Garden Photo of the Day

Charlene’s Pennsylvania Garden

Gardening around a house that is over 200 years old

A shrub with huge pink flowers with tall purple flowers in front of it

Today we’re in the town of North East, Pennsylvania, visiting Charlene Kerr’s garden.

We are located on the south shore of Lake Erie, in northwestern Pennsylvania (even though the town is named North East!). The lake provides cooler springs and warmer falls, making it ideal for grape vineyards and cherry and apple orchards, and our gardens. We began gardening when we purchased this home, which was started in 1796. In 2005, we removed a 100-year-old addition, put on a new addition, restored the 200-year-old portion of the home, then started rejuvenating and adding to the gardens. We added native and unique plants with the help of Brett Maloney Landscaping.

white-flowered shrubs in front of a brick house with large porches on the frontFringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus, Zones 3–9) and an old spirea (Spirea prunifolia, Zones 5–8) accent the two-level deck that overlooks Lake Erie.

large tree with white flowersCandytuft (Iberis sempervirens, Zones 3–8) and dwarf Korean lilac (Syringa pubescens, Zones 4–7) thrive under an ancient apple tree and an old fireplace. A pergola and patio were added for use with the fireplace.

shrub with large purple flowers next to a garageThe detached garage serves as a storage shed, with a potting shed on the far side. It is flanked with Rhododendron, hostas, deutzia (Deutzia gracilis, Zones 5–8), pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis, Zones 5–9), iris (Iris hybrid, bearded group, Zones 3–9), and a yellow wood tree (Cladrastis kentukea, Zones 4–8).

light pink peony with dark foliageTree peonies (Paeonia hybrid, Zones 4–8) and Allium (ornamental onion, Zones 4–10) in front of the old chimney and pergola.

trees shrubs and perennials with a house behind themThe west tree row buffers the neighboring home with a variety of hostas, sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum, Zones 4–8), ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris, Zones 3–7), Cotoneaster divaricatus (Zones 4–7), doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum, Zones 4–8), weigela (Weigela florida, Zones 4–8), and a weeping false cypress tree (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis, Zones 4–7).

Crabapple trees in bloomCrabapple trees (Malus sp., Zones 4–8 ) bloom in mid-May.

A tree with dark leaves edged in pink A ‘Tricolor’ beech tree (Fagus sylvatica ‘Tricolor’, Zones 4–7) protects ‘Johnson’s Blue’ geraniums (Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’, Zones 4–8) and daisies.

A bed of flowers around a statue of a womanThe first purple irises (Iris hybrid, bearded group, Zones 3–8) bloom around the lady statue, along with hostas, the last of the daffodils, and peonies.


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View Comments


  1. Begonia155 06/11/2021


  2. gardendevas 06/11/2021

    WOW! That peony, especially.

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 06/11/2021

    How very, very lovely!

  4. User avater
    simplesue 06/11/2021

    I enjoyed hearing about your home renovations and that you have a view of Lake Erie from the double porch...and then add your perfectly wonderful garden!
    Wow, so much beauty all around you!
    Love that cement bird and pedestal statue, and all the ferns around it.
    The circle planted around your lady statue is also so outdenting as is all of your garden!
    The Tri Color Beech with Johnsons Blue Geraniums is such a nice combination too...I just love the whole place and all that you have done here!

    1. User avater
      simplesue 06/11/2021

      oooops...not "outdenting" I meant to type "outstanding"

  5. btucker9675 06/11/2021

    Oh my! When can I move in with you! What a beautiful place and love the painted garage door color with all of the plantings around it. Great job and I know you enjoy it every day!

  6. SuzannPalmour 06/11/2021

    I gotta know what variety that tree peony is! The foliage and bloom contrast is striking!

  7. Cenepk10 06/11/2021

    Gorgeous!!! Nice job. Love all the trees ! Nice composition

  8. Maggieat11 06/12/2021

    So beautiful. What a great combo, the Allium and peony. N. Would love to see more photos, especially your home surrounded with the planting. Nice job.

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