Garden Photo of the Day

READER PHOTOS! Verna’s garden in British Columbia

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Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Verna Collett

Today’s photos are form Verna Collett in Victoria, British Columbia. Verna says, “I’ve always been a gardener, having learned flower names in my grandma’s garden. We have an ordinary city lot here in Victoria, and since we have lived in the same house since 1963, I have created and re-created the garden several times, working always to build up the gravelly soil with amendments of compost, leaf mould, and so on.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Verna Collett

“Over the years, the trees have grown up and give lots of shade now. Coleus, hostas, ferns, and begonias thrive. I have many clematis vines, Japanese maples, hardy fuschias, and in the spring a good show of bulbs and hellebores. It’s a tiny garden that aspires to be like Butchart’s Garden (the famous garden showcase here in Victoria).

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Verna Collett

“We don’t do many veggies now that there are only two of us at home, but I have filled every possible space with flowers. Each time I edge the beds, the lawn area shrinks more. Now that I have retired, I find it possible to seed my own annuals and I “keep over” geranium and fuschia cuttings in my little greenhouse.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Verna Collett

“A big focus for me now is planting containers—lots of them. I love planning the flower and foliage combos. My daughter brought me the old ladder, saying “Mom can only go up with her garden now that all the flower borders and beds are full!” Despite the many urban deer (cute but very sneaky) who taste everything and eat even what they are supposed to avoid, we have lots of summer colour to enjoy from our deck, which we added when we did the reno on our little “starter” house. (We loved the neighbourhood so much, it is going to be our “finishing up” house!)”

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Verna Collett

Verna, I think this may be the most floriferous garden we’ve ever featured on the GPOD! So darned pretty, and happy. Thanks so much for sharing.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Verna Collett
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Verna Collett
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Verna Collett
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Verna Collett
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Verna Collett
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Verna Collett
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Verna Collett

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View Comments


  1. Jay_Sifford 09/03/2012

    Verna, you are so talented with annuals and your geraniums. I'm sure I speak for many in saying that we are envious of your climate there. Good job!

  2. joycedaffodilhill 09/03/2012

    What a wonderful splash of color, the use of similar and same repeat colors is very inviting. I think sitting on this deck surrounded by the scent of those flowers and enjoying a coffee with a friend would be heaven. Enjoy retirement and this lovely garden you have produced.

  3. studio27art 09/03/2012

    Oh my goodness! I have never seen such enthusiastic flowers! How do you manage the containers? (soil, feeding etc?) Mine just look wimpy most of the time next to what you have managed!

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/03/2012

    Verna, although you describe your city lot as "ordinary", what you have created within its borders is truly extraordinary! I am awestruck with how beautiful and bountiful your containers are.
    In fact, having spent one of the enjoyable days of of my life being mesmerized by a visit there, I can sincerely say that they are Butchart's Garden worthy (and believe me, there is no higher praise). I can remember so vividly standing on one of the elevated "cliffs" and looking down on a sea of almost never ending resplendent was amazing. I have to ask, do you revisit the Garden at least once a year?

  5. GrnThum 09/03/2012

    Happy, happy flowers! This is a tribute to right plant, right place. Here in North Carolina right now, you can almost hear the poor garden panting from exhaustion. Almost everything looks dreadful at this time of year and the mosquitoes are spoiling everybody's fun, so it was such a pleasure to look at the riot of color in your garden and just imagine those 70 degree sunny days that these flowers love. Like San Francisco, you can grow things up there in Vancouver that we can only dream about here. Great job!

  6. Steepdrive 09/03/2012

    How lovely, Verna. And having recently visited Butchart's Gardens I can attest that you took great inspiration from there and pulled it off magnificently. Are you sure you don't work there too? Thank you for sharing with us.

  7. pattyspencer 09/03/2012

    Wow - what colors! Your eyes must never get tired at looking at it all! For a "tiny garden" you've packed a lot into it but nothing (in my eyes) seems overcrowded. Bee heaven!!!!!

  8. Sewzie 09/03/2012

    Verna, Rarely do I comment on a garden, but this is really breath-taking! I love blue, and you've captured the most beautiful display of blues I've seen in a long time! I know it took a lot of work. Congratulations, and thank you for

  9. mainer59 09/03/2012

    I love color and I love your garden! What is that blue flower carpeting the area in the photo with the wooden steps and railing? Do comment on a previous person's question on what potting mix/ fertilizer you use in your containers.

  10. tractor1 09/03/2012

    Wow, how bright, where are my 'shades'? What a color palette, almost blinding. And if studio27art is wondering how those pots are fed to make their babies so healthy I'd venture with love and they're breastfed! LOL I really do like Verna's Little Boy Blue pond, it fits in perfectly, not at all pretentious. And that deck receives loving care too, looks like Michaelangelo Built That, and applies the wood preservative too. Those ladders are a great idea, won't be long Verna will put in a spiral staircase... two... one going up and another coming down. I think Verna's favorite color is blue, lapis lazuli blue! Thank you Verna... as someone said recently "You make my day".

  11. PeonyFan 09/03/2012

    Verna, this is a fabulous garden. I especially love the ladder of flowers!

  12. Anniesomerset 09/03/2012

    Michelle, please could more of your contributers to 'garden photos of the day' share the names of all their lovely plants? So many beautiful photos, but I need to know the names!

  13. user-908188 09/03/2012

    Thanks for the comments! Such fun to see the garden featured, I am honored.
    The blue flower is a Jackmani clematis (Mainer59 asked) grown from a cutting.
    Yes, we are long-time season pass holders to Butchart's Gardens and it is always an inspiration! (Wish I could borrow some of their gardeners!) We are blessed with the climate here and we do enjoy our garden refuge. Have to say, Victoria has many beautiful gardens. Verna

  14. wittyone 09/03/2012

    The only word for this is GORGEOUS!

  15. shirleyjean 09/03/2012

    I agree! This is the very Best ever offered!!! I've been to Victoria and Bellingrath (sp??) Gardens. I fell in Love with Victoria. The huge hanging baskets hanging on the lamp posts and flowers everywhere. I would give half I own to be able to grow half their plants in Central Texas. Penstemons, boy, I wish! To back up, we can grow many of the same plants but they are so stressed from our heat that their life is a blip on the screen. I saved every picture to use on my computer screen. I love the way she has used color combinations and how much thought has gone into planning where each plant is placed. What a gardener! Thank you for your pictures and keep up the good work!

  16. shirleyjean 09/03/2012

    Please excuse me!! Bellingrath is in Alabama and Butcharts is in Victoria. Both are outstanding, but Butcharts wins the prize.

  17. snollygaster 09/04/2012

    Verna, I'm a fellow Victorian and echo compeltely the praise given by the other GPOD'ers. Your plantings are outstanding. In our part of Victoria we haven't had rain since before Canada Day (July 1st) with the exception of a thunder shower shortly afterwards, so I can totally appreciate the amount of care and watering you must have applied to your gorgeous charges. You are a real inspiration for me to plant more containers. We shy away from it now due to the continuous need to water. Do you find it more difficult to for your containers to thrive in full sun? WE cannot get them to look that lush in anything but part sun or even part shade. Oh, and is your garden featured in any of the sponsored local tours?

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