Garden Photo of the Day

Perennials are a Year Round Focus

By Kim Charles

Vikki from Virginia is lucky enough to be able to garden throughout most of the year in her southern locale.

"I garden in Zone 8a in Southeastern Virginia. Mild winters and hot humid summers enable me to dig in the dirt almost year round. I love flowers as well as colorful foliage. Over the years I have tried to rely more on perennials rather than filling the garden with expensive annuals. I love hydrangeas, daylilies and peonies. I'm still learning about peonies and I'm hoping for some real success this coming growing season. My hubby (not a gardening enthusiast) helps me when I ask, but normally I do all the gardening which includes mowing and edging…all of which I love.  These photos are of the garden in summer and were taken over the years."

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  1. frankgreenhalgh 02/23/2017

    Hey Vikki - Great to see your post this evening (8.30 pm here). Isn't it wonderful being able to garden all year round? Your colour combinations are outstanding. Nice work mostly by yourself - obviously a labour of love!

    I needed a lift - so thanks very much for brightening up my evening. Cheers, Frank

    1. VikkiVA 02/25/2017

      Good day Frank, thank you for the kind words.

  2. tennisluv 02/23/2017

    What a lovely landscape to wake up to. Zone 8a here in northeast Georgia and all your Southern favorites are mine also. The peony is so pretty - do you know what variety it is? The Hinoki grass just pops in the picture below the peony. All the colors and combinations are spot on.

    1. VikkiVA 02/25/2017

      Thanks Sonya. The peony is Coral Sunset.

    2. VikkiVA 02/27/2017

      Thank you Sonya...the peony is Coral Sunset.

  3. mjensen 02/23/2017


    1. VikkiVA 02/25/2017

      Thank you MC.

  4. pam_clemmons 02/23/2017

    Oh this is stunning! You must have the perfect sun to shade ratio for these plants! So so pretty!

    1. VikkiVA 02/25/2017

      Thanks Pam.

  5. user-3565112 02/23/2017

    Good morning Vikki, All of your plant combinations work beautifully together both in color & texture. The 1st photo with the fading hydrangea & muhly grass as well as the 4th. long border photo are both terrific displays of gardening skills. Good luck this spring, Joe

    1. VikkiVA 02/25/2017

      Thanks so much Joe for the nice comment.

  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 02/23/2017

    Oh, my, your giant cresting wave of white fall blooming clematis elicited a literal gasp of admiration from me...what a gorgeous sight and the fragrance must be intoxicating. Love the coral colored peony ... its pairing with the cinnamon toned heuchera is especially pretty. You do a wonderful job with the artistry of gardening, Vikki as well as the grunt labor of maintenance...confession of an attack of edging envy...yours are perfection!

    1. VikkiVA 02/24/2017

      Oh Michaele, I could read your expressive and beautifully written comments all day long. Thank you for your lovely comment.

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 02/24/2017

        My turn to thank you for your thoughtful compliment...words seem to come easy to me when inspired by pictures of beautiful gardens!

  7. user-7007960 02/23/2017

    Vikki, lovely garden beds ! So neat and balanced colors.... is the vine a jasmine ? Huge ! I see many in central FL where I am seasonal. Don't dare plant one as they go out of bounds here. What are the plants around the white post? Lovely values. You are a true gardener, doing all the real gardening yourself !

    1. VikkiVA 02/24/2017

      The vine is a Sweet Autumn Clematis and around the mailbox post is Vinca and volunteer Celosia.

      1. user-7007960 02/24/2017

        Thank you, yes , now I recognize the lamppost flowers. The huge clematis is new to me.
        Amazing gardens, so healthy !

  8. User avater
    treasuresmom 02/23/2017

    Send me some of that stamina and energy that it looks like you have to do all that. Everything is just gorgeous!

    1. VikkiVA 02/24/2017

      The stamina and energy "cup" gets less full with each passing year I'm afraid. Thanks for your kind comments.

  9. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/23/2017

    Beautiful, Vikki! These are great photos and I'm so impressed with the number of truly robust specimens you have: the hydrangeas, the clematis and that enormous daisy clump. Love that peony. Looks like one of the corals; coral sunset, perhaps? What is the orangey-red flower in the last photo near the daisies? Crocosmia? Love that color.

    1. VikkiVA 02/24/2017

      Hi Tim, yes coral sunset Peony and that is Crocosmia. That photo is the oldest and that area of the garden is much changed now.

  10. NCYarden 02/23/2017

    My goodness, Vikki. Absolutely beautiful. Those are some packed perennial beds. You must be seriously going nonstop this winter with the absence of cold temperatures. I can only imagine how ahead of schedule everything must be in your garden. Love the peony - we just planted a Coral Sunset last season and the eyes are already pushing up. To aid in your peony education (if you don't already know this), a little enlightenment I was given a couple of seasons ago is the addition of lime - now would be a pretty good time to add it. I will be this weekend. Thanks for sharing, and enjoy the already present Spring.

    1. VikkiVA 02/24/2017

      Oh thanks so much for the info about adding lime to the Peonies. I'll be sure to do that. Yes things have been budding out because we are having very warm temps this week. 75 degrees today then Monday the low is predicted to be 35. Always a challenge. LOL

  11. thevioletfern 02/23/2017

    I have to say "really nice edge" Vikki. Those curves and that edge really set the stage. I am in love with your little rabbit sculpture. And is that (gasp) Clematis Virginiana? She is gorgeous in spite of those show stopping hydrangeas, she holds her own!

    1. VikkiVA 02/24/2017

      I believe mine is Clematis paniculata. Thanks for your comments.

  12. wanderinggardener 02/23/2017

    Beautiful design, everything spaced so that it can grow to its fullness. Just fantastic!

    1. VikkiVA 02/24/2017

      Thanks Jody.

  13. LaurelEm 02/23/2017

    Beautiful! I just love the color combination in the first picture. How nicely the purple/lavender/carmine draws out that little hint of purple/pink in the hydrangea. Lovely!
    Is the small bright pink flower in the front of the border Rose Campion or Vinca?

    1. VikkiVA 02/24/2017

      I planted a row of Vinca at the front of this bed. I do buy a few annuals each summer to fill in where needed. Thank you for your sweet comments.

  14. sheila_schultz 02/23/2017

    Your gardens are obviously getting a whole lot of loving care, Vikki, they are bursting at the seams with healthy foliage and bountiful blooms! My goodness, you could fill each and every room with vases filled with flowers from your gardens and no one would guess that any had been cut, wow!

    1. VikkiVA 02/24/2017

      Thank you Sheila.

  15. user-7007366 02/23/2017

    I am green with envy. My growing season in the Rockies is shorter than I would like. You have such beautiful colors and spacing, I'm going to take a lesson from what you have done. I tend to have a little to much crowding. Wonderful job!

    1. VikkiVA 02/24/2017

      Thanks so much for the kind comments.

  16. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 02/23/2017

    Hi Vikki, and I must say a big "wow" like everyone else. I love your plant selections and pairings, which in my opinion is one of the hardest things about gardening. That muhly grass with the hydrangeas is very nice and I love your peony. Is it 'Coral Sunset'? We were given one from a friend who hybridizes peonies and it is now huge after only two years and like yours, the foliage is beautiful all summer. Thanks for this bright post this morning.

    1. VikkiVA 02/24/2017

      Thank you Linda. Yes that Peony is 'Coral Sunset'? I am amazed how it opens a coral color and evolves to white before it looses its petals. Love it!

  17. foxglove12 02/23/2017

    Wow so much great color! I'm new to peonies too and your peony photos make me excited to see how well mine do this year. That curved bed is amazing. All fabulous!

    1. VikkiVA 02/24/2017

      Thanks for the kind comments Lori. Here's something I learned last year about Peonies. I mulch heavily in the spring in all but one of the flower beds. Last year the Peonies that were heavily mulched did not bloom, however, the ones in the bed that I rely on the pine trees to mulch bloomed normally. Lesson not mulch on or around the base of Peonies as they like to "see the sky."

  18. chelleisdiggin 02/23/2017

    Hi Vicki, I hear you about the less than enthusiastic helper. But you are doing a terrific job. The garden is gorgeous.

    1. VikkiVA 02/24/2017

      Thanks...actually the "less than enthusiastic helper" is probably a blessing. I tend to enjoy the solitude of the garden and being in charge of that part of my world. LOL

  19. user-7007498 02/23/2017

    Wow, Vikki! Beautiful garden and photos. I enjoyed the combination of celosia and vinca around the post. Love the muhly grass. Fabulous borders. Thanks for brightening up our day.

    1. VikkiVA 02/24/2017

      Thanks Kevin.

      1. VikkiVA 02/25/2017

        p.s. The vinca and celosia was a happy coincidence.

  20. christianesterges 02/23/2017

    glorious .... how do you manage to keep that clematis so lush and yet compact ... mine is all leggy ;-(???

    1. VikkiVA 02/24/2017

      Thank you Christiane. I don't do anything special with the Sweet Autumn Clematis. I do prune it to the ground this time of year and it gets plenty of sun in this spot.

      1. christianesterges 02/24/2017

        thank you for the quick answer... I probably pruned mine too late and not hard enough !!

    2. user-7008372 02/24/2017

      I live in Michigan.In the fall I cut all the vines back to about 12 inches above ground.
      In the Spring they start growing again and by mid Summer they will have filled the fence 9 ft. in either direction.

      1. christianesterges 02/24/2017

        many thanks ... and happy spring gardening !

  21. greengenes 02/24/2017

    All so very nice, Vickki! There are so many wonderful perennials out there and you have made some great choices! Looks beautiful! Have a great spring and summer ahead!

    1. VikkiVA 02/24/2017

      Thank you Jeanne.

  22. Cenepk10 02/24/2017

    Wow... so pretty- no wonder you'll do all the gardening ! You're a natural. Gorgeous

    1. VikkiVA 02/24/2017

      Thank you!

  23. VikkiVA 02/25/2017

    Thank you Diane! I'm not seen a red Sweet Autumn. I chop mine down to grown level each spring and it has been pretty well behaved.

  24. schatzi 02/25/2017

    Wow indeed! Sorry to be so late to the party but Thursday I spent at the PNWF&GS and Friday I spent recovering! The show was a blast, but your garden is magnificent! Love the flowers, colors, textures - I also love the coral peony - I have a few - and the clematis - I want one! Yours is gorgeous. It's easy to see you love your garden and it loves you back.

  25. user-7007076 03/01/2017

    Beautiful garden! Last summer I planted a sweet autumn clematis without knowing that it can be quite invasive. How does it do in your garden? How much does it reseed itself at that size and how far do the seeds travel? Mine is planted into a garden rather than surrounded by grass. I'm starting to wonder if it is easier to manage when it is surrounded by grass. The summer prior I had morning glories planted on an arch and consequently I pulled seedlings all summer. Your clematis is becautiful, by I'm afraid of running into trouble.

  26. user-6536305 01/02/2018

    Wow so beautiful, so clean, so organized! You did a great job on maintaining such a beauty. No need to go to the gym for fitness. I too do almost everything myself in the garden but a much smaller scale. My hubby (not a gardening enthusiast) helps me when I ask, but he mow the lawn and I do the edge. Thanks for sharing!

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