Welcome to Lowe's
Find a Store

Prices, promotions, styles, and availability may vary. Our local stores do not honor online pricing. Prices and availability of products and services are subject to change without notice. Errors will be corrected where discovered, and Lowe's reserves the right to revoke any stated offer and to correct any errors, inaccuracies or omissions including after an order has been submitted.

Central Midwest Gardening: My Garden Signature

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Your garden reflects your style - with careful selection of flowers, details and materials. These personal touches make a garden yours.

Hydrangeas do fine without pampering.

By Marty Ross

Every garden reflects the personality of its owner, and my garden is no exception. I like to collect things, including daffodils, peonies and witch hazels. I allow annual flowers to romp freely through the flowerbeds and look for ways to recycle materials. My garden has a lot of character, and it feels like me.

My penmanship is not what it was back when Mrs. Cavenaugh awarded me a gold star for my careful cursive script, but my garden signature is pretty easy to read. I sign my flowerbeds with a self-indulgent flourish. It is amazing where my plant collecting weakness leads me.

I appreciate good-looking garden furniture, and I love adding telling details to my garden. I have a lot of shrubs and perennial flowers, but every summer I grow lots of bright annual flowers, with herbs and vegetables tucked among them. I always have fun in my garden, and it shows. Here are some of my signature touches:

Nasturtiums number among my favorite annuals.

Annual flowers: It wouldn't be summer without nasturtiums, and I give them free reign to wind their way through flowerbeds and tumble out of planter boxes. They take a break from blooming in hot weather but come roaring back in fall. It's not too late to plant them: Soak the seeds in water for a couple of hours (no longer than overnight) and poke them in the soil in a sunny or partly shady spot. They will come up in a few days and bloom in about seven weeks. It seems like a long time, but the round leaves are as charming as the flowers. Try them!

I grow about two dozen different peonies.

Living, blooming collections: I know a garden designer whose work you can spot a block away: In every garden he plants a clump of 'Heritage' river birch trees. They're nice trees, but his signature plant has almost become a rubber stamp. Every garden - and every gardener - is different. My husband and I collect daffodils, peonies, and plants in the witch hazel family. We have lots of different kinds of hydrangeas, and a pretty impressive collection of boxwoods too. Our garden is an urban arboretum like no other.

Brickbats and edging tiles pair in a crazy-quilt paving.

Freewheeling recycling: On a trip to Holland I was inspired by the intricate stone paving pattern in a private garden. When I came home the pile of miscellaneous bricks and pavers in a corner of our garden found its purpose. Crazy-quilt paving is just the thing for a spot by the back door, for a small patio in front of a garden shed, or for the place where you coil the hose or keep the watering cans. It's fun to find a new use for old materials. They add instant character and a little touch of history to your garden.


See more Midwest gardening articles.