Garden Photo of the Day

Sarah’s garden in Minnesota


Today's photos are from Sarah in Minnesota, who says, "I started with an empty canvas of coarse sand that struggled to grow weeds about 6 years ago. Every summer I take out a new section of my yard by planting the shrubs and smothering the surrounding grass with cardboard and/or newspaper and covering it with the wood chips I receive from a local tree trimmer. Hooray for free wood chips! I really enjoy implementing the practices of permaculture and edible landscaping. On my little .25-acre lot I grow two apples trees, an asian pear, blueberries, honey-berries, raspberries, aronia berries, serviceberries, grapes, and nanking cherries mixed in with the ornamentals. While our growing season is short in central Minnesota, I enjoy the structure that landscaping brings in the winter, in addition to the ever increasing amounts of wildlife to watch as I sip a cup of morning coffee!" Wow, Sarah, that was a seriously blank slate, and you've transformed it beautifully!

SEND ME PICS OF YOUR GARDEN, OR A GARDEN YOU'VE VISITED! Email me at [email protected]. Thanks! –Michelle

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  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 12/11/2014

    Yes, indeed, Sarah, that elicits a big "Yowza" from me on the transformation....slates don't get any blanker than the one you started out with. Now you, your neighbors and your feline friend have wonderful things to look at. You have to be such an inspiration to the others in your neighborhood...esp. since there is so much beautiful garden landscaping going on in the front of your home. You have wonderful plant diversity and lots of joyful color. It always catches my eye when I notice that gardeners from the more northern states can grow hosta in full sun!

    1. user-7007076 12/11/2014

      Ahh, one advantage to our long and cold winters that I didn't realize...the ability to grow some hostas in full sun! The two hosta cultivars that do grow in full sun without getting burned at the edges grow a lovely chartreuse color in their stressed state with full sun. I am pleased with the color, yet I keep backup plants in better conditions.

      Thanks for all the kind comments everyone!

  2. user-1020932 12/11/2014

    that is seriously A LOT of work and with amazing results!

  3. hontell 12/11/2014

    wow, that is truly amazing. Great work, your neighbors must be jealous!

  4. GrannyMay 12/11/2014

    Congratulations Sarah! Your young garden is beautiful, and will continue to become even more so as the trees and shrubs mature. With all the fruit trees and bushes it will also become more bountiful. Cheers for permaculture and edible landscaping! Is Cat looking out over a vegetable garden behind the picket fence? You have a lot to be proud of!

    1. user-7007076 12/13/2014

      Yes, inside is a portager style vegetable garden. Thanks for the kind words! (I am definitely antsy for the trees and shrubs to mature.)

      1. GrannyMay 12/13/2014

        I hope you'll continue to send more pictures. It would be great to see it in different seasons and see your vegetable garden too.

  5. sheila_schultz 12/11/2014

    I love the view from the street of your home. It toys with us by including little bits of the landscaping in your backyard. The bees, butterflies and birds must think your yard is a 4 star resort during the spring, summer and fall. What a lot of work you have done in 6 years... it's definitely paying off!

  6. GrannyCC 12/11/2014

    Congratulations Sarah you have done an amazing job with your transformation. Love all the different colours and textures you have used. It is certainly more difficult to start with a blank slate but you have done it. I am sure we will see more as time goes by.

  7. perenniallycrazy 12/11/2014

    Such an amazing metamorphosis Sarah! Love the before, after, inside and outside shots. I hope amidst all this spectacular work that you are able to sit down inside and outside your home and enjoy it all. Can't wait to see other seasons in your garden. You most definitely have the gift of gardening along with lots of passion and love. Thank you for sharing.

  8. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 12/12/2014

    missed this post yesterday. That is a great transformation! I'm passionate about monarchs, so I loved that photo of the monarch with the liatris. Do you have any milkweeds for them to make more monarchs? Some species of milkweed are well-behaved, super hardy and very ornamental.

    1. user-7007076 12/13/2014

      I think milkweeds are beautiful and know just how beneficial they are. However, my native soil is so sandy that I haven't planted anything beyond the more drought tolerant butterfly weed. Yet, I'd love to hear your recommendation for well behaved and very ornamental cultivar! I'd be willing to better amend an area of soil in preparation for it.

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 12/13/2014

        I think your butterfly weed is probably the most well-behaved. I think there are a couple of different colors from which to choose. I think Asclepias sullivantii and A. hallii are more well-behaved, and most milkweeds are tap rooted and drought tolerant. My favorites are very poorly-behaved: A. syriaca and A. speciosa. Once established, they send out runners like crazy. has most listed. It's a fun resource if you've never used it. Photos, descriptions and sources. Happy gardening and happy holidays!

        1. user-7007076 12/13/2014

          Thanks Tim! I was unfamiliar with that resource, but it is now bookmarked. I was pleased to also find retailers of variegated comfrey whereas my previous searches were futile. Happy holidays to you too!

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