Garden Photo of the Day

Rob’s Indiana Garden

Season-long interest from unusual plants

Hello! I am Rob Chambon. I have been gardening since the fall after my dad passed in 2001. My first place to garden was at Pine Bluffs, a heavily wooded area on a lake. This is where I learned what worked and did not work in shady areas. Over a period of 12 years, I built and installed a woodland garden I call the Secret Garden. It had nine seating areas, a full hammock area, a swing, 65 tons of rocked hiking trails, and thousands of native and nonnative rare and unusual perennials, shrubs, trees, and bulbs. Those were my “proving grounds,” so to speak, for my current home, where I continue to work on landscaping to this day.

In October 2017, I moved to my current residence in Bicknell, Indiana, four miles from Pine Bluffs. It was a totally blank slate, with only two daylilies and one clematis there when I moved in. There were no existing borders or planting beds of any kind. Blank slates are my favorite, so I quickly set to work planting a handful of perennials and shrubs that fall before winter set in. Since that initial start, I have greatly expanded my landscape to cover the three city lots that I own. I have just about everything from sun to shade, a unique and diverse mix of perennials, shrubs, trees, and bulbs that allows something of interest in all 12 months of the year.

I really enjoy putting my creative juices to work in coming up with combinations that work well in the garden and complement each plant in that particular grouping to the fullest. All gardeners love blooms, of course, but I believe that it is a plant’s foliage that carries the garden through the majority of the year. With that focus in mind, I try to come up with different combinations of plant colors, forms, and textures that create interest and beauty that is both eye-catching and unique.

Podophyllum ‘Red Panda’, Syneilesis aconitifolia, Phlox divaricata, Rodgersiapodophylla ‘Tien Tsin Red’, cinnamon fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum), and Epimedium ‘Sulphureum’.Podophyllum ‘Red Panda’ (Zones 5–9), Syneilesis aconitifolia (Zones 4–8), Phlox divaricata (Zones 3–8), Rodgersia podophylla ‘Tien Tsin Red’ (Zones 5–8), cinnamon fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum, Zones 4–9), and Epimedium ‘Sulphureum’ (Zones 5–9)

Fothergilla shrub, Spirea ‘Double Play Big Bang’, Orange Rocket barberry shrub (Berberis thunbergii ‘Orange Rocket’), phlox (Phlox subulata)Fothergilla (Zones 4–8) shrub, Spirea ‘Double Play Big Bang’ (Zones 3–9), ‘Orange Rocket’ barberry shrub (Berberis thunbergii ‘Orange Rocket’, Zones 4–8), and creeping phlox (Phlox subulata, Zones 3–9) in white and purple

Sieboldii primrose (Primula sieboldii), Trillium sulcatum, Phlox divaricata, Arum italicum ‘White Winter’Sieboldii primrose (Primula sieboldii, Zones 5–9) cultivars, Trillium sulcatum (Zones 4–7), Phlox divaricata (Zones 3–8) and Arum italicum ‘White Winter’ (Zones 5–9)

Weigela, ‘Sonic Bloom’, Siberian iris, Iris hybrids, Coral Knockout rosesWeigela ‘Sonic Bloom’ in pink and white (Zones 5–9), Siberian iris cvs. (Iris hybrids, Zones 4–8), and Coral Knock Out roses.

Amber Jubilee ninebark shrub with Alpenglow hardy geraniumAmber Jubilee ninebark shrub (Physocarpus opulifolius, Zones 2–8) with ‘Alpenglow’ hardy geranium (Geranium sanguineum ‘Alpenglow’, Zones 4–8)

Coral Knockout roses with Walker's Low catmintCoral Knock Out roses (Rosa ‘Radral’, Zones 5–11) with ‘Walker’s Low’ catmint (Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’, Zones 4–8)

Trillium viridescens (Zone 5 - 9) with Phlox divaricataTrillium viridescens (Zones 5–9) with Phlox divaricata

Azalea poukhanense, Phlox divaricata, Girard's Rose azalea, Tamukeyama Japanese maple, golden creeping Jenny, and Alice oakleaf hydrangeaAzalea poukhanense (Rhododendron yedoense var. poukhanense, Zones 4–9), Phlox divaricata, ‘Girard’s Rose’ azalea (Rhododendron ‘Girard’s Rose’, Zones 5–8), ‘Takukeyama’ Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Takukeyama’, Zones 5–9), golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’, Zones 3–9), and Alice oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia, Zones 5–11)

Primula japonica ‘Miller's Crimson’ & hybrid seedling, Heuchera, Phlox divaricata, and Othello ligulariaPrimula japonica ‘Miller’s Crimson’ and hybrid seedling (Zones 4–8), Heuchera, Phlox divaricata, and ‘Othello’ ligularia (Ligularia dentata ‘Othello’, Zones 3–8)

Caradonna salvia (Salvia ‘Caradonna’, Zone 4 - 8), Walker's Low catmint, Coral Knockout rose.‘Caradonna’ salvia (Salvia ‘Caradonna’, Zones 4–8), ‘Walker’s Low’ catmint, Coral Knock Out rose

Home Place GardensI call the side lot at my home “Home Place Gardens.”

View Comments


  1. sagebird52 12/27/2021

    Great variety and a delight.

    1. flowerguy 12/31/2021

      Thanks so much.

  2. User avater
    bdowen 12/27/2021

    Beautiful color combinations in your different garden areas. Looking forward to more views of your garden. Thank you for sharing.

    1. flowerguy 12/31/2021

      Thanks so much. I do plan on sharing other photos of my garden in the not too distant future. Stay tuned.....

  3. sheila_schultz 12/27/2021

    What a beautiful explosion of colors, textures and leaf shapes. You must be having so much fun eyeing all the spots in your yard that will become part of your masterpiece. Enjoy every moment playing in the dirt and allowing your soul to smile.

    1. flowerguy 12/31/2021

      Thanks so much for your kind remarks. Gardening really does it for me and makes me a very happy camper.

  4. user-5117752 12/27/2021

    I have to ditto what Sheila wrote. Just a delight to see. And thank you for taking the time to share all the details of each plant. You must be a very busy guy!!!

    1. flowerguy 12/31/2021

      Thanks for your kind words. You are so right. My garden does keep me on my toes!

  5. User avater
    simplesue 12/27/2021

    You've done a beautiful job on your garden and what nice healthy Shredded Umbrella Plant aka Syneilesis aconitifolia!
    I agree with so much with what you said about blooms and foliage, so true!
    I also enjoyed the story of your secret garden and now to your current garden.

    1. flowerguy 12/31/2021

      Thanks so much Sue! I love plant textures so Shredded Umbrella Plant is a "must have" for me. Love that foliage! Unfortunately, my secret woodland garden has been neglected in the past couple of years due to me being so busy developing & planting my current garden. Oh well, such is life! Thanks again.

  6. perennialgrdnr_z4b 12/27/2021

    Rob, Thanks for sharing your garden and plant combinations with us. I enjoy virtual visits to everyone's gardens and especially ones that share names and details of interesting foliage plants. I also am growing many of the plants you have chosen to grow and feature, because my garden also tends to showcase foliage throughout the season. I have also just planted the Rodgersia 'Tien Tsin Red' and a couple of new Podophyllums this year and I look forward to seeing them return in the coming years.

    Happy New Year to all GPOD gardeners!

    1. flowerguy 12/31/2021

      I am a texture guy when it comes to foliage, so I am naturally drawn to plants such as podophyllums and Rodgersias. I don't think a plant nut like me can ever have too many podos! LOL Sounds like we have common interest in similar shade plants. Very cool!

  7. btucker9675 12/27/2021

    Your lovely garden put a smile on my face - especially the primroses and the trilliums! Happy New Year and happy gardening to all!

    1. flowerguy 12/31/2021

      Thanks so much for your kind words! Trilliums and primroses are among my favorite spring blooming perennials. They are a "must have" in my gardens!

  8. Maggieat11 12/27/2021

    What fun to start with a clean slate. Great job...and thanks for sharing!🍃 Love your selections!

    1. flowerguy 12/31/2021

      Thanks so much Maggie! I appreciate your kind remarks. I always enjoy sharing photos of my garden with others. It's how we learn from each other.

  9. wittyone 12/27/2021

    Wow, this is spectacular and the area you cover sounds like a huge space to fill. I live pretty close Bloomington) and may just take off down your way in the spring and check out all those plantings. If you see a stranger wandering around out there, which probably happens often with all there is to see, it might just be me.

    1. flowerguy 12/31/2021

      Thanks so much. You are more than welcome to come tour my garden this spring. It's nice to know you live so close to easily make a trip for a stroll through the garden. Mid April to mid May is peak bloom and foliage time in the shadier sections of my gardens. Send me a message through Facebook and we can set up a planned visit. Bring your camera!

  10. User avater
    treasuresmom 12/27/2021

    Love your combination of nine bark with geranium.

    1. flowerguy 12/31/2021

      Thank you. As often happens, it was an accidental combination of a beautiful ninebark limb hanging down over the geranium to make for the very nice pairing.

  11. [email protected] 12/27/2021

    I also grow several of the plants you shared today, but I think I need to add that Coral Knockout rose. It goes really well with so many other plants, and really pops. Thanks for sharing.

    1. flowerguy 12/31/2021

      You're welcome. The Coral Knockout rose is the latest release in the Knockout series and also a favorite of mine. Looks great with purple and lavender colored perennials.

  12. pattyspencer 12/28/2021

    Beautiful garden - lots of variety

    1. flowerguy 12/31/2021

      Thank you Patty!

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest