Kathy Sturr, Clayton, NY

Author of the Violet Fern blog, gardening addict and aspiring artist.

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2013 Winter Photo Contest

Photos of the Violet Fern garden.

Hurry Up Spring!

Spring in my bird & butterfly garden: I was inspired by the white, angel-like quality of this daffodil in a sea of forget-me-nots. Spring in my front / sidewalk garden: I was inspired by the buzz...

Recent comments

Re: Barbara's garden in Alaska, revisited

Is that a Lady's Slipper?! Gasp!

Re: Spring in Michaele's garden in Tennessee

Oh thank you I needed that! I LOVE your gardens - they are wildness all tamed and pretty. Love that bunny. I just found out my "spirit animal" is the rabbit and now understand why I attracted and have so many, ha. I sure hope my Hellebores grow up like that stinking or not! I have two and they seem to struggle. Just beautiful - wish I was walking through your gardens on a gorgeous day.

Re: Tulip Time Chez Helene

LOVE those peony tulips! So beautiful! I don't plant tulips anymore - I have rabbits and they would be eaten, like my poor crocus. I do have luck with some species tulips the rabbits and other critters leave alone - my favorite is the woodland tulip, Tulipa Sylvestris. Oh, I cannot wait to see spring! It is snowing here - again. This brightened my day, thank you.

Re: Gwen's garden in Kansas

Your garden is truly a magical and healing place - even through the screen. It must be why you are blessed with amazing sunsets - a reflection of the colors of your blooms. I love your frog friend!

Re: Chihuly glass at NYBG

This is on my list of botanical gardens to visit but I don't exactly enjoy big cities anymore. Top it off with Chihuly - oh good day! Thank you for sharing - a good scratch for that impossible to reach gardening itch here in North Country. Beautiful!

Re: More from Donna's garden in Washington

Oh, beautiful for spacious skies ... when my garden grows up I sure hope it looks like yours!

Re: Amy's garden in Massachusetts

Just imagining those two long peony beds - sigh. Such gorgeous gardens/plantings. Picture perfect I must say. I will be visiting your blog when I have more time. I am starved for lush beautiful gardens/gardening! Thank you.

Re: A video tour through Anne's Delaware garden

Oh my! I need Spring! What a joy to watch and listen to. What a joyful, glorious garden - truly magic. You have made me want to plant a hundred flowers this Spring. Good thing I ordered seeds yesterday - otherwise I would go overboard. Thank you Grannie Annie!

Re: Nina's garden in Montana, Day 2

So many wonderful details! I want to work all day in that - what to call it - it is so much more than a potting station. And so neat! Thrilling plant combinations, comfortable viewing areas, vistas and a retreat - your garden has it all!

Re: The garden in Tennessee that Vicki left behind

Wow, I cannot believe you accomplished this in 8 years! Oh, so sad to leave behind but I am certain you are excited about your new garden. I left behind a house and garden in ME that I absolutely loved. I still miss the house, but I now love my garden here more which surprises me considering we now live in a village/urban setting vs. backcountry woods. That Dogwood is absolutely beautiful! I love all your plantings and combinations. Did you take anything with you again - the tiniest bit?

Re: Flowers at the equator

Oh my, so refreshing this morning! I am already booked/reserved for DEC/JAN next winter somewhere SOUTH. I wish I could breathe in that warm tropical air. Truly eye candy for us "Northeners." Thank you so much!

Re: What's your favorite Valentine's Day flower?

My favorite Valentine flower is a gift certificate to one of my favorite mail order nurseries. Then I can plant the flower come Spring and enjoy it for years!

Re: Martha's garden in Michigan

Wow! Your gardens are beautiful - flowing and weaving about - and I understand how you overworked those hands. I would love, love to hear more about that trellis / screen built from a recycled garage door? It looks fabulous! You certainly do have a way with color. A great way to start my day. Come on Spring!

Re: More from John's butterfly (and hummingbird) garden in Michigan

No no John, I believe the pleasure is all ours! I must try growing Cardinal Flower (again) in my garden. Just wonderful and what a great way to start the day.

Re: John's butterfly garden in Michigan

I love to see and hear about gardeners using native plants in their gardens. How beautifully woven is your garden! I admire that you are a certified Monarch Waystation - the Monarchs need you and us. I will have to work towards becoming certified thanks to your inspiring story. Gorgeous and such a welcome sight this morning.

Re: Jeff needs some cheering up....

What beautiful, if cold, Winter scenes from your garden. I hear you! Last night Chipotle burrito dinner and my own version of Palomas (white tequila, grapefruit juice, club and lime) put me back in the spirit of things. I'm quite envious of the lemons! And though I am stuck in Z4 North Country, it helps that I am undergoing Master Gardener training. I just LOVE it and can't wait to get back in the garden, order plants, start seeds ... Nice Driveway! (That's a local cheer we say around here. Means to your health. It's sort of like In the Garden of Eden > Inagodadivada; Na zdrowie > Nice Driveway!)

Re: Kathy's garden in Mississippi

Amazing! Beautiful gardens and what a beautiful house. How do you find time to ride and tend the gardens?? A wonderful story of patience and perseverance!

Re: Darlene's garden in South Dakota

I LOVE those words "converted our lawn" ... and it is beautiful. Those zinnias are the perfect side order to your vegetable garden. I am lusting after those FRESH veggies and that greenhouse! You are an inspiration. Spring will be very welcome this year.

Re: Barbara's garden in Connecticut, in praise of Angelica gigas

I am always attracted to this plant and now I must try growing although Z5 is not quite hardy enough - especially this winter! Never know until you try ...

Re: Michelle's garden in Connecticut: before, during, and after

What an amazing transformation Michelle! (Just catching up to yesterday) I LOVE what you've done with the place. I am also lusting after those blue stones! I sure do love to see a garden in the making. It is great to look back and see growth. I love Dutchman's Pipe and planted one along my driveway but I want to see if I can propagate it and begin growing it on the front porch, too.

Re: Carolyn's BIG rock garden in Massachusetts

I LOVE this! There are many rocky outcroppings here along the St. Lawrence River that have the potential to be as beautiful as your creation! I always long to have a rock outcropping in my yard! I wouldn't even need for it to have a name. What a fantastic "tapestry" you have made. I also am very fond of Killdeer and we have many around. There was a nesting pair at the St. Lawrence Pottery where I used to paint pottery this past summer - so fun to watch. I am always amazed at how they feign the broken wing to distract predators. Your sculpture is also fantastic! What a terrific concept with the shooting stars. I love to make structures (can't call them sculptures - not as artistic) out of tree branches. Rock garden and sculpture envy! You should be very proud of all that you have accomplished.

Re: Jayne's getaway garden in New Hampshire

I would not be able to leave! How many early, early Monday mornings do you drive back to reality because you couldn't bear to leave Sun. night? What a beautiful paradise. I love all the twinkling lights and that wine bottle tiki torch! Great color and texture.

Re: Happy New Year!!

Beautiful photos (and landscape)! We were part of that ice storm in Clayton, NY but thankfully did not lose power. All the surrounding areas, A-Bay, Cape Vincent, etc. did. We traveled to Syracuse for Christmas Eve and the sun lit up our icy landscape - I thought, damn, what a lost photo opportunity! Your garden looks elegant and not stressed at all with the ice - beautiful, sweeping views. I was worried about my young White Pine and lost a limb on one of my Amur Maples but everything bounced back quite nicely!

Re: Sharlene's garden in New York

Beautiful Sharlene! I have been through Skaneateles on several occasions - great area! Love your garden, love that shed(?!), love the urns (especially the color), love those fish!

Re: The story of Daniela's shady garden path in Ohio (8 photos)

Beautiful! I like your path better than the book's - more interesting. I would recommend some native plantings for your difficult site. Prairie Moon Nursery and Prairie Nursery both have "plant finding" tools. Just plug in your conditions for a list of native plants that will grow in them.

Re: Karen's garden in Illinois, through the years

I absolutely LOVE the structure you've added to your garden - and that's it's off center. So genius and to be able to now pick and choose your plantings around that permanent structure! I love the plantings, too. I planted clematis virginia in my garden but not on a reliable structure - I like to make rustic structures and its was damaged in high winds recently. I am assuming (without looking up the Latin) that your "invasive" clematis choice is Sweet Autumn Clematis? I have that, too, before I learned it is indeed invasive but mine isn't out of control at all. I think because I am pushing the limit of its hardiness zone. I love, love our native clematis. It should be used more often in the landscape! Beautiful what you have created in your garden! (P.S. I used to work in graphic design, too, and find gardening so much more satisfying!)

Re: Deb & Paul's garden in the Wisconsin woods

Beautiful! Love the color blends - and the color of your house. Love the woods. Love the plant "weaves" and pathways. Love the pond. I love it! FYI Good bug spray: Lewey's Eco Blends. If it worked in Maine it will work anywhere! Very oily but nice peppermint smell - no harmful chemicals.

Re: Fall in May's garden in British Columbia

Beautiful! You have a way with woody plants. Such great combinations of leaves, textures, color. I aspire to have my beds look this beautiful with more woody plantings! How lucky for you to have hummingbirds all year - love those little birds.

Re: Karen's garden in Missouri (4 photos)

It is always wonderful to hear gardeners say I want to get rid of my lawn - of which you are doing a beautiful job! You are similar to me in your method (of madness?). I began with a blank slate and now I am trying to install some pathways among the beds so that I can get into them to maintain them - and add plants. More and more plants! I bet it is a wonderful journey to walk among your winding paths.

Re: Donna's shrinking-lawn garden in California

I always have to applaud garden replaces lawn - beautiful job! So much better than lawn!

Re: Happy Halloween!!

Oh my gosh what FUN! Here in my town, we have started a Punkin' Chunkin Festival where people enter their own built trebuchets to chunk pumpkins in the river - it is one of the coolest things I have ever seen for reasons I can't explain. I like this personalized version! I love volunteer plants in the garden - yours is beautiful. Happy Halloween!

Re: Carol's lawn-turned-garden in Texas (12 photos)

Beautiful! I love your large drifts and combinations of plants with set-in-stone walkways to keep things on the wild side but in check. Just perfect! I always applaud the use of natives - applaud!

Re: Daniela's newly fenced veggie garden in Ohio (12 photos)

I am in love with your vegetable garden Daniela! This year I lost a lot of time and crops to a large rabbit herd and I have been considering ways to fence in my Potager and still have it look pretty - like yours!

Re: Winter is beautiful in Daniela's garden (12 photos)

With such long winters here I always keep design strategies for winter in the back of my mind when making more gardens. My favorite combo in my own garden is a red twig dogwood in front of a blue spruce with a copper bird feeder. It really keeps me going through winter. I added a yellow twig dogwood recently, too. Winter in the garden can be beautiful as you have shown here. Birds are the life of the garden. I always swoon at the sight of a cardinal against a snowy backdrop. I look very forward to seeing your vegetable garden!

Re: Donna's reclaimed-pasture garden in Washington (8 photos)

What fantastic mixed borders! Wonderfully balanced and planted. Inspiring.

Re: Day 2 in Carol Jean's Wisconsin Garden--Veggies and more!

So imaginative! And that veggie garden is delicious! I let squash grow out of one of my compost piles this year - I think you're onto something. Compost gardening?

Re: Beautiful bark and shimmery spiderwebs

Big applause for not using pesticides! I love misty morning spider webs but always I am wary of just where those spiders are hiding - especially with the really big webs! What about you? I have spiders that live/hide behind the rear view mirrors of my car. Go figure! Live in large, wild garden or rusty car? I love the "spiders" hanging in your tree - very fun! Also love the River Birch. I have a very young sprout that the rabbits nipped off last year but I think it's going to make it - hope it grows up beautifully like yours. Very fun and inspiring (all those textures!) tour this morning.

Re: A video tour of Tim's side garden in Columbus!

Love this! Love hearing the birds and "walking through" this fabulous garden. It would be great to point out some of the plants in a narrative. More, more, more. I also just love slideshow stills. I love my daily dose of garden on this blog!

Re: Flora as fauna

Thank you so much for sharing this. What amazing creativity. Montreal Botanical Gardens is definitely on my list of gardens to visit but now I will time it for the next Mosaicultures show!

Re: Darwin is a dreamboat!

One can just feel the love that abounds in this garden and in your marriage! Beautiful. Love all the craftsmanship, quirky and creative details and the trunk of that Wisteria!

Re: How to Take Better Garden Photos (Aster Style!)

This is too funny!!! I miss my iPhone.

Re: We saved this tree!

Yay! It's not very often the tree wins! It is obviously gloating, too, look at those blooms!

Re: John's Garden in Wisconsin

Beautiful gardens. Just love the tapestry in the backyard with those rock step stones winding through. My favorite time of day is happy hour admiring the garden. I find myself more attracted to the birds and bees and their activities than the flowers and plants. So I focus on them and if I were to leave my seat, I might scare them so I sit still. My advice to you: find a good Adirondack chair or some other chair that's somewhat difficult to get up out of (and a BIG glass tumbler), and maybe you will just sit and enjoy your garden! It is something to enjoy and admire. In winter I am too busy sketching out new plans for the garden - nothing like creating more work for myself!

Re: Maria's lawn-be-gone front yard in Ontario

BIG round of applause! How much more beautiful than dried up grass. I love Ottawa - and now even more because they have banned pesticides and harmful chemicals! More applause It is exactly two hours driving time from me in Clayton NY. I let violets go in my garden and find they really take over (sun or shade) so I have to dig them up now and then but they are a host plant for Fritillary butterflies! And Pussytoes is an alternative host plant for the American Lady. So much more than grass. I'm not sure how to solve the edging problem.I have stacked rocks where my garden meets the sidewalk and that seems to keep things in place. Really tough, walkable plants? Love that boulder, too! Very inspiring!

Re: Gloria's garden in Ohio

Lovely, lovely garden Gloria. I can tell you have your soul planted out there. I would call you a master even without the certification. I need to invest in irrigation systems - it sure seems simple enough and has big impact. Michele I plant Marigolds among my veggies every year. This year I went overboard with the rabbit herd and all and planted some Marigolds that are now 3' tall! - they would make a beautiful hedge if they weren't overshadowing my poor peppers. I am drawn to orange and tend to only save the seeds of the orange ones. Orange looks so eye-popping next to purple.

Re: John's garden in New Jersey, revisited

I have to applaud you for gardening with natives! I garden with natives and I don't even have deer (for which I am very, very grateful). I do see an increase in bees and other insects, and bird varieties. Here the house sparrow reigns but I've managed to attract a few migrating warblers in spite of them! Love that Joe Pye this time of year!

Re: Visitors in May's garden in British Columbia

How generous of you! This year a band of rabbits got together, organized themselves and then systematically downsized my garden. I still love watching them, however I am missing my normally, freshly harvested, large bunches of swiss chard and kale this time of year. I am always thankful to live in the middle of a village where deer are not your average garden visitor. I can't imagine after the band of rabbits, what an organized herd of deer might do! Even their name sounds sinister and illegal: black tailed columbian.

Re: Linda's garden in Washington, Day 1

I LOVE your garden Linda - the winding paths, the tall trees, the filtered sun, the wonderful containers, the secret greenhouse, those chairs. It is an inspiration. I can only hope my garden matures into a magical retreat such as yours!

Re: How many butterflies do you see?

I always have to applaud the non-use of chemicals! Beautiful! Yes, what is the plant that is so attractive to these Swallowtails? It looks like Joe-pye to me but white up close? I know my lavender/purple Joe-pye attracts everything and all but sadly this year I have hardly seen a butterfly. They must not have made it this far north. It also looks like you have a flowering shrub - NJ Tea? I would love to know as I like to plant for wildlife and also do not use chemicals.

Re: Michelle's garden in Connecticut, Day 1

LOVE the chair and welded creations! What beautiful combinations and colors. I am so fond of that dark purple against almost anything. It looks real, real fantastic! Again, the Dutchman's is a favorite. Thanks for sharing your wonderful garden.

Re: The biggest 'Sungold' ever?

Love it! Gardens should (and can) be everywhere in every possible space!

Re: Mary's garden in upstate New York

There are so many things about your garden I love! I love that you use Virginia Creeper. I think it is a beautiful vine, and native, too. Your front entry is magic. I love the Finger Lakes region, too - have been there several times (of course, tasting wine) beautiful as is your panoramic view! Your garden is the perfect combination of tamed, wild enticement - something I very much aspire to.

Re: Katie's garden in Ohio, revisited

I feel for you, Katie! This year I have a "herd" of rabbits. I can sit on my porch and watch at least four grazing on my lawn (and garden). Oh, there's one now! Not many vegetables have survived but the Black-eyed Susans needed to be thinned, anyhow. I have lost some annual vines like Morning Glory and Cypress. They have even nipped at the marigolds which they are supposed to hate! Anyway, your garden is still incredibly beautiful and will survive - obviously. Can't even tell that it is on the menu! Of course, those rabbits don't seem to eat any of the weeds, do they?

Re: Kristin's no-lawn yard in Minnesota

I love that you are lawn-free! I love sedums. There are so many varieties and they look spectacular "weaved" together. What a great design you have with the walkways and dry stream beds combined with so many interesting plantings and evergreens. Inspiring!

Re: Michelle's garden in Connecticut

Wonderful gardens Michelle! I love that you shared with us. I love Dutchman's Pipe. Mine has finally taken hold this year and will be the subject of a new painting. I love vines and I am very happy with our native honeysuckle, clematis and trumpet vines as well as Prairie Rose. I suggest you browse the selection at Brushwood Nursery (where I've purchased most of my vines). They have fantastic vines including many clematis! I am on hold for a hardy Kiwi vine and an American Ground Nut vine that really intrigues me. I love the art in your garden from found objects to the beautiful portrait of your daughter. I have always been wooed by the Gunnera! I hope it grows well for you in that fantastic container. Ditch the shutters - I am sure you can think up at least one or two creative window dressings instead!

Re: Jane's garden in Maine, revisited

What a beautiful garden Jane! I love your plant combinations and the naturalistic style. An inspiration!

Re: May's garden on Vancouver Island in British Columbia

What an incredibly beautiful garden. That Clematis alpina is now on my wish list. LOVE the birdhouse. So many lovely layers. I don't want to leave.

Re: May's garden on Vancouver Island in British Columbia

What an incredibly beautiful garden. That Clematis alpina is now on my wish list. LOVE the birdhouse. So many lovely layers. I don't want to leave.

Re: Michaele's garden in Tennessee, Day 1

And here I was excited to finally plant a clematis to crawl about my Dogwood ... beautiful! When will you be offering tours of your garden? Sign me up!

Re: Carla's garden in Connecticut, revisited

What a beautiful spring garden (and all year)! I love your stone wall and accents and the drifts of forget-me-nots. Beautiful combinations. The old cherry tree is art and love the wild lawn. I feel lucky that I just scored an Epimedium at the Syracuse Farmers Market.

Re: Beth's garden in Iowa, Day 3--Attracting wildlife

Words I LOVE to hear - I don't use pesticides! I don't either Beth and I expect our house wren to return any day. I have been enjoying your garden. I especially love your porch and bird garden. We recently added an enclosed porch in back although it still needs a bit of finishing. My favorite pastime is to sit in our new porch and watch the birds. Each evening I play hide and seek with the bluejays by hiding peanuts throughout the garden - they never miss a trick! I love the mushroom vantage. I hope to add a small frog pool this year - do you have water close by? Beautiful owl! I have big, fat rabbits Mr. Owl - send your friends!

Re: Julie's garden in British Columbia, Day 2

You are an inspiration! What a beautiful, intricate garden. I would love to visit.

Re: Karen's no-lawn front yard in California

My goal is to get rid of ALL my lawn. I think I'm about 2 years away now. I LOVE what you've done!

Re: Spring in Daniela's garden in Ohio

How wonderful to see the native Shooting Star blooming in your garden! I tried one of these, bareroot, but I think I planted it in the wrong spot. I must try again! I have large waves of forget-me-nots throughout my garden. Can't wait for things to warm up here. Just love fresh spring. Your garden is beautiful. It must bring you (like us) so much joy.

Re: Kathy's garden in Connecticut

Beautiful! I love your stone edging/low stacked wall and the pops of hot pink throughout your garden. Wonderful arrangements of shrubs and perennials. I'm going for more shrubs. What a great get away this morning!

Re: Springtime flowers in Nancy's garden in Oregon

Oh, how I needed this! Thank you so, so much. I love that Blue Zebra Primrose. And since it's hardy to Z4 it is now on my wish list! I am always one for natives and find the Garrya with the tassel-like flowers fascinating. What a fantastic spring garden you have.

Re: Christine's bayside garden in New York

Yes, please more photos. I love the way you have edged your stone path in the white garden. I am in the process of planning a new frog pond/pool to add to my garden and the way you have used your rocks will be inspiration. I also love the way you limbed up that yew. Beautiful!

Re: Daniela's garden in Ohio

I said to myself, oh, to have such a beautiful tree-lined property such as yours ... I am in love with the primula! They are beautiful. Very impressed that you started those from seed. I'm going to plant another tree.

Re: Sheila's garden in Newfoundland & Labrador, Day 1

The furthest East I have been is Quoddy Head, ME. It is beautiful country, much like your paradise. What a beautiful backdrop for your incredible garden.

Re: More from Betsy's townhouse garden in New York

Love your garden - I can't imagine rolling all that stone through your house! Worth it. I aspire to remove ALL of my lawn - you are THE inspiration. I have been mulling over the Pagoda Golden Shadows but now I am SOLD. I have another Pagoda, young, but doing well. I love Dogwoods and so do the birds. All look so perfectly at home in your garden.

Re: Jenni's garden in Virginia

What a fabulous sanctuary! I cannot wait for the day when I remove the very last patch of lawn in my garden. What beautiful tangles of eye treats and intriguing plants. And oh, what an adorable angel!

P.S. I do not know why my comments always appear twice. It prompts me to login but must also publish a comment without my login? I apologize for the redundancy - although repetition is good for the garden.

Re: The gardens at Cedarholm Garden Bay Inn in Maine

I have to envy that beautiful Lambs Ear edge, and of course, all those blooms.

Re: Another garden from Jeff in Tennessee

What a beautiful home and property! Very inspiring. I love the pergolas, especially connecting the structures - who wouldn't want to walk through that? Love those Kim ferns as well.

Re: Nancy's visit to Meijer Gardens in Michigan

I love the pale blue sculptures in the first photo the best. I watched a documentary on Chihuly and his display at KEW gardens - fantastic! Love the organic living shapes he creates and how they meld into the garden. What a treat for you - thanks for sharing it with us!

Re: Carol Jean's garden in Wisconsin

I rely on some key trees that belong to my neighbors. I try to imagine what my garden would be like if they were gone. I have planted some young trees on my property just in case. I love trees and would be so saddened to lose even one. But it is the nature of gardening to adapt and evolve to change. Now you have so many sunny possibilities! I just planted a Quickfire last fall – so happy to hear how you enjoy yours. You have a beautiful garden and I'm sure it will continue to be so.

Re: Jackie's spring garden in Michigan

What an enchanting garden. I love your glass spires. The light is truly magical. I can feel the mojo. I have been looking at some of these very same plants this morning (dreaming through catalogs) especially Solomon's Plume - love that you have captured the berries. I'm sold. Celandine poppies popped up in my garden. More are welcome!

Re: Ann's garden in Minnesota

Just love your fence Ann! It frames your garden perfectly.

Re: Kathy's potager in upstate New York

Thank you! I am happy to answer your questions. No, the wine bottle border sits through the winter and casts beautiful colorful shadows over the snow when the sun is just right. In the summer the rain collects in the dimpled tops of some of them and I often catch bees and others pollinators taking a sip. I built the rustic arbor and obelisk structures without a plan, although I did look through pictures of arbors for ideas. I often collect branches (before they are mulched) from our local dump after a neighborhood clean up. The branches dictate where they fit best and want to be. I use a drill and screws to hold them together. I drape biodegradable twine over them for peas and other vines to take better hold. I so hope you enjoy.

Re: Zach's garden in Panama

I love how you've weaved those branches to form an edging ... inspiring and I may have to try your idea on a new bed I'm creating although I am far, far from Panama. Beautiful, lush garden! Meditative – love your yin yang rock garden. Can almost hear that trickling water. Beautiful dog, too. Thank you for sharing.

Re: Scenes from my garden

Beautiful! Why aren't you recovering out there instead of inside? You have a good friend! I recognize that Datura and Perilla and I never thought to combine the two but now I will - thanks for the inspiration! Hope you recover soon.

Re: Fast-growing Trees to Avoid

I would like to point out that many of our native trees provide valuable wildlife habitat. What we might think of as pests or a mess plays an important role in the balance of our ecosystem. As more and more habitat is destroyed, I believe gardeners and landscape designers can offer a happy medium by educating themselves and making more responsible choices. A good online article to read (and online resource) if you are interested in learning more: A book that changed the way I garden: Douglas Tallamy's Bringing Nature Home. Here in my area of the country (Northern NY) the NY Botanical Garden offers a planting guide entitled Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants. I planted a White Pine and a River Birch which supports 411 species including the beautiful Luna Moth, and is at very low risk of being infected by the birch borer. I hope this was not a mistake but I do have many birds and much wildlife to enjoy which adds to my garden and landscape.

Re: READER PHOTOS! Stefani's garden in California

Fantastic! What inspiration. I always envy the milder climate. Applaud edibles in the landscape! Vegetables are beautiful and so is that chicken.

Re: READER PHOTOS! Marcia's garden in Maryland

I love to make rustic structures for my garden and have made quite a few. Love your tuteur! It is a beautiful focal point in your beautiful garden. I hope to have our native Clematis Virginia climbing up my "leaf trellis" this summer. Can't wait! Wonder what clematis you will be growing ... hope to see a picture. Bloodroot is on my wish list of plants. I, too, admire your home - fantastic.

Re: READER PHOTOS! Benjamin's garden in Nebraska

I see a lot of my favorites in your beautiful garden! I can't get over how lush and lavish your garden is in just under five years! Have visited your blog previous to this and enjoy it. Look forward to more visits.

Re: READER PHOTOS! Belinda's garden in Ontario

Beautiful! I love your paths that look like rivers winding through the woods. I try to plant native also. Ottawa is a beautiful city (the Tulip Festival is a trip on my list), but your garden in the woods wins hands down.

Re: Book Give-Away: Beautiful No-Mow Yards, by Evelyn J. Hadden

This book is on my wish list. I would love a copy! I have slowly been transforming our lawn into different garden areas and am always searching for inspiration. I had planned to leave a little bit of lawn area, but who knows, after reading this book I might be inspired to be rid of it ALL!

Re: READER PHOTOS! Kathy's garden in New York

Thank you, how fun and encouraging to read your comments. It just makes me want to garden more, more, more! The driftwood "sculpture" is intended to mimic a Blue Heron as there are many along the St. Lawrence River here. So glad you got it! 1000islandKathy - would love to share gardens! Let me know when you are settled back at the river and we'll figure out how to get together.

Re: READER PHOTOS! Tim's garden in Ohio, Day 3: This and that

Happy Birthday Michelle! Hope it's great as chocolate cake.

Tim, wonderful garden transformation. Bloodroot has been on my (really long ever growing) wish list. It is just beautiful, and native!

Re: Just a little bit of color

Black oil sunflower seed and suet. Depending on where you live you may want to invest in a caged suet feeder to deter larger birds as well as squirrels - mainly aggressive Starlings. A shepards hook with baffle works great for me in keeping the squirrels out of my sunflower feeders. I like feeders with a screen mesh rather than plastic tube. They air the seed and prevent it from becoming water-logged if you live in an area with humidity, rain, snow. Project Feeder Watch offers great bird feeding advice on their website:

Re: The Government in my backyard? No wonder it's a mess.

Recently, in my area of the country, a COMMUNITY chili cook off was invaded by state health officials who would not allow any HOMEGROWN ingredients to be used in the contest/cook off. That means your backyard (mine, organically) grown cilantro, basil, spinach ... are now all considered a "threat to public safety." Better not think about using any of your home baked goods for the church bake sale or school cookie sale, either. Maybe your fresh cut garden flowers will be the next big threat. What is the REAL threat to our public safety (and well being)? The government IS in our backyards here and they're burying my rights to grow and choose. Guess what? No more chili cook offs. They've canceled. So have similar events such as community dinners. We'll be eating our garden veggies under the table with the lights off and the doors locked in no time.