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Garden Photo of the Day

Short but Very Sweet

By Kim Charles

Susan Marshall (mother) and Tessa Marshall-Denton (daughter) of Quebec, Canada savor the time spent in their character filled garden, despit their short growing season.

"Here's our Northern garden. We live in Val d'or, a gold mining town in Quebec, Canada in zone 2b. Growing in this climate is always a challenge because we can get a freeze at the end of June and another one at the end of August. Hence, our growing season can be very short, but the rewards of trying are well worth it! A lot of the terracing (note the gigantic stones) was already done when we moved in and we put in all the gardens (including the island garden). The love and care of the people who put in the terraces has inspired us to continue the stewardship of this beautiful property. Our favourite "garden room" is the sunken garden where we have dinner every evening. We love it's intimacy."

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  1. grannieannie1 04/21/2017

    Susan and Tessa,
    Love your hardscaping, especially the wide stone steps and sunken garden. Also, the aerial view of your gardens is quite a help in understanding a garden. Thank you for adding that. And of course the collection of brightly colored, healthy flowering plants in pots tucked here and there adds to your beautiful display.

  2. wisestguy 04/24/2017

    I understand a short gardening season...:) Thanks for sharing the lovely photos of your garden. enjoy!

  3. petebloom 04/24/2017

    Susan and Tessa,
    Thank you for sharing such beauty, all around and up and down. I will return to it many times, imagining walking through your gardens, having dinner there and, each time learning and being inspired by them. Pete

  4. user-7007498 04/24/2017

    Here was my response from Friday. There are 2 copies of this blog entry (same photos), one which appeared late Friday (I am glad the post was run again today):

    Good evening, Susan and Tessa. It looks like Kim has been struggling with web issues at Fine Gardening, and it looks like most of GPOD missed seeing your beautiful garden. I just got home from work, and am sitting here looking at the explosion of spring growth in my Zone 6b garden. Then I read your post. Zone 2b. WOW! It reminds me how lucky I am, and should never complain about the winters.

    Thanks for including the overview picture of your back garden. It really helps to put the other photos in perspective. Your stone work is great. In your zone, conifers and great stonework have to get you through the long winter season. You have great bones in your garden.

    The sunken eating area looks very relaxing. You also have a wonderful perennial border, more than I would have imagined for 2b.

    Thanks again for sharing. I hope the rest of the gang check out you post over the weekend.

    I also wish Kim the best, and thank her for the hard work and effort she puts in.

  5. Vespasian 04/24/2017

    What a beautiful garden, you both must have powerful green thumbs to create this lushness in a
    zone 2 garden I'm just working on a new garden in Collingwood ON which is zone 6a so you have set the bar pretty high, very inspiring. Great pictures especially the overview, I really love to see all the garden not just close ups of plants. Wishing you a lovely hot summer so that you can enjoy your lovely retreat for as long as possible.

  6. User avater
    meander1 (Michaele ) 04/24/2017

    Hi, Susan and Tessa, I always admire and appreciate the color intensity in northern (and really far northern) gardens...the blues are bluer and the pinks pinker, etc. Those handsome muscular stairways stones were a wonderful foundation for thinking "Garden" with a capital G and you have done them proud. When the growing season is short, there is a wonderful overlap of things blooming simultaneously that we might not get in our warmer zones. I love how the white of the hydrangea blooms seem to echo the brightness of the fresh conifer needles that share the frame. So nice to read about how much you enjoy your sunken outdoor dining area...good for you!

  7. Maggieat11 04/24/2017

    Wow. What a fabulous garden. Who would guess that you zone is 2b! Great bones to start with and then you have found great plants that are happy there. I love what you have done. The stonework, ooh! Love it! And then to put everything together the way you did, Great job! A huge inspiration to northern gardeners especially. Thanks so much for sharing! Best wishes for a long enjoyable gardening season!

  8. user-7007816 04/24/2017

    Wow! I thought we had a short season in our zone 5 area in Michigan. The plantings and the setting are beautiful. Congratulations on a job well done. Enjoy.

  9. Dvngardener 04/24/2017

    How lovely! The perfect place for a garden party. Thank you for sharing your lovely gardens with us all

  10. user-4691082 04/24/2017

    It's all beautiful, but the best part is the mother/daughter bond you have created. My daughter has her own house but could care less about gardening. 😩 I love the blue pots with the annuals, and the peacefulness of the entire garden. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. user-7007498 04/24/2017

      I feel your pain about the kids. Neither of mine are interested in gardening. My son is looking for his first house. His wish list includes a yard that is completely paved. 😥

  11. Sheila_Schultz 04/24/2017

    I'm in awe of the lush plantings you are growing so successfully in your 2b gardens. I thought our Denver season was short but we might as well be in Florida compared to your fleeting time to enjoy every single blossom! It had to be a gift to find your beautifully terraced property in the first place, since then you have indeed become thoughtful stewards of your land.

  12. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 04/24/2017

    Fantastic garden layout, stonework and gardens. Such a great, usable space for both functional things like dinner and parties, and pleasant things like gardening and viewing. I bet you wring every moment of good weather out of your creation!

  13. chelleisdiggin 04/24/2017

    Hello Susan and Tessa, I don't know what to say that hasn't already been said, but thanks you for sharing your beautiful garden. And thank you for making the best of what you have, it's very inspirational!.

  14. tennisluv 04/24/2017

    Susan & Tessa, I too saw your posting over the weekend but didn't take the time to really look it over until this morning. You two have done a wonderful job of enhancing an already lovely terraced landscape. The perennial bed punctuated with conifers in the sunken garden definitely pulls you in. I would find any excuse to spend time there. However, the hostas & ferns under the tall trees also tug you up the slope and into their shade (shade is a thing to savor in the deep South where I live). As Meander said, colors appear to be much more vibrant. Envious of your garden but not your weather. I do enjoy our long, warm ;-) growing season (March to November). Thanks for sharing.

  15. User avater
    Linda on Whidbey 04/24/2017

    Good morning Susan and Tessa. You two are an inspiration for zone denial. Like Michaela said, the colors just seem to pop in northern climates, even your grass seems greener. Our son lives in Montreal so we're aware of your short window of summer. Do you get some intense heat in July and August like they do? The best part of your garden to me is that you get to do this together. Enjoy those dinners on the lawn and thanks for sharing.

  16. MNGardenGirl 04/24/2017

    It's so beautiful! I won't complain anymore about gardening in zone 4b.

  17. user-3790686 04/24/2017

    Absolutely gorgeous and inviting. Look at it this way: if any of us had the opportunity to spend two whole months being nourished by the peaceful gardens you have we would jump at that chance. Your two-month vacation beckons all of us onward. Thank you for sharing and extending your season - we have enjoyed it and all your efforts. Hope you can truly enjoy it again this year!

  18. anitaberlanga 04/24/2017

    this is a stunning garden, very peaceful. You two have certainly made the most of your short growing season! My thoughts echo a lot of others' on here - I will stop complaining about my 5b growing season! Thank you SO much for sharing this lovely garden!

  19. VikkiVA 04/24/2017

    Hi Susan and Tessa. What stunning work you have done in your garden. Thank you for making me appreciate gardeners such as you two who have to deal with freezes in July and August. I can not even wrap my head around that. Vikki in VA

  20. Schatzi 04/25/2017

    This post would not load this morning. I am glad it does now so I can see your lovely garden. Great stonework and plant selection, and I love cobalt blue pots, especially with red or pink geraniums in them! Lush and beautiful - sure doesn't look like the short growing season bothers the plants!

  21. user-7006975 04/25/2017

    You'd never know this was a Zone 2b garden. These results present a real challenge to those of us in Zones 5/6 + who still have difficulty achieving such beauty and variety. Clearly, you put a lot of effort into the garden, and get a great payoff.

  22. PerenniallyCrazy 04/26/2017

    Very impressive Zone 2b garden... your photos humble me in my Zone 7 garden.

  23. krissgandier 04/27/2017

    Your garden is nicely planned. I love the dark blue pots throughout the gardens, The liatris and stargazer lily are nice in the same flower bed. Were you flying a drone to take that lovely high aerial view of your garden, or were you up on the roof. It looks like it was taken from quite a height.

  24. user-6536305 12/29/2017

    A very very impressive Canadian zone 2b garden. Thanks for sharing!

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