Garden Photo of the Day

Dappled Shadows Delight in this Woodland Garden

By Kim Charles

Peter Bloom from Northern Virginia revitalizes his woodland garden.

“Here are a few photos of my revitalized northern Virginia backyard garden. The wooden deck and retaining walls were deteriorating, so we replaced them with a flagstone patio and Pennsylvania dry stack walls. Then we re-planted healed-in shrubs, added new shrubs and a lovely Natchez crape myrtle. I look forward to it all filling out in years to come.”

I thought these were fossilized flagstones, turns out they are probably stained dendritic patterns.
A Dawn Redwood






Resting and savoring it all.

Have a garden you’d like to share?


Email 5-10 photos and a brief story about your garden to [email protected]. Please include where you are located!

Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

You don’t have to be a professional garden photographer – check out our garden photography tips!

Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.

Follow us: @finegardening on Twitter | FineGardeningMagazine on Facebook @finegardening on Instagram

View Comments


  1. bsavage 01/12/2017

    Nice! I love that you are taking time to enjoy!

  2. NCYarden 01/12/2017

    Good morning. Peter. Viewing this revitalized woodland garden has me stoked.The staggered strong trees and stone wall are eye catching. Add to that the wonderful understory plantings, and I'm in heaven. This is very inspirational, as my woodland garden is currently expanding. We just burned tons of debris in a section of our woods over the holidays, creating lots of new space to add plants.Christine and I still have a few poor ratty trees to drop, and before long I too will be revitalizing my own. Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed these pics.

  3. Jay_Sifford 01/12/2017

    Good morning. Great stone work. Stone and woodland gardens were really meant to go together. They kind of feed off each other in a natural way. I look forward to seeing more photos of this garden as it grows together. Good job!

  4. user-7007498 01/12/2017

    Good morning, Peter. Your dry stacked wall really impresses me. It really accentuates the garden, and works so well with the trees. Our eye is immediately pulled to the wall, then upward. I find that stonework like this slows us down to pay more attention to the beauty of the trees and the fabulous bark. And, wow, that metasequoia is stunning. I just acquired a dwarf form, 'Schirrmann's Nordlicht', which will grow slowly to 3-5 feet in 10 years, so I am excited for my smaller garden.

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful space with us.
    Upper 50's in central PA today. Maybe I can sit out in my garden as well.

  5. user-4691082 01/12/2017

    Peter, that is some stone wall... but it doesn't hold a candle to your legs! ?

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 01/12/2017

      Thanks for the chuckle this morning, Rhonda!

  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 01/12/2017

    I think your last shot gave us all a happy smile...yay for a gardener taking a moment to rest on his laurels..err, I mean hammock. The curving stone wall is so handsome and it probably won't take long for little wood ferns to settle in and take up residence. It's so nice that those large bushes were handled carefully and the area an appealing look of maturity. Congrats on a job well done!

  7. User avater
    user-7007816 01/12/2017

    What a beautiful setting. I like that you have kept a very natural feel in your garden.

  8. deannalchurch 01/12/2017

    Such a peaceful place. I love the stonework and the pathways are so very inviting. Finding places to stop and rest a moment makes it even better. I'm afraid I would make much use of the hammock for reading and napping...might be hard to get my other work done.

  9. Sunshine111 01/12/2017

    I like the last one the best! Just kidding… Your stacked stone walls and paths are lovely

  10. User avater
    treasuresmom 01/12/2017

    My, my, my. Love those stone walls and that redwood.

  11. User avater
    HelloFromMD 01/12/2017

    Fantastic bones in your garden, how they will showcase all your plantings. Are you interested at all in perennials? There are some lovely ferns for dry shade. Wonderful to have the mature trees.

  12. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 01/12/2017

    Awesome backyard and amazing bones and structure to your garden. I'm crazy about all of the stonework and gorgeous mature trees. Is that bamboo at the top of the steps in photos 1 and 4? Looks great. I was astounded to see the amazing timber bamboo in Yorktown several years ago. Aggressive, but very cool.

  13. annek 01/12/2017

    Looks like it took considerable work to shape up your lovely woodland garden, but the effort was well worth it. Before pictures would be interesting to view so we could oooh and ahhhh over what, I'm sure, was a dramatic transformation. That stonework is enviable, the redwood divine and the light casting shadows in the distance is magic. I very much enjoyed that you enjoy your garden (Rhonda was right...nice gams)

  14. sheila_schultz 01/12/2017

    I have to admit that I'm sort of lusting after your stacked stone wall. I'm fascinated by the visually busy layered stones fronting the quiet of the woods. It is so peaceful that I'm feeling the need to finish my book while swaying in your hammock. More photos please!

  15. user-4711274 01/12/2017

    Love everything especially the stone work and wall! Absolutely beautiful! Your dawn redwood brought to mind the recent loss of the famous Pioneer Cabin Sequoia (the one with the drive thru tunnel) that toppled due to a massive rain storm. The article said that where the tree stood looks like a river and that it shattered into a thousand pieces when it fell. So sad, it was over 1,000 years old. I bet it could tell some stories! l have a lot of woods too, but english ivy needs to be removed first. I have a dream! Thank you for sharing and enjoy your well deserved rest!

    1. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 01/12/2017

      We were saddened also by the demise of that 1000 yr old tree.

  16. Cenepk10 01/12/2017

    So beautiful & ordered. I'm all about the order. The Natchez crepe myrtle is a fast grower & will delight you, I'm sure. Beautiful !

  17. edithdouglas 01/12/2017

    There's nothing like stone...nothing!

  18. schatzi 01/12/2017

    Love wodland gardens! Everything is beautiful, but that stone wall is gorgeous!

  19. foxglove12 01/12/2017

    Very beautiful and inviting. Love your stone raised beds.

  20. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 01/12/2017

    Peter, how nice that you can find time to relax and appreciate your fine work. That stacked stone is gorgeous and I especially like the first photo with the long view through the woods. Your Dawn redwood is a stunner and so much nicer than ours so I'm guessing that it gets more water. You'll have to keep us updated as things fill in.

  21. petebloom 01/14/2017

    I'd like to thank all who expressed such kind comments on my photos in "Dappled Shadows Delight in This Woodland Garden." I really appreciate your perspectives on them. And thank you to Rhonda and Annek for appreciating my "gams,"....first time I've heard compliments about my skinny legs. :)

    Thinking about having new and different perspectives, I am reminded of a book I love, The Art of Travel by philosopher Alain de Botton. He elaborates on the idea of slowing down enough to really look and appreciate our everyday environments, from inside our home, to our outside landscape, to our community and so on, into the larger world. I have written down and often re-read some excerpts of de Botton’s thoughts on this, as well as his citing the insights of others:

    - Looking back on Wordsworth’s early poems, Coleridge would assert that their genius had been to ‘give the charm of novelty to things of every day, and to excite a feeling analogous to the supernatural, by awakening the mind’s attention from the lethargy of custom, and directing it to the loveliness and wonders of the world before us; an inexhaustible treasure, but for which, of the film of familiarity and selfish solitude, we have eyes, yet see not, ears that hear not, and hearts that neither feel nor understand.’ Nature’s loveliness might in turn, encourage us to locate the good in ourselves and transform relationships with each other.

    - Such places provoked an identifiable feeling that was both pleasurable and morally good. The value of landscapes would henceforth be decided not solely on the basis of formal aesthetic criteria, or even economic or practical concerns, but rather according to the power of places to arouse the mind to sublimity.

    - Sublime places repeat in grand terms a lesson that ordinary life typically introduces viciously; that the universe is mightier than we are, that we are fragile and temporary and have no alternative but to accept limitations on our will; that we must bow to necessities greater than ourselves.....The sense of awe may even shade into a desire to worship.

    - Because we find places to be beautiful as immediately and as apparently spontaneously as we find snow to be cold or sugar sweet, it is hard to imagine that there is anything we might do to alter or expand our attractions. It seems that matters have been decided for us by qualities inherent in the places themselves or by handwriting in our psyches, and that we would therefore be as helpless to modify our sense of the places we find beautiful as we would our preference for the ice creams we find appetizing....Yet aesthetic tastes may be less rigid than this analogy suggests. We overlook certain places because nothing ever prompted us to conceive of them as being worthy of appreciation, or because some unfortunate but random association has turned us against them. Thus our relationship to olive trees might be improved if we directed our attention towards the silver in their leaves or the structure of their branches; new associations might be created around….

    - De Maistre’s work sprang from a profound and suggestive insight: the notion that the pleasure we derive from a journey may be dependent more on the mind-set we travel with than on the destination we travel to. If only we could apply a traveling mind-set to our own locales, we might find these places becoming no less interesting than, say, the high-mountain passes and butterfly-filled jungles of Humboldt’s South America… Home, by contrast (with new places) finds us more settled in our expectations. We feel assured that we have discovered everything interesting about our neighborhood, primarily by virtue of having lived there a long time. It seems inconceivable that we could be anything new to find in a place we have been living in for a decade or more. De Maistre tried to shake us from our passivity.

    - My walks along the street (of my neighborhood) had been excised of any attentiveness to beauty, any associative thoughts, any sense of wonder or gratitude, any philosophical digressions sparked by visual elements…..(Then) I forced myself to obey a strange sort of mental command: I was to look around me as though I had never been in this place before. And slowly, my travels began to bear fruit. Once I began to consider everything as being of potential interest, objects released latent layers of value.

    Reading de Botton’s insights again, I am reminded of the Japanese aesthetic of “wabi sabi.”…….finding beauty and value in the ordinary, the imperfect and the impermanent. Taking breaks from working in our garden, or strolling, sitting or swinging gently in the hammock, I like to remind myself of wabi sabi and slow down, look, smell, listen to, seek and feel the beauty of it all.

    I really enjoy being a part of this wonderful community. Thank you all, Pete

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest

Shop the Store

View All Products