'Secret Garden' this week’s Garden Photo Contest winner

Khristi Zimmeth
Special to The Detroit News

It’s hard to believe that Julie Malnar’s cheerful Allen Park garden – the winner of this week’s Garden Photo Contest – used to be wasted space.

“It was so shaded that the grass wouldn't grow. I would mow mostly dirt. One day I took a rototiller to it and it keeps changing for the better,” she explained in an email. “There's hostas, coral bells, ferns, lots of ground cover” she added, including ground elder, galium mollugo, bugle herb and spotted dead-nettle, ligularia dentate as well as pots of caladium and begonias. “I painted stepping stones, found an old door in the trash and painted it blue, my husband put down tiles for a patio and my daughter gave me her old table and chairs and now we have a secret garden to hang out in.”

'Secret Garden'

She’ll win a home or garden book and be a finalist to win the grand prize, a $200 gift card from contest sponsor English Gardens at the end of the summer. To see the contest rules, go to