Garden Photo of the Day

Beverly works HARD in her Connecticut garden!

Today’s photos are from Beverly Smith, who says, “I live in a wooded area of Cos Cob, Connecticut, and have deer everywhere. We do not have a deer fence so I have, over the years, installed 90 varieties of plants that deer do not like.

We live on two acres with rock ledges that I have incorporated into my landscaping.  I do all of the labor myself. I learned about gardening from my grandmother and mother. I am a bit selfish about my garden and do not like assistance from others for installing and maintaining it. I consider it my canvas on which I do my art work. I designed it, installed it over the time period of 14 years, and maintain it. I installed a patio and focal points. My husband made the benches and Mondrian-style fences to enclose one garden room.

I am a teacher, and summers are for gardening. My family calls me an obsessive gardener. Some people play golf or tennis, or join ladies’ clubs, but I proudly garden–transplanting in the spring, even moving big shrubs and small trees myself.

Some folks wonder why I work so hard on a garden that is not in a neighborhood and not visible to many people. I stroll the garden many evenings with a glass of wine and admire what nature has allowed me to shape in my own front 1/2 to 3/4 of an acre. Each day I get to stand back and admire my personal garden canvas! One ladies group came for a garden stroll and loved my garden. Their garden club will be inviting me to speak next early summer when the garden it at its best.

I take my gardening both seriously and with humor. Recently when I was working in the garden, My daughter, Jani, brought me my lunch. I took off a glove so I could hold the peanut butter and jelly sandwich without getting too much dirt on it (last photo.)”

Beverly, you walk the talk. I absolutely LOVE the photo of you taking a break from gardening to eat your lunch. Bravo for sharing it. And your garden is lovely, too!

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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View Comments


  1. grannieannie1 08/26/2014

    Your dry riverbed tricked me completely- the smooth stones work so beautifully I thought I was looking at a flowing stream! Congratulations. All your very hard, sweaty work has paid off, and
    you deserve much more than a peanut butter sandwich!

  2. perenniallycrazy 08/27/2014

    Here's a summary of my reaction Beverly:
    1. Jawdrop...
    2. Drool...
    3. Wow, powered by peanut butter!
    Wondering how old you are and what you teach???
    Absolutely love your garden ♥. Please return with more photos.

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 08/27/2014

    Ahh, Beverly, you sing a song which has lyrics that I know and love...working hard and creating a beautiful garden...and being fueled by peanut butter sandwiches! Ha, were we separated at birth? I adore your generous use of rounded river slicks and the graceful arched bridge showing up so colorfully. Your canvas is an ongoing work of art.
    My compliments to your husband for those very handsome and architecturally interesting fence panels.

  4. mjensen 08/27/2014


  5. NCYarden 08/27/2014

    This garden is absolutely wonderful. Hats off to obsessive gardeners! I'm working hard right along with you - like you could help yourself, right. But this obsession will keep you young and strong, obviously...and maybe with a little help from a PB sam'ich. I wholly agree with you on the selfish aspect of the gardening. It's so much more rewarding to know you did it yourself (and husband), which truly is real gardening. I'm pleased to know you stroll the garden each evening. I bet it looks awesome under the silvery blue light of a full moon even later. The dry creek bed is a fantastic focus. I have considered something similar in an area where water runs in a heavy rain but otherwise doesn't support much. I think you have just lit a fire under me. This is a great woodland space. I wish I could knock on your door with a bottle of wine tonight. Oh least we got these pictures. Thank you for sharing.

    1. patward 08/28/2014

      me too!

  6. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 08/27/2014

    Delightful. Love the Mondrian inspired "art fences". I think most of the gardener's here will feel like you are our twin separated by birth. There are so many wonderful kinds of gardens, but there is something special about a garden that is the artist's big canvas!

  7. jeannetrimble 08/27/2014

    Your gardens are amazing! I too am an obsessive gardener but I only have a tiny courtyard in the city. I would never run out of artistic ideas with a "canvas" as big as yours. My garden, also is not visible to the public and is a place for reflection and peace. Your garden is a cathedral compared to my little church!

  8. greengenes 08/27/2014

    Good morning! Simply wonderful Beverly
    That is so great you have the rock on your land
    I know what you mean about being an obsessive gardener
    That is great you have the summer off to go full force all day. It is our artist pallet for sure and a creative release and with a glass of wine...oh how fine! Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. bons 08/27/2014

    Love, love, love your dry creek which looks just like water. And the photo of you chowing down your sandwich is priceless....made me laugh out loud! Kudos!

  10. lesliefarrelldelongpre 08/27/2014

    The colors of the rocks, of the dry creek bed, are what caught my eye. Beautiful! And yes the last picture was delightful. It was nice to see the artist of the 'scape!

  11. perennialpal 08/27/2014

    Beverly, you are my kind of woman & after reading all the comments see that there are many of us. I dug out my own fish ponds and lifted all the heavy rocks etc. besides forming the flower beds and digging and planting everything. I am not able to do much any more but continue to do what I can. Thanks for all the amazing photos of your beautiful retreat.

  12. ptkmwilk 08/27/2014

    Great garden. I know the feeling of enjoying the hard work and taking pleasure in the process. My husband often calls me "Pig Pen" at the end of a gardening day, as I am frequently encased in garden soil and compost!

  13. user-7007169 08/27/2014

    Impressive garden and enjoyed the photo of a "real" gardener.
    90 varieties of shade loving, deer proof plants! I would love a list. Maybe Beverly could write an article for Fine Gardening ? Please!!! :-)

    1. terieLR 08/27/2014

      Agreed ;)

  14. thevioletfern 08/27/2014

    Wonderful! I believe we are kindred spirits although I have not had the time this summer to devote to my own garden now that I am gardening for other people - that did not stop the tours or the evening wine admiration hour, though. Your canvas is really striking! An inspiration! I love the colors you have incorporated in your bridge and table & chairs. Perfect! Also love, love all the stonework. Enjoyed your last picture especially. I am reminded of a saying someone shared in our master gardener glass, "Gardeners know the best dirt." That outdoor shower hasn't come to plan yet - for you, too? - but one day ...

  15. annek 08/27/2014

    You're a hard workin' gal producing some beautiful results!! I laughed out loud at the 'peanut butter sandwich' photo as it seemed that I was looking in a mirror. Hot, sweaty and happy! Ahh, we gardeners are truly passionate folks. Your stonework is captivating and like others, I'm thinking about how I can emulate your success in areas of my garden. As I stroll through my garden this evening with my glass of wine, I'll toast to you and all the hard workers out there who take such pride in painting their own garden palette.

    1. NCYarden 08/27/2014

      Indeed, a toast all around for the hot sweaty gardeners in us all.

      1. annek 08/28/2014

        Hmm NC Yarden, a Toast to the Hot and Sweaty...sounds like a good title for a book

  16. GrannyMay 08/27/2014

    Beverly, great story and wonderful garden! A big cheer for all obsessive gardeners!

  17. Jackson5 08/27/2014

    Looks like you EARN those nightly strolls! Good for you - nothing better than sweaty and dirty and in the garden! Congrats.

    1. greengenes 08/27/2014

      And with a glass of your favorite wine!

  18. schatzi 08/27/2014

    Incredibly beautiful! You are a hard worker, with fabulous results. Who needs an audience walking by? We garden first and foremost for ourselves, because we cannot do otherwise.

    1. greengenes 08/27/2014

      Here, Here! I totally agree!

  19. schatzi 08/27/2014

    Oh, and kudos to your husband for his beautiful wood working.

  20. dianefalk 08/27/2014

    Wow! Just gorgeous! I was delighted to see a photo of dirty as I get in my garden! My jeans have permanent brown knees and a stained butt....from working in my gardens. Bravo to you...I do all my own work, as well. It's just beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  21. sheila_schultz 08/27/2014

    Beverly, your gardens and words struck home for most of us, I think. Gardeners are artists at heart... and we try our best to re-create the beauty that we see in our mind's eye. Your plant paintings and hardscape sculptures flow so beautifully into their natural surroundings.
    You have quite the gift!

  22. User avater
    meander_michaele 08/27/2014

    Ha, gang...don't want to scare any of you but this how dirty I can get a pair of my gardening sneakers. If they hadn't come apart yesterday, I'd still be using them. Should I be embarrassed?!

    1. NevadaSue 08/27/2014

      No! you should not be embarrassed! :) I love it :) I also have a couple pair that look close to this…..why wear good ones and get them messed up ? :) You are my kind of gardener :)

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 08/27/2014

        Ha, you're a brave soul, Nevada Sue, to have even looked at the photo...I didn't mean for it to show up sooo large. I don't want it to be a distraction from all of Beverly's wonderful garden scenes. Maybe the next time I try adding a picture, I will have learned how to size it down.

    2. greengenes 08/27/2014

      Hey! They look like mine! But Iam now searching for some new ones with better suport. Nothing worse than foot trouble

    3. terieLR 08/27/2014

      I'm afraid... That I have to confess the same shoes are at my back door, with arch support. Down right dirty gardeners we are.

    4. annek 08/28/2014

      The best shoes might have to retire them with honors!

  23. NevadaSue 08/27/2014

    Love Love your garden! :) Keep up the great work. :)

  24. patward 08/27/2014

    Love your yard, and your attitude!! My husband can't; understand how much joy I get from digging in the dirt! But he chases a silly white ball all over the place! I need help.. I have a beautiful wrought iron fence to keep the deer out, but the rabbits are eating my prize flowers! Anyone have any idea how to keep them from destroying everything?? Thanks!

    1. greengenes 08/27/2014

      Hi...we ha very had a horrible invasion this spring and summer so I purchased some 36 inch wire fencing, one inch square and made round tube to go around my favorite plants and bulbs. You can cut the 36 inch high wire in half and this worked for me and I got a lot of them now.

      1. patward 08/28/2014

        thanks!! However, I have a waterfall, and flowers all around it, so it would get a little crazy! I am afraid I am going to have to put something around the entire fence area, and it really looks tacky!

  25. Cenepk10 08/27/2014

    Yes Yes, Beverly ! It's a work of art !!! I do the same as you, do it alone. When asked what I do for pleasure- I say work i the dirt. I'd rather dig than vacation -- gives a lot of pleasure, keeps one young and strong and the results are very satisfying.

  26. user-7007125 08/27/2014

    I love it! I have an area that I'd like to work on ... my problem is that is in the shade till 4pm. Then it gets some very hot sun all summer, anyone with any please advice help! I have no problem with sprinkling veggies in with other plants.

  27. foxglove12 08/27/2014

    I'm loving that red bridge! Really pops. We are planning to install a bridge like that, think its going to be red...

  28. thegardenlady 08/27/2014

    you are fortunate to have such a daughter who brings you a sandwich and a husband who builds such beautiful fencing. Your landscape is wonderful. I'd love to know more about the plants you selected.

  29. terieLR 08/28/2014

    Have returned to this post many times today and love it more each visit. I am totally convinced to use that shade of green somewhere in the gardens next year. Your gardens are fabulous Beverly!

  30. user-4691082 03/09/2015

    I can't get over Beverly's CT garden. I WANT that red bridge! I love the discussion about how dirty and sweaty we's supposed to be in the 50's here in PA- come on spring!!!!! Getting my cast off tomorrow- can't wait!!!

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