Garden Photo of the Day

Bennette Estate in Millis, Massachusetts

The pond is 15 years old, and Pearl, the large white Japanese carp, is at least 10 years old. Water hyacinth and Egyptian papyrus and the redbuds overhead provide shade in the summer.

Today’s photos are from Michael Goltzman, who says, “These are photos of the gardens of Sharon and Rob Bennette in Millis, Massachusetts. I started helping them design and plant the garden in the early 1990s and it has continued to evolve until today. Rob and Sharon are entrepreneurs who have spent years redoing their home and gardens. Rob runs his business out of the small shed in the backyard.

Fagus sylvatica ‘Purpurea Pendula’ sits at the end of the garden behind Picea Orientalis ‘Skylands’

The garden is a mix of conifers, Japanese maples, grasses, and perennials. More than a decade later, they rarely water the garden in the summer because everything is well established. Even though they are located in the Boston suburbs, their garden is located near the Charles River head waters and therefore has a somewhat warmer microclimate. The Bennettes enjoy their “estate” constantly, and Rob’s commute to the office is always a pleasant one. I hope you enjoy their garden.”

Next to Rob’s office sits Sciadopitys verticillata (at least 10 years old) surrounded by Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’, Picea abies var. nidiformis, and Miscanthus zebrinus
Sharon has grown to love orchids over the years, and moves them outside under the conifers in the summer. This one was blooming last week
Large white pines, sugar maples, and oaks dominated the yard originally (see before pictures), and today the maze of trails through the woods are planted with Cornus ‘cardinal’, viburnums, Cornus kousa trees, and oakleaf hydrangeas… A small weeping red Japanese maple has been moved many, many times over the years.
Coreopsis frames the foreground in front of the fountain the trickles into the pond surrounded by Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’, picea pungens globosa
The road is lined by large hemlocks to block passing traffic, and to serve as a wonderful backdrop for Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’, Pinus densiflora ‘Tanyosho’, Pinus strobus ‘Blue Shag’, sedums, and echinacea

View Comments


  1. grannieannie1 09/10/2014

    Your calm, green retreat is beautiful, and I envy all the rocks. Had to laugh reading about Rob's commute to work! What a daily blessing that must be.

  2. GrannyMay 09/10/2014

    Thanks for sharing these photos Michael. The estate looks wonderful! I especially enjoy the fountain and pond, a serene and beautiful place to relax. I had to laugh at your words " the small shed in the backyard," which do not conjure up in my mind the lovely little building in the gloriously landscaped setting!

    Michelle - I had to search for this post - there was no email notification about it.

    1. michaeljgoltzman 09/10/2014

      You know the funniest thing is that this was truly the shed originally where the lawnmower and other equipment lived. :) Thanks again for the nice comments.

      1. GrannyMay 09/10/2014

        From the glimpses that one can see, I would guess that much work has been done to redo the shed into a home office, similar to the work of redoing their backyard into a lovely estate garden.

  3. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 09/10/2014

    Very beautiful and serene. The hardscaping and garden really complement each other. There is a simplicity that is so wonderful. My plant-addiction will not let me accomplish that sort of thing. Bravo.

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/10/2014

    Wonderful selection of pictures, Michael, that really communicate the quality essence of these delightful gardens. Your partnership with the owners, Sharon and Rob, has obviously been very successful. I love the generous use of blues and chartreusey tones...speaking of...that clump of Japanese Forest grass in the picture that has the metal piece is glorious.
    Oh, and a question since it sounds like you have lots of experience...when is the best time to move a weeping Japanese maple?

  5. michaeljgoltzman 09/10/2014

    @meander1:disqus, thank you to everyone for the nice comments. It was truly a labor of love for all of us. Regarding the question of moving Japanese maples, I always find the fall the best time because it's cool, and then the tree has long time to get established prior to the stress of leafing out in the spring and the summer heat. Ensuring good watering is always important, of course. Thanks again for the nice comments.

  6. NCYarden 09/10/2014

    What an outstanding garden. Man, that umbrella pine rocks, one of the biggest I've seen - gives me much to look forward to with mine (only half the size at this time). Once again I can't help but get excited over the Japanese maples, my favorites. Isn't it great how amenable they are, even to repeated transplants? Just the best. Everything looks so healthy in this garden. Well done. Thanks for sharing.

    1. michaeljgoltzman 09/26/2014

      Thank you!

  7. Meelianthus 09/11/2014

    Hello Michael ~ Thank you for the wonderful photos of the Bennette gardens. What a fantastic job you have done in creating such a serene setting. I would love to wander leisurely thru taking in every inch, it is truly lovely.

  8. thevioletfern 09/11/2014

    Oh, this is the garden I want when I grow up! How serene and beautiful. I love, love that pond and the conifers and the curves and ... well, I could go on and on.

  9. perenniallycrazy 09/11/2014

    Like a fine wine, this garden has gotten so much better with age. With this, it shows such peace and tranquility. Who wouldn't want to work from home in this case? I sure couldn't. Thank you Michael for sharing your beautiful and thoughtful vision of the Bennette Estate Gardens.

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