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Garden Photo of the Day

Gardening in Hingham, MA

Foxgloves and aruncus

Nancy Mellen has worked hard to create an inviting Massachusetts garden.

"I’m in Hingham, MA and have been in our antique home for 28 years. It took us a year to even find out what our land looked like as it was 6’ high weeds and brush when we moved in. I’ve included pictures taken in the last week or two of what it looks like now."

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Calacanthus venus

Clematis on magnolia

Eden rose

Explorer rose

Fountain with doublefile viburnum


Fringe tree and viburnum

Rose mundi

Smoke bush with peony and lupine

View Comments


  1. user-7007498 06/16/2016

    Nancy: What a beautiful garden you have created after you were able to find the soil under the weeds. What a project you had! The first picture is terrific. I love Aruncus dioicus in the shade garden. Even though it is supposed to require consistent moisture, I found that once established, I can get it through the humid summers in Harrisburg without supplemental watering, and still have it look good (unlike astilbe).

    Love your Lupines. I have tried to establish them here a few times, but never had any luck. What is your secret?

    I am a huge Viburnum fan. The photo of the Viburnum with the fountain in the front is terrific. And the Rosa mundi - WOW!

    The purple Cotinus coggygria is beautiful. I love the foliage. I usually cut mine down every winter to keep the foliage low, but this year I am letting it flower,

    Looks like you can now enjoy the efforts of your hard work. Well done.

    1. user-6841468 06/16/2016

      About 30' to the right of the fountain is a stream; consequently, we have river silt for soil and the lupines and foxglove seed themselves around and surprise us where they show up. I also cut down the Cotinus every year.

  2. grannieannie1 06/16/2016

    You've created a lush garden from a weed patch! Ditto to what Kevin said, Nancy. I've had zero success with lupines and foxgloves. What is your secret?

    1. user-6841468 06/16/2016

      see below... river silt and Mother Nature.

  3. frankgreenhalgh 06/16/2016

    G'day Nancy - You are obviously reaping the rewards of a lot of hard work. The different shades of green are having the greatest overall impact on me. Nice work and well worth the effort. Thanks for sharing.

  4. user-4691082 06/16/2016

    Nancy, I love the fringe tree. Your gardens are amazing from what you started with. Great job!

  5. User avater
    meander1 (Michaele ) 06/16/2016

    Nancy, your pictures show the literal truth in the expression... you reap what you sow(plant)...you now have lovely flowering bushes and the dramatic spires of foxgloves and lupines (cue a sigh of envy for the lupines). I love the drama of the clematis working its way up the magnolia with those beautiful orbs of blue.

  6. NCYarden 06/16/2016

    From weeds to wonder! Fantastic garden, Nancy. Great to see the plethora of texture and color. I love goat's beard. It supposedly does not do very well here (NC), but I have been growing the most adorable dwarf one for several years now. And that calacanthus venus is outstanding. Amazing huge blooms, and mine is running through a second flush of blooms right now, even though I have already begun its seasonal pruning. The doublefile viburnum is a tremendous show off in the garden (so Kousa dogwood-like), and just keeps the display going with the subsequent berries. A must have plant for sure.
    I'm envious of the lupine - I won't even attempt it here, so I'll just enjoy yours.
    And I must take a moment of bereavement for the smoke bush, as it is such a lovely plant, but I lost mine during a period of severe drought some years ago, but I actually still have the triple trunk I keep thinking I'm going to use for something, like a small garden table or such. Good to see yours looking so beautiful. I always loved misty mornings when it was in bloom...it's like magic.
    I am curious, in the picture of the foxgloves is that a concrete wall in the distance? Did it come with the house? Is it just for privacy, or is there some water spillway running though there?
    Thank you for sharing. You have created a gorgeous setting.

    1. user-6841468 06/16/2016

      A few years ago the commuter train to Boston, which ended in the 50's, was reinstated, and the concrete wall is where the train enters a tunnel under Hingham Square. It was supposed to be landscaped but never was.

      1. NCYarden 06/16/2016

        Maybe you can spread your garden a little further then. Ha!

  7. user-7007960 06/16/2016

    My fav is the clematis on magnolia!! I may lift idea for watercolor painting... Luv the lupine and foxglove. I think cooler clime helps. My lupine are huge and lush on L. Ontario NY side. Thx for lovely montage. Uhhhh. Kevin what is the continus coggyria? I am real novice. Thx to all for helping me learn!

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 06/16/2016

      Cotinus is the purple smokebush in the last picture. Cheers!

  8. diane_lasauce 06/16/2016

    A labor of love for sure. Just lovely, kudos.

  9. barbarapatchettbonnett 06/16/2016

    Georgeous! It's all so plush and healthy. I also haven't had luck with lupine so or fox glove. Any suggestions? Enjoy all the fruits of your labor!

  10. NWAgardener 06/16/2016

    Quintessential New England! I feel like I could be walking through a 100 year old garden. Thank you Nancy for the lovely pictures. Having grown up on the south shore of Massachusetts, it provided a delightful walk down memory lane. Do you use the structure in the first picture as a garden shed or a summer house?

  11. Dvngardener 06/16/2016

    Lovely! Greetings from New Hampshire fellow New Englander!

  12. christianelena 06/16/2016

    pretty garden! Wonderfull clematis on magnolia

  13. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 06/16/2016

    Isn't it fun to remember where you started and enjoy where you are now? Looks great. Love the foxgloves and that's a great fountain. I love Calycanthus Venus. It has such wonderful flowers, but mine get brown spots pretty much as soon as they open. Do your flowers last? Calycanthus 'Hartlage Wine' edges out 'Venus' in my heart. I've found it even makes a great cut flower. Do you have that one, too? Thanks for sharing your slice of MA with us.

    1. NCYarden 06/16/2016

      Love "Hartlage Wine." Some of the blooms now are almost as big as my hand. If only they could have retained the fragrance. Can't have it all I suppose.

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 06/16/2016

        Hartlage Wine is more vigorous for me as well; it could be placement, but the leaves on HW get enormous, too. Love it. I considered getting Calycanthus chinensis, but don't have any room........

        1. NCYarden 06/16/2016

          Yeah I have super large leaves now too. Must come from getting established too. The vigor is 3 times what it used to be.
          And Calycanthus floridus 'Athens' I think is the most fragrant there is.

  14. user-6841468 06/16/2016

    For all those of you who are interested, check out Nancy Mellen Garden Design on Facebook. After teaching 8th grade English for 30 years (and earning my halo), i went back to school for garden design. Now I work summers and have winters off, the reverse of career #1, and loving it.

  15. Sheila_Schultz 06/16/2016

    Nancy, it has to be gratifying to look out on your gardens and know that every square inch required hours of grunt work to achieve your vision of nothing but lovely gardens! Your cool color palette has created a very restful place to relax and 'smell the roses'! Enjoy your 2nd career... after teaching middle school for so many years, you have definitely earned your halo!

  16. thevioletfern 06/16/2016

    I love the Goat's Beard! I love it all. I've been pining for a Fringe Tree. Beautiful, simply beautiful.

    1. Cenepk10 06/16/2016

      Me too !!!

  17. wGardens 06/16/2016

    Very nice! LOVE your Fringe Tree. I have 2- they are one of my all-time favorite trees!! Great idea to have the Clematis climb the magnolia. It looks wonderful! The Rose Mundi... ooh-la-la! And Goat's Beard? A fabulous plant! Well done!

  18. Cenepk10 06/16/2016

    Nancy ! Everyone of those pics are my favorites !!!! Especially the Eden Rose & foxgloves, rose mundi & smoke bush. Sure wish I could get the lupines seeds to sprout in my garden.

  19. User avater
    Linda on Whidbey 06/16/2016

    Nancy, your garden reminds me of a WI garden with lots of lush greenery. It must be great to have a stream running through your property, especially with all of the plant and bird life that it probably brings with it. Love that Doublefile viburnum. We've been trying to find one here (PNW) but all of the nursery specimens look rather pathetic so we settled for 'Spring Bouquet' which is doing fine, so far, but will never be as big. I'm guessing that your new career is a bit more relaxing than the previous one:)

  20. eddireid 06/18/2016

    I'm late again, but just wanted to tell you thank you for showing us your lovely garden. Hingham is delightful and your garden must compliment it beautifully. Everyone loves lupine and foxgloves and almost all of us have trouble growing them, including myself. I know you are right about the river silt but the alkalinity in your area and the damp softness have, I think, helped,too. Native foxgloves do well in my -5 clay but lupine and horticultural foxgloves refuse to settle! Peonies, viburnum, hydrangea all compensate!
    Thank you again. Oh! And if I had a fresh choice, I would also have chosen the gardening career!

  21. Foxglove12 06/23/2016

    Ditto Kathy Sturr! I'm pining for a Fringe tree as well. Beautiful garden. Love it all. 👍

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