Today we’re visiting with Heather Kelman.
I have been gardening in northern Vermont since 2007. When my husband and I were looking to purchase a house here, mature gardens were at the top of my list! I’m happy to say that I got what I wished for. Since then, I have made various edits, but the previous owner took such care in creating so many wonderful flower beds and also many raised veggie beds. I have added four more garden beds, with more to come. I tend to the flower gardens, while my husband takes care of the veggie beds.
This is a garden I created over ten years ago. The grass was challenged because of the pine roots, and so putting in another garden was the perfect solution! This photo was taken in May.
Disposum flavens (yellow fairy bells, Zones 5–8) blooming in May
The front garden in June. In the foreground are lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis, Zones 2–7), creeping thyme (Thymus praecox ‘Coccineus’, Zones 4–9), and vinca (Vinca minor, Zones 4–8). To the left are raised-bed vegetable gardens.
To the left of the path is a lilac (Syringa vulgaris, Zones 3–7), with vinca and creeping thyme making a ground cover under it. To the right is a dappled willow (Salix integra ‘Hakura Nishiki’, Zones 5–7) with showy white-and-pink variegated new growth.
From right: Silvermound artemisia (Artemisia schmidtiana, Zones 3–7); Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Zones 3–8); Chrysanthemum ‘Emperor of China’ (Zones 4–9); snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus, annual); Dracocephalum ruyschianum ‘Blue Dragon’ (Zones 3–7); Gentiana ‘True Blue’ (Zones 4–7); foxglove (Digitalis purpurea, Zones 4–8), with the Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ (Zones 4–10) in back ready to take over center stage; and butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa, Zones 3–9).
An Actinidia kolomikta (Zones 3–8) vine forms the background for this bed. This variety needs to have a male pollinator, but a few varieties, such as ‘Issai’, are self-fertile and do not require a separate pollinator. I pruned it heavily this year, but it doesn’t take long for it to fill back in. It produces wonderful grape-sized, smooth-skinned kiwi fruit that tastes exactly like store-bought kiwi, only sweeter!
Here’s another new garden, planted four years ago. It still needs to fill in, but I’m very pleased with the progress so far. Some plants are there as placeholders while I wait for the trailing blue spruce (Picea pungens ‘Procumbens’, Zones 2–8). In the front are more veggie gardens.
Gentiana ‘True Blue’—and blue it is! I just planted these last year, so I will wait and see how they like their new home.
The scarlet berries of Schisandra chinensis (Chinese magnolia vine, Zones 3–8) are known as five-flavor fruit (sweet, salty, bitter, pungent, and sour). They are used in traditional Chinese and Russian medicine but are definitely not for eating!
Astilbe chinensis (Zones 4–8) blooms later in the season and is a wonderful plant for the front of the border in the front entryway garden in August.
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