Garden Photo of the Day

Sally’s Garden in Vermont

Fine foliage and flowers

Sally Matless is sharing some scenes throughout the year of her garden in Norwich, Vermont.

purple tulipA satiny purple tulip glistens with water droplets. How long do we have to wait until these start flowering again? I’m already over winter!

foliage plantsIn this wonderful mixture of different foliage plants, the dark purple leaves of Tradescantia pallida ‘Purpurea’ (Zones 7–10 or as an annual) and Oxalis triagularis (Zones 7–11 or as annual) contrast beautifully with the silver-patterned foliage of Begonia ‘Gyphon’ (Zones 8–10 or as annual) and silver lace fern (Pteris ensiformis, annual or houseplant).

Gold Nugget hens-and-chicksThis glowing hens-and-chicks (Sempervivum, Zones 3–9) looks like the cultivar ‘Gold Nugget’, which moves through various shades of yellow and green touched with orange through the seasons, with the brightest colors in the cooler months of the year.

Strobilanthes dyerianaWhen a yellow-green coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides, annual, perhaps the variety ‘Electric Lime’) combines with the electric purple foliage of Strobilanthes dyeriana (annual), who needs flowers? Both of these are usually grown as annuals, but cuttings will root easily in a glass of water to be overwintered on a sunny windowsill.

EcheveriaTender succulents such as this beautiful Echeveria (perhaps the variety ‘Ruffles’) can’t take frost, but they are easily overwintered indoors in cold climates and have leaves as beautiful as any flower.

Tuberous begoniasTuberous begonias (Begonia hybrid) have flowers that look like roses. They perform best in climates with cool summers, and as the name suggests, form tubers underground that can be overwintered to grow again next year.

purple bearded irisRich purple bearded iris (Iris germanica hybrid, Zones 3–8)

hardy waterlilyA hardy waterlily (Nymphaea, Zones 5–9) blooms in a water feature. You don’t have to have a pond to enjoy water lilies; many of the smaller hybrids will grow and bloom just fine in a water-filled container as long as they have plenty of sun.

Waterlily colchicumIt is easy to see how ‘Waterlily’ colchicum (Colchicum autumnale ‘Waterlily’, Zones 4–10) gets its name. The big, petal-filled flowers bloom in the fall, innocent of any foliage. The leaves will come up in the spring before dying back in the summer. All summer there is nothing visible above ground until these huge flowers pop up at the end of the growing season.

Ascott Rainbow EuphorbiaEuphorbia × martinii ‘Ascott Rainbow’ (Zone 5–9) has incredible variegated foliage from spring through fall. Even better, it is highly resistant to deer and rabbits.


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View Comments


  1. Rebeccazone7 12/29/2020

    I had to laugh, because I'm already about out of windowsill space and am running out of people to pass on indoor begonias to. I'm usually a fly by the seat of my pants gardener, but I'm already starting to plan...what? I love seeing these gorgeous pictures in the morning, but it's not helping the real view now out my window.

    1. vtbear 12/29/2020

      I too am out of windowsill space and every year I tell myself I will not bring so many annuals in to try and overwinter them and every year I bring in too many! The two coleus that I have kept going for years are ‘El Brighto’ and the lime green (maybe ‘electric lime’).

  2. PattyLouise 12/29/2020

    Beautiful! Love all of the purple!

    1. vtbear 12/29/2020

      I have a real weakness for purple leaves in the garden! I only wish there were more zone appropriate purple leaved perennial plants, trees and shrubs!

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 12/29/2020

    Love that colchicum. Even though it is rated for zones 9-10, if it is hot & humid where you live, they will not last past 1 year.

    1. vtbear 12/29/2020

      This is the second year for this colchicum bulb in my Vermont garden. It can be hot and humid here- but that could be a relative statement- 90s and humid are not a daily phenomenon here!

  4. Maggieat11 12/29/2020

    So gorgeous. Love your combinations. Thanks for sharing. Your gardens must be awesome. Wish I could visit!

    1. vtbear 12/29/2020

      Thank you!

  5. cheryl_c 12/29/2020

    I love your color scheme and your close-ups. Isn't Ascot Rainbow the most amazing plant - something new every season in the color department, and evergreen here in zone 6. I have only one, but am thinking I will add more as a repeating theme. Easy-peasy. Thanks for sharing on this dark rainy morning in the midwest.

    1. vtbear 12/29/2020

      Ascot Rainbow is one of my favorites even though it is not always reliably hardy here. This picture has taken in December when everything else in my garden was brown. Hopefully it will make it through this winter but if not I will buy more and try again! All the best!

  6. User avater
    cynthia2020 12/29/2020

    Sally - I love your combinations in Photo of the Day. I also really like the bright white of your water lily and looking at that photo is very calming. Thank you for sharing all of your hard work!

    1. vtbear 12/29/2020

      Thank you!

  7. user-5117752 12/29/2020

    Ohhhhh, such beautiful pics!!! And your combinations are marvelous!!! Winter has hardly begun and here we are wishing away our days 'til spring. I guess that's another gardener's dilemma. Just can't stay in "the now" and, here in the western part of North Carolina, we have about 4 months to go before digging can begin again. Maybe crocuses in March. Happy New Year to all!!!

    1. vtbear 12/29/2020

      Thank you! I as always am hoping for an early spring! Take care!

  8. User avater
    simplesue 12/30/2020

    I saved a couple of your photos! So pretty and inspiring and happy to learn of some new plants I could add to my own garden!

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