Garden Photo of the Day

Finding a Garden in a Difficult Time

Pain leads to gardens

Today we’re visiting the garden of Janet Day.

We live in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

In 2001–2002 I had a health situation and lost my job. I was dealing with chronic mouth pain and needed to keep my mind and body active to keep my mind off the constant pain and to ease my anxiety from losing my job. Although I always planted annuals each summer, now that I was at home and needed to keep occupied, I used this situation to learn more about perennial plants.

I believe I actually started getting rid of grassy areas and began working on planting perennials around 2005. I took advantage of end-of-season sales to get perennials at a discount. Because of their affordable prices, I was able to begin my perennial garden adventure.

We have a pretty shady lot, which makes gardening somewhat challenging. However, through trial and error we have made it work.

janet day hostaThese photos show some of the perennials we grow, including all sizes and colors of hostas. My name is Janet Day, and we even found a hosta that is officially named Janet Day—a really cool thing!

creeping JennyGrowing along the path, with tiny yellow leaves, is a sweet ground cover called goldilocks, also known as creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’, Zones 3–9).

Shade tolerant perennialsShade-tolerant perennials grow surrounded by a thick layer of mulch to keep down weeds.

Variegated ajugaVariegated ajuga (Ajuga reptans, Zones 3–9) adds long-lasting color and interest to the garden.

Japanese maplesIn the garden we have some 6-foot Japanese maples (Acer palmatum, Zones 5–9) that I had been cultivating since they were 3-inch saplings. Whenever I notice a little sapling growing near the mother tree, I let it reach a certain point then transplant it elsewhere in the yard or put it in a pot and give it to someone. We originally purchased two Japanese maple trees, and now we have four that are about 6 feet tall and another four baby trees that are in the 2-foot-height range right now.

Foliage provides lots of color and interest in this garden.

Although it was a traumatic and very painful experience that originally cost me my livelihood, in one way it was a blessing in disguise. It gave me the time and opportunity to create the lovely gardens that grace our yard today.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 12/26/2019

    All very lovely. Is that a Seersucker Sedge or a hosta? If it's a hosta, can you tell me the name?

    1. JanSuzanneDay 12/26/2019

      Dear Treasuresmom...Which photo are you referring to?
      Let me know and I will do my best to give you the information. :)

  2. pam_clemmons 12/26/2019

    Janet you’ve done an excellent job with you’re garden. It’s absolutely beautiful with all you’re attention to detail and you must be so very proud. Bravo!

    1. JanSuzanneDay 12/26/2019

      Which plant photo are you referring to?
      Just let me know and I will do my best to give you the name.:)

    2. JanSuzanneDay 12/26/2019

      Hello Pam,
      A bit new to this comment area and may have sent incorrect reply to you just a minute ago.

      I want to say thank you to you Pam for your kind comments.
      All,the best to you and your gardens! :)

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 12/26/2019

    Hi, Janet, I'm so glad that you found the gratifying blessing of peace and purpose through your gardening. You've done a beautiful job filling your shady areas with colorful foliage plants that have the bonus of interesting textures and varying forms. It's all lovely and so pleasing to look at.

    1. JanSuzanneDay 12/26/2019

      Dear Meander-Michaele...Your kind words are truly most appreciated by me! :)

  4. cheryl_c 12/26/2019

    Janet, both your post today, and yesterday's post echo the experience of so many of us - out of loss, out of grieving, out of pain and discomfort, gardening can lead us to new health, growth, beauty and life on different terms than we may have thought were possible. Deepest congratulations on your choice of life and new growth! Your plant palette and design are truly warm and welcoming, your plants all look so happy. Thank you so much for sharing the back story to this garden!

    1. JanSuzanneDay 12/27/2019

      Hello Cheryl,
      Such truth in your comments regarding the unexpected and rewarding paths that gardening often puts us on.
      Your thoughtful comments regarding my plants and garden designs were truly so appreciated by me.
      Happy gardening to you!

  5. carolineyoungwilliams 01/07/2020

    Janet, Thank you for sharing your beautiful garden. I especially enjoyed seeing how you designed everything and still had some color with shade loving plants. Is that a Sedum blooming in a shady area?

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