Garden Photo of the Day

A New England Property Transformed

From weeds and woods to blooms and butterflies

Today’s GPOD comes from Michelle Mensinger:
"I live in Derry, NH (Zone 5b), and my husband and I have transformed our property into a garden Eden. We bought the house in 1983, and it had no landscaping, just grass, weeds, and woods. We built two koi ponds and many garden beds, stonework, walls, paths, and planted beautiful shrubs, trees, perennials and wildflowers. Gardening is a true passion for me, as the fruits of my labor are so rewarding. Walking through the gardens gives me great joy and peace. Every day I notice the subtle changes as the seasons unfold."

‘Khedive’ bearded iris (Iris ‘Khedive’) and a wild native azalea (Rhododendron periclymenoides). The fragrance is unbelievable!

A large clump of butterfly weed (A. tuberosa), which is stunning and attracts many butterflies and bees.

‘Purple Majesty’ Siberian iris (Iris sibirica ‘Purple Majesty’)

One of the ponds

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View Comments


  1. frankgreenhalgh 11/30/2017

    Hi Michelle - You and your husband have done a marvellous job creating your garden of 'Eden'. All the scenes shown are outstanding. Congratulations. Cheers from Oz

  2. user-7009005 11/30/2017

    How beautiful! Are you ever part of a tour? You're not far from Haverhill.

  3. Maggieat11 11/30/2017

    Oh, so lovely! You have done a fantastic job. Are the rocks all from your property? Would love to see more photos!

  4. User avater
    treasuresmom 11/30/2017

    Just beautiful!!

  5. NCYarden 11/30/2017

    Amazing transformation. This is a brilliant garden oasis. Well done.

  6. mjensen 11/30/2017

    beautiful. amazing job. love the iris and the pond.

  7. user-7007498 11/30/2017

    Wonderful transformation, Michelle. I love the large boulders breaking up the edging stones on the path. The ponds are beautifully integrated into the landscape and look like they were always there. I love the 2nd photo. Not only is the clump of Asclepias awesome, but the background is gorgeous with the Japanese maple and color echo of the heuchera. Thanks for sharing your garden .

  8. jeffgoodearth 11/30/2017

    stunning! absolutely beautiful

  9. User avater
    meander_michaele 11/30/2017

    What a breathtakingly beautiful garden you and your husband have created, Michelle. The second picture shows that you have mastered all the elements that fill the books written by garden experts...I hope you share more photos in the future since your garden looks to be endlessly fascinating. That is the largest, most rounded clump of butterfly weed that I have ever seen. Do you do any early season pruning on it to make it so full? Your photo capture of the iris in front of the ferns is about sun kissed and radiant. Thanks so much for such a treat.

  10. Sunshine111 11/30/2017

    So lovely Michelle! I’d like to come visit sometime! I grew up in Derry and moved to Hookset about 30 years ago.

  11. User avater
    user-7007816 11/30/2017

    Michelle, I love the way you use colors, particularly the oranges. Great job.

  12. chelleisdiggin 11/30/2017

    More please, Michelle! Especially the ponds. I have been in withdrawal for the last four years and find myself addicted to pictures of other's creations. You've done a beautiful job with the gardens.

  13. poest 11/30/2017

    Great job! Thanx.

  14. tennisluv 11/30/2017

    You and your husband have definitely created a beautiful garden. The Irises are stunning, as is the Asclepias tuberosa. It is overcast & rainy here in GA today and your sunny pictures brighten my morning. Thanks for sharing these pictures; please share more in the future.

  15. cheryl_c 11/30/2017

    What a fabulous set of photos you have send of your stunning gardens. I think my favorite is the one with the aesclepias, because that orange is repeated a couple of times in the background, complimented by purple punctuation marks! But your iris and fern combo is so striking as well. Fantastic job, thanks for sharing, and please send more.

  16. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/30/2017

    Fabulous. I feel peace just looking at photos. I can imagine strolling through every day enjoying the changes from day to day. I can also imagine the amazing amount of work it takes to keep it looking so tickety-boo. Love it.

  17. user-4691082 11/30/2017

    YOU DID THAT YOURSELF? I am freaking out at the amount of work you have done!!!!! It’s beautiful. Do you own your own landscaping firm? Fess up!

  18. User avater
    DawnMT 11/30/2017

    Stunning! How many acres do you garden on? Thank you for bringing joy to my day.

  19. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 11/30/2017

    Good morning, Michelle and thank you for this tour through your very lush, beautiful garden. You and your husband have created a wonderful place to live. I like your color choices and the backdrop of large trees framing your ponds which must give you winter interest as well. Would love to see more.

  20. greengenes 11/30/2017

    Good morning! Your passion sure shines through, Michelle! It si so colorful and alive which makes my day in this dark and dreary day! You both have done a beautiful job in every photo! The water feature if fabulous! I sure hope to see more! Thank you!

  21. edithdouglas 11/30/2017

    It's lovely. I'm in awe. If those were my iris, they'd be falling right over, and I can't seea stake anywhere near those lovely blooms. Great to see, thanks.

  22. btucker9675 11/30/2017

    Absolutely stunning! The use of stone, water and plants are so beautifully balanced and so elegant. Must admit, I'm consumed with envy right now... : )

  23. sheila_schultz 11/30/2017

    Add me to the other GPOD'ers that want to see more photos of your beautiful gardens... you're such a tease! The layers of interest seem to go on and on with the great stonework and winding paths, stunning choice and combinations of plant material and then there's that pond. Wow! Many more photos please!

  24. user-7008735 11/30/2017

    Oh, so beautiful, Michelle! I can almost smell that lovely pink azalea; it's one of my favourite garden scents. Your pond is beautiful and the sound of running water must add that special something to the whole experience of being in your garden.

  25. VikkiVA 11/30/2017

    Good grief! What a glorious place you have created. Considering you are in the "short" growing season of zone 5b (well short compared to my zone 8a) you certainly have a large variety of plants. I love it all and especially like to see the butterfly weed blooming at the same time as the astilbe. I need to see more pictures and include some of your snow covered landscape. Vikki in VA

  26. foxglove12 11/30/2017

    So beautiful. I can feel the tranquility. Love the flagstone paths and that pink khedive iris is stunning!

  27. Cenepk10 11/30/2017

    Ahhhhhhhh. Wish I could slowly walk through your garden & enjoy. Beautiful!!!!

  28. User avater
    gringopeligroso 12/01/2017

    Ah, Ms. Mensinger!
    To live in one garden for so long and watch it transform from a basically blank slate to such beauty and harmony....well, perhaps that's what we all envision when we plug in a 3 gallon tree and a few 6 inch containers of perennials; as I was doing this week! I've always thought gardeners have the bestest imaginations and are perhaps the closest spirits to time travel! We can almost see that tree as a 40 ft. specimen and those perennials blanketing the entire corner of our heavens on Earth, laughing in full technicolour year after year!
    Your post this morning shows us that dreams DO indeed come true!

  29. user-6536305 12/01/2017

    The fruit of your 30+ years of hard work is stunning and rewarding. Love your cover scheme and your iris. Would love to see more photos of your garden. Thanks for sharing! What are the glass ornaments in the second photo? Please show us a closer up photo. What is the name of the orange bloom shrub beside the maple in the second photo?

  30. carolineyoungwilliams 12/02/2017

    Your flowers are beautiful. I especially like the Butterfly Weed. I have never seen one so bushy/full and low growing....mine are always tall and leggy. Would you please give me the name and some growing tips...

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