Garden Photo of the Day

Waves of Coneflowers

An Illinois garden filled with masses of natives

Welcome to Genny Hood’s Illinois garden!

I live southeast of Mechanicsburg, Illinois, on a farm with my husband, Bill. I’ve been flower gardening for many years. In the spring, my garden is filled with hundreds of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, alliums, and others. In the summer, it is packed with a variety of different perennials, hanging baskets, annuals, summer bulbs, etc. I’m out working in the yard every day. It’s a true love and passion of mine. My garden is not really themed; it’s more like a rambling cottage garden. I have a yearly garden luncheon with coworkers. I’m not a master gardener or professional by any means; I just enjoy spending time in my garden. Just thought I’d share my pictures with you. I hope you enjoy them.

Welcome to the garden! This archway beautifully marks the entrance to a magical, flower-filled world. In the background, other pieces of garden art and architecture are in the same bright white, tying them and the whole garden together.

Genny’s garden is a prime example of the oft-repeated but so-difficult-to-follow bit of gardening advice: Plant in drifts, not just ones and twos! Here, huge sweeps of purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea, Zones 3–9) are breathtaking in their sheer profusion. I bet the pollinators love them too!

More purple coneflowers, mingling with garden art and zinnias (Zinnia elegans, annual)

Placing this pot of purple scaevola (Scaevola aemula, Zone 11 or as annual) up on a pedestal in the middle of the perennials turns it into a dramatic and eye-catching centerpiece.

A white fountain surrounded by a tidy hedge gives a sense of order and visual calm amid the abundantly flowering perennials and annuals.

Another mass of purple coneflowers looking magical. I love the variation in form and color, ranging from intense magenta to nearly white. Purple coneflowers often seed around when happy, and each seedling can be a little different.

A collection of bright annuals fills the summer with color.

In shade, the garden relies more on foliage than flowers, but it is no less beautiful.

No space goes unplanted! This narrow bed along the house is filled with hostas and gets height and interest from ferns in hanging baskets.


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View Comments


  1. sandyprowse 11/12/2018

    Genny, what a treat to see your delightful garden this morning. Out of this world! Fantastic to be sure. Also loved the corgi smiling happily. Thanks for sharing your garden with us.
    Sandy from Toronto

    1. Gennyh1 11/14/2018

      Thanks Sandy! I spend a lot of my free time out there working. I actually have 7 Corgis. I raise them. They are another passion of mine!

  2. mjensen 11/12/2018

    wow beautiful, purple cone flower is one of my favorite

    1. Gennyh1 11/14/2018

      Thank You! I'm actually going to pull some of them out next spring. They are starting to take over everything. They are so beautiful when they are all blooming though.

  3. garden1953 11/12/2018

    What a lovely garden you have created! I'm sure your co-workers must love when you invite them to enjoy it in the summer. I know I would! Yours is the kind of garden I love the most. Have a happy day.
    Cherie from Colorado

    1. Gennyh1 11/14/2018

      Thank You! Every year I do a Salad Luncheon/Garden Tour with my colleagues. Everyone signs up for a different type of salad. We all enjoy eating, walking around the yard and visiting. This summer after the garden tour, one of my colleagues asked if they could take their family pictures in the garden. Love sharing my special space!

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 11/12/2018

    Your garden is thoroughly delightful, Genny. In my imagination, I would walk through your graceful archway and just stand for several I took in the wonderland of flowers. Your swaths of coneflowers are mesmerizing in their abundant generosity. Your structures look beautifully your husband, Bill, the talent behind them? Being a Master Gardener is admirable but being a passionate gardener is equally so.

    1. Gennyh1 11/14/2018

      Yes, my hubby built my Arbor and the Pergola. He is super handy! He also built my flower cart with old barn wood. He's helped me a lot in the garden over the years. He installed the fountain years ago and trenched for the electric. He put the flagstone down for the different paths that are everywhere. It's up to me to do the planting, weeding and maintenance. Back in March he set up grow lights in his shop and planted a variety of annuals and vegetables, so late spring I planted all the zinnias, asters and marigolds that he started plus other plants. I maintained around 60 hanging baskets and potted plants, which many are not pictured.

  5. cheryl_c 11/12/2018

    Genny, your gardens show natural talent in combining colors and textures. I especially find creative your use of hanging baskets to get some height in the narrow space between your walkway and house - and your Corgi just adds to the charm! Since we are getting our first snow this morning, I find your summer pictures especially delightful. Thanks for sharing your garden with us!

    1. Gennyh1 11/14/2018

      Love my ferns, wish I had a good place to winter them though. They just make a mess in the house, so I just discard them and start over again in the spring. Love my Corgi's, I have 7 of them. I raise them, they are another passion of mine!

  6. User avater
    treasuresmom 11/12/2018

    Love coneflowers. But I have to say that I also love how you planted your hostas & then added the ferns. What a neat idea!

    1. Gennyh1 11/14/2018

      Thank You! I also use huge pots of ferns in the pergola and at another corner of the house where I have a raised bed.

  7. user-5117752 11/12/2018

    Genny, just love your garden, pictures and colors! Even though we're having a very rainy, gloomy day in WNC, you've put a smile on my face and joy in my heart! Thank you for taking the time to share your passion!!!

    1. Gennyh1 11/14/2018

      Flowers have a way of making people smile! So happy to share!

  8. arboretum 11/12/2018

    genny, what i learned from you today is your brilliant solution for bringing lush green height to a VERY tight spot! if readers look at that fern and hosta photo and hold up their hand to block the ferns, and then take away their hand, one can see what a huge difference is made by a lush repetition of height!
    thanks so much and congrats for your inventive thinking.

    1. Gennyh1 11/14/2018

      I'm glad you like it! Been hanging ferns on the north side for several years! They are a lot of work but so worth it! Usually water with the hose spray twice a day and fertilize them about every 10 days. Just wish I could over winter them. I over wintered some other ones last year that are not pictured in my husbands heated shop. They were quite sad looking but came out of it and were lush this summer. The hanging ones don't do very good and I lost them. So I usually just buy new ones every spring.

  9. wittyone 11/12/2018

    This is just fantastic! I love the drifts of coneflowers interspersed with shorter, less floriferous plants. The islands of calm, the fountain and arbor with the swings, make for a perfect combination of serenity amidst the energy created by your flowers.

    1. Gennyh1 11/14/2018

      Thank you for your kind comments!

  10. btucker9675 11/12/2018

    This is my kind of garden - like an impressionist painting! And it obviously makes your Corgi happy as well. Thanks for this colorful treat on a dreary rainy day here just south of Charlotte.

    1. Gennyh1 11/14/2018

      I actually have 7 Corgi's, I raise them! They are another passion of mine! I usually have to pen them up to work in the garden because they are TOO MUCH HELP!

  11. Maggieat11 11/13/2018

    One word..... FABULOUS!

    Okay, more words. You are very gifted in your ability to make such a wonderful garden! Certainly a huge treat to see what you have created and shared with us. Thank you so much!

    1. Gennyh1 11/14/2018

      Thank You! I loved planting new things to try.

  12. carolineyoungwilliams 11/14/2018

    Genny, I am in awe of your garden. It is beautiful from every angle. I absolutely love it. It must be glorious to wake up to this every morning. Thank you for sharing your beautiful creations. This have really lifted my spirit...especially since we woke up to snow this morning. May your day be as blessed as you have made mine.

    1. Gennyh1 11/14/2018

      Thank you! I'm also dealing with snow! Way to early for this to have started here! I just got my tulip shipment last week and was not too happy with them for sending them so late. Planted over 100 bulbs the day before it snowed, boy was I ever busy that afternoon!

  13. friendsalways 11/15/2018

    I am one of the lucky ones to have seen Genny's gardens in person. Unfortunately I have missed them the past couple of years due to working on the Saturdays she had her garden party. I have worked with Genny for many years before retirement ( go back and see her and others as often as possible) and something you should know about her, she is so creative on many things not just gardening. Her house during Holidays is just beautiful and when she does the whole office the same. So proud to call this wonderful lady a friend always. DChase, Illinois

  14. garden1953 03/14/2019

    Today is March 14th and we got about 16" of snow yesterday. Lucky for me I saved this Photo of the Day post for a day like today. I've really enjoyed revisiting your beautiful gardens today and I still won't delete this post because your gardens bring me joy and hope for spring. Would also like to see your spring bulb photos.

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