Bonnie Helander began her love of gardening while living and working in San Diego. After retirement, she moved back home to Georgia with husband, Dan, and now resides and gardens in Peachtree City (Zone 8a) where she is a member of the Peachtree City Garden Club. Bonnie is the gardening writer and blogger for Fayette Woman magazine and also blogs and writes for Georgia Gardening Magazine. Besides gardening, Bonnie loves nature and hiking and is a proud graduate of the University of Georgia and avid supporter of the Bulldog nation.


Garden Inspiration
by Bonnie Helander - posted 01/05/13

During a visit to Orlando over the holidays to watch my Georgia Bulldogs beat up on Nebraska, Dan and I visited the Harry P. Leu Gardens. You can stroll through 50 acres of gardens that feature over 40 different plant collections, including the largest camellia collection (over 200 varieties) in Eastern North America.  

While holiday tourists were fighting the crowds at all of Orlando’s theme parks, we enjoyed a tranquil and inspiring visit at Leu Gardens and brought back some great ideas to incorporate into our own outside space.

At the Enabling Garden, I saw some beautiful examples of planting in raised beds. Those in wheel chairs or anyone who just prefers to stand instead of bending over can create designs in raised platforms. The raised beds can be wood or you can get fancy with brick or cement. Here are a few ideas that I really liked:

Gorgeous raised bed in brick makes it a focal point. The planting bed is filled with colorful annuals and perennials.


A whole bed of cactus!


This bed is filled with herbs, succulents, annuals and interesting rocks.


This bed has a Japanese flair with rocks, juniper and grasses.

I love gardening in containers. Wherever you have a bare spot or need a pop of color or a focal point, a container does the trick. The Leu Gardens were filled with containers in the sun and shade.  Enjoy:

Nothing is more appealing than a collection of terracotta pots!


Notice the pot feet!


This "face" container sits among a colorful bed of annuals.


Shade containers were arranged in a gazebo area.


Classic formal container filled with variegated ivy and fern.


Creative hanging basket


Succulents sitting on a pedestal - every garden needs a few succulents for interest and whimsy.


Get inspired this winter by visiting a public garden in your area!



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Marcia H - 01/05/2013

Will be fun to incorporate some of these ideas come spring. Can't decide if the pot feet are cute are creepy!
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Bonnie Helander - 01/07/2013

Thanks Marcia! I think the pot feet are an acquired taste. They remind me of hobbit feet!
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