Garden Photo of the Day

Wendy’s garden in Virginia, Day 2

The gravel path on a foggy morning in early May after a soaking rain. Columbines, Salvia greggii, and Dianthus 'Bath's Pink' in the foreground. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Wendy Kremer

We got to see what April looked like in Wendy Kremer’s Virginia garden on Friday. Today we get to see what happens in May, which Wendy says is her favorite month. I can see why! You’ll find much more info in the captions. Enjoy! And thanks, Wendy, for sharing your spring garden with us. Feel free to inundate us with SUMMER photos next!

Iris sibirica ‘Caesar’s Brother’ and Sedum ‘Frosty Morn’. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Wendy Kremer

***I’m getting so many great submissions, but I can always use more! Dig out your cameras, take a big long walk around your garden, and SEND ME PHOTOS! I love having more than I could possibly process to choose from. Thanks!!***

***One more thing…..have you always wondered what your fellow GPODers are like in person? Never thought you’d get a chance to meet them? Check this out…. While the GPOD isn’t officially a taunton forum, it’s close enough, and I wanted to extend the invite. Anybody at all interested? I’d be willing to search for some gardens to tour…

Blue columbine seedling with a backdrop of creeping Jenny. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Wendy Kremer
Baptisia australis, ‘Summer Wine’ ninebark, Allium multibulbosum, Gladiolus communis byzantinus, weigela, and budding peonies and nigella. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Wendy Kremer
Iris sibirica ‘Caesar’s Brother’ and Spiraea ‘Ogon’. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Wendy Kremer
Flagstone path with forget-me-nots, golden thyme, ajuga, and liriope. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Wendy Kremer
The main border hitting its May peak – blooming plants include Dianthus ‘Bath’s Pink’, Nepeta X faassenii, Geranium sanguineum, purple and white alliums, Gladiolus communis byzantinus, forget-me-nots, columbines, and siberian irises. Shrubs/trees: loropetalum, ‘Sky Pencil’ hollies, variegated red twig dogwood, boxwood, vitex and ‘Natchez’ crape myrtles. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Wendy Kremer
Seating area at the end of the path (In bloom: Allium ‘Purple Sensation’, Nepeta X faassenii, gaura, euphorbia, and pansies in the foreground, dianthus and geraniums in the background. Budding: Allium multibulbosum, Nigella damascena, Thalictrum flavum ssp. glaucum, siberian iris, and peonies. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Wendy Kremer
View toward the end of the main border – Geranium sanguineum, Nepeta X faassenii, Gladiolus communis byzantinus, Penstemon ‘Husker Red,’ Dianthus ‘Bath’s Pink’, Allium multibulbosum, siberian iris, nigella. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Wendy Kremer
Wider view of the curved beds and path. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Wendy Kremer
End of the path (siberian iris, alliums, gaura, nepeta, glads, pansies, santolina, Spiraea ‘Ogon’) with the main border in the background. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Wendy Kremer
I bought this little cat statue as a memorial to a beloved cat. She gets moved around the garden periodically. Here she sits in a clump of budding nigella. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Wendy Kremer

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  1. Annedean 06/03/2013

    Thank you for including so much information about your beautiful plantings. Inspires me!

  2. bee1nine 06/03/2013

    Hi Wendy, thanks for sharing your most lovely blend of April
    and May spring glory!
    I was quite taken by your cat statue and caption. So dear!
    This gives me the idea to do the same! Thanks again!!

  3. hortiphila 06/03/2013

    Wendy, I too have many of the same beautiful plants you have chosen, although sadly no Loropetalum in my zone 5b garden. The Hogarth curve on your path is especially entrancing, this line of beauty welcomes everyone into the spectacular scene you have created, adding liveliness and excitement. Magnificent!

  4. cwheat000 06/03/2013

    The basic layout of your garden is wonderful. It is a good reminder to think about the garden first, before diving into planting. From a distance, the colors that jump out at you are blue and gold. It is very soothing and one of my favorite combos. There are two plants in particular, that I envy in your garden. I have been waiting for 3 years now, for my baptisia to get going. I wonder if the soil I planted it in is too heavy. I also love the way your nigella has self sown. I hope my recent planting does the same.

  5. Wife_Mother_Gardener 06/03/2013

    Beautiful plantings! Love the iris with the spirea!

  6. WendyK_NoVA 06/03/2013

    cwheat000 it does take a good 3-4 years for baptisia to come into its own, and some years are better than others for some reason. As for the nigella, I started with one packet of seeds about 10 years ago and they come back every year reliably for me. I like how they soften and fill in the spaces and cover maturing bulb foliage even before they bloom. I think the nigella blooms, foliage and seedheads are all fascinating. Right now they are in bloom all along the path.

    hortiphilia and wheat000 - given the odd shape of my lot (sort of like an upside down kite turned on its side), having a symmetrical, formal garden lines was out of the question, but I've always preferred curvy beds anyway. I spent many hours creating curves with hoses and examining how they looked from upstairs windows, where you can see the big picture, especially the "negative space" created by the lawn.

    bee1nine and Annedean - you're welcome!

  7. DCNative 06/03/2013

    I'm a huge fan of gold/yellow and purple/blue... and it looks like you've had the discipline to stick to that combination that I strive for. I find it hard to ignore the reds at the nursery, but it looks so good when you stick with a color theme.
    I think my favorite plant is the Spirea 'Ogon'. It is the exact same color as my Tiger Eyes Sumac which is always a "hit" in a garden for it's bright chartreuse exclamation point. Congratulations on creating a peaceful path that invites us all Wendy!

  8. GrannyMay 06/03/2013

    Wendy, I love the feel of your garden as seen in the first picture. The misty weather, the path leading to a place to rest, the gentle colours of the flowers, all perfect. The garden seems to be taking a breather after the first flush of bright spring bulbs and blooms. I'm sure the brilliant summer flowers will soon paint a much livelier picture to enjoy in its turn.

  9. WendyK_NoVA 06/03/2013

    DCNative - your Tiger Eyes sumac definitely caught my eye a few weeks ago! I agree that chartreuse really makes things pop. A number of years ago I read some advice (perhaps in Fine Gardening?) to take some black and white pictures of the garden or change pictures to grayscale in order to see if you have enough contrast. If the pictures look flat and boring, more contrast is needed. When I did that I could see that I needed more contrast so I've added more variation in foliage color and texture (chartreuse foliage, deep reddish purple foliage, variegation, etc.).

    I'm obsessed with color in general and yes, I'm a huge fan of blue/purple and gold. I've been known to move or even remove plants if their colors don't work or if the undertone is wrong, such as ivory daylilies that bloom at the same time as bright white shasta daisies, or warm pinks too close to cool pinks. Reddish purple is my "red" in the garden. It plays nice with the blues and purples (makes me think of mixed berries) but still looks great with whites, golds, and pinks. I spray painted my table and chairs that aubergine color last spring and I really like how it echoes the deep reddish purple foliage throughout the garden as well as the reddish purple blooms like allium Purple Sensation.

    GrannyMay, yes that first photo was in early May - the calm before the big May show! Right now there is nigella blooming all along the path along with campanulas and peonies. Fog creates magic in the garden for sure. I wish we had more foggy days. I also have that nice "borrowed view" of tall trees back behind my garden. Beyond the fence there is a steep dropoff to a small creek.

  10. tractor1 06/03/2013

    Wendy, your garden is so personalized, it can't be mistaken for a mundane "professionally/commercially" built garden that typically looks clipped from trade magazines and nursery catalogs. I enjoy your wide angle pictures too, they do a lot to share your creativity. And I can now see that your path is not gravel, it's crushed blue stone, a lot better choice than concrete contractor's gravel. And I like your cat statue.. I think it's also in the 3rd photo down on the right. Thank you for sharing, Wendy.

  11. terieLR 06/03/2013

    Hi Wendy, Your artistic eye for gardening certainly carries though the camera lens. Great photography. I love everything about your gardens and want to add a wish... June/July ~ August/September, etc.? Thank you for enthusiastically sharing your knowledge and tips. You've enabled us all a fresh breath of Spring. And we breathe deeply. ;)

  12. WendyK_NoVA 06/03/2013

    terieLR thank you so much! I've been trying to learn more about photography and my garden is my favorite subject. I do plan to submit more pictures of the garden in the summer and fall. I also have a Pinterest board where I post photos of my garden:

    tractor1 you have an eagle eye! Yes, the cat statue is in that 3rd picture on the right side under the vitex and yes, we used crushed blue stone for the path. I always call it simply the gravel path. Thank you for the lovely complement about the garden being very personalized. I certainly feel that way. I wouldn't mind having access to (and the budget for) professional landscapers to add some interesting hardscape, however.

  13. User avater
    meander_michaele 06/03/2013

    Wendy, you have definitely created a very welcoming plant lover's paradise. Lots of my personal favorites seem to be yours also. The month of May really is a treat, isn't it? So many great plants in bloom and the temps encourage working like a maniac before the summer heat kicks in.
    I like that you move your cat statue around so that it is always surrounded by things at their prettiest. That's a lovely tribute to a much loved companion.
    I have a "housekeeping" you do anything specific when your geranium sanguineum is done blooming and the stems just seem sprawling? Every year I have a debate with myself on how aggressive to get in cutting them back. Some are located where it really doesn't matter one way or the other but some are in beds that I try to keep more orderly looking. Any tips would be appreciated!

  14. User avater
    meander_michaele 06/03/2013

    Wendy, just came back from your Pinterest page. What a treasure trove of great photos and super informative plant labeling. I really appreciate the effort you have put into it but I'm sure it was a labor of love. Your garden looks wonderful throughout all the seasons.

  15. WendyK_NoVA 06/03/2013

    Ah, meander1 such a good question re: geranium sanguineum! I've had the same debate with myself over the last several years. I've tried letting them sprawl, I've cut them back entirely and allowed it to look "naked" until a new flush of leaves appears, and I've cut them back a little at a time but I've never been entirely satisfied. It seems tidiest when I just cut it all back and wait for regrowth.

    At some point I also had acquired Geranium sanguineum 'Max Frei' which is a much lower growing hybrid and does not flop but has very similar flowers. It looks much better year around, but does not have the fullness, height and drama of the straight species. So here's what I've been doing. In areas where tidiness is paramount, I use divisions of Max Frei. I have another spot where I have a clump with two Max Frei's and the straight species planted together in a triangle with the species in the middle and back a bit from the two Max Frei. it gives more of a layered effect to the blooms and I chop off the stems of the bigger one when the flush of blooms is done but it still looks tidy due to the Max Frei. That seems to work well so I might try it elsewhere. I'm also trying a different experiment this year. I planted a non-vining summer blooming clematis (Durandii) near one of my geranium sanguineum and I am training the stems over in that direction to disguise the "bald spot" after I cut back the stems. I'd love to hear about it if you come up with a good solution!

  16. blue_nigella 06/04/2013

    Hi Wendy, thank you for all the imformation you included with your photographs. Your garden is so lovely! In picture 1 (left side) I like the 3 evergreen spires, punctuation points among the colorful flowers. I have nigella at any location where it self sows, even in the most inhospitable conditions such as hard clay and gravel; it still persists in blooming when only 2 inches tall.

  17. cwheat000 06/04/2013

    Wendy, thanks for all the info. I won't give up on the baptisia and I am encouraged to see what the nigella does next season. Thank you for all your commentary. It is great to hear what real gardeners do. I looked up some other varieties of nigella online. A white and black variety called African bride looks like a must try.

  18. User avater
    meander_michaele 06/04/2013

    Wendy, I appreciate you sharing your geranium saga...sounds like you've been wearing your problem solving hat long enough to come up with some good ideas. Your most recent brainstorm to use a non-vining clematis to fill in the bare spots left from giving the geranium an aggressive haircut sounds pretty've given me some things to think about...thanks

  19. WendyK_NoVA 06/04/2013

    cwheat000 that African bride nigella looks beautiful.

    blue_nigella, yes those tiny nigella seeds sure have a will to live and bloom! I've plucked a number of seedlings out of my path and you're right, it will even grow in hard clay, dry shade full of roots, pretty much anywhere.

  20. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 06/04/2013

    Wendy, doesn't look like I said anything about your lovely gardens. I was busy and I think I just gave a thumbs up and got to work. But just in case you check back to see if you have any late comments, it's a beautiful garden!

  21. user-1020932 06/04/2013

    great garden. i especially like the pathway to the seating area. nice variety of plant material and all your colors work so well together. i always end up with some oddball combo that nags at me all summer

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