Garden Photo of the Day

Stars in Keith’s Garden

Plants that earn their keep in the garden

close up of bright orange rudbeckia flowers

Keith Irvine is sharing photos with us today—some close-up looks at the stars of his Zone 3 garden in Oxdrift, Ontario.

close up of bright red amaranthusI struggled for years to get a decent mature specimen of this variety of amaranthus (Amaranthus ‘Early Splendor’, annual). The secret to success for me seems to be to gradually replant them from small cells up to 4-inch pots in the greenhouse and then to add slow-release 14-14-14 fertilizer pellets to the soil mix for the final 4-inch pot. They seem to perform better in very large containers rather than in the ground.

close up of flowers with yellow and orange stripesI love these little show-offs (Gazania ‘Daybreak Red Stripe’, Zones 9–11 or as an annual). They look like each petal was meticulously painted with the brush of a skilled artist.

close up as lime green zinnia and bright red verbenaZinnia ‘Key Lime Pie’ (annual) with Verbena ‘Tuscany Scarlet’ (Zones 9–11 or as an annual)

close up of bright orange rudbeckia flowersYou’ve got to love rudbeckias. They are breathtakingly beautiful and have extremely long-lasting blooms. This one is Rudbeckia ‘Cherokee Sunset’ (Zones 3–7 but usually grown as an annual). 

close up of purple iochroma flowersThis iochroma (Iochroma hybrid, Zones 8–11 or as annual) was a late-season purchase. I had seen it earlier but passed because of price, but when my daughter gave me a gift certificate for that greenhouse for Father’s Day, it didn’t take me long to figure out how to spend it. It is a hummingbird favorite.

close up of bright red daylilyI don’t know the name of this gorgeous red daylily (Hemerocallis hybrid, Zones 3–8). It was given to me by a late gardening friend. I visited him in his final weeks, and he had his wife tag it for me to dig it up in the spring. It is a treasured memory of Bob.

close up of bright red and yellow false sunflower‘Fire Twister’ false sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides, Zones 3–9) is a new perennial that I just purchased last spring. It is nowhere near the bright red it was pictured as but is beautiful nonetheless.

close up of giant fleeceflower with pink and white flowersGiant fleeceflower (Persicaria polymorpha, Zones 3–9) is a “must have” perennial for large spaces. It grows 6 to 8 feet tall and at least 12 feet wide in my garden. The flowers come out white and last all summer long, ending up near brown by fall. This photo was taken mid-August.

mass planting of ornamental grass on front of trees and shrubs with colorful foliage‘Karl Foerster’ grass (Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’, Zones 3–9) is my favorite ornamental grass for Zone 3. It is extremely well behaved and not at all invasive. It’s resilience to wind and rain is simply amazing. At the end of a storm it can look all twisted and bent, but a day or so later it is standing stalwart again.

close up of container planting of various succulentsHere is a smorgasbord of succulents, hardy and tender. The specimen rosette in the middle is Echeveria ‘Ebony’ (Zones 9–11).


Have a garden you’d like to share?

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  1. MohawkValley 11/22/2023

    Very nice . I hope that the red day lily from your friend prospers for many years to come . Make sure to split it once every two or three years and you can spread the positive energy from your friend throughout your property . Love is infinite and easily spread among anything and everything one wishes ... Peace from the Mohawk Valley in central New York State .

    1. Oxdriftgardener 11/22/2023

      Thanks Mohawk. Peace to you. I always enjoy reading your comments to other gardeners

  2. sandyprowse 11/22/2023

    I must admit I was impressed with the beautiful flowers you have grown after viewing the map and seeing how far north Oxdrift. Ontario is (I am in Toronto and that is cold enough). I made note of the “Gazania” and will drop that into my gardening folder and purchase that next spring. I am wondering if the Iochroma is the same flower as is shown in the bridal bouquet photo I am attempting to attach.

    1. Oxdriftgardener 11/22/2023

      Thanks Sandy. Nice to hear from a fellow Ontarian. Hard to tell on that brudal bouquet, it is certainly elegant and would be nice to see in colour. It am wondering if it is honeysuckle

  3. perenniallycrazy 11/22/2023

    All wonderfully unique, vibrant and showy! Would love to see more. Thanks Keith!

    1. Oxdriftgardener 11/22/2023

      Thank you Cherry. Always enjoy your tasteful creations.

  4. User avater
    musabasjoosue 11/22/2023

    I always enjoy perusing pictures of your garden, Keith. Keep them coming. I grow a red daylily that looks very similar to yours called Seventh Inning Stretch. It blooms very late, often taken out by frost.

    1. Oxdriftgardener 11/22/2023

      This one is a late bloomer as well. Mid to late August

  5. btucker9675 11/22/2023

    Everything is so beautiful. Cherokee Sunset is a superstar - I have several in my garden and they never disappoint!

  6. User avater
    simplesue 11/23/2023

    Ohhh I like your iochroma, never saw one before! and wow your Giant fleeceflower is amazing, first time I ever heard of one!
    Love those succulents you have arranged- beautiful!

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