Garden Photo of the Day

Charlie’s Wonderful Wyoming Garden

High altitude, late frosts, blinding wind, and lack of moisture ... oh my!

daisies and dames rocket with paper birch

Hi GPODers!

So far the theme of this week’s submissions is garden beauty despite challenging conditions! Yesterday we saw how Fran’s garden stays lush despite lots of deer activity, and today we’re visiting Charlie, who gardens in Wyoming despite a laundry list of obstacles.

Living in Wyoming can be quite the gardening challenge, especially when you’ve started with nothing but red rock and a few aspens surrounding the property. We’ve lived here four years.

The first thing we did was remove the rock, and then because I wanted an instant garden I put seeds down the first year. They included bachelor’s button (Centaurea cyanus, annual), daisies, poppies, lupine, zinnias, baby’s breath (Gypsophila paniculata, Zones 3–9), phlox, and what I call Bouncing Betty.

Our biggest challenges here are the high altitude, late frosts, blinding wind, and lack of moisture. We receive less than 12 inches of rain annually, so we count on heavy snowfall in the winter to help. When we don’t receive snowfall, many trees and perennials die. This year the peonies survived but didn’t bloom. However, we gardeners are the eternal optimists, aren’t we? My favorite style of garden is meadow-like, but I am learning to love more formal garden beds.

path to front door with garden beds on both sidesCharlie, does it take hours for guests to make it up to your front door?? I would be too tempted to stop and admire all of these fabulous zinnias.

close up of poppies and bachelors buttonsNot hard to see Charlie’s love of meadow gardens on display. Bright red poppies (Papaver rhoeas, annual) with bachelor’s button (Centaurea cyanus, annual) is a quintessential meadow garden pairing.

meadow gardenMore of Charlie’s classic meadow gardens.

meadow garden with paper birch treesPaper birch (Betula papyrifera, Zones 2–7) isn’t as commonly found in meadow gardens, but Charlie has created a scene I think more gardeners should copy. Not only absolutely appropriate for the harsh winters in Wyoming, the stark white bark makes a perfect companion and backdrop to the riot of colorful flowers.

daisies and dames rocket with paper birch purple lupin

Daisies, lupins, and dame’s rocket (Hesperis matronalis, Zones 3–8) all creating sensational combinations with those paper birches in the background. While Wyoming gives Charlie plenty of obstacles, there are small silver linings. While dame’s rocket is incredibly invasive in many states, the extreme conditions means it can be grown in Wyoming without much worry of it taking over.

white hydrangea behind pink clematisAs Charlie mentioned, there is much more to their garden than just meadow plantings. Here, a smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens, Zones 3–8) is the perfect backdrop for this pretty pink clematis.

window box with lots of white flowersCharlie is also masterful at crafting containers. This window box is absolutely bursting with beautiful white verbena.

close up of small window box with small flowersLastly, a smaller but equally fabulous window box design featuring more daisies and moss roses (Portulaca grandiflora, Zones 3–8).


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!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 06/11/2024

    That window box with the verbena is fabulous.

  2. User avater
    simplesue 06/11/2024

    Wow, your garden is a flower paradise! And your Lupins are amazing! And the white birch bark as a background for all those colorful flowers is a nice design touch!

  3. TheBarefootGardener 06/12/2024

    So beautiful. I love it all. What a great job considering what you have to work with. I wonder how much watering is required since you are in drought conditions.

  4. btucker9675 06/12/2024

    Gorgeous! The photo of the poppies and bachelor's button is spectacular.

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