Garden Photo of the Day

Susan’s garden in Washington

Today's photos are from Susan Elhardt in Washington State. She says, "My husband, Richard, and I bought this property in 2005. We have three, mostly vertical acres in Olympia, Washington. The steep slopes make everything a challenge, from weeding to mowing, but the views are interesting and it feels like we live in a park. The rocks are Kapowsin Blue from a quarry near Mt. Rainier and placed by our artistic rock man, Patrick Fanning." Yet another garden that is ripe for more posts, Susan. I know I sound like a broken record, but send more photos!

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

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View Comments


  1. annek 12/16/2014

    OH Susan, I love the dimensionality of your verticality (now THERE's a sentence). It makes everything so lush and vibrant. The colors are amazing too! what do you use to convince those hydrangeas to boast such a deep blue color? Excellent rock work! And yes, more photos are definitely in order

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/17/2014

      Ditto the everything Annek has proclaimed! Also wanted to say that your garden must smell heavenly - I see so many sweetly scented flowers and plants.

  2. Nurserynotnordstroms 12/16/2014

    Susan I can sympathize with you because we own the ravine behind us and it is very difficult working the hillside because it is so steep. Your gardens are lovely,are the rocks holding the hill or are they just to make each level more accessible?It looks like you use a small hoop house do you start plants in it or use it to winter things over?your sweet peas remind me of my Grandma I loved the scent they gave off,but I think the newer hybridized plants don't have the same strong fragrance. I love your viewing platform and the green chair how nice to sit and look over your beautiful gardens. Happy holidays to you

  3. user-7007327 12/17/2014

    Susan, I love all the bright colors, especially the blues. Is the red vine Virginia creeper? We have it in MS. A beautiful garden to live in.

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 12/17/2014

    I'm bonkers for your brilliant blues, Susan...those hydrangea blooms are positively electric and have my full attention! I'm with Annek in wondering if you do any soil amending to achieve the trueness of that blue? Your rocks are gorgeous and really accent that fern grouping in a particularly pleasing way. Yours is a garden that is just going to get more beautiful in the years to come.

  5. user-1020932 12/17/2014

    yet another beautiful garden to make me itch for spring. i will echo the bravos for the blues. the rocks are a perfect addition and my hat is off to your rockman, even with equipment it's a major job. you have obviously mastered vertical (or almost vertical) gardens. yours is a garden i would love to visit

  6. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 12/17/2014

    I can't really add much to the chorus here. Your park-like setting is stunning, and the blue hues-from the rocks to the foliage and flowers-are so peace-inducing. Did Michelle forget to say "dreamy"?!

  7. Jay_Sifford 12/17/2014

    I hate to not be unique in my comment, but the blues are awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  8. NCYarden 12/17/2014

    A spectacular garden with additionally spectacular views. Despite your topographical challenge, I'd say you devised quite the plan to conquer it. Great plant variety, and I can see the vertical aspect actually gives another dimension of depth to behold. And those rocks - drool. This garden seems like a real retreat...a treat over and over again. Thanks for sharing.

  9. greengenes 12/17/2014

    Your gardens are all so very nice, Susan! I love all the rock! Any future plans of a waterfall with a pond? The Virginia creeper is a pretty prolific grower! I have one too and it can do a great job of covering an area. Your ferns are beautiful too! Thanks for showing these to all of us! Happy holidays to you!

  10. cynthiabardoukalarge 12/17/2014

    So very beautiful, I can almost smell the sweet peas! What variety is your lacecap hydrangea?

  11. wittyone 12/17/2014

    This is just amazing. I can certainly see why you needed to have your very own artistic rock man in attendance. Your plantings are gorgeous and I too love the vibrant blues. What a wonderful little samari warrior on your deck railing. Is your artistic rock man responsible for him as well?

    Love it! More pictures please!

  12. VikkiVA 12/17/2014

    So nice to look at colorful flowers and foliage at this time of year when my garden is fast asleep. Your hard work has certainly paid off in a big way. Hydrangea are my favorite flowers and yours are drool worthy ~ such vivid color! I see you have several plants that I also have to include Autumn Fern. Mine has grown to the size of a shrub and I love it. Your use of the rocks is magnificent and of course I am lusting after rocks because we have no such thing here in coastal Virginia where I am. Merry Christmas to you & yours. Vikki in VA.

  13. GrannyMay 12/17/2014

    Simply beautiful, Susan! You and your husband cannot be afraid of challenges to take on three vertical acres - no gym membership required for anyone who does the chores there! The results of all the hard work are certainly worth it! In these summer photos the blue hues of the hydrangeas, iris, campanula and the rocks beautifully echo the blue skies. I imagine your deciduous forested area would have fall colour too. The Dark-eyed Junco seems to be happy with his perch. Do you have birds nesting in the nest-boxes?

    Would love to see more photos of your views and your garden beds in other seasons.

  14. GrannyCC 12/17/2014

    Love the sweet peas!! Also the other photos give us a wonderful view of your beautiful garden. The rock work is amazing and i admire your strength and determination to garden on that slope.

  15. maxinemitchell 12/17/2014

    LOVE the use of a stained glass picture in your sweet pea garden and the way you've mounted it in the frame, with the sweet peas climbing all around it. Also, you have quite a photographer's eye, capturing the best of your garden and the use of color and texture. Great job!

  16. schatzi 12/17/2014

    I can only echo everyone else's comments - gorgeous! Love the vivid blues, the ferns, the rocks, the view...but you must be younger and stronger (and braver) than me to tackle such a challenging site. Well done.

  17. Meelianthus 12/17/2014

    How nice to have a whiff of summer on this dark, dank Washington day and vertical makes for some very interesting scenes - your property is ripe for a waterfall. Now there's a big job! Lovely Susan, thank you.

  18. daisy8 12/19/2014

    I love your use of color in your gardens--especially the blues. Is your soil naturally acidic, or do you amend it to encourage such intensely blue hydrangeas?

  19. User avater
    HelloFromMD 12/22/2014

    Hi Susan, I like your selection of photos. One gets a strong sense of your overall place in addition to examples of choice plant combos. I really enjoyed the climbing sweet peas. Are they really fragrant? I haven't tried them since I was afraid they were too fragrant. But so beautiful. Do they flower all summer for you or do you follow them with another annual climber?

  20. foxglove12 12/24/2014

    So beautiful! The Sloping adds so much depth. Absolutely stunning!

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