Garden Photo of the Day

Teresa’s Ontario Garden

A red barn makes a great backdrop for this garden

Trees turning autumn colors around a red barn

Today we’re visiting with Teresa Gordon.

We live in Zone 6, Thornbury, Ontario, Canada. We retired here almost five years ago and have been establishing a new garden. Leaving behind a house we had for almost 30 years along with an established garden was difficult. Now that we are living here and our garden is becoming mature, it makes the transition easier and very rewarding. I am the main gardener, but my husband helps a lot and is very good at the layout and hardscaping aspects of our garden. I especially like the backdrop of our old rustic garage, which adds to the garden.

A small red barn surrounded by snowThe backyard in winter is made a lot more lively with the red garage. The garage was this color when we moved in, and I plan on leaving it as is since we really like the color.

Perennial garden filled with flowersThis is my favorite photo from 2020. It includes Echinacea ‘Santa Fe’ (Zones 4–8), Rosa ‘Bonica’ (Zones 4–9), Rudbeckia ‘Indian Summer’ (Zones 3–7 but often performs as an annual), Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Fascination’ (Zones 3–8), summer phlox (Phlox paniculata, Zones 4–8), and dwarf grasses. The garden bird ornament was a gift from my sister, who is also a gardener and inspired me to begin gardening. It is made entirely from rebar and other rusted metals, and I have always loved it.

Dogwood tree with white flowersMy favorite small tree, Cornus kousa (Zones 5–8).

A path through a lawn to a red barn, flanked by flower gardensAlthough the property extends behind the garage, I have not gardened there except for a few raised beds for cutting gardens.

Trees turning autumn colors around a red barnThis picture was taken on October 25, 2019, and is one of my favorite shots of the garden.

late summer gardenIn this photo from later in the summer of 2019, the tall perennial at the corner of the garage is Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum, Zones 3–9), and the large, gold-colored plant is Rudbeckia triloba (Zones 4–8), which reseeds in my garden. The yellow plants in the front of the garage garden are annual marigolds (Tagetes).

purple delphiniumsThese delphiniums (Delphinium × elatum, Zones 3–7) were spectacular but, sadly, were knocked down, as I did not stake them.

Diverse flowers blooming next to a red barnIn this late summer shot of the garden, the long white wands are bugbane (Actaea simplex, Zones 4–8).

White daisies with a yellow center in front of yellow daisies with dark centersI enjoyed how the cones of the echinacea echoed the color of the rudbeckia.


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View Comments


  1. sandyprowse 03/03/2021

    Just spectacular. When I am around Thornbury on my next visit I will go slowly by your property now and admire it. I live in Toronto. Your photos came at a perfect moment when despair has almost set in from the cold. I look so forward to spring. You have done marvellous work in the garden. Congratulations.

    1. teresazone5ont 03/03/2021

      Please knock on the door or back gate and I will give you a tour. Thank you for your kind words and hang in there, milder temps are coming soon.

  2. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 03/03/2021

    Thanks for sharing your garden

    1. teresazone5ont 03/03/2021

      You are very welcome.

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 03/03/2021

    Two of those pics would make amazing greeting cards (do people give those anymore?). That winter snow and the fall colors are just out of this world. Thank you for sharing all of it.

    1. teresazone5ont 03/03/2021

      Thank you.

  4. sohappygardening 03/03/2021

    Love the garage. Your gardens are happy gardens. Keep on digging.

    1. teresazone5ont 03/03/2021

      Thanks you!

  5. Rebeccazone7 03/03/2021

    Kousa has been on my list forever...this is a reminder to follow through. I love the delphiniums, but sadly they do not do well with our humidity. I've resorted to pots and treating like an annual...As gardeners we learn to do what works where we are. You have brightened up my morning..thank you.

    1. teresazone5ont 03/03/2021

      I really recommend the Kousa. A good size tree is not expensive and really adds to the yard. It has wonderful flowers, attractive foliage with fall berries and great fall colour. Yes delphiniums are a lot of trouble but so gorgeous. Mine also do not last and I am now trying to grow them from seed so to avoid replacing them every couple of years.

  6. wittyone 03/03/2021

    I can see how a move from an established garden could be wrenching but there nothing more invigorating than a blank slate to work with. That darling garage was a perfect backdrop as a focal point and you've done a great job using it. Love the color!

    1. teresazone5ont 03/03/2021

      When viewing the house we entered through the backyard and when I saw the red garage I thought ‘what a fantastic backdrop for a garden, if the house is not a complete wreck I am sold’. Haha only a gardener would buy a house for the garden backdrop. Thank you for the kind words.

  7. JanetInCwood 03/03/2021

    What a beautiful place you have. I live in collingwood and will add some of your choices in my own garden. My girlfriend sandy above commented on your garden too - I’ll invite her up and we will both drive by your place.

    1. teresazone5ont 03/03/2021

      We love having Collingwood close by to visit. Please stop in and we will do a tour once the weather is better. Socially distanced of course! Saying you will add some of my choices your own garden is such a nice compliment, thank you.

  8. alicefleurkens 03/03/2021

    Teresa. Love your garden and the red barn. I also regularly send pictures to this website. We also go to Thornbury so once in a while to stay at the Harbour inn. Even though we don’t ski any more we like to visit. So we Will try to find you when there. We were there in Feb. 2020. Just before The 1st lockdown. The last place we went to.

    1. teresazone5ont 03/03/2021

      Please stop by on your next visit, the red garage is fairly visible behind the old BVO building. I will look up your pics.

  9. cheryl_c 03/03/2021

    Teresa, I love all your photos, and just can't believe you've accomplished so much in 5 years. My favorite is the one that points out the Joe Pye weed. Your garage is fab!

    1. teresazone5ont 03/03/2021

      Thank you, I love that photo and the Joe Pye Weed also. It is a great plant. It is wonderful to start from a bare landscape and watch a new garden transform the property.

  10. User avater
    simplesue 03/03/2021

    OMG your delphiniums are stunning! I'm so used to seeing my pathetic sun starved attempts at delphiniums...LOL!
    Your entire garden is a dream!!!!
    Even your garage is picturesque!
    I love every bit of it!

    1. teresazone5ont 03/03/2021

      Thank you for your kind comments.

  11. User avater
    eviekwhit 03/03/2021

    Always so lovely to see a thriving Ontario garden in zones 4-6. We moved from Barrie to Ingersoll a year ago to a corner lot with nothing but a horribly butchered Norway maple and well cared for grass. The house is in great condition... so l'm working from scratch on what to put where.
    Your beautiful garden inspires me with hope even if the delphiniums fell down!
    Evie in Ingersoll

    1. teresazone5ont 03/03/2021

      We put in one large border per year. Doing too much at once is just too hard to take care of as we give each new border a lot of attention the first year. It is always encouraging to watch an empty landscape transform. Best if luck with your new garden.

  12. btucker9675 03/03/2021

    Love your charming garden! The colors are glorious - made me happy just scrolling through.

    1. teresazone5ont 03/03/2021

      Thank you so much.

  13. bdowen 03/03/2021

    Inspiring to see what you have done in your new garden. I especially appreciate the photos through the different seasons, a reminder that there are gardens hiding under the slowly melting snow.

    1. teresazone5ont 03/03/2021

      Yes cannot wait for spring at this point. Thank you for kind comment.

  14. sumhillgardener 03/03/2021

    Your garden is total charm ! The bright and delightful garage makes a perfect backdrop for these exuberant flowers. Perfect in the Autumn especially, but you have year round interest . I love your garden !!!

    1. teresazone5ont 03/03/2021

      Thank you, it is so great to get all of this positive feedback.

  15. Maggieat11 03/03/2021

    Gorgeous. I wish I could visit....I love what you've done. Beautiful photos. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. teresazone5ont 03/04/2021

      Thank you so much, I am trying to improve my photography skills. So far it seems I just take hundreds of photos and eventually you end up with some good ones!

  16. user-5117752 03/03/2021

    Love your photos, love your gardens and simply adore your most charming red garage and how it's so much a part of your landscape, winter or summer. Thank you for taking the time to share such a delight!

    1. teresazone5ont 03/04/2021

      Thank you for your wonderful comments. Everyone taking the time to leave such positive comments has been very uplifting for me. It is so great to see your own garden through other people. I think we all tend to look at what can be done to improve our gardens and forget to focus on our successes.

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