Garden Photo of the Day

Time Well Spent Gardening

Don La Grand from Costa Mesa said it well, "I guess when you love what you're doing time seems to disappear."

"When we purchased this house in 1986, it was in the process of being painted and then they stopped. It was 5 different colors when we got it. The yard was over grown or dead. The backyard was  un-level and the original fence was rotten. So I replaced the fence myself and I made it 1 foot taller than the original,then I brought in 30 yards of topsoil to to back fill the low area in the backyard. I also had to put a Barrier between the soil in the wooden fence to keep the new fence from corroding. Now with the new topsoil added and using my garden hose as a guide , I could lay out the flowerbed borders with the bricks that I purchased from home building supply place that was going out of business 2 years earlier.I got them at a super discount. Then I started the fun part of all of this. Choosing the foundation plants. I used Silver-sheen in the bank yard and birch trees in the front yard. Then over the next 5 years I filled everything in with shrubs, perennials and annuals. My yard here in Southern California is forever changing and now with water rationing going on here, I've got to think wisely about my plant selections.  This has transformed slowly over the past 30 years, but I've enjoyed every minute of the process. I guess when you love what you're doing time seems to disappear."

Have a garden you'd like to share? Please email 5-10 photos (and a brief story about your garden) to [email protected], or tag your photos on Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

Whether you've never shared before or you've been featured multiple times, we want to see your garden! You don't have to be a professional garden photographer – check out our garden photography tips!

Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here!

Hey, is anyone going to the Northwest Flower & Garden show? If so, please stop by our booth (in the seminar space) and say hi!

View Comments


  1. user-7007498 02/12/2016

    I love the curved beds to soften the straight lines of the house and the fence. The roses must be beautiful to see driving into the garage every day. I also love the mixed bed lining the street, extending from the fence in the 3rd photo. Thanks for sharing.

    I so love GPOD. Gives me inspiration each day, and definitely gets me through the winter.

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 02/12/2016

    Well, Don, your pictures show that you are a gardener who not only enjoys the creative process but also one who takes impeccable care of the finished product.Your brick edging really sets things off beautifully and was well worth the $$$ and your sweat equity to install. I'm not familiar with the plant you are are referring to as Silver-sheen so I am off to do a google's always fun to learn about a new plant.

  3. hontell 02/12/2016

    Don, the brick edging is awesome. I love how it snakes along your beds, very crisp.

  4. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/12/2016

    Time well-spent, indeed. Looks great and I agree that the shapes of the backyard border is wonderful. Have you lost many plants in the drought? I watched some other California gardens via blogs as they've adapted and kept their gardens looking great. Good luck!

    1. user-6294369 02/14/2016

      Tim, I hate to admit it, but yes. I lost one of my prized birch trees In the front yard and my avocado tree in the backyard.

  5. VikkiVA 02/12/2016

    Beautiful job Don. I love how you have outlined your beds. Your Dahlia bed is lovely. Is that a Crepe Myrtle I see blooming in your next to last picture? Vikki in VA.

    1. user-6294369 02/14/2016

      Thank you! You are correct. It's a crepe myrtle.

  6. GrannyMay 02/12/2016

    I love to hear the history of a garden and then see the results. Thanks for sharing, Don! I imagine that the young birch in the lovely photo of 2008/01/09 is now a handsome large tree. Do you still have the roses by the driveway?

    1. user-6294369 02/14/2016

      Yes. The photo of the roses is from last spring. Every January, they get cut back to 1-1/2 feet tall and stripped of all foliage. What you see in the photo is what they will look like came by the end of March.

  7. user-5357533 02/12/2016

    It's wonderful to see a Southern California garden. Sometimes I think the rest of the world stops at zone 9 and never heard of zone 10. I really enjoy seeing a garden that is well thought out and cared for whether its a 5 acre estate or a small apartment balcony. Thanks for sharing.

  8. greengenes 02/12/2016

    So much fun! Jobe well done! Thanks for sharing!

  9. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 02/12/2016

    Don, having just driven the length of CA last month, I'm surprised at how well you've managed with your garden. You said that you were going to be looking for more drought tolerant plants, so will you try more succulents? Love the way your borders meander and the stone that you used has held up very well if it's the original. What is the beautiful flowering tree in the middle of the yard? Thanks for sharing and getting us all "California Dreamin".

    1. user-6294369 02/14/2016

      Thank you for the complements. Yes more succulent and fountain grass type plants. I already have African daisies in the parkway that are well established now.

    2. user-6294369 02/14/2016

      Linda. Thank you for the complements. The tree/shrub depending on how you want to shape it, is call crepe myrtle. They have either pink or purple flowers.

  10. sheila_schultz 02/12/2016

    Isn't it fun to go back through photos of your gardens to see how much they have grown and changed over the years? You must be so proud of your own little garden of eden, Don. It's obvious it has been loved and nurtured over the last 30 years! Your neighbors are pretty darn lucky!

  11. Meelianthus 02/12/2016

    Don, your labor of love is so charming, lovely arrangement of flowers with beautiful colors. Amazing
    what a sunny garden can produce. I have very little sun here - but lots of water! I guess sometimes you have to trade one for the other., Your roses are amazing, beautifully done.

  12. User avater
    HelloFromMD 02/13/2016

    Really nice, Don. Love all the edging, something sadly lacking on a number of my borders. I especially like the street plantings, great billowing shapes.

  13. Cenepk10 02/14/2016

    Beautiful, Don. Drought? What drought..?

  14. user-6294369 02/14/2016

    Thank you everyone for all the complements. I Learn so much when I'm reading about all of your gardening styles and techniques also. We are a community and we can glean from each other.

  15. krissgandier 02/20/2016

    I can see a true love of gardening in all the work you've done over the years. I love your garden edging. It ties everything into a neat tidy package. I particularly love the picture with the weeping trees, and various perennials in your front, or is that your back yard, near a back laneway. Thanks for sharing!

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest

Shop the Store

View All Products