Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Now and Then

I've been inundating you with The Susans for weeks!
You've been very good sports.

But then, you are used to my sharing my favorites from time to time.
Believe me, if Practically Perfect Pink Phlox was still in bloom
photos would be posted daily!

I'll show this gratuitous butterfly photo!
He did perch prettily on the lantana that
happens to live in the Susans Bed!

Speaking of the Susans!
Would you like to see a photo of the garden's first summer?

First a little back story
My first garden was a daylily garden.
They lined a sidewalk that led past a desolate foundation planting.
But, they couldn't take the attention away from the awful foundation!
They were eventually replaced by the front porch and a new stone path!
You can go here or here for those stories!

I built a raised bed for all my beloved daylilies!


It wasn't The Susan's Bed then.
It was quite a bit smaller and
the primary flowering plants were
iris, the daylilies and a few butterfly weeds....
and a giant Zebra Grass that I pulled out.
I'm pretty sure there were Susans,
but, not like now;-)

How did it get from that to this?

or, this

Plants just seem to follow me home.
So I built them a place to live!

I expanded just a bit!

I kept the daylilies and
added as many favorite native shrubs and perennials
and exotics that I could squeeze into the space!
The garden kept widening;
until, I hit limestone bedrock too heavy to remove and had to stop!

Which brings me to the next project~~the stock pond!
Coming soon! I hope!


"There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments." -- Janet Kilburn Phillips


  1. I like seeing your before pictures. I regret that I do not have more of my own garden in its unimproved state. I was so anxious to get things changed, I did not stop to take any pictures to share. The before images of the former owner's half dead arborvitaes, overgrown photinias, rotting landscape timbers and boring hollies are all imprinted in my brain.

    I look forward to seeing your stock tank project.

  2. It all looks so nice. I really love the meadow approach to adding lots of color.

  3. If you look in your last photo real close you may have found gold, or at least the end of a rainbow! I really like the Susans en mass!

  4. Oh Gail, how we love to see the before and after pictures! I know there are other things in there, I even planted some myself, but it is a sea of susans. So sweet and sensational. I can't wait to hear about the stock tank pond plans! :-)

  5. I love the Susans so anytime you post them I enjoy(-: I love sunflowers and they are like little sunflowers to me(-: So cheery and bright!
    For some reason they don't want to grow here. I don't know why! I keep trying though.(-: It could be that it is to hot and dry.
    I love your before and after photos!!!(-:

  6. your susie's are amazing gail...so beautiful en mass. i hope one day my yard looks all grown up like yours.

  7. Gail, you sound like me. Every year more grass gives up its life to the every enlarging flower beds;)

    There is no such thing as too many black eyed Susans. They don't increase here as freely as they do in your garden. Our clay is so heavy and the droughts so severe the clumps only get a little larger each year. I envy your field of Susans.

    BTW, the PPP you sent is thriving. Hope I don't have it in too much shade to bloom next spring.

  8. It is really amazing how your garden has changed. I am looking forward to seeing the stock pond evolve. I'll keep my eyes open for round ones. Seems like Rural King would carry them.

  9. You squeeze girl !
    That's the way I like it....of course more land would be nice.

    Black-eyed Susans look great in masses. Pretty pretty pretty

  10. Wow, I have never seen that may Black-eyed Susans together. They look great massed planted like that.


  11. Gail, I just love your approach, au natural. I'm really resenting my butterflies, they are totally ignoring my lantana. It's okay though, I'll just look at your photos!

  12. Gail your garden is beautiful! You have done an amazing job! The rainbow in the last picture is just perfect.

  13. Love seeing the before & after shots. You really did alot of work and it paid off big time! :)

  14. Hi Gail.......the butterfly on the lantana is so beautiful....is it a swallow tail??

    Your garden really is a credit to you....so natural....and pleasing to the eye. The photograph with the rainbow is just perfect.
    Before and after shots...I wish I had been able to do that....I did not have my camera then, so missed out......

  15. Glorious photos! I love seening the transformation you've done.

  16. Before & after photos are so fun. Your garden looks great now, with so much more interest from heights, textures & colors. I wish I could see it in person.

  17. What wonderful changes! I love the picture with the rainbow!

  18. My goodness that is one gorgeous garden...love the last photo with the rainbow. BTW I never tire photos of Susans! Kim

  19. I enjoyed seeing your before and afters. The Susans are quite impressive now. It is good that they have made a place for themselves. I can't wait to see the tank come alive.

  20. I'm just a little afraid to admit this because I know there are die hard daylily fans out there but....I actually like the Susans better. They just seem so...happy. How can you not look at them and smile. Seeing the garden evolve in before and after shots is so much fun is it not? I always learn from them too.

  21. Great gardening! You've done so much... and you have so much garden. It's so beautiful with the textures and colors.

    Did you plant your Prairie Smoke (or whatever that stunning plant was) that you saw in Chicago at the garden designed by Oudolf?


    PS My husband just told me that my "deer friends" are out front. Only 9 of them so far tonight.

  22. Gail,
    It all looks lovely. And it's such a wonderful feeling to know that you've been able to create such a lovely spot, too, don't you think?


  23. I am totally about the Susans myself these days. Thank goodness I have some phlox and species lilies to relieve the monotony! Your garden looks fabulous as always.

  24. I hope you are going to have someone else do the heavy work for that pond. You will be sidelined from typing once again if not careful. I'll come help. Can't wait to see and love this evolution of the garden series.

  25. Layanee, I have a landscaper who will do the digging etc. I can't do it anymore. Now we could if the EM were to bring all his machines and tools! The fly in the ointment is locating the stock tank. The locals love the oval one and I want a round one...we'll see what I can get! gail

  26. Cameron, No I haven't planted them yet...they remain happy in their pots.
    I usually don't plant a lot during the summer. I could have this summer we've had plenty of rain.

    I am sorry to hear that the "dear deer" are back! None here so far....but the acorns haven't fallen from the Bur Oak yet.


  27. An amazing transformation. I love before and after photos.

  28. That photo of the butterfly is terrific. Such a perfect picture on the Lantana.

  29. "Plants just seem to follow me home"...love your way with words, Gail!

  30. It's always nice to se before and after pictures. But what I loved the most was your words; Plants just seem to follow me home....

  31. WOnderful magic happening in your beds! ANd that buttefly, I've never seen anything like it, absolutely beautiful!

  32. You'll get a giggle out of the fact that the phlox and the Susans are just coming on here in earnest now, Gail. But nothing like yours. Marvelous, just marvelous.

  33. Thank you for the trip back in time. You've created a very happy-looking garden space. I don't even know what a stock pond is....something different than a pond with plants and fish?

  34. Gail girl I love seeing before and after pictures .. yours are so pretty .. even if you can't see sunrises or sunsets ;-)
    I missed a step some where and didn't realize just how many "Susans" you have !! wow !
    A pond is coming next ? .. it will be wonderful : )
    I think I spelled Coal's name wrong in a reply .. I know he will forgive me ? LOL

  35. Beautiful!! Susan's do like to spread around don't they? I linked to you today.

  36. Great photographs in your garden! Interesting photo blog.

  37. WOW ~ I love those golden yellow susans. They look so bright and cheerful.


  38. Hi Gail -your garden is looking fabulous the moment and that beautiful Swallowtail butterfly - loved the first picture on your posting in particular - very inviting! Hope you're having a good weekend Miranda

  39. I so enjoy clicking back and forth between pictures to see a garden in transition. There's a vicarious feeling of satisfaction at seeing the improvement.

    Wow, flowers en masse really have an impact. I love that shot of golden flowers disappearing in the distance.

    I look froward to seeing how your tank develops.

  40. Hooray for the stock pond! What exciting news. You will not regret adding the water feature. I know my little pond has been such fun this summer. A whole new dimension to the garden ~ a little more work but worth it. I always enjoy before and after photos, yours are no exception. The susans really own C&L, don't they? We can't help but being good sports when you take such yummy pics of them.

  41. I've had to start taking evasive maneuvers on my way home so that things can't follow me anymore. ;) Nice pictures!

  42. I enjoyed seeing the changes to your yard. My favorite photo is the one with the garden fork stuck in the ground.

  43. Isn't it wonderful how the garden grows and changes as we grow and change? :) (Just don't think of the back-breaking work!)


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson