Garden Photo of the Day

Saying goodbye to Cynthia’s garden in Rwanda, Day 2

The view from the center of the terrace in late afternoon. (June)

Welcome to day 2 in Cynthia Goodson's garden in Rwanda! In case you missed it, yesterday she said, "We moved to this house in Kigali, Rwanda, in 2011.  It is a diplomatic residence, so we use the terrace and garden for receptions and other large events fairly often. Over the last almost three years, we have made a number of changes to the garden, but the biggest were opening up the area in front of the terrace with grass and widening the planting beds along the larger lawn below. If you would like to know more about the garden, which we are actually leaving quite soon, please take a look at my blog, enclos*ure, and click on ‘Our garden’ under ‘Categories’ in the right-hand sidebar (or just click HERE). These photos were taken between April and November 2014." More info in the captions, and more photos tomorrow.

I know you're all partying like rock stars tonight for New Year's Eve, but while you're at it, make it your New Year's resolution to SEND ME PHOTOS OF YOUR GARDEN! [email protected]. Thanks!!

Come and meet up at the  Northwest Flower and Garden Show this year!

I'm scheduled to give another GPOD talk (A few of you will be getting emails in the next two weeks as I put together the slideshow…), and a number of people have emailed to say that they'll be at the show, and that they'd love to meet up with a bunch of fellow GPODers!

The RSVPs so far:

Glenda Curdy (Nurserynotnordstrom)
May Kald (GrannyMay) – tentative
Catherine Campbell (CrannyCC) – tentative
Tia Scarce
Jeanne Cronce (Greengenes)
Sheila Schultz
Shirley Graves
Chris Niblack (ChrisSeattle)


So…who else is going to be there?? Let us all know in the comments, and we can start planning an outing! Perhaps after-dinner drinks one night at the bar at the Sheraton?  I'll repeat this announcement for the next week or so, at least, and keep a running list of who's coming….enticement for even more people to come. Oh, and when you comment to say you'll be there, give us your real name so that I can plan name tags that include both that and your screen name…

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Descending the center steps and looking to the right: beside the handrail are purple-blue blooming Stachytarpheta.  Beyond them are blue Eranthemum nervosum shrubs and orange lantana to the left. (June)

Detail of the same area: to the lower right are blue Evolvulus with Stachytarpheta to its left. (June)

Cobalt blue Eranthemum nervosum shrub. (April)

At the bottom of the steps, looking to the right: the yellow flowers are double Rudbeckia laciniata or double cutleaf coneflowers, and the red blooms in the center – cascading down from the planting bed at the top of the retaining wall — are red and cream Russelia equisetiformis.  If you looked at the post from 2012, note that I did have the lamp posts painted dark brown – a huge improvement. (August)

Closeup of Rudbeckia laciniata.(August)

Red Epidendrum ibaguense orchids on the left. (April)

Closeups of Russelia equisetiformis and Stachytarpheta. (August)

Looking back toward the center steps: a large kale plant at the bottom left. (June)

Looking down the lower lawn from the north end. (August)

Looking down the lower lawn from the north.  We put two large clay pots among the tall pines at the other end. (August)

In the previous photo, on the left, there is dark blue Salvia guartanitica or black and blue sage and a peach-blooming abutilon. (August)

.  .  . and, on the right, purple coneflowers, which I grew from seed. (August).

View Comments


  1. Nurserynotnordstroms 12/31/2014

    How nice to have enjoyed these gardens with your additions for several years. It's so nice you have have so many photos to remember them by.

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 12/31/2014

    Gardening in a bona fide tropical country has to have been a fascinating experience and I'm sure there are pros and cons. I found the wide swaths of lawn to be a very anchoring element so that the lush plants beds had something to play off of. I'm quite taken with those wonderful tubular flowers of the black and blue sage. I think I've seen it offered for sale where I live as an annual but I've never bought one. Hmm, Cynthia, do I dare ask this question or will it sound too dumb?...ok, here pretty much everything a perennial in a growing zone like Rwanda's?

    1. GrannyMay 12/31/2014

      Michaelle, I wonder the same thing. I tend to think that all plants must have a natural lifespan just as animals do, so if the cold does not end their lives prematurely, they would live longer, but how long would be specific to the particular genus or species.

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 12/31/2014

        Well, at least I'm not the only one who's having a little befuddlement on this subject. Yes, it seems for my growing zone (6b), it's the arrival of freezing temps that brings an annual to an end but what if there are no freezing temps? I know further south, lantana become bushes and need to be pruned back so they don't get out of control large.
        One thing I do know is that my knees and back appreciate a little winter break although east TN weather can offer gardening days even in Jan. and Feb.

        1. GrannyMay 12/31/2014

          How appropriate to discuss the longevity of plants on the last day of the year. Having had a second cup of coffee and more time to think about it, I believe that we have become confused because we now grow so many things that don't naturally occur in our local habitat. We put them where they don't belong and have no idea how they would do in their own environment.

          Totally not about plants, but yet not off-subject, I am currently having a hot water heater replaced that suddenly reached the end of its life after 11 years. I'm trying to feel thankful that it lasted 3 years beyond the warranty and that it did not expire in the middle of my shower!

          1. User avater
            meander_michaele 12/31/2014

            Ahh, GrannyMay, your inner gardener optimism spills over to other aspects of your life...a blessing, to be sure! Yes, the timing of the demise of the water heater could have been worse. It always helps to look on the bright side.

      2. Cindy_at_enclos_ure 01/02/2015

        A number of plants that I think of an annuals at home may actually be biennials or perennials and, therefore, live much long here. Our Missouri primroses (a native American annual) seem to have the same lifespans here as they would in the U.S. I have some kale plants in the vegetable garden that must be about two years old now, but we keep harvesting their leaves. The stalks get taller, but they have never flowered. Our ornamental sage, which is sold as a bedding plant at home, will go on almost forever, as long as we cut it back hard every few months. Our yellow daylilies bloom off and on all year around, although they do not seem to be one of the re-blooming varieties that are sold in the U.S. I think the consistent amount of light (pretty much 12 hours/day) all year round plays a role.

  3. greengenes 12/31/2014

    Great way to end the year with your pictures, Cynthia. Iam sure you will miss this beautiful place. Now heading to Germany will be quite a change. I used to live there for a couple of years about 42 years, that dates me,ha ha..anyway the winters are so cold! But the countryside is beautiful! There are some great castles to see with old gardens and grounds that are a great inspiration. Some of the littler towns have nice "town gardens" right off the train stops. But iam sure there are new plantings now since it has been so long since I have been there. Their wine is so good too! Hope you enjoy your time there! Happy New Years!

    1. Cindy_at_enclos_ure 01/02/2015

      We are really looking forward to it!

  4. GrannyMay 12/31/2014

    Cynthia, I enlarged the photo of the vista "looking down the lawn from the north end" and became lost in the beauty of your tropical paradise. What a wonderful way to chase away the winter cold! Thank you ! Happy New Year everyone!

  5. NCYarden 12/31/2014

    Outstanding borders surrounding the lawn. Such a great mix of plants, which I assume is pretty easily done in the tropical environment - almost necessary in fact. I am pretty amazed at how tall the rudbekia are standing, especially considering it's a double bloom - impressive; must be something in the tropical air. You have created quite the oasis here, and leaving must be a bit painful. Hopefully the new owners will appreciate all your efforts; I know I would. Thank you for sharing, and Happy New Year. Happy New Year as well to all the other fine gardeners here - looking forward to seeing how our personal refuges continue to change in 2015.

    1. Cindy_at_enclos_ure 01/02/2015

      Our double Rudbeckias (a native American plant) are actually at about normal height. The double varieties were developed in the late 1800s and one of their common names is outhouse flower, because they were tall enough to help hide the outhouse. When we arrived at the house, we had two or three of them. But I divided the offsets several times and they have really multiplied.

  6. GrannyCC 12/31/2014

    Cynthis I have so enjoyed the sweeping lawns and the full perennial beds. Your Coneflowers , Rudbeckia and Salvia are amazing. You must have very rich soil. It doesn't seem as if Rwanda gets intense heat but maybe it comes at this time of year. I will have to refresh my geography. Good luck with your move.

    Happy New year to my fellow GPODs.

    1. Cindy_at_enclos_ure 01/02/2015

      Hi Catherine, We actually have rather so-so soil, but we do have perfect year-round temperatures (around 68 to 85 F) and good rain from about September through December and March through May. (During the dry seasons, we water minimally.) We also add a mix of manure and compost about every 8-9 months.

  7. Catasetumkid 01/01/2015

    Once again, orchids! Such a lovely placement in your lovely garden, too. Thank you so much for sharing. Best wishes and good luck with your move.

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