By Kim Charles

Garden in late fall with hydrangea, ornamental grass & sedums.


Ellie Gilbert gives us a glimpse of her garden transformation with that "WOW" factor.

In 2001, when my husband and I moved into our newly built house in Plymouth, MA, the yard was a virtual sand pit, and the hill behind the house was steep and featureless except for a few scrub pines. Something definitely had to be done! 

We began transforming the hill by building some steps from stones that we unearthed on our land. I then added spirea, boxwood, hostas, salvia, and ornamental grasses to both sides of the steps for symmetry. I also transplanted some tiny birch saplings to the top of the slope because they have a shallow and spreading root system that I felt would help keep the hill from eroding. Next came five spreading junipers and some ground phlox, also as a guard against erosion. The shrubs that form the main structure of the hill garden are three tall oakleaf hydrangeas, five 'Rosebud' azaleas, several mophead hydrangeas, two dwarf lilacs, and a red-twig dogwood to mark the boundary of our hill. Over the years, I filled in all the empty spots between the shrubs with perennials -- hostas, shasta daisies, threadleaf coreopsis, yarrow, salvia, meadow cranesbill, catmint, and several varieties of daylilies, making sure I repeated the pattern across the hill so the final look would have a sense of rhythm and harmony. 

I've attached several photos of the "hill" garden, my patio garden, and some close-ups of various flowers as well -- hope you like them!

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A mix of birch hosta, bleeding hearts, forget-me-nots, siberian iris, & crimson pygmy barberry make up this scene.

Bleeding heart

Scenes from my garden in May: cranesbill, weigelea, bleeding heart, catmint and heuchera.

Daylily 'Summer Wine'

Hill and patio in early spring with cransebill, catmint, azalea & heuchera.


Patio garden with lacecap hydrangea

Oakleaf hyndrangea.

Shade garden at the top of the hill with hostas.

Japanese anemone

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