by Michelle Gervais

Today's garden comes to us from Massachusetts: "My name is Lil Holloway, age 74, retired from a management position and more recently from real estate. We live in Bedford, Massachusetts, right on the Billerica line. In fact we are the last house on a dirt road that leads to the bike path. For this reason, there is no road in front of our home: it's all grass and some trees. We have an acre of land. I have my big garden out back, my roses by the deck, and what I call the "patch" which is on a slope going to the bike trail. We built this home 19 years ago and in our back yard was sort of a kidney-shaped spot with old (some rotted) trees, lots of dead leaves, etc. I looked at it and thought, "What a perfect spot for a garden." We cleaned it up and added lots of peat moss, garden soil, etc. I started with bulbs for the spring and the deer just loved my beautiful display of tulips. Lesson learned, I knew nothing about gardening, just what I love, which at the time was roses. But the hybrids, floribundas, etc., didn't like this spot (it goes downhill a bit), so I moved them up to the deck. The shrub roses were not as fussy and they have done well. Knockouts, 'Lady Elsie May', and three large pink shrubs that I have forgotten the name of...they grow over five feet tall. Also a climber called 'Winner's Circle', which is very abundant and disease-free.  
     Anyway, the shrub roses are on the edge of the garden and the center is filled with lavender, columbine, daylilies, Asiatic lilies, bee balm, false indigo, 'Hermann's Pride' lamium, anenome, coneflowers, tall phlox, Siberian and Japanese irises, yarrow, perennial geranium (actually climbs up a tree), honeysuckle, foxglove, sedums tall and small, chives, hellebores, heliopsis, and others I've lost the tags for.
     My husband built a trellis for me with a bench seat. I love taking my coffee or breakfast out there and just enjoying the butterflies and birds and deciding what works and what doesn't.  Gardening is an on-going learning process, tons of hard work and a passion.
     Because it changes every year, I started putting together a spring and summer garden book using CVS on-line, and this year I used my iMac. All photos are taken with my iPhone 5. This proves to be a great tool and my friends think it's beautiful. Of course, all gardens are a "snap-shot in time."  I think the books are a created illusion, as I'm showing folks only what I want them to see and not my neighbor's shed or driveway.
     My garden has no formal design. It changes every year based on what works and how many mistakes I've made the year before.  It is not perfect, it can be chaotic, but it is a riot of color that the butterflies and birds love. For me it is a garden to walk in and to enjoy.  It reminds me every day of the perfection and beauty that is nature. My garden brings me joy.....weeds and all." Beautiful, Lil. Your lilies are so wonderful! And I really need to buy some shrub roses.... Thank you!!

The season is winding down, everyone! Get outside with that camera. We need to see your garden! Yes I said NEED. Not WANT. NEED.

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