Garden Photo of the Day

Revisiting Carol Jean in Wisconsin, Including a Before and After!

--NORTH SIDE OF YARD-BACK FENCE--7/31/13, This spring (with the help of a friend) I spray painted the back fence. I chose a color to match the weathered cedar in the rest of the yard, and it's a wonderful improvement. Wrens nested in the birdhouse on the fence.

The stroll down memory lane continues! Today we’re revisiting Carol Jean Kadonsky in Wisconsin. The last time we visited Carol was in February (refresh your memory HERE).

–BEFORE-TREE CUTTING–April 2012, my neighbor had all the trees in her yard removed (across my side yard and driveway.) 

Today she says, “Last February I explained the loss of shade in my yard, but this was the summer I embraced the benefits of a sunny yard. In May I planted many new daylilies; they need a couple years growth to have a presence in the garden.

–BEFORE– 5/24/12, My side yard was very compressed so the neighbor purchased landscaper mix for me to repair it. But I’d rather grow flowers than try to grow grass, so I planted a narrow border bed mainly with transplants from the back yard.

“With suggestions from the GPODers I also planted ‘Black Lace’ elderberry and ‘John Cabot’ explorer rose. Maybe I can send photos of them next year. My existing plants enjoyed a cool, wet spring and additional sunshine giving me wonderful color this year. The numerous rabbits and chipmunks are a challenge and that is why you see many cages protecting my plants.

–NEW BED– 7/29/13, Some of the plants in the bed are daylilies, catmint, bee balm, peonies, phlox, liatris, columbine, and lots of sedum. The shrubs are spirea, viburnum, ‘Little Lime’ and ‘Limelight’ hydrangeas.

“At the end of June I was told my garden was chosen as the August Garden of the Month by the local YWCA. Edging all my beds quickly moved up the priority list of things to do. I worked very hard in July but was pleased by August 1. People were welcome to drop in and tour my yard for the month of August. I met many wonderful fellow gardeners and they said very gracious things.

–ARBOR– 7/31/13, The arbor with ‘Flava’ trumpet vine on the right side. I lost 6 clematis this winter, including the 3 pictured in my previous submission. I planted Spanish flag on the left side where ‘Elsa Spath’ clematis used to be. I plan to plant more clematis next spring. Wrens nested in the birdhouse hanging on the corner of the arbor. 

“I still have perennials I want to move this fall. Several of the beds need some ‘tweaking’ but all gardeners feel that way.”

Even more beautiful now, Carol Jean!

–WHITE BED– 7/31/13, This year I started to change this bed to a white bed. New transplants were caged because of rabbits. The tree is a cherry tree and the chipmunks ate all the cherries (and my strawberries, blueberries, & now the viburnum berries.) The Diablo ninebark in the back to the right grew from 30 inches last spring to more than 6 feet tall this year. 

***We’re continuing our tour of Carol Jean’s garden tomorrow, including photos of her veggie garden. Stay tuned!***

You’re running out of time to take some photos in your garden! So get out there with your cameras and send some in! Email them to [email protected].

–WEST SIDE OF YARD-CRABAPPLE BED– 8/13/13, Last year I finally got to plant a flowering crabapple; I chose ‘Prairifire’. Along the chain link fence from left to right: Clematis ‘Mrs. Robert Brydon’, rhododendron, goatsbeard, Joe Pye weed, compact American cranberrybush viburnum, and ‘Dart’s Gold’ ninebark. Some of the perennials are red phlox, ‘Muscadet’ lily, ‘Strawberry Candy’ daylily (it bloomed for more than 6 weeks), ‘Prairie Splendor’ coneflower, and astilbe.
–WEST SIDE OF YARD-TRELLIS–7/9/13, I moved the ‘Sum & Substance’ hosta 10 feet north (right edge of photo) and it’s doing much better. I really liked TerieLR’s design of the clematis growing on a trellis against a tree (sorry to hear you lost the tree.) I also had seen a gorgeous trellis so I designed my own much simpler trellis and made it out of ¼” copper tubing. I planted Clematis ‘Mme Julia Correvon’ and morning glories until the clematis thrives. 
–EAST SIDE OF YARD-SUNNY BED– 8/3/13, Some of the perennials are false sunflower, daylilies, sneezeweed, dahlias, coral bells, lambs ear, and red switch grass. Behind the picket fence is my vegetable garden; to the left you can see the gourd vines and to the right cucumber vines. 
–EAST SIDE OF YARD– 7/31/13, The ‘Lavon’ orienpet lilies and the ‘Quick Fire’ hydrangea were beautiful this year. The fence panel in the background has the three birdhouses I made from old light fixtures during the winter months. 
–DIAGONAL VIEW– 8/13/13, On the right is the ‘Quick Fire’ hydrangea two weeks later showing much more pink. Across the path are black-eyed susans, sea holly, coneflower, and the violet/magenta phlox ‘Nicky.’ In the distance is the trellis covered with morning glories.
–PATIO– 8/13/13, I built the patio more than 20 years ago and my dad & I built the pergola 8 years ago. I’m moving hostas to the beds around the patio because it’s one of the few shady spots in my yard. I have a Dutchman’s pipe to plant on the pergola post on the left because Michelle’s is beautiful.


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View Comments


  1. user-1020932 10/01/2013

    carol jean, looks like you made the switch from shade to sun with NO problems at all. the adaptation of your garden is great and it all looks great . glad you were on the garden tour as it's good to share and to meet fellow gardeners. i wondered where you had gone as i missed reading your comments,,,,,,,,,,now i know where you were as you have been working A LOT in your garden. results are beautiful.

  2. GardenGrl1 10/01/2013

    Beautiful garden! I will be using some of your designs for my extra-sunny spaces next year. I cannot wait to see the veggies tomorrow. Thank you for sharing!

  3. gloriaj 10/01/2013

    As I looked at each photo, I could only say Oh my God such beauty. You have given me so many ideas. The colors and textures are beautiful. The transition
    from sun to shade was well done. Enjoyed every photo. Looking forward to seeing your veggie garden

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/01/2013

    Carol Jean, you have such a engaging "can do" spirit...I love how you have embraced your changed sun conditions and made your adaptations such a positive experience. Your new side bed is spectacular...has to make the drive up to your garage an ongoing delight (probably a challenge sometimes not to get distracted as you spot what new has come into bloom.)
    Yum, your 'Quick Fire' hydrangea is gorgeous...such a froth of sumptuous flowers...I adore it in both of its color stages. You have so much interesting and colorful plant material and lots of fun ornamental elements...your garden reflects a person who loves her outdoor spaces!

  5. wGardens 10/01/2013

    The fence looks GREAT as a backdrop for your garden in the first photo. And the garden looks fab as well! I also liked your before/after photos. Thanks for sharing again. Looking forward to tomorrow's edition!

  6. Quiltingmamma 10/01/2013

    What a lot of changes and adjustments, and you did a lovely job transitioning to a sun garden. This season what a blessing for helping to establish all the transplants and the plants hit so hard with last year's scorching summer. I really enjoy the amount of sitting areas you have created around the yard. Plenty of places to enjoy at leisure, and plot for future. I envy you the wrens. We don't get any in our area.

  7. mainer59 10/01/2013

    You are a brave woman to encourage visitors every day for a month! When I have been on tour, I can make it nearly perfect for a day, but a whole month of strangers coming through sounds hard from a maintenance perspective. Comment: if you haven't dug up the clematis yet, wait until next spring. They may pop up. That happened to one of mine a few years ago. If you had all the rain this summer, it was hard on clematis. They love moisture, but there were too many fungal things that came with the wet weather. None of my clematis were at their best this year.

  8. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/01/2013

    Really great and so mature looking for the amount of change it has seen recently. So glad you purchased the sambucus. I think you'll love it. It was fun to go back to the february post and remember that you inspired me to buy Lillium Lavon and clematis rooguchi. I hope my lilly grows to be as amazing as yours, and my (probably foolish) plan is to have Rooguchi scramble through my black lace sambucus. Thanks for sharing again!

  9. jagardener 10/01/2013

    Your new side garden is proof that you know how to take lemons and make lemonade. Each garden room is so pretty and full of ideas that we all want to use. Thanks for sharing.

  10. tractor1 10/01/2013

    Great photo compositions! I enjoyed the wide views that reflect your garden much more than the usual through the wrong end of the binoculars photos of individual plants... and your captions made the tour so much more personal. Here you've proven that it's not so difficult to have sky in every photo, kudos! Thank you, Carol.

  11. CJgardens 10/01/2013

    Thank you for all the nice comments. I enjoy visiting the blog and following the dialogues but I don't have internet access in my home so I catch up every couple days. But I hope to have internet in the new year and look forward to joining in on the "conversations." During August garden tours I was often explaining how I had gotten many of my ideas from a great garden blog on the Fine Gardening website. It was work to keep doing the deadheading on a daily basis and finding time to water. (July and August were dry in Wisconsin.) But the dahlias and phlox responded well and I still have many beautiful blooms on Oct.1. Along with the asters, sedum, roses, mums, reblooming daylilies, morning glories, etc I have lots of color in the yard. Mainer59, thank you for the tip on the clematis. I have not dug out several of the clematis and I will look for them next spring. I do have a couple small stems of the Rooguchi. It was a very busy summer but lots of fun too.

  12. CJgardens 10/01/2013

    Tractor1 I knew you would appreciate the beautiful blue sky in the "after" photo. I also worked at trying to take my photos in the early morning or late day. I found it very challenging and still took many of my pictures on overcast days. Found something else interesting this summer. The 'Nicky' phlox appeared deep purple in the early morning & late day and violet/magenta the time in between. I took pictures and it photographed as very different colors.

  13. annek 10/01/2013

    Your photo of the garden arbor is absolutely dreamy! You obviously put lots of effort into recomposing your garden design and your skill and vision shine through. Kudos to you!!!

  14. GrannyMay 10/01/2013

    Beautiful garden Carol Jean! You have done so much in such a short time, taken great care in choosing the perfect plants, and the results are outstanding. I'm looking forward to seeing what you have done in your veggie garden.

    I love your copper trellis, your home-made birdhouses, the deer fence (from your Feb photos), and your other innovative and artistic touches. I foresee a shrinking lawn area and more home-built structures in your future.

  15. sheila_schultz 10/01/2013

    Carol Jean, you do 'sun' really well! I love shade gardens, but having the option to go wild with color is a heck of a lot of fun. My back aches for you, though, just thinking about your crazy, busy summer... planting and transplanting, and keeping everything pristine for a whole month? Your labors definitely paid off, what lucky visitors!

  16. bee1nine 10/01/2013

    Hi Carol Jean, Totally enjoyed revisiting your more beautiful than-ever garden! Great job creating such colorful
    lushness within a one year's time to the changeover areas.
    Always appreciate seeing garden accents used throughout the
    gardens, as well. It's those personal touches I feel, that
    certainly add fun and happy extras among the plants.

  17. Hortbeardie 10/01/2013

    Lovely garden! I especially like that each picture has information on time, location and plants. That is so helpful and often missing. Great job!

  18. wildthyme 10/01/2013

    Carol Jean, you definitely have the adaptability you need to meet the changing challenges a garden presents: a tree gets too big and all your sun plants suffer and then it dies, and all your shade plants suffer! But that's what gives us the chance to try new plants, and you've shown that beautifully. I also like to see all the seating areas; shows you take the time to sit back and enjoy all that hard work!

  19. tractor1 10/01/2013

    Carol, I'm glad that you appreciated my photo hints. And now that I looked at the size of those trees I need to concur that their removal was a wise decision, they were much too near the buildings (and they look like they were leaning your way), had any fallen I'd hate to think of the result. Too often I see houses with huge trees right along side... perfectly healthy trees can easily become uprooted in a windstorm... tree roots don't go nearly as deep as most think and often soil is sandy so doesn't hold very well. Now without those menacing trees you've created a lovely sunny garden. Those trees weren't even very attractive anyway... now you might consider planting some small trees, I'm partial to dwarf and semi dwarf conifers, they add interest with snow cover and offer homes to many small song birds.

  20. ancientgardener 10/01/2013

    Your "diagonal view" was breathtaking. I must have a "Quick Fire" hydrangea and a "Nicky" Phlox even though I am too old to be planting anything new. It's impossible to quit being a gardener. Your interesting captions made your pictures doubly appealing. My tour through your garden made my day and I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I wondered about vines growing on copper tubing. I would fear it would get too hot for the plant. That trellis is a work of art so I hope it works.

  21. user-1020932 10/01/2013

    carol jean, i came back for a 2nd helping and it's still just wonderful.
    ancientgardener, we never get to old to grow new things and you're right it's impossible to quit being a gardener. my g'mom always said that we have to garden as if we will live forever. i have a 92 year old "garden wife" and i can't keep up with her/ she's a barrel of energy

  22. Cenepk10 09/19/2014

    You just gotta love when neighbors take down trees !!! Really helped your gardening ministry !!! Just lush and a feast for the eyes and soul.

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