By Alexandra Dittrich

Formal beds on upper level patio in mid-July planted with wax begonias for lots of color. The dwarf boxwood hedge we planted around the edge 2 years ago is filling in nicely.

Clare and her husband have worked long and hard, and all their efforts have been worth it.

"My husband and I garden in northeastern New Jersey and we have a one acre property. We are lucky that the house sits towards the front of the property, so the back garden is pretty big. When we moved here in 2003, the back garden was just a downward sloping square of grass. We worked with a local nursery to develop a plan. The plan included creating three level terraces on the slope using local stone, creating perennial flower beds with a long slate path leading down from the patio, carving out beds around the large established trees around the perimeter of the garden and creating a shade garden in the corner that faces northeast, and adding a raised vegetable and cutting flower bed in the sunny southwest-facing part of the garden. In 2005, we hired a contractor to implement the plan and then my husband and I did all of the planting. We both work full-time in NYC, so this project took a number of years spending almost every weekend and every vacation day and day off. It is still a work "in progress", as most gardens are!"

The pictures included are from June and early July in Upper Saddle River, NJ.

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Rhodendrons bordered by Biokovo Karmina cranesbill geranium in early June. I love this geranium. It spreads nicely, but not aggressively (and any seedlings you don't want are very easily pulled or removed with a shovel edge). For us (in Zone 6b-7a), it blooms prolifically in early June and then sporadically for the rest of the summer. In fall, its foliage turns nice shades of orange and red.

Rose arbor with Zephirine Drouhin climbing roses in full bloom (can tolerate a bit of shade -- heavenly fragrance) and rose trellis in bloom with Cornelia climbing rose and Arctic Queen clematis.

My favorite daylily, 'Indian Giver'. The bright purple blooms are edged in white and have a beautiful yellow eye. The bud count is unbelievable -- they bloom for more than a month!

Color Guard yucca in full bloom in early July.

Parasol Lady in mid-June with Missouri Evening primrose in full bloom under dogwood. Snapdragons to the right of her and rose hedge (not yet in full bloom) to the left.

Rose arbor after rain with fallen petals. So romantic!

Border of Annabelle hydrangeas in early July.  These blooms are HUGE!

Carefree Delight rose hedge in late June. This rose is disease free. The only maintenance is to shear it down in early spring and then give it a "haircut" after the big bloom in June. Then it reblooms nicely (although not as enthusiastically) until fall.

The Oakleaf Hydrangea got huge this year and has never had so many blooms. It borders the shade garden, which is also the "white garden"...

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