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Garden Photo of the Day

Dedication and Teamwork

Rose and Larry's teamwork and beautiful garden results are inspiring.

"Rose & Larry built their home in 2007; a typical new construction lot with all of the trees cleared. Having the vision to create gardens that wrapped around the house with meandering sidewalks they had their work cut out. Compost & several hundred tons of rock were brought in before the house was completed, laying the groundwork for the garden beds. Next, more compost & topsoil for the couple to seed their own lawn. It was quite a project. Several years later, the landscape has been transformed with the addition of a 25’ waterfall and hundreds of perennials. Larry continues to maintain the lawn and Rose the landscape; making a perfect team!

As you walk up the driveway you are flanked by a mass planting of ‘Grey Owl’ Juniper and ‘Goldtide’ Forsythia, dappled with lots of ‘Walkers Low’ Catmint. Another standout are the red ‘Knockout’ Roses. As you come up the walk towards the house you’re greeted by a ‘Honeycrisp’ espalier apple tree on your left. Rocking chairs surrounded by various annuals in pots invite you to come up to the porch and meander around the corner. There you will find a walkway with a perennial garden on your left and a hedge of ‘Green Mountain’ Boxwood to the right. A pergola covered patio invites you into the main part of the backyard where there is a 5’ stone wall bursting into color as the ‘Whooley’ Thyme is in full bloom.  Above this wall encompasses the main perennial garden. The seating area around the fireplace is home to several containers filled with annuals and a potted ‘Chicago Hardy’ Fig tree.

Around the back of the house you’ll find smaller gardens tucked close to the home. Two ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangea are surrounded by several varieties of Hosta and a birdbath fountain. As you round the corner another small garden containing shade loving plants like ‘Jack Frost’ Brunnera and more Hosta varieties underscores a garden bench near a custom made arbor supporting ‘Collette’ a blush pink Climbing Rose. A stone staircase takes you up to the second tier of the yard where there is a garden shed surrounded by a lilac tree, various perennials and a seating area just for two. This part of the yard offers a great vantage point of the entire backyard.

With over 30 varieties of trees & shrubs and countless perennials it’s no wonder this garden won the Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s Great Gardens  Contest, large garden category-year round interest in 2012. The property has also been certified a Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation."

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Backyard perennial bed

Bunny statue

Climbing rose 'Colette'

Espalier apple tree 'Honeycrisp'

Fig tree 'Chicago Hardy'

Hydrangea 'Annabelle'

June garden

Shade garden 

View Comments


  1. frankgreenhalgh 07/13/2016

    Hi there Rose & Larry - Whacko-the-diddle-oh (Aussie lingo), what a virtual tour of your amazing garden! I can relate to all your work with the rocks (that curved retaining wall is fantastic) and soil amendments etc. No wonder you won the Great Gardens Contest. Congratulations on a marvellous effort and a wonderful garden.

    1. user-7007498 07/13/2016

      Whacko-the-doodle-oh! Just love the education I am getting. Your posts are so fun, Frank.

      1. frankgreenhalgh 07/13/2016

        Kev. - good, glad you enjoy the education. That is 'Whacko-the-diddle (not doodle) -oh', which is another way of saying 'you beauty'.

        1. User avater
          meander1 (Michaele ) 07/13/2016

          It might take me a couple glasses of wine before I give "Whacko-the-diddle-oh" a try. Ha, I'll be looking for an opportunity.

          1. frankgreenhalgh 07/13/2016

            Have a 'bash' at it Michaele, but I'm not responsible for the reactions you will receive in your neck of the woods.

          2. User avater
            meander1 (Michaele ) 07/14/2016

            Fair enough...I have been warned! :)

          3. frankgreenhalgh 07/14/2016

            PMSL here Michaele (google that if you are game).

    2. roseromboski 07/13/2016

      Thank you! Yes, lots of hard work over the past 9 yrs however never really feels like 'work'. We make a great team with Larry taking care of the lawn & me the landscape. Very satisfying to see the garden grow into what it is today .

  2. bonnielemoine 07/13/2016

    Simply a beautiful garden. Love the variety of plants and retaining walls. Thanks for sharing.

  3. User avater
    meander1 (Michaele ) 07/13/2016

    I love the chunky muscularity of the rocks in your retaining wall...if it wasn't for how beautifully and impeccably maintained everything else in sight is, it might almost look like Mother Nature, herself, rolled them into place. However, dear Mother Nature isn't very conscientious about keeping planting beds weeds free and yours are spotless. I think it's so cool that you espalied a 'Honey Crisp' variety apple tree...the best eating apple ever! Have you gotten any to pick and enjoy yet?

    1. frankgreenhalgh 07/13/2016

      Hey Michaele - have you tried our Pink Lady apples (I think they are exported to the US)? They are also known as Cripps Pink. I realise that Honey Crisp was bred in your country, but gee they look like Pink Lady/Cripps Pink apples. Wonder if Pink Lady was used in your breeding program!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. User avater
        meander1 (Michaele ) 07/13/2016

        I am definitely a fan of your Pink Lady apples and they are my second in line if Honey Crisps are not available. During the early years of their introduction, the Honey Crisps were offered up only during the bona fide natural apple season but now I can get them on and off throughout the year. I don't think my enthusiasm for them is the result of "Go USA" loyalty but just something about their perfect (to me) blend of sweet, crisp and tangy. I have to admit to being a Honey Crisp evangelist in the produce section. If I see someone filling their bag with Gala or Fuji, I sometimes ask if they have ever tried a Honey Crisp. Now, often, the latter are higher in price and I can understand being put off by that but I'll urge them to buy just one to see the difference. Ha, oh, my gosh, I have become one of those annoying old people who talk to strangers in the supermarket...guess I better deep six that habit!

        1. NCYarden 07/13/2016

          Much agreed, Michaele. I pretty much love all fruit, but apples are not my favorite and therefore don't really crave and thus seek. However, years ago I was told to try honey crisp, and since then I do keep an eye out for those delicious beauties and will readily grab when available.

          1. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/13/2016

            OK, David, here's proof that we're not actually related: apples are my hands-down favorite and I eat at least 7 honeycrisps a week. A difference had to surface at some point, but I think we can still be friends.....

          2. NCYarden 07/13/2016

            Never said we were identical twins...LOL. I sure hope we can be still be friends, plenty of other significant goodies in common. How you like them apples?!

          3. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/13/2016

            I do. I do like them apples!

        2. Schatzi 07/13/2016

          Annoying? I have become much more open to talking to strangers in my old age. I figure if they brush me off that's their problem, but most people are happy with a brief chat. I have "sold" so many plants that a couple places wanted to hire me, but that would take the fun out!

        3. User avater
          Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/13/2016

          I'll eat a gala when you pry the honey crisp out of my cold, dead hand.....
          Love 'em.

          1. User avater
            meander1 (Michaele ) 07/13/2016

            The first one I ever tried was given to me by a relative from the upper midwest who said they were an experimental apple developed at the Un of MN. At that point in time, they were only available locally and, frankly, they were small, blemished and unimpressive looking. She insisted I give it a try and it's been "true love" ever since. They've certainly improved in looks and size and, thank heavens, growers haven't sacrificed taste.

          2. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/14/2016

            Have you read Michael Pollan's Botany of Desire? It has a great chapter on apples. Even though I grew up in farm country with lots of different kinds of apple trees, it wasn't until we started picking apples at a local orchard with our kids ages ago that we really experienced how different various apple strains were in flavor, texture and peak eating times. I love apples!

          3. User avater
            meander1 (Michaele ) 07/14/2016

            No, I never have but after doing a Wikipedia skim of him and his books, he seems well worth reading. A line from one of his books jumped out at me and made me smile ruefully... "the whiter the bread, the sooner you'll be dead"
            Fortunately, I had just finished a tomato lettuce sandwich on seeded rye bread so I guess that was a little ok. I regret that I don't make time to read books anymore...my mother is probably rolling over in her grave to read that admission of mine since going to the library was a very important part of my upbringing. Seems like the physicality of my gardening and reading on the internet uses me up...so to speak.

          4. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/14/2016

            I definitely need to force myself to read. I am visual and could look at pictures all day and I do wear myself out in the garden and with other things. Reading requires a fair amount of energy, but conversations like this remind me of how valuable an endeavor reading is: for our brains and for information. I think Michael Pollan's books are easy, informative and enjoyable reads. Pull up a book and sit a spell! :)

      2. user-7007498 07/13/2016

        Frank: I love Pink Lady apples. Great late Apple that holds up well. A local orchard grows them. Interestingly, I am eating one right now.

        I must admit, Jonathans will always be my fave.

    2. roseromboski 07/13/2016

      Thank you. I agree... those boulders look like they've always been there. They were quarried locally so I think that makes a difference keeping with what's native. Our home builder actually did our excavating & built the wall... He was a true artisan in taking my vision & making it a reality. I must say... Keeping the weeds at bay is due to a great layer of mulch & putting down Preen every year in late winter/early spring. I try to stay mostly organic however this product works like a dream! Happy gardening.

  4. gardeningisfine 07/13/2016

    What a beautiful garden! And so impeccably maintained. Thanks for sharing.

  5. user-7007498 07/13/2016

    Hi, Rose and Larry. Thanks for sharing your beautiful garden. Love the stones, especially the backyard wall with the waterfall. There is something so uplifting about a group of Leucanthemum x superbum in the garden. Always brings a smile to me. I still can't get over the way you handled the slope and backyard. I am so impressed. Fresh figs! Awesome.

    1. roseromboski 07/13/2016

      Thank you. The " high side of the street" is always a challenge but we knew once terraced it would make for a wonderful perennial bed. It's so private and feels like it's always been there. Shockingly the landscape is only 9 yrs old. I agree.. Fresh figs in the backyard ... Heaven!

  6. NWAgardener 07/13/2016

    It's all magnificent - impeccable garden beds and plant choices! Nothing adds age and sense of permanence to a garden like large boulders. I would love to see more pictures of your wonderful gardens. Thank you for the inspiration!

    1. roseromboski 07/13/2016

      Thank you. The best part of gardening is sharing the joys ( and sometimes failures) with others. There is a great sense of community in gardening .

  7. wGardens 07/13/2016

    WOW! I do love that "June Garden" photo. And what a fabulous wall and surrounding plantings. How "old" is the Honey Crisp espalier? Congratulations on your well-earned awards!

    1. roseromboski 07/13/2016

      Thank you! Yes, the 'June garden' photo just had to be taken... The garden was looking so lush that morning after a little rain. The apple tree is 7 yrs old. It's as tall at the gutter line on the house now! When I brought that tree home she was only 3' tall. She's grown into quite a beauty. I harvested 35 apples last year.

  8. greengenes 07/13/2016

    I can sure see why your gardens have won an award. this is well put together. I enjoy how it flows and it makes me want to see what is around the corner. The espalied apple tree is lovely too! Wonderful to be able to see your gardens!

    1. roseromboski 07/13/2016

      Thank you so much. It's a true labor of love. I was inspired to plant the apple tree after a garden tour many years ago. In an older woman's garden I visited she had several fruit trees growing on the side of the house. A little bit of Europe in your own backyard ! Happy Gardening!

  9. NCYarden 07/13/2016

    Amazing what joined forces can accomplish, and so nice to see its a shared passion. The boulder wall is spectacular, and the thyme is a pleasant soft accent. And hostas galore - wish I knew what kept the voles away for you. And figs!..I seem to grow them for the bird and squirrels exclusively, such that I am considering removing the tree as I never get its reward. That has got to be one of the largest Brunnera I've seen. Such a stunning garden...the award well deserved. Thanks for sharing.

    1. roseromboski 07/13/2016

      I agree, the magic is in the teamwork ! I'm a huge fan of thyme, use it everywhere to soften the hardscape. It's gorgeous when in bloom late spring / early summer. Trust me, we battle voles ( mouse traps seem to help keep the population down). My fig tree is bursting with fruit this year! I keep her in a pot & overwinter in the garage. The birds don't seem to bother it at all. Happy gardening !

  10. user-4691082 07/13/2016

    Michaele, I totally agree about the honeycrisps. My husbands only complaint is that they are so big... Now, Rose and Larry, did you work on your design with a landscape architect? Even if you did, it's a magnificent garden. In fact, if folks would consult professionals, they would save money in the long run by not tearing things out and redoing... I will be studying these photos over and over again. Thanks for posting. Road trip,Kevin?

    1. user-7007498 07/13/2016

      Hey, Rhonda. A road trip would be fun. I would love to find a way to visit the gardens of many of the posters. Your garden was lovely, and I was so happy I could visit.

      By the way, I am traveling up to Buffalo in a couple of weeks to Garden Walk Buffalo. There are 406 gardens home gardens participating this year. Should be fun.

      1. User avater
        meander1 (Michaele ) 07/13/2016

        I follow a blogger who always shares such great pictures of the Garden Walk in Buffalo. I'm sure you know this already but you are in for an amazing time.

        1. user-7007498 07/14/2016

          Thanks Michaele. I have never been there before. I am so excited.

  11. roseromboski 07/13/2016

    Thank you. It's been so fun creating all of the smaller gardens that wrap around the house. The June garden pic is a great representation of how the garden has come together over the years. Happy gardening!

  12. User avater
    Linda on Whidbey 07/13/2016

    Good morning, Rose and Larry, you must be so proud of what your hard teamwork has achieved. You certainly have created a beautiful, relaxing looking garden and with your waterfall, it must sound relaxing, as well. What kind of yield do you get from your Honey Crisp? We also have one that is espalliered that will have it's first real crop after 4 yrs.and we're pretty excited. Love all of your rock work. Besides voles what kind of other critters visit you?

  13. Schatzi 07/13/2016

    Beautiful! Such a great payoff for so much hard work and brilliant design. Love the waterfall and Collette is a beauty. Great job!

  14. user-7007714 07/13/2016

    Dream garden. Truly amazing!

  15. Green Thumb Joe 07/13/2016

    Very nice garden!!!

  16. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/13/2016

    Late to the garden party, but very impressed. Great teamwork and looks like quite a large estate! Of course love the rock wall and the fountain. Nice plants; great choices. I put a Chicago Hardy fig in the ground last year in Ohio and has shocked to get two figs right away. We had a mild winter (like a lot of folks) and the fig was slow to leaf out, but only the top of the single stem died back and it is picking up steam. Love those ornamental leaves.
    Nice job!

  17. Cenepk10 07/14/2016

    Yeah... That's right... You bad !!! What a stunner !!!!! Wish I had a teammate. I need more photos, please. I want, at the very least- a day 2 in this smashing garden. Bravo !!!!! Encore !!!!

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