A Simple Midwest Lakeside Garden

During a trip to Ohio a few months back, I came across this simple flower garden at the edge of

During a trip to Ohio a few months back, I came across this simple flower garden at the edge of a lake. This was public property, and the garden was likely installed to be as low-maintenance as possible, yet it was very lovely in the late evening light.

Ohio Lakeside Garden

This garden received full sun all day. I don’t know if it had any supplemental irrigation, but by the looks of the flowers and plants chosen for it, it wouldn’t have really needed it. This is also a great wildlife garden, as each of these species was attracting birds, butterflies, and more. These are the flowers I noted in the bed:

  • The bright yellow at left is Lanceleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata), a native wildflower. Goldfinches frequently stopped by these, probably to eat the seeds.
  • Along the front is hosta, one of the more common ones though I don’t know the exact cultivar. These flowers are popular with hummingbirds.
  • Standing tall in the middle are hollyhocks, which attract hummingbirds and butterflies.


The columbines in the middle had already gone out of bloom, but the flowers on the right were an English Lavender (Lavender angustifolia) cultivar, possibly ‘Hidcote’ though I can’t be sure. Whatever they were, this dry sunny spot was clearly exactly the right place for them. Many butterflies stopped by to check them out while we sat there.


What struck me most about this garden was the overall simplicity of just a few well-chosen plants, all of which had wildlife value and were easy to maintain. This garden was not large, or overly-regimented. Instead, the flowers harmonized beautifully and set a great example to homeowners nearby. The benches around it provided a peaceful place to sit and watch wildlife as the sun set over the lake.

Do you prefer simple, wilder beds like this one, or do you like more formal garden settings? Share your opinions below! (And if you happen to know any of the specific species or cultivar information for these flowers, please share that as well.)

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Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find her reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.