Garden Photo of the Day

Waiting for Spring in Massachusetts

Looking back at the beauties of last year

Exbury hybrid azalea

Today we’re in Massachusetts, visiting with Barbara Owen, who is looking back at last summer’s beauty in the garden while waiting for spring.

Virginia bluebellsThe Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica, Zones 3–8) came home to Massachusetts in a bag of dirt tucked into my suitcase when I was flying home from Indiana many years ago. This past summer’s extreme and unpredictable weather must have provided the right amount and timing of rain and sunshine, because both plants bloomed more than in previous years.

pink rhododendron bloomsThis rhododendron (Rhododendron yakushimanum, Zones 5–8) came from a big-box store, has been transplanted several times, and now seems quite happy in its current spot, where we can easily enjoy the magical transition from deep magenta buds to pink flowers transitioning to a delicate white.

Exbury hybrid azaleaEach time I walk out the door and see this Exbury hybrid azalea (Rhododendron, deciduous azalea group, Zones 5–8) backlit by morning sunlight, I have to run for my camera for yet another photo.

yellow irisSeveral years ago this yellow iris surprised me, appearing where I had no memory of planting it. I’ve rewarded its persistence by dividing it and moving it to a better location, where I hope it will be happy.

Miss Amelia pale yellow daylilyHemerocallis ‘Miss Amelia’ (Zones 3–9) joined my collection of daylilies last summer. I’m hoping her pale yellow will be strong enough in bright sunlight, yet glow in the moonlight or from lights from our nearby porch at night.

Strawberry Candy dayliliesThis clump of ‘Strawberry Candy’ daylilies sits just outside my kitchen windows, growing enthusiastically in a prime viewpoint.

double orange dayliyOne summer, my brother (Doug Downing, who has been featured on the GPOD as well) said he had to divide his daylilies. Soon there was a box of these treasures on my front porch, including this double-orange daylily (Hemerocallis fulva ‘Flore Pleno’, Zones 4–9). Gardens are wonderful when they can be shared!

clematis seed headI was going to deadhead the clematis (Clematis ‘Sunset’, Zones 5–8), but then I discovered this sculptural seed head and decided to photograph it instead.

Daucus carrotaSeveral of the carrots (Daucus carrota) decided to race through the summer and become beautiful Queen Anne’s lace–like flowers (they are related, I think). I’m wondering if there will be many seedlings this spring. (Editor’s note: Garden carrots and Queen Anne’s lace are essentially the same plant. Queen Anne’s lace growing on roadsides is descended from carrots that jumped the garden wall and went feral.)

bee on a pink daisyOur yard is active all season with rabbits, birds, butterflies, and bees. I’m not thrilled with the rabbits, but I plan to keep planting more flowers for the bees, butterflies, and birds. I’ve noticed several beekeepers’ hives on my neighborhood walks and wonder if they are the source of “my” honeybees.



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View Comments


  1. dceddowning 03/11/2021

    What a wonderful set of photographs! This the the kind of collection that makes you want to get put there and plant (as soon as the ground unfreezes) and then also makes you want to stop and look and linger over each beautiful blossom. Thank you for sharing this with us!

    1. bdowen 03/11/2021

      Thank you. You can imagine my smile when I found a tiny species crocus in bloom yesterday.

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 03/11/2021

    Love the pics. Thanks for sharing.

  3. User avater
    user-7007816 03/11/2021

    Wonderful photos. I find taking a camera out to the garden causes me to look for the beauty even more. Well done.

    1. bdowen 03/11/2021

      So true! And then there are the photos to carry us through a somber or snowy day.

  4. User avater
    simplesue 03/11/2021

    Beautiful "plant portraits"! So interesting to learn about carrots and Queen Ann's Lace!
    Love that orange double petal Daylily that your brother shared with you...never saw one quite like that before!

  5. gardendevas 03/11/2021

    So lovely! Thanks for sharing these inspiring photos. I also get some rabbit visitors. Thanks to them, the groundhogs and deer, I grow mostly “critter-resistant” flowers that they mostly “resist.” Also, I let my lawn go au natural, which provides plenty of clover and plantain for them to eat instead. The bunnies also love the violets that I let run rampant at garden edges and in the paths.

    1. bdowen 03/11/2021

      Not sure what happened to my first reply but I wanted to say thank you first of all then wondering if your list of "critter resistant plants" are ones that would work in 6B. And hoping you will share photos of your "au natural" lawn and garden paths.

  6. user-5117752 03/11/2021

    SimpleSue took the words right out of my hands!!! I love Queen Ann's Lace and haven't had success with transplants so ......... carrots, here I come!!! And that double petal daylily is exquisite! All the photos are wonderful! Happy spring to us all!!!

  7. carolineyoungwilliams 03/11/2021

    Barbara, your flowers are beautiful. I just love those vivid colors....and I'm with you concerning the rabbits. Thank you for sharing.

    1. bdowen 03/11/2021

      Thank you. Colors: reds, yellows. oranges! And everything in between. In my garden as well as in my closet.

  8. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 03/12/2021

    nice photos. thanks for sharing

  9. TimothyBatiste 03/13/2021

    Beautiful flowers

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