Garden Photo of the Day

READER PHOTOS! Gina’s garden in Idaho

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Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Michael Toolson

Today’s photos are from Michael Toolson and Gina Wells in Boise, Idaho. Michael says, “In the spring of 2006, I was looking for a project that would afford me a degree of freedom to express myself as a landscaper, and that opportunity came in the form of a recently widowed Gina Wells, who moved here from the East Coast to be closer to her children.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Michael Toolson

She had just bought a house in the Historic North End of Boise that was devoid of all landscaping.  There was grass, an ancient Catalpa tree, a 1930’s fireplace and not much else.  She had some definite ideas – she wanted specimens of trees, plants, and flowers that she’d had in all the various places she’d lived to serve as reminders, but she knew nothing about what would grow in Idaho.  And she didn’t want a crew of landscapers.  She wanted one person to work with and share ideas.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Michael Toolson

“We didn’t have a formal plan.  We visited nurseries together and while I tried to educate her as to what would do well in our climate, she showed me what she liked, and more importantly, what she didn’t like.  She gave me enormous freedom and I put my heart into giving her my best work.  The result has been a happy collaboration.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Michael Toolson

“The yard changes from year to year, and draws compliments even in the dead of winter.  I never tire of this project and I look forward to warm weather when I can revisit old plantings and introduce new ones. Gina’s garden is a testimony to the importance of how the homeowner and designer must work closely together.”

Great work, you guys. It’s a beautiful garden. Thanks for sharing it!

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Michael Toolson

Want to see more of Michael’s work? Check out his website HERE. Or visit him on Facebook HERE.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Michael Toolson
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Michael Toolson
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Michael Toolson
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Michael Toolson
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Michael Toolson
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Michael Toolson
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Michael Toolson

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View Comments


  1. JTitus 02/21/2012

    WOW!!! What a beautiful job you did. Wish I had someone in Florida that could suggest plants and help me get my yard looking that good. Mine was a blank slate when I married my husband 7 yrs ago and it is a constant work in progess. Good job!!!

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 02/21/2012

    What a mutually beneficial and successful partnership Michael and Gina have established. He does wonderful work and she has great instincts on how she wants things to look. Michael is so right about it being important to pay attention to a client's dislikes when it comes to plant material.
    I enjoyed looking at all the garden areas and love the colorful and whimsical decorative touches. This definitely looks like a garden that is going to age well!

  3. annek 02/21/2012

    What a gorgeous honeysuckle (I believe that's what it is) growing on your outdoor fireplace. I'm so glad you kept that vestige of the '30's in your landscaping plan. It is charming. Your garden has such a wonderful overall effect. The teamwork and vision you both put into the yard really works.

  4. CarolynLas 02/21/2012

    Absolutely gorgeous, love the fireplace on the walkway!

  5. grdnldy 02/21/2012

    I love the use of dwarf conifers in your garden! It truly makes it a four season view for you and others -- absolutely beautifil!

  6. greengrowler 02/21/2012

    So many delightful elements to your garden - where to start? The continuity of the hardscape paths, the rainchain dropping into the "dry" streambed, and my favorite, the vintage fireplace seating area. I can see sitting there in the evening with a glass (bottle) of wine in front of a fire surrounded by beautiful gardens - can I come over now??

  7. andreabn 02/21/2012

    Lovely garden! I like the "layered" plantings and great use of space. So many nice features!

  8. sheilaschultz 02/21/2012

    Michael and Gina, you both are so lucky to have met, obviously you make an excellent gardening team! I especially like the side yard... you took a long, narrow, rectangular space then softened the edges with the curved path. Thoughtfully done.

  9. pattyspencer 02/22/2012

    Beautiful garden. I especially like the side garden - it has a very zen like feel to it.

  10. ladysha52 02/29/2012

    I love,love,love this garden, it is beautiful and peaceful
    looking espeialy the deck area. What is the weeping
    evergreen hanging over the deck railing. Wonderful colors.

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