Garden Photo of the Day

Gardens at Bellsflower Farm

Over-the-top spring bloom!

Today we’re visiting Ruth Ann Mummey’s garden.

We moved to our farm, located outside the village of Sergeantsville, New Jersey, in 1995. We named it Bellsflower because we could hear the church bells in the garden. We have almost 100 acres, where we have hay fields, pastures for our pet Belted Galloway cows, and a small wholesale nursery where my husband grows American holly and assorted shrubs for the trade.

The gardens evolved and grew with plant division and obsessive plant lust every time I passed a garden center. Crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia, Zones 6–9) came first because I admired their beauty. Somehow they are still here and thriving in our Zone 6 location. Because there are so many beds, ground covers became a foundation to build with; hence, moss phlox (Phlox subulata, Zones 3–9) covers a large area, welcoming the spring.

My passion is for flowering perennials, hydrangeas, hosta, heuchera, sedum, crape myrtles, flowering bulbs, and on and on. I just put down a catalog because we are in isolation, but plants can be delivered!

Flowering trees and shrubs are the epitome of spring and a great choice in a very large garden like this, as they fill a large area and are very low maintenance compared to perennials or annuals.

flowering cherriesA row of flowering cherries (Prunus, Zones 5–8) stretches along the fence line, while other flowering shrubs carry on the show in other colors.

I wonder if these cows appreciate just what a beautiful spot they get to live in!

creeping phlox in a garden bedA sea of phlox delivers huge impact during the spring bloom and forms an easy-to-care-for carpet of green the rest of the year.

Spring gardenSpring in this garden is just magical.

Other plants, such as daffodils, grow up through the carpet of phlox.

creeping phloxHere’s further proof there is no such thing as too much phlox! Even better, phlox is native to much of the eastern half of North America, so it is an ecologically friendly plant choice for this garden as well.

hedge of boxwoodIn a more formal part of the garden, a sculpture stands surrounded by a neat hedge of boxwood (Buxus, Zones 5–9).


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  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 04/09/2020

    To those of you who may be interested, Ruth Ann's garden was featured some years back.

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 04/09/2020

    Ruth Ann, I adore that phlox. I wish here in the deep, deep south I could get it to do that but sadly a few sprigs may last for a year or two & then they are gone.

  3. Shelly2020 04/09/2020

    Ruth, your spring gardens are a feast for my eyes this morning. You have truly made a magical spring garden. It's such a wonderful blog here, isn't it. It's likes going on a tour of your gardens from my rocking chair. The picture with the cows in was great. I have always wanted to have a crepe mertel. Yours are wonderful. It's easy too see that you love your garden. Thanks for sharing your splended spring fantasy with is this morning.

    1. user-7645917 04/09/2020

      On my! How beautiful! So inspiring! I too have a shrub and flower problem. My husband tells me I need to go to flowers anonymous! I only have an acre of land surrounded by woods but I have utilized almost every area. Your spring showing is absolutely stunning. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. nwphillygardener 04/09/2020

    My mouth is still agape, Ruth!
    That first photo after your statement is spectacular, though I can't quite figure out if the vivid color is from azaleas and other Rhododendron or something else. And I love that your camera angle brought the arc-ing branches of the conifer at the right of the image into the swelling lines of the layered shrubs.
    Those are some lucky cows, although it's clear your garden includes some places where they resent being barred from.

  5. moyra_b 04/09/2020

    WOW! Absolutely stunning!

  6. fromvirginia 04/09/2020

    Ruth: Oh so beautiful. What a treat to wake up to. Is it largely a spring garden? Would love to see it in other seasons.

  7. toweringpines 04/09/2020

    Thank you for a beautiful post. The sun is shining, my first daffodil is blooming. So glad I have a large garden right now.
    Gardeners are blessed.

  8. jennymccoy67 04/09/2020

    Absolutely stunning! I am curious about the creeping phlox. I have quite a lot of it but I cut it back so it doesn't take over the rest of my perennials. Now I am wondering if I should just let it go. Do the other perennials grow up through it when it is not blooming?

  9. User avater
    simplesue 04/09/2020

    On first glance I thought for sure these were public gardens at some conservatory! This garden is amazing and professional looking. Oh I totally understand the compulsion of ordering from a garden catalog the moment it comes in the mail!
    Also I love a garden with a name and love the name you came up with- beautiful and clever!

  10. karen49 04/09/2020

    What wonderful spaces. All the spring blooms and colors are such a delight to see right now as nothing is blooming yet in my MN neighborhood. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Doxnmomx2 04/09/2020

    Oh my goodness! I'm almost speechless at the beauty! The cherry trees are stunning. Everything is so well placed and healthy. Beauty abounds at Bellsflower Farm! Keep buying plants! They need good homes!

  12. sheila_schultz 04/09/2020

    Well now... these photos of your dreamy property just brought a huge grin to my face! Bellsflower Farm is a place of true beauty. Keep shopping!!!

  13. user-7020748 04/09/2020

    Wow! What a gorgeous display. Just what we need in these trying times. Thank you.

  14. user-783091 04/09/2020

    OMG...just beautiful! You should sell tickets for public tours....I'm serious!

  15. btucker9675 04/09/2020

    Stunning... I am now sitting here suffering from a terrible case of garden (and cow) envy!

  16. cheryl_c 04/09/2020

    Such joyful exuberance in photo after photo. I love your colors, your super-abundance, and just the pure joy that comes through in every picture.

  17. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/09/2020

    And, here I thought I was a hopeless have me beat by what seems like meandering miles of the stuff. Your property is truly breathtaking. Love your superbly placed lines of cherry trees. What a celebration of spring!

  18. Maggieat11 04/09/2020

    Fabulous! Looks like Paradise to me.

  19. coastalgardener 04/11/2020

    Your gardens are absolutely breathtaking...the trees, the groundcover, everything!. How you manage to care for gardens of that size is mind boggling.

  20. PattyLouise 05/05/2020

    This is one of my favorite gardens! Simply lovely! And I love the name!

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