over all your wonderful plants! What a great selection! And beautiful combinations, too! That handsome stand of pitcher plants is is your large patch of purple trillium. Umm, I'd love to be walking through your spring garden,Peg.

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