2023 Highlights in Fran’s Garden

Today we’re visiting with Fran Cohen who gardens in Rhode Island:

In the middle of my winter gardening routine, pouring over seed catalogs, reviewing favorite gardening books and old Fine Gardening magazines, I saw the FG comment that GPOD submissions are slow in the winter. That prompted me to look back at the years’ garden photos to see if there was anything worth sharing. And that gave me a new perspective on my 2023 gardening year. Instead of my lingering preoccupation with the damage done by deer and rabbits and bugs, I’m pleased to remember highlights.

Most of my hellebore flowers (Helleborus hybrids, Zone 4 – 8) are downward facing so flotation is a perfect way to enjoy them.

close up of red quince in bloom

This beautiful red quince (Chaenomeles speciosa, Zone 4 – 8) isn’t very full because it doesn’t get as much sun as it should, but it’s still one of my spring favorites. The buds are beautiful, the flowers are like tiny roses, and the color is so rich.

tree peony with bright pink flowers in front of a large doublefile viburnum

I haven’t had the best luck with this tree peony (Paeonia hybrid, Zone 4 – 8) which has been moved umpteen times, but it seems happy here, backed by a doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum, Zone 5 – 7).

large fern and pink and blue flowers in a shade garden

This is a shady spot between a magnolia and a stewartia where a robust but delicate maiden hair fern (Adiantum pedatum, Zone 3 – 8) enjoys the company of a geranium (Geranium × cantabrigiense, Zone 5 – 8), forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica, Zone 3 – 8)and sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum, Zone 4 – 8).

garden arch covered in bright pink flowers

This arch has been the site of a few family weddings.

view of garden from upstairs window

We took out an old in-wall air conditioner and instead of patching the hole added a window which gives us a very nice garden view.

large shrub in the garden next to blue chair and potted plant

Here is another flowering viburnum (forgot the name). I like the sorbaria (Sorbaria sorbifolia, Zone 2 – 8) foliage but take it from me, it needs to be confined to a pot.

close up of pink David Austin Gabrielle Oaks rose

This year my sister and I gifted each other with a rose. Here is my new beautiful David Austin ‘Gabrielle Oaks’.

large nicotiana plant in the garden

This nicotiana (looks like Nicotiana sylvestris, Zone 10 – 11 or as annual) has an interesting history. It first appeared 2-3 years ago as a weed in a big potted Meyer lemon tree which overwinters in the house. Rather than disturb the lemon tree, I kept cutting back the seedling. Finally in year three I repotted the lemon and put the well rooted nicotiana in the ground where it took off, getting taller than me. Now I have lots of seeds to spread around the garden.

allium seed heads in a vase

The seed heads of large alliums lightly sprayed with white paint make a good winter arrangement.


Have a garden you’d like to share?

Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

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