Garden Photo of the Day

Return to Keith’s Zone 3 Garden

A cold garden full of flowers

close up of various red orange and yellow annual flowers

Today we’re back to Keith in chilly Zone 3 in Canada.

Today I would like to share photos of the latest evolution in my garden that I didn’t have room for in my earlier post (Keith’s Zone 3 Garden) and some other random photos of annuals and perennials.

patio and deck covered in hot-colored potted plants

This area was probably the most eye-catching vignette in the garden up until 2021. In the spring of 2022 the ground-level deck, tiered plant stands, and pebblestone slabs all had to be removed because the wood on the plant stands was rotted to the point it was unsafe to climb up there for watering.

Not only is this garden challenged by the cold Zone 3 climate, but water is also an issue. Since we live in the country, our water comes from a well with limited supply, and it is ice cold. We collect up to 450 gallons of rainwater in four barrels. The vegetable garden raised beds and all the many containers are hand-watered with 2-gallon water cans. In-ground beds are in Mother Nature’s hands for watering.

After much discussion a decision was made to replace the tiered structure with a simple ground-level composite deck, which cut back our annual planting and daily watering tremendously.

wide view of the garden and deckThis photo is taken from a different angle but gives you a peak at the new composite deck.

close up of container planting with red foliage and red and yellow flowersI mentioned this container in my original post, but there wasn’t room for a photo. This was my grandmother’s cast-iron maple syrup cauldron. Here it is planted with a red canna (Canna hybrid, Zones 8–10 or as a tender bulb), Inferno and Wasabi coleus (Coleus scutellarioides, Zones 10–12 or as annuals), impatiens (Impatiens walleriana, Zones 10–12 or as an annual), and Zinnia ‘Zahara Sunburst’ (annual).

large Mexican firecracker vine growing on a birdhouseMexican firecracker vine (Ipomoea lobata, Zones 10–12 or as an annual) adorns a five-plex birdhouse that was a winter project.

potted plants growing up a garden arborIt is amazing how large Amaranthus ‘Tricolor’ (annual) gets in a large pot. It is sharing its home here with lime sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas, Zones 10–12 or as an annual) and Mexican firecracker vine.

close up of various red orange and yellow annual flowersHere is a typical annual bed since we changed our color scheme to red, yellow, and orange. Any blues, purples, etc., are perennials from before the change. Featured here are Rudbeckia ‘Cherokee Sunset’ (Zones 3–8, usually grown as an annual), ‘Love Lies Bleedingamaranthus (Amaranthus caudatus, annual), and Zinnia ‘Zahara Sunset’.

close up of Cleopatra canna flowerCanna ‘Cleopatra’ in bloom

close up of tree peony with bright pink purple flowersOne of three tree peonies (Paeonia hybrid, Zones 3–8) we have. There is also a red one and a yellow one. These are pushing the hardiness zone, but most years I cover them with Styrofoam boxes in the winter. I don’t get mortality if they don’t get covered, but they either don’t bloom or the blooms are sparse.

close up of orange Hotel California lilyMy favorite lily, Lilium ‘Hotel California’ (Zones 3–9)

close up of light pink clematis flowersI think this is Clematis integrifolia (Zones 3–8). It is a nonclimbing clematis, only about 3 feet tall. I have never had any luck overwintering a regular clematis.


Have a garden you’d like to share?

Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.

View Comments


  1. rosebudal 03/23/2023

    Wow! This is incredible. Curious, I checked Thunder Bay weather for today: a high of 36. That’s probably mind blowing for many readers! You’re really making it work for you, though.
    I’m curious about the maple syrup cauldron, which must be very special to you. Do you drill for drainage holes or just insert pots? Your paint choice was interesting too; I would have chosen a basic black, but I like your color.

    1. Oxdriftgardener 03/23/2023

      Thank you Rosebud. We talk temperature in Celcius. Right now as I sit here in Oxdrift with my morning coffee it is minus 17.5, which I believe is about 0° F.
      Yes, I did have to drill drainage holes in the cauldron. Funny story about that cauldron. There are no sugar maples in this area. My paternal grandmother moved here as young girl from much warmer southern Ontario and brought it with her. I had no idea that it was a maple syrup cauldron until I acquired it when my parents were selling the farm in 2014. When I was a child we hung it over a large fire and heated water in it for scalding pigs to remove the hair when we butchered them.

  2. MohawkValley 03/23/2023

    Very nice ! That's a good amount of hand-watering but we all know ,,, once must do what one must do . One of the best complimentary growths in your gardens is the backdrop of the pines . I always try to have nice backdrops for the foreground of colors . Keep up the good "work" ... Peace .

    1. Oxdriftgardener 03/23/2023

      Thank you Mohawk. The backdrop you are seeing is actually white and black spruce. We have been here since 1977. When we first carved it out it was much heavier to poplar but over the years as the poplar overmatured we have thinned it out and used it as firewood in the house and greenhouse. Nothing goes to waste

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 03/23/2023

    All that color is amazing!

    1. Oxdriftgardener 03/23/2023

      Thank you

  4. bdowen 03/23/2023

    My garden is mostly red/orange/yellow so I really enjoyed the colors in your photos, especially the rudebekia and zinnias photo. Something to look at again and again while waiting for warmer weather. I'm curious to know how long your growing season actually is, how long to you get to enjoy such beautiful color.

    1. Oxdriftgardener 03/23/2023

      It is usually mid June before we get it all out. In the earlier years we quite often got a frost in late August. Now it is usually mid to late September and occasionally beginning of October before we get a killer frost

  5. Goodyear 03/23/2023

    Wow! This garden is impressive and stunning.

    1. Oxdriftgardener 03/23/2023

      Thank you

  6. PlantHappy 03/23/2023

    Your annuals are amazing! Love the colors!
    I love doing containers and use lots of red and yellow too, including Cleopatra Canna and amaranthus.
    Do you grow any of the plants from seed?
    I love coleus, and grow Kong Coleus from seed every year.
    How did you get your coleus in the planters in front of the deck into that lovely tall mounted shape?
    So impressive! 🥰 🌺🌻🌸

    1. Oxdriftgardener 03/23/2023

      Most of my plants that are not started by cuttings, tubers or bulbs I start from seed. I buy very little from greenhouses.
      Those tall mounds of coleus that you are asking about are in large plastic bag planters with near 50 seedlings inserted in slits per each mound. They are from pelleted seed that has multiple seeds of 2 different colors of Vista, sun loving coleus in each pellet. I transplanted them into the traditional 6 packs with smaller size cells to make them easy to squeeze into the slits in the plastic

  7. User avater
    user-7007816 03/23/2023

    I will never complain about the limitations of my Zone 5 location. Stunning!

    1. Oxdriftgardener 03/24/2023

      LOL. Thank you

  8. btucker9675 03/23/2023

    Stunning garden and I love the use of your grandma's syrup cauldron - it's beautiful.

    1. Oxdriftgardener 03/24/2023

      Thank you

  9. User avater
    simplesue 03/23/2023

    You have such healthy gorgeous plants! I love your container garden of Coleous- so lush and healthy! Your clematis is also fabulous! You have also inspired me to get serious about getting a rain barrel.

    1. Oxdriftgardener 03/24/2023

      Thank you

  10. John_Seagle 03/24/2023

    I really enjoyed this a lot. Thank you for this fence installation company

  11. John_Seagle 03/24/2023

    Well, I love reading this. I would definitely follow you for more. Thanks for this tree removing

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest