Garden Photo of the Day

Heather’s Vermont Garden

Lush plantings fill this garden

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.

Sun shinning over a garden in front of a houseThis 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.

yellow fairy bellsDisposum flavens (yellow fairy bells, Zones 5–8) blooming in May

A lush garden with a house in the backgroundThe 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.

A path flanked by shrubs leading to a pergolaTo 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.

Raised garden bed filled with flowersFrom right: Silvermound artemisia (Artemisia schmidtiana, Zones 3–7); Penstemon digitalisHusker Red’ (Zones 3–8); ChrysanthemumEmperor of China’ (Zones 4–9); snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus, annual); Dracocephalum ruyschianum ‘Blue Dragon’ (Zones 3–7); GentianaTrue Blue’ (Zones 4–7); foxglove (Digitalis purpurea, Zones 4–8), with the AgastacheBlue 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!

garden bed with rows of vegetables behind itHere’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 BlueGentiana ‘True Blue’—and blue it is! I just planted these last year, so I will wait and see how they like their new home.

Chinese magnolia vineThe 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 chinensisAstilbe 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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View Comments


  1. rosys_villa 02/05/2021

    I want to live in your garden!

  2. daisy8 02/05/2021

    Beautiful garden beds! I love the closeup of the deep blue gentians & I can imagine sitting in the grass area of the last picture surrounded by your gardens. I will have to check out Issai kiwi vine (I didn’t realize it was self pollinating) & add it to my kiwi arbor. Thanks for sharing.

  3. User avater
    cynthia2020 02/05/2021

    Hi, Heather. I enjoyed reading your gardening story and seeing all the photos. I had not heard of Disporum flavens. I think Gentian is a terrific plant, but don't think I have ever seen it in a home garden - I hope it does well for you!

  4. alicefleurkens 02/05/2021

    Dear Heather. I am. Going to find out about that kiwi fine.and the Gentiana because I love that colour. Beautiful gardens

  5. User avater
    bdowen 02/05/2021

    This beautiful garden must be a full time job! How do you manage the deer and rabbits? I would love to try the kiwi vine but I'm guessing our many chipmunks would eat the fruit before I got to it.

  6. blondie3 02/05/2021

    WOW, so lush and beautiful,
    What a beautiful playground, I would love all that green foliage in the background, I live on a regular village lot, and I love gardens that have paths and trees, and green shrubs, glad you got what you wished for....thank you for sharing.

  7. Pollen 02/05/2021

    Thank you so very kindly for including names of plantings to your photos. I swoon over the daily gardens we get to visit via Fine Gardening and so wish everyone would include names, as right to left or visa versa. I have two particular ones I now will add to my gardens from your description and gorgeous photos! How lovely your gardens are and refreshing to our souls in this long hard winter now.

  8. User avater
    treasuresmom 02/05/2021

    Everything is so lovely & especially the fairy bells.

  9. User avater
    simplesue 02/05/2021

    Indeed a beautiful garden & house in a beautiful natural woodland setting!
    I spend half my gardening time trying to figure out how to hide the surrounding views of of where my city garden sits.
    I just love what you've done here, it's a beautiful little paradise!

  10. Maggieat11 02/05/2021

    Oh my gosh, I just love your gardens. Fabulous. Thanks so much for sharing!🍃🌲✨🌲🍃

  11. btucker9675 02/05/2021

    I agree with the post about living in your magical garden - it is simply stunning!

  12. user-5117752 02/05/2021

    Just a beautiful fairyland!!! What a delight to see and learn from!!! Thank you for taking the time to share in such detail.

  13. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 02/06/2021

    Great selection of interesting plants. Some I'd never heard of!
    What gardening zone are you in?

  14. carolineyoungwilliams 02/08/2021

    Thank you Heather for sharing your beautiful garden. While I enjoyed seeing all your variety of plants, I really enjoyed your colorful Butterfly weed and Gentiana, True Blue....these 2, I will be looking out for at the nurseries in zone 8. Thank you.

  15. moyra_b 02/08/2021

    Absolutely lovely! I loved the close-up of the plants, but also the long view, so we can see how everything sits together in the garden.

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