Garden Photo of the Day

READER PHOTOS! Bonnie’s garden in Georgia

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Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Bonnie Helander

Today’s photos are from Bonnie Helander in Peachtree City, Georgia. She says, “These are pictures of my garden from spring of 2011. I used to garden in Zone 7b but I understand that with the new USDA hardiness zone changes, I am now in Zone 8a!

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Bonnie Helander

“My garden had great “bones” when my husband and I purchased it in 2004. In fact, I fell in love with the garden right away. We have added many of our own touches and redone many of the garden beds and added pathways, a compost bin, and a potting bench. The ornamental pond is the focal point of our backyard garden. In fact, when you open our front door to greet visitors, they can look all the way through the house and see the pond framed in the back doorway!

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Bonnie Helander

“I have lots of traditional southern favorites like azaleas, hydrangeas, and camellias. I’ve added autumn ferns and my favorite hellebores to my shade beds. I painted old chairs in festive pastel colors after seeing this inspiration in Seaside, Florida. My garden is certified as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.”

That is an amazing water feature, Bonnie! It must sound wonderful, too. Thanks for sharing your garden with us!

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Bonnie Helander
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Bonnie Helander

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  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 02/24/2012

    That really is an especially beautiful water feature! I suspect that if I were a guest entering Bonnie's home and seeing that alluring back yard, it would be hard to remain indoors.
    It is so wonderful when a property with "great bones" finds the perfect owner like Bonnie. I love the seating areas with the colorful chairs. I would never think to be so bold as to make them different colors but it's very charming...kind of like having Easter all year round.

  2. Steepdrive 02/24/2012

    What a wonderful spot to visit and stay awhile. I see why the birdhouses are there because I imagine you get lots of birds staying around. Thanks for sharing with us.

  3. GeorgiaGardener 02/24/2012

    I live in Georgia and would love to visit this garden if Bonnie ever gives tours!

  4. tractor1 02/24/2012

    That's one of the nicest constructed water features I've seen. That the yard is a certified wildlife habitat I wonder what sorts of wildlife visits/resides. Those birdhouses are more whimsical than utilitarian, I think they're more for people than birds. Maybe if there were some bird feeders the feathered friends might take up residency but I suspect the birds are making their homes higher up in the flora. I'd love to know what kind of tree that is in the last picture and if it would survive my fridgid winters, I'd plant it in a NY minute, its bark is magnificent. I'd rank that as one of the more beautiful gardens I've seen here.

  5. terieLR 02/24/2012

    Great plant selections at the waterfall Bonnie. You are able to enjoy your gardens for a much longer period than we here in the notheast. Beautiful setting. Thanks for giving us a peek-a-boo into your lives. Enjoy your 2012 garden-time!

  6. snollygaster 02/24/2012

    I agree with tractor1 regarding the water feature. Such a treat to see one that credibly fits in with the landscape. Well done, Bonnie!

  7. studio27art 02/24/2012

    It's gorgeous, I llove the water feature but I saw pink adirondack chairs! I have done a wole painting series on them. 22 pieces and many in gardens....have to share this...

  8. greenthumblonde 02/24/2012

    That's a beautiful water feature. I love the way the water drops so far forward from the back. It's like a little cave behind the fall.

  9. sheilaschultz 02/24/2012

    Bonnie, your water feature is spectacular and your gardens are lovely. Lucky wildlife!

  10. greengrowler 02/24/2012

    I'm with the rest, that waterfall is to die for! As tractor1 observed, it looks totally natural; the surrounding plantings are so perfect which adds to the native feel. Bonnie, you were so wise to site it where it can be viewed from the front to back of your home - it's so serenely lovely and should be enjoyed as much as possible. Great garden!

  11. BonnieFH 02/24/2012

    Thank you all for your very kind comments about my garden. I do love my pond but I can't take credit for building it. The first homeowner had it sited in a perfect spot. We have continued to enhance it with a rock wall and an additional warerfall above and plantings around it to give the natural look. It is a delight. Regarding the question about the tree in the last photo. It is a river birch. The bark is an outstanding feature in the winter. I have 7 of them in my garden and have a love-hate relationship with them. In the south, they drop leaves in summer in the heat and every time there is a wind, they drop branches, so I am constantly picking up debris. But they are graceful and lovely trees. 'Dura Heat' is the brand I would select for southern gardens. To the Georgia gardener, I'd be delighted to share my garden with you this spring. Just let me know!

  12. Wife_Mother_Gardener 02/24/2012

    Your pond is so well executed! Beautiful and natural in its setting.

  13. willysmom 02/24/2012

    For Tractor1, the river birch (Betula nigra) is very hardy. I had several in my zone 4b garden in Maine and they thrived. I can't even imagine what gardening in zone 8a would be like!

  14. soilgoil 02/24/2012

    Yes, the waterfall and surrounding plantings are magnificent, but I love everything else I saw, Bonnie. The vine-covered arch atop the steps, the sherbert-colored chairs, the periwinkle birdhouse -- I could go on, but I'll just say that this is one of the best gardens I've seen here. Thanks, Bonnie, for sharing such beauty!

  15. dadeo1 02/24/2012

    amazing pond. dittos from the comments above. love it.

  16. terieLR 02/24/2012

    to tractor1: I am also tempted by the River Birch here in central NY although they do readily drop their little leaves early and more so when we have a dry summer. Their fasinating bark intrigues me just enough to try one away from the gardens... just to see!

  17. torg6 02/24/2012

    From another Bonnie to another: Love the gardens, especially the old and new lawn chairs to enjoy the view of the arbor and plantings!! Bonnie T

  18. janetsfolly 02/24/2012

    This makes me soooo jealous! River birch are a native species and are very tough. I planted a whip, nurtured it for one season, all good. Next spring my "assistant" bush-hogged it off! No problem, this was the beginning of a lovely clump, later pruned to three and now thriving. Good idea to plant them away from areas you don't want to clear little leaves from.

  19. janetsfolly 02/24/2012

    Might be helpful to tell you that I'm in northern Ohio, zone 5.

  20. tractor1 02/24/2012

    I have Silver Birch (Betula pendula) growing here in the Catskills, however I like the exfoliating bark of that River Birch. Yes, birch are messy, mine drop entire limbs... I recently had a large one removed as it was interfering with my utility wires. One of my Silver Birch was shown here a number of months ago dressed in its fall foliage.

  21. user-7006908 02/25/2012

    As I'm reading this, Bonnie, it is now Saturday and I'm heading up to Eugene, Oregon to go to the Hellebore Open Days at Northwest Garden Nursery! I am eager to see their new plantings and new hybrids. I'll be taking lots of pictures! thanks for your lush garden pictures.

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