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Garden Photo of the Day

Three Seasons at Ye Olde Cider Mill

By: Kim Charles

Fine Gardening Web Producer, Kim Charles, takes us through 3 seasons at her c. 1706 home and gardens in Sandy Hook, CT.

Hello, fellow GPOD’ers! I have finally gathered up a few of my own garden highlights that span from March through October of this year. When we moved to this property 21 years ago, it was pretty much a blank canvas for perennial beds. These beds have evolved and changed over the years and have taken on a unique flavor all their own. I continue to try new plant varieties and experiment every year as we all do. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't, but the quirkiness of this property allows for a bit of imperfection, which is just fine with me. Enjoy!

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  1. frankgreenhalgh 10/27/2017

    Hey Kim - What a unique piece of history of which you are custodian (house built at the same time that Sandy Hook was founded??), and it's set off nicely with your beautiful garden! Love the white peony and puppy.
    Have a great week-end everybody. Cheers from Oz

  2. jeffgoodearth 10/27/2017

    Glad I stopped in this morning! An old home, great stone walls and a beautiful garden,,, doesn't get much better than that. My favorite,,,,,,,,,,,,apples in front of the stone wall it just typifies the season. Thanks for showing us your world.

  3. user-7007498 10/27/2017

    Kim, what a beautiful historic house in a lovely area of the country. The mature landscape around the house creates a wonderful backdrop for your garden. I love the stone walkways and walls. The anemone tucked into the corner of the wall is gorgeous. I also love the window box against the red building. Enjoyed seeing your garden this morning. Thanks for sharing it with us.
    Have a great weekend, GPODers.

  4. andreanola 10/27/2017

    Kim, you have a beautiful garden and home. I especially like the cool greens of the garden at the side door.

  5. user-4691082 10/27/2017

    Kim, your home and gardens are gorgeous! I know that anemone is ‘Honerine Jobert’. It is beautiful. I just love your puppy dog. They are the best companions. Now, if we could just get them to weed...and to quote the Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey “ What’s a weekend?”

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/27/2017

      Thanks for giving me a laugh and a lift this morning. 'What's a weekend?" !!!!!

    2. frankgreenhalgh 10/27/2017

      I too wondered about 'what's a week-end' comment, Rhonda. Since I don't watch Downton Abbey I figured that every day seems like the same or you don't have any rest over the week-end because you are working/weeding in the garden. Am I on the right wavelength?? Aussies can be slow on the uptake occasionally - especially ageing ones!

      1. VikkiVA 10/27/2017

        Frank, The Dowager Countess was a member of the very wealthy aristocratic population of the 1800's and early 1900's in England. Every night was Friday night and every day was Saturday for her so she was not familiar with the term "weekend." She was the matriarch of the family (played by British actress Maggie Smith) and would often come up with witty remarks.

        1. frankgreenhalgh 10/27/2017

          Thanks Vikki. Cheers, Frank
          PS. FYI the weeds are going crazy here - so that is my week-end.

      2. user-4691082 10/28/2017

        No, see Vikki’s comment below. It was more about aristocrats not working. They had no concept of time off, or a weekend. I was pretending to be one of them!

        1. User avater
          gringopeligroso 10/29/2017

          ..if the shoe Fits.......!!!!!! ;-)

          1. user-4691082 10/30/2017

            Oh Jesse, I am more of a commoner than anything else. A blessed commoner, for sure, but nevertheless, a commoner!

    3. User avater
      Linda on Whidbey 10/27/2017

      Funny, Rhonda. Weekends for us now are that annoying time when the tourists gum up our roads on Whidbey, but so appropriate here for Kim.

      1. user-4691082 10/28/2017

        I was reading in Readers Digest that Whidbey is one of the best towns in America. I think you can blame them!

  6. user-7008282 10/27/2017

    How beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

  7. User avater
    meander1 (Michaele ) 10/27/2017

    Hi, Kim, what a treat to see your jewel of a home surrounded by the lovely perennial filled gardens you have created. Whew, your past 21 years have not been a case of the "cobbler's children have no shoes"...instead a premier garden magazine writer has beautiful gardens...just as it should be.

  8. NCYarden 10/27/2017

    Such a treat to to get a visit to your home and garden, Kim. Some history with this home, and some nice space to play with those celebrated imperfections. The wooded backdrop is so pleasant. The patio and stone walls are just a great feature to showcase some of the plants in your great collection. It's a very beautiful place to call home. Thanks for sharing.

  9. User avater
    treasuresmom 10/27/2017

    Love it all but especially your little friend.

  10. Dvngardener 10/27/2017

    Kim! I love seeing your house and yard, and the juxtaposition of the various flowering plants and birds against your house, walls, etc. very striking! Loved it all

  11. user-6841468 10/27/2017

    Kim, what a charming antique home, beautiful gardens, and cute well behaved dog! I love the stone wall as a perfect backdrop to so many of your plants. Thanks for sharing!

  12. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/27/2017

    Kim! 1706!!?? Wow, that's some history you curate. Love it. Your photos are beautiful and your artful garden is wonderful. Love that window box in the first photo. And the stonework and the plantings and that tree peony!: sigh. Just lovely. Thanks for the trip through the seasons.

  13. tennisluv 10/27/2017

    Kim, what a lovely home and garden. Your skill with terrarium and container creations has spilled over into your landscape. And you have the cutest blonde cocker to keep you company as you play in the dirt. I especially liked seeing the difference earlier in the season in picture 5 (bed with birdhouse) and the last picture. Thanks for sharing your Cider Mill home and garden.

  14. VikkiVA 10/27/2017

    Wow Kim what a great landscape you have created. Japanese Forest grass is one of my favorites and the placement of yours draws the eye right up to your lovely home. The white peony is breathtaking as is the pink and what an adorable puppy you have! Is the pink bloom next to the Rudbeckia one of the newer miniture Butterfly Bushes? The white anemone is amazing, love it. Thanks for sharing your "seasons" with me. Vikki in VA

  15. grannieannie1 10/27/2017

    Such lovely combinations of plants set off with stone! Can't miss with that combo in my book. And your plant spacing reminds me I shouldn't cram our plants so tightly together. It must be wonderful living in a house surrounded with history-- plus that cuddly doggy waggling down the flagstone walks.

  16. User avater
    Linda on Whidbey 10/27/2017

    Good morning, Kim. You are very lucky to have landed in such a beautiful place to live and garden and it looks like you’re doing a great job of keeping your historic property going for future generations. Having only lived in the Midwest and NW, I’m in awe of properties that old. Your peony is beautiful and love the anemone. The last photo of your garden gives such a peaceful feeling and your pup is adorable. Thanks for sharing with us and have a good weekend for those who know how to enjoy them:)

  17. Kim_Charles 10/27/2017

    Thanks for all of your great comments--it looks like my dog Alfie has quite the fan base! He is a great companion in the garden and loves to pose for photos on the spot. Such a character. Yes Vikki..that is one of the new mini butterfly bushes. I'm pretty sure it was Flutterby Petite from Monrovia. It performed well and is still blooming...the location is nice and protected so it's very content.

  18. BTucker9675 10/27/2017

    What a masterpiece you've created on your "blank canvas!" You are an artist indeed!

  19. NWAgardener 10/27/2017

    Wow Kim - you have a lovely property with so much charm and character. I am impressed with the color echo in the first picture and how the heuchera, mum and grass play up the color of the barn - very artistic! I love the stone retaining wall and flagstone patio as well as the lovely lawn and mature trees beyond. Truly a gardener's paradise.

  20. Cenepk10 10/27/2017

    Love your home, your garden & I could smother that adorable dog w hugs & kisses- Cutest expression ever. Beautiful Garden.

  21. user-7008735 10/27/2017

    Thank you for sharing these photos of your lovely home and garden, Kim! There's something about the solid permanence of stone walls contrasting with the fleeting beauty of flowers which makes the plants even more beautiful. Your tree peony is gorgeous and the whole place has an air of calm and peacefulness.

  22. Foxglove12 10/27/2017

    Love! What a peaceful oasis! Beautiful.

  23. Cheryl A 10/28/2017

    Ok, Kim, you have to tell us your dog's name! Cute cocker! I love your pictures and your 3 century old home and the wonderful things you are doing with the gardens. I love the size of your gardens in comparison with your home - so full and lush. Tell us the name of the purple bush in picture #5 - Is it a loropetalum? What is your zone?
    Just got in from emptying the rain barrel and cutting all the dahlias, as we are to get 27 degrees tonight (though some forecasts are saying 32). Looking forward to Monday and Tuesday when we can see more of your flowers and beds!

    1. Kim_Charles 10/30/2017

      Hi Cheryl--Thank you for your comments...much appreciated! That is Alfie in the picture...he is a 9 year old English cocker..a true fan of the garden. I am zone 6B with many micro climates within. The purple plant in photo #5 is an older salvia...I must admit..it's on my list to update. It looks great in spring, but then requires pruning maintenance to re-bloom. Many of the newer varieties bloom longer and require very little care. Enjoy those cut dahlias...that is one plant I am looking to add to my garden next season. I tried planting a few tubers this past spring with no luck. Will try them in containers next spring to get them started, then, once they are established I will pop them in the ground.

  24. user-6536305 10/28/2017

    Beautiful landscape and garden! Love the the path and retaining wall and house color. Your boss looks like as ease. How do you keep him (her) so white? Thanks for sharing!

  25. mjensen 10/28/2017

    beautiful, love the house too.

  26. cynthiamccain 10/29/2017

    I want your garden, Kim. If I can’t have your garden can I have your dog? He looks like a sweetheart. :-D

    1. Kim_Charles 10/30/2017

      Thank you Cynthia--Alfie is truly the best assistant in the garden and enjoys staying by my side while I'm working, weeding or other :-)

  27. user-7007140 10/29/2017

    Hello Kim,
    Your first photo of the red barn and planter shows that literary training has you using “the hook”.
    Beautiful photographs of a wonderful old property, well loved and shown with pride. Thank you for sharing it all.
    I have been longing for white anemones - now thanks to GPODERS I shall shop for Honorine Joubert!

    1. Kim_Charles 10/30/2017

      Thanks very much for the complements Eddi--Also, I highly recommend this white anemone..effortless with non-stop blooms. It stands about 6' tall and is one of my faves!

  28. User avater
    gringopeligroso 10/29/2017

    Ms. Charles (aka: The Boss)
    Or, perhaps you're more the Ringleader and Mastermind of this eclectic but distinguished group? Tryin' to be a little cute as the caffeine kicks in, but mabey I'ld better wait for my second mug. And, somehow the title of "Guiding Spirit" rings more true than any "cuteness" on my part; before or after the steaming mugs!!
    I'm a little late on comments, but in my defense, we just had our first freeze of the season, and it was a humdinger.... mid-low 20's (-4 or -6 c.) on this edge of the Ozarks. I worked Friday nite and wellllll into Saturday morn to get every tender spirit safe and ended the task by flashlight. Rescued all, too, save for one Ornamental Asparagus....thankfully, they're surprisingly hardy as a family and I'm hoping there's no serious damage to my long-time friend. My bad....and "ah hate Senior Moments!!!"
    I LOVE your latest Portfolio and appreciate our tour through time! If'n I have to narrow my choices of faves down, I can only filter to "three." The Apples are pert-near frame-able, and I would like to imagine that's not a variety we would find in our local box grocery aisle. But, then there's the swelling and plump Magnolia buds. Mercy, but that tree's been there a while....or, you took that one from your knees!! And, the final overview is magical. I am a sucker for the juxtaposition of ethereal fog/mist cradling home. If'n I were a poet, I would have to pen something about the tranquility/security/serenity I feel when seeing such a view....either in person or in photos! Anyway: a NICE place to come home to, for sure!! Very nice!!
    If'n I may be a bit bold as well as try to contain my little kid excitement; I think you've hit upon a great idea?? Mabey?? Perhaps later this Winter, after the Holidays and when our mailboxes are filling and contaminating our wild imaginations with temptations TOO good to be true but too hard to resist in the pages/photos of catalouges aplenty, you, (the Guiding Spirit) might send out an assignment to us, your adoring fans, to send in documentation of the past season. (How's THAT for a run-on sentence?!! I TOLD ya I's excited!!) Anyway, I believe we all keep photo records of both surprising successes and "ideas which need to be tweaked" on our devices and luckily, those machines date them for us!! If we choose only ONE photo which characterizes each month, well, the portfolios should prove both entertaining and educational. For those of us who have grafted a lense to our limb, the challenge of choice would be both fun and frustration combined!
    I'm just fleshing out your idea/presentation above, and now that my collections are safe and tucked in for the Winter, my mind has time for such grand schemes!!! (Yes: Be afraid!!)
    I believe all of us appreciate those who not only talk the talk, but walk the walk, too, whatever our professions or interests. Your dirty fingernails...or are you a gloved gardener??.... are a comfort and testament!

    1. Kim_Charles 10/30/2017

      Good morning Jesse--thanks so much for your your reply full of great comments and ideas. I also appreciate your accolades regarding my garden...yes...its an ever changing work in progress! The Magnolia is about 10 years old now and the apples are an espaliered hybrid..I have 3 trees in total that are trained to grow along one of the original stone walls. I have printed your winter suggestion off and have added it to a couple of off season ideas I have in mind. The heart of winter is a great time to kick it up a notch for sure...providing inspiration for the coming season! And full disclosure--I am a gloved gardener with dirty fingernails...somehow the dirt always finds its way inside..which is fine with me..I embrace it all!

    2. tennisluv 10/31/2017

      Jesse, I just love your Faulknerian Yoknapatawpha County ramblings. You are so much the southern vernacular gardener that I grew up with and that lead me into being a grower of plants and a person who tries to live in her space. All the GPOD subscribers are absolutely delightful but you fill my soul. Thanks for all your contributions.

      1. User avater
        gringopeligroso 11/01/2017

        AH LUV YOU!!!!!! And, you had me at "Faulknerian"!!!! (Umm, you ain't cussin' me out, right??;-) )
        Sonya, anyone of my closest friends and family know how hard it is to get me to blush and it takes a LOT to embarrass me! But, Girl, you've got me and this room a-glowing and it ain't no sunburn!
        Seriously, I don't know of a more warm and deep compliment anyone could've given to top the one you've bestowed upon me. While I'm not so sure I am worthy, I AM sure of the Honour that I feel. Thank YOU for opening Your Heart!
        I wish I could've met your "Guide" and mentor. We need more like them and You in our busy, cold, and dangerous World. Besides growing plants, both of y'all obviously cultivated spirits, too! Perhaps one of the most powerful tools against the dark side, and there are several dark sides...., is to make connections and share our perceptions. I find this site to be wonderful at uniting kindred spirits; whether encouraging newbies, giving accolades to pros, inspiring all of us on the learning curve, and encouraging our addictions.....well, the Green one, anyway!! The chuckles along the way are also Good Medicine!
        It's also a great way to share visually some mighty nice creations and I believe "Creating" is Devine, in the true sense and meaning of that lofty term. And, I'll wager I'm just preachin' to the Choir as I think you already know this!
        Sonya, a few years ago, I was able to swing by a Public Garden after a well earned day off in a different time zone. Many have not heard of this garden and it is overshadowed and overlooked by the very well known attractions and playgrounds of Orlando. It remains one of my faves to this day. I was able to visit on a quiet day and had much of the place to myself. Magical!! Over the entry to Bok Tower Gardens is a lintel with an inscription from the founder, which I have taken as an oath.
        I leave you, with a photo of that Inspiration, and also a deep gratitude towards you.
        I appreciate You!!!

        Oh, and I almost forgot:
        As far as living in yer space:
        Don't forget to colour outside yer lines every once in a while!!
        'nite, Sweetie!!!

  29. JoannaAtGinghamGardens 10/30/2017

    Beautiful home and gardens! So fun to see a Fine Gardening pro's garden. Love your little garden pup too.

  30. nancyslyons 10/31/2017

    Lovely gardens - love the color scheme.

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