Garden Photo of the Day

Yearning for the Colors of My Garden

Looking back at warmer times

beautiful bright purple flowers surrounded by green foliage

Today we’re visiting with Gail Bromer.

For most of my life, I worked, renovated an antique farmhouse in Connecticut, and was a mom to our growing boys. I created small gardens that our neighbors could enjoy as they drove by, adding one or two shrubs a year and a smattering of perennials. I had neither the time nor the money to do it any other way.

Six years ago we moved to the mountains of western North Carolina, bought a home that we’ve remodeled, and more recently, I’ve retired. Because I was creating on a nearly blank slate, and I wasn’t getting any younger(!), I didn’t want to wait too long to see results. I plant now in far greater quantities than ever before. It’s a whole new approach to gardening for me. I spend more time now designing my gardens instead of just walking through the garden shops picking up things that catch my eye. Five years ago I created our first garden area here, starting with 60 shrubs. I’ve since added eight other areas, including our front wildflower slope (featured in the GPOD here). I add in shrubs that have died, replace/move those that aren’t doing well, and can’t resist the occasion good deal back in the bargain section of my local nurseries.

In the growing season, I walk in my garden every day to see what’s new. What has come up? What leaves are showing? What flower buds? And every season I look to old favorites that bring those pops of color that I love so much.

frog statue in the middle of beautiful yellow flowersI love green on green and repeating colors. Here are creeping jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’, Zones 3–9), a yellow lupine (Lupinus hybrid, Zones 3–8), blades of iris (Iris hybrid, Zones 3–8), and ‘Emerald Gaity’ euonymus (Euonymous fortunie ‘Emerald Gaity’, Zones 5–9), along with the bronzy new growth of a Pieris ‘Cavatine’ (Zones 5–8), my ever-faithful garden frog, and the latticework in the background.

Picea abies ‘Acrocona’ (Zone 3 – 7). Lime-green new growth with pink pineconesIt just doesn’t get any better than Picea abies ‘Acrocona’ (Zones 3–7). It has lime-green new growth with pink pinecones against the darker green needles. Beautiful!

Tiarella cordifolia in dry foliage How sweet are these? Tiarella cordifolia (Zones 4–9) are consistent, long bloomers in my dry shade garden.

‘Popcorn Drift’ pink rosesI love surprises. The pink rose on the left was a ‘Popcorn Drift’ rose that reverted to its pink “roots.” It really pops in the spring with the multicolored pansies. (Editor’s note: Curious about this, I did some searching, and it seems that ‘Popcorn Drift’ commonly blushes pink in certain weather conditions and is yellow-fading-to-white at other times.)

Geranium sanguineum Beautiful geraniums (this looks like Geranium sanguineum, Zones 3–9) aren’t new, but who wouldn’t want some of this wonderful long-lasting color in your garden?

electric pink bee balm set against lady’s mantle and salviaAn electric pink bee balm (Monarda hybrid, Zones 4–8) set against lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis, Zones 3–8) and salvia (Salvia nemorosa, Zones 4–8). Wow.

Carolina allspice wet after just rainingCarolina allspice (Calycanthus [looks like the variety ‘Aphrodite’, Zones 5–9]) is my favorite find since coming to North Carolina. What beautiful blossoms.

rudbeckia and hydrangeas together in a fieldAs summer moves toward fall, the rudbeckia (Rudbeckia fulgida, Zones 5–9) create one last burst of color sensation, here set against the fading blossoms of an Endless Summer hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla, Zones 5–9).

I know it won’t be long now before I am strolling through my garden to see what’s new. Now I am pouring over back issues of Fine Gardening, looking for inspiration. Next month I’ll start pruning my shrubs, and by March I’ll be looking for some warmer days and the first shoots of daffodils. Happy gardening!

View Comments


  1. sagebird52 01/25/2022

    Wonderful colors and a terrific garden!

  2. Maggieat11 01/25/2022

    The Acrocona is fabulous. The Tiarella is one of my favorite plants. So beautiful.✨ Could you send in more photos to show how your landscaping fits around your home? Thank you for sharing.🍃

    1. shegardens 01/25/2022

      I had the same question, but if you go back to the link in the introductory paragraphs, there are photos from a previous GPOD which show the setting.

  3. User avater
    user-7007816 01/25/2022

    What a beautiful garden you have created in such a relatively short period of time.

  4. User avater
    simplesue 01/25/2022

    I enjoyed your garden story and all your beautiful garden photos! Just gorgeous!!!

  5. gardendevas 01/25/2022

    Lovely colors and textures, beautiful plants. Please show us more! Enjoyed seeing the overall garden setting in the link.

  6. sheila_schultz 01/25/2022

    I love the colors and textures of your gardens! They are visually beautiful, and the overall feeling brings a lot of comfort. Don't you just love the color and simplicity of the creeping jenny? Its' warm, yellow blanket makes everything rising above it a star in the garden.

  7. user-5117752 01/25/2022

    I can only say "ditto" to all of the above! Wonderful photos! Now, I'd be really eager to see how all those shrub plantings have grown and a larger view around your gardens. Maybe this summer?

  8. User avater
    bdowen 01/25/2022

    Gail, I just looked at your earlier post as well as this one. How wonderful that you have time, energy and space to create these wonderful gardens. Please continue to share as your dreams develop and grow!

  9. User avater
    treasuresmom 01/25/2022

    Love that ‘Acrocona’.

  10. Cenepk10 01/25/2022

    Beautiful!!!! Thank you !!!!

  11. btucker9675 01/25/2022

    What a wonderful garden you've created and I love, love, love your garden frog!

  12. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 01/26/2022

    Great photos. Thanks for sharing your garden :)

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