Garden Photo of the Day

Plan Now for a Spring Display

A Florida transplant learns to celebrate the Midwestern spring

Today’s photos come from Vanessa Bianchi, who moved from Florida to the Midwest a couple of years ago and had to learn about gardening in a new climate.

I moved from Florida two years ago and purchased a house with a huge garden, but it was kind of empty and just plain green. I knew nothing about gardening in this area, since in Florida we have totally different vegetation. I started to research gardening in Zone 5. It became my number-one hobby! Little by little I started filling up my garden with perennials—some for shade and some for sun or partial shade. I have added more than 40 hostas, hydrangeas of different types, rhododendrons, stonecrop, ‘Purple Chablis’ (Lamium maculatum ‘Purple Chablis’, Zones 4–8) for ground cover, bushes, peonies, and four different trees. In addition, I add annuals in containers to bring up more color to my garden.

Gardening is a long process. I’ve had a few failures but many more successes! There is huge satisfaction in seeing your garden bloom. I make sure to plant tulips in fall so after our cold weather goes away we get to enjoy them first thing in spring. I also design spaces that bloom in different seasons so my garden looks nice during the whole year.

Gardening became part of my life in the Midwest. I love it here!

What is spring without tulips? Don’t forget that it will be time to plant tulips soon for many of us. That means it’s time now to start thinking about a spring display. Learn more about gardening with tulips.


More tulips, and a young garden helper. Mixing short and tall tulips together like this makes a rich, three-dimensional display.

But don’t forget to add other colors for later in the season. After the tulips have faded, other plants and annuals take over.

For this shady spot, hostas, ‘Purple Chablis’ lamium, and annuals make a colorful display.

It is hard to beat panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata, Zones 3–8) for flower display at the end of summer. There are many new varieties of this hydrangea on the market—some tall, some short, and with flower colors ranging from pink to white to pale green. There’s one for every garden!


Spring color from pink rhododendron PJM (Rhododendron ‘PJM’,  Zones 4–8) and white candytuft (Iberis sempervirens, Zones 5–9)


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View Comments


  1. garden1953 09/24/2018


  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 09/24/2018

    Everything looks so polished. Love that hydrangea!

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/24/2018

    Oh, the fun you have had over the past 2 years....visiting nurseries, the garden section of the big box stores, pouring over catalogues, making selections, bringing home the goodies, deciding where to plant...and, best of all seeing things grow and thrive. The results are beautiful. Sincerest congrats!

  4. cheryl_c 09/24/2018

    Vanessa, welcome to the midwest! A different set of growing conditions and challenges than you are used to, but your study and efforts have certainly shown that you are a quick learner! Love your lamium, iberis, and panicle hydrangea in particular, but your bulb display and budding gardener are truly scene stealers! Please send more pictures as your garden moves into its fall glory. And thanks for the reminder that it's not too early to plan for spring.

  5. ancientgardener 09/25/2018

    Love that hydrangea! I cannot have that luxury because the deer totally strip them every year.

    Lamium is a lovely ground cover. Good choice!

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