Garden Photo of the Day

Robin’s Ohio Garden

Favorite images from the gardening year


My name is Robin Leja, and I live and garden in Pickerington, Ohio. I call my place Robin’s Nest, and I maintain a blog called Life in Robin’s Nest, which I update at the end of each month.

Iris reticulata HarmonyThis photo basically illustrates the start of my gardening year. This is Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’ (Zones 5–8), which is usually the very first bulb to pop up in late winter, sometimes even late February, but usually early March. I particularly like to plant it under my ‘Angelina’ sedum (Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’, Zones 3–9), because ‘Angelina’ usually turns shades of yellow, orange, and red at this time of year and makes a pretty contrast with ‘Harmony’.

Forest Pansy redbud treeIn my front yard, I have a ‘Forest Pansy’ redbud tree (Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’, Zones 5–9) that is much loved by us. It blooms at the same time as my tulips and makes such a pretty backdrop for them. The white flowers are candytuft (Iberis sempervirens, Zones 4–9), and it pleases me how they bloom at exactly the same time as the tulips, making the perfect undercover. Creeping phlox (Phlox subulata, Zones 3–9) also blooms with them.

pink and red tulipsI’m a big fan of tulips, which I generally plant each autumn. I treat them like annuals, since they don’t come back as reliably as many people think. Most years, my best friend and I visit Holland, Michigan, during the Tulip Time Festival, where we wander the tulip fields in order to pick out the bulbs we’ll use that fall. This particular year I chose a color scheme of apricot and coral colors.

Princess Victoria Louise poppiesMay is one of the prettiest months in the nest as warm weather arrives and everything bursts into bloom. These are my ‘Princess Victoria Louise’ poppies (Papaver orientale ‘Princess Victoria Louise’, Zones 3–7). This started out as three tiny plants about five years ago and has since spread out into this display. I like how they look with my bottle tree.

nigellaAt the end of May, my nigella (Nigella damascena) comes into bloom. It’s a self-seeding annual that is prolific in my garden. I give seeds to everyone and still have plenty to spare. Its blue blooms are a sight to behold.

At Last roseJune is a particularly joyous time here in the nest, with a riot of flowers at every turn. This photo is a closeup of the ‘At Last’ rose, which is carefree and resistant to disease, and it blooms profusely all summer long. I highly recommend it!

clematis on a lamp postOn my front lamp post, I grow two different clematis, but they’ve become so intertwined over time that it’s impossible to tell which is which. On the front you see here, it should be ‘Jackmanii Superba’ (Clematis ‘Jackmanii Superba’, Zones 4–9), and the back should be ‘Polish Spirit’ (Clematis ‘Polish Spirit’, Zones 3–11) in honor of my husband’s Polish heritage.

Fire light hydrangeaThis is a front view of my bay window area. That white hydrangea is called ‘Fire Light’ (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Fire Light’, Zones 3–8), and I recommend it to everyone. It starts out white, then turns pink, and finally burgundy in the fall. It is ALWAYS full of flowers through the season, and they’re especially nice to preserve by drying.

monarch on sunflowersI grow milkweed, and I raise monarch caterpillars in my kitchen. I examine the milkweed leaves, gather the eggs, and wait for them to hatch, at which point I continue to provide them with fresh milkweed until they form their chrysalises. Once the butterflies emerge, I release them out in my garden. Often they stick around for photos before taking off. I particularly like when they pose on my sunflowers. I call this shot “Incoming!,” as I didn’t notice this bee coming in hot until after I saw the shot.

Talavery potteryWhat I liked about this particular shot was that it seemed to be a study in orange. I was sitting on the patio, and it just caught my eye—my discarded orange garden gloves, my ever growing collection of Talavery pottery, and my tricolor geranium (Pelargonium hybrid, Zones 9–12 or as an annual) in bloom, with the potted basil and succulents nearby, and even a couple of Oklahoma salmon zinnias (Zinnia elegans, annual) in the corner.

firelight hydrangeaHere’s my ‘Fire Light’ hydrangea in September. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to trial some plants for Proven Winners, and this was one of those. I give it a very enthusiastic two-thumbs-up. It begins blooming in white, then transitions to pink, and finally burgundy. It’s a very dependable bloomer!


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View Comments


  1. garden1953 02/09/2021

    I love your garden full of beauty!
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. daisy8 02/09/2021

    Lovely pictures. Does Firelight Hydrangea bloom on new wood? I mostly grow hydrangeas that bloom on new wood because the buds die back on old wood in Indiana. It looks like a nice one. I love your poppies & I’m adding more this year. Thanks for sharing your garden on this cold, snowy day.

  3. Rebeccazone7 02/09/2021

    I love love love the oriental poppies. Definitely on my list for this year. As an addendum, my longing for snow has been enough already.

  4. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 02/09/2021

    Great photos and lots to enjoy! Happy gardening!

  5. User avater
    simplesue 02/09/2021

    Just checked out your blog! So lucky to live a short drive from Lake Michigan, and I will be back to look at more of it!
    Love your pink Poppies, and the Love in the Mist! I save those photos for inspiration!
    Wondering what the names of the sunflowers are, so big and nice, and love the "incoming bee"!
    Interesting about the Monarch eggs and how you watch over them and tend to them until safe, was wondering what month all that takes place?
    Maybe theres more detail on your blog?
    I'm definitely going to plant some Love in the Mist after hearing about your experience with them!
    Oh and love the cobalt blue glass bottles and bottle tree catching the sun light, I too saved dozens of them for my garden!

  6. User avater
    treasuresmom 02/09/2021

    Love it all but especially that nigella. I really need to try those. BTW, I have followed your blog & Facebook page for a very long time. Great to see your here.

  7. btucker9675 02/09/2021

    Fabulous!!! Your garden just brightened my day! My bottle tree has mainly cobalt blue bottles from a Cava that I especially like... : )
    I'm going to try nigella now - that color is wondrous.

  8. carolineyoungwilliams 02/09/2021

    Robin, I really love your garden. It is so beautiful. The colors, plant selection and their combinations are absolutely beautiful. You have done an awesome job. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to seeing more from you.

  9. Musette1 02/09/2021

    your whole garden is gorgeous but that 'Incoming!' bee just makes me grin!

  10. user-7789761 02/09/2021

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful garden. You have inspired m

  11. user-7789761 02/09/2021

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful garden. You have inspired us. We live close to Pickerington so we know a beautiful garden is possible! BTW would you mind sharing where to purchase the rose “At Last”? Thanks

  12. Sunrosa 02/09/2021

    How lovely is your garden! Very inspiring. Ive fallen in love with the poppies, nigella and at last rose. Your green fingers are definitely blessed. Thank you for sgaring your beautiful garden

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