Garden Photo of the Day

Robin’s Favorite Plants of the Year

Papyrus, coleus, and more

Robin Thistle sent in these images from her New Jersey garden.

I have been gardening for 40 years and always had a passion for plants, inspired by my father‘s farming family, my sisters, Fine Gardening, and recently Garden Answers.

My favorite plants this year were a couple of show-stopping 6-foot-tall King Tut papyrus (Cyperus papyrus King Tut®, Zones 9–11), Wicked Witch coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides Wicked Witch™, annual), ‘Lemon Coral’ sedum (Sedum mexicanum ‘Lemon Coral’, Zones 7–10), Playing the Blues salvia (Salvia hybrid, Zones 8–10), and a first-time variety pack of dahlias (Dahlia variabilis, Zones 8–10) given to me by my son and daughter-in-law for Mother’s Day.

front yard gardenHuge King Tut papyrus in pots flanking the front walk make a dramatic statement on the way up to the house. Two plantings of ‘Lemon Coral’ sedum in front add a bright yellow-green color that almost looks like patches of sunlight.

Wicked Witch coleusWicked Witch coleus has beautiful frilled leaf margins edged in green. The annual plantings here are backed by perennials and shrubs for long-lasting beauty.

A look up at one of the King Tut papyrus shows its unusual structure. This is a water-loving plant that can grow happily in standing water, ponds, or bogs. If you like the look but this variety is too big for your garden, check out some of the smaller selections that are available.

fall window boxA window box planted for the cool season, with a lovely ornamental cabbage (Brassica oleracea, cool season annual) taking center stage.

pink dahliaA spectacular dahlia, beautiful in the garden or as a cut flower. At the end of the season, the tubers can be dug and stored for the winter for replanting next year. (See our video guide on how to do that.)

annuals and perennialsFreely mixing annuals, perennials, and shrubs is a great way to get a garden that looks good all year. The annuals provide intense color during the warm months against the steady backdrop of the shrubs and perennials.


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.

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View Comments


  1. sagebird52 10/15/2020

    Beautiful - I like especially that big ? hydrangea in the background and the ? purple wave petunia in front.

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    treasuresmom 10/15/2020

    Wow! Amazing!

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    simplesue 10/15/2020

    You have such a tasteful sense of landscaping! What a beautiful front garden! Those two pots of Papyrus make such an architectural statement- like living sculptures!
    Everything is so healthy and perfect!

  4. mischael 10/15/2020


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    cynthia2020 10/15/2020

    Robin - your front garden is so inviting. I like how you have a wide path to the front door. I have seen King Tut papyrus in a lush flower bed at a business I frequently pass on walks - now I know it can do well in a container! Your photo of the coleus really shows off the ruffles. And your window box is so cheerful! Thanks for sharing.

  6. btucker9675 10/15/2020

    Your gorgeous garden has made me homesick for my New Jersey garden - such good soil! I had papyrus along the edges of the small pond/stream we had along the back of our property there. Your home and garden are a testament to your gardening skills - thanks for sharing!

  7. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/15/2020

    Love the upshot through the King Tut "bloom" heads...makes me feel like I am entering into the world of a Dr Seuss story. I've grown 'Baby Tut' but have always been scared off by it's bigger relative. You've made a believer out of me. Thanks for sharing.

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