Garden Photo of the Day

Spring in Deborah’s garden in Illinois

Here is a fuller view of the waterfall area and pool which houses water lilies and iris. Photo/Illustration: All photos courtesy of Deborah Rees

Today’s photos are from Deb Rees in South Elgin, Illinois. We visited her garden and admired her beautiful shed back in August. Today she’s back, showing us her garden as it wakes up this spring.

Peeking around the corner of the arbor, you see evergreens and the gazebo.

She says, “We garden in the upper Midwest so you can see our garden is just starting to unfold in these photos. I am the chief gardener and my husband has installed much of the hardscape, including the ornamental pool.”

View of gazebo and arbor from west border. The gazebo is flanked by a dwarf blue spruce and the serviceberry tree

Deb, I commend your husband for all of his work, in addition to yours. Your garden has beautiful bones! You are a very talented team. And ah, those tulips. So pretty and so extravagant for springtime, aren’t they?

A better view of the tulips, daffodils and grape hyacinth from walled garden in back of property

Share your garden story…. Email me with photos and words at [email protected].

A view of the walled garden area. A flagstone walk leads to a circle bed with an apple tree and dwarf purple iris. In the back bed you can see rhubarb coming up and I have planted beets and snap peas as well.
View of West garden from back of garden shed. As you can see, the flowers are just now emerging here.
View of back border and garden bench. The shrub on upper left in photo is an old-fashioned lilac.
View from side yard into back yard. Arbor is graced with a northern hardy rose on right and a silver lace vine on left.
Close-up of grape hyacinth and daffodils in background.
View of the patio and west border. The brown dwarf evergreens you see have winter burn. We are hoping they will improve as they put on new growth.
Train pulling into whistle stop. You can see some of the miniature foliage that make the scenes realistic in this shot. In back of the platform is veronica ‘Sunshine’ and a miniature conifer. To the left is the leaves of a dianthus that blooms in spring.
Engine chugging its way through thyme and passing another miniature conifer in the trainscape. Note that the train is currently under renovation due to the construction of the garden shed and it typically has several scenes along its route including a log mill, working farm and the town of Frog’s Leap.
View Comments


  1. SherylSherman 05/08/2014

    I LOVE when there are captions!!!

  2. NC_Yarden 05/08/2014

    A trainscape is brilliant. It makes me wish I could be miniaturized and get a whole new perspective of the garden...quite a surreal ride it would be. Thanx for sharing.

  3. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 05/08/2014

    Great structures, plants, trees and the promise of spring! Looks great. Love that serviceberry trunk.

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 05/08/2014

    So, Deborah, you and your husband are now in your second year of retirement (yes? based on your 2013 sharing?) and I bet you have found yourselves busier than you could have imagined! Now that the garden is waking back up, there are probably lots of ideas for new projects swirling around in your brain!
    The stone work in your walled garden is so handsome...makes such a beautiful backdrop for those colorful tulips. Good luck on behalf of your browned dwarf evergreens. Hope they flush back out and continue to make their contribution to your garden.
    I'm a big fan of your miniature trainscape and I agree with NC's be so fun to ride that train and watch the scenery whiz by.

  5. mainer59 05/08/2014

    I'm so glad you sent in the early spring pictures so that we could get a good look at the bones that underly the abundance in your previous post. I want to know more about the garden railroad. Is that a bridge going between the pools? Take photos all summer and send us a complete railroad post, please!

  6. tractor1 05/08/2014

    Who doesn't love a train... animation adds another layer of life to a garden. Deb, your train gave me instant flashbacks to a favorite, The Toonerville Trolley:
    Spring has sprung and is chugging along, very soon all will leaf out and be lush. Today I ache, I spent yesterday dispatching a 60' Norway spruce that fell across my forest path this winter.

  7. greengenes 05/08/2014

    Its springtime in your garden for sure, Deborah! What hope these pictures bring to ones ideas and creative juices! It sure is off to a good start! I love the idea of a miniature garden with a train scene. It seems miniature gardens here on the west coast seem to be becoming quite popular, but I haven't heard of a train in one. Its usually fairies or nomes. The rock wall is so nice! I know where you both will be for the next few months! Enjoy your gardens! We sure have!

  8. wildthyme 05/08/2014

    Deb, I would love to see more of your train garden. I helped my sister put one in her yard and it was so much fun. What is it about miniature scenes that are so compelling? Great rockwork, too. And don't worry too much about your brown evergreens; that happens here pretty much every winter and they always seem to green up. I take a broom to them to get rid of the brown needles, and that helps at least cosmetically until the new green needles fill in.

  9. Meelianthus 05/08/2014

    Goodmorning Deborah ~ I enjoyed the tour through your emerging gardens. Your stonework and garden structures are wonderful. You and your husband have done a lot of work and obviously really enjoy. I loved the train amongst the plantings. Is it an LGB? My son use to set his trains up in the gardens many years ago. It was difficult keeping the tracks clean so the train would run smoothly. It adds a touch of charm to your gardens and thanks for the peek.

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