Garden Photo of the Day

Starting All Over in the Garden

A new garden after a fire

Today’s photos come from Joe Messina in Hobart, Indiana.

I’ve been gardening for approximately 25 years. Our home was destroyed by fire March 17, 2015. I basically had to start all over three years ago when we moved into our new home. It’s always a work in progress.

smooth hydrangeaLooking through purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea, Zones 3–8) reveals a magnificent smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens, Zones 3–9) in full flower on the other side of the garden. It is backed by a stand of orange daylilies (Hemerocallis fulva, Zones 3–9).

pink marguerite daisyPretty in pink—with a pink bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla, Zones 5–9) and a pink marguerite daisy (Argyranthemum frutescens, annual).

Raspberry-colored bee balmA raspberry-colored bee balm (Monarda, Zones 4–9) mingles with white goosenecked loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides, Zones 3–8). Both of these wonderful summer-blooming perennials are great, dependable performers. They also have a habit of spreading a little too aggressively, which makes them a great combination. They’re both vigorous enough to stand up to the other one!

This garden looks pretty amazing for being only about three years old.

blue bigleaf hydrangeaA lovely blue bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla, Zones 5–9). Remember that the colors of these hydrangeas is determined partly by the variety and partly by the soil in which they grow. Acidic soils promote the bluest flowers, while basic soils promote pink blooms. (Here is our guide to getting the most from your hydrangeas.)

A wide range of perennials ensures a long season of diverse interest in this bed.

In one last view, this garden is full of flowers to lure pollinators and gardeners alike.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 12/25/2019

    You have done a great job! Love that pink daisy & what I believe is zebra grass. I have that grass as well but mine is in a container. It is a good doer.

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 12/25/2019

    Lots of happy colors and very healthy looking plants. So sorry that the dramatic disaster of a home fire forced you to start anew. But you obviously have embraced the challenge and created much beauty in your new situation.
    Merry Christmas to all GPOD-ers who celebrate the day.

  3. User avater
    simplesue 12/25/2019

    Your love of gardening really does show for you to have made a new garden in 3 remind me of myself desperate for a garden after moving....I did the same.
    It's nice seeing the layout from above with the graceful curving borders to walk through and enjoy all the flowers.
    I think the combination of the white hydrangea with the orange lilies is just fabulously perfect. I bought some tiny little posts of Monarda the same color as yours, I sure hope mine look as good as yours! Thanks for sharing your photos, I've enjoyed seeing what a beautiful garden one can create in just 3 years!

  4. btucker9675 12/26/2019

    Like a phoenix, your garden is reborn!

  5. JanSuzanneDay 12/26/2019

    Wow... so beautiful! Inspirational!
    Everything looks so healthy!
    So sorry for the loss of your home and previous gardens.
    May every bloom in your new garden bring you much joy!

  6. cheryl_c 12/26/2019

    Joe, we share the experience of losing our home to fire - just 5 months before you lost yours. It is so good to see how you seized upon the positive and put in this beautiful garden. I love your plant choices and your garden art, and so appreciate your sharing your story with us.

  7. user-5117752 01/05/2020

    Bravo! You survived a terrible disaster and created more beauty as a result and in only 3 years! I, too, love your plant choices and combinations. The pinks of totally different sizes, the orange behind the white! Wonderful photos! Thank you for taking the time to share with all of us who love gardening.

  8. fredbarrett 04/21/2020

    Simply scrumptious!!!!! Marvelous color and combinations!!! So much in such a short, difficult growing season and from seed as well!!! And, 8 ball pool very best of all was seeing you, the gardener, the creator of all this beauty!!! Thank you for taking the time to share with so much important information!!!

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