Garden Photo of the Day

Resetting the Border

Down the garden path through the seasons

garden in early summer with foliage from bulbs and perennials beginning to bloom

Kathy Schreurs in Sheldon, Iowa, is sharing her garden with us today. She wrote in right before the change from daylight savings time, and had this to say:

It’s that time again. This weekend we’ll be resetting our clocks, and we’ll be “resetting” this border too. Last week—after a long, slow, frost-free fall (unusual for our Zone 4b Iowa location)—a killing frost and snowfall pushed us toward fall cleanup. This week has been dedicated to removing annuals and cutting back perennials.

Next week we’ll be planting bulbs. I hope I’m not the only gardener who orders tulips in August with a clear mental picture of where each color and variety is going to be placed, and then when planting time arrives looks in puzzlement at the invoice, wondering, “What was I thinking?”

I looked to the photo below, taken last spring (May 12), in hopes that it would help me. (It didn’t. Apparently I’m going mostly with shades of purple for next season!)

grass garden path cutting through mulched garden bedsBut it did inspire me to submit photos of our “path garden,” all taken from the same vantage point, with a few details along the way.

close up of light yellow tulipsThis peony-flowering tulip (Tulipa ‘Charming Beauty’, Zones 3–7) showed up in my bulb order again for 2024. Behind it, to the left, our ‘Sun King’ aralia (Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’, Zones 4–8) is emerging. By midsummer it will be a monster, and impossible to ignore, even in the middle of vibrant annuals. They’re on the right toward the end of the path in the long view.

garden in early summer with foliage from bulbs and perennials beginning to bloomBy June 19 the tulips were gone and the perennials were filling in. The penstemon (Penstemon digitalis, Zones 3–8) and phlox (Phlox ‘Opening Act Pink-a-Dot’, Zones 4–8) on the left were playing nicely together, I thought. I deadheaded the phlox later, and it gave back some color on and off all summer. The annuals, in the left front, were just getting established. We had almost no rainfall, and it was a daily battle to keep plants alive.

close up of small purple flowers under large plant with bright chartreuse foliageI had planted ‘Unplugged So Blue’ salvias (Salvia farinacea, Zones 7–10 or as an annual) at the perimeter of the aralia, and they were winners all summer long.

deep purple clematis growing around birdhouseThe birdhouse at the top of the obelisk was home to a family of wrens by mid-June, and the clematis (Clematis hybrid, Zones 5–8) was in full bloom. The sweet peas I planted as companions didn’t thrive this year. Alas.

bright pink and purple flowers along grass garden pathBy July 16 the globe amaranths (Gomphrena pulchella ‘Truffula’, Zones 9–11 or as an annual) were making their presence known in a big way.

close up of pink flowers in the gardenA few new Tango lilies (Lilium ‘Tango’, Zones 4–9) showed up, and I’m hoping they multiply soon.

wide view of garden at summer peakThis photo was taken in July from a few feet to the right of the path. (That’s my husband beneath the hat in the lower right.)

small hydrangeas along a stepping stone pathBy August 12 a pair of ‘Little Quickfire’ hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Little Quickfire’, Zones 3–8) were showing off their delicate color.

close up of bright pink and purple flowersThe five globe amaranths, which bloomed right up until freezing temperatures hit, were attention-grabbers on either side of the path. The pollinators loved this spot.

various trees and shrubs with fall foliageAnd almost eight weeks later, here’s a final salute to the season. The path is hidden between the barberries (Berberis thunbergii, Zones 4–8) and blue spruces (Picea pungens, Zones 2–7) on the left.

trees and shrubs covered in snowFortunately the snow (from October 28) melted, and we will be planting our bulbs.


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View Comments


  1. user-7821942 11/23/2023

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful garden. I love the idea of showing the same area throughout the year. The 'Sun King' aralia is magnificent. Your use of hardscaping and color blend so well and your yard is very inspiring and inviting. Happy Thanksgiving to you and family.

  2. blondie3 11/23/2023

    Such a beautiful garden, I love the paths, it pulled me in from the beginning…love the gomphrena and the salvia, so “ cottage”, wondering if the rock path is hard to maintain, it looks very polished in the pictures…wish I could stroll those pathways….very well done.

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 11/23/2023

    What a treasure. Really lovely.

  4. User avater
    user-7007816 11/23/2023

    What a delight to walk down your garden path.
    Thank you for sharing.

  5. User avater
    simplesue 11/23/2023

    Oh my! What a gorgeous garden...I'm in love with your layout and plant choices. Love the seating area down the grass path...everything is so inspiring! And no you are not the only one that orders a ton if bulbs and then when they arrive wonder what were you thinking LOL!
    Also your cute house sits so perfectly in the garden, what an idyllic scene!

  6. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 11/24/2023

    Thanks for sharing your garden. Really enjoyed seeing all of your gorgeous plants and shrubs.

  7. xajolev946 01/14/2024

    Sounds good. mario

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