Garden Photo of the Day

How One Clipping Can Inspire A Garden

By: Kim Charles

For New Englander Lisa Eglin, gardening inspiration bloomed from just one bee balm clipping. 

"I reside in Worcester, MA, which is the second largest city in the state. Though we live in a residential neighborhood within the city, many of the lots are small. Our lot is only 7500 square feet. The majority of our yard is in the shade but, as you can see in the pictures, I have tried to maximize all of the south-facing space we have! I moved into the house before the summer of 2013 and did not touch the landscaping until 2015. As you can see in the "before" pictures, I knew absolutely nothing about gardening, nor did I have any interest in it. I actually thought crabgrass was ornamental! At the end of summer 2015, my husband and I went and stayed in a B&B in Manchester, VT, and I was in awe of the proprietor's country gardens. She gave us a clipping of red bee balm, and this is where my interest in gardening bloomed! My aunt also gave me cuttings from her gardens, which are mature and absolutely beautiful. By the summer of 2016, I had ripped up half of our yard, cut down large amounts of overgrowth, and installed a new deck. I researched almost every annual and perennial in the North East (zone 6) and happily spent all summer cultivating and caring for my new landscape. This summer we installed a new fence, which provided a great backdrop for another garden! I hope you enjoy the "before" and "after" pictures. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into the transformation of our yard, but I loved every single second of it. Now I spend my days outside, enjoying our country garden in the city."

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Here is the garden I started at the beginning of this summer, after the fence was installed. Enjoy!

View Comments


  1. user-7007498 08/29/2017

    Great story, Lisa, about your introduction into gardening. I am happy to hear your enjoying the experience. The rewards of being outside, part of nature, and expressing your own creativity is very satisfying, despite the work involved to get there.

    You have a great new fence that will serve as an awesome backdrop as you stated. I love the picture of the "front garden" with the railing and porch. Great combinations of plants. You have done an awesome job so far.

    Thanks for sharing your garden.

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 08/29/2017

    Packed with beauty! Gorgeous!

  3. tennisluv 08/29/2017

    Isn't it interesting what will turn us into a gardener. I enjoyed reading about how you caught the gardening bug. The amount of work you have done in such a short time is amazing. Really nice transformation of your landscape into a cottage garden. Playing in the dirt is so much fun!

  4. NCYarden 08/29/2017

    Welcome to the wonderful world of gardening. Love this story. So interesting how we all come to this addiction. Amazing what you've done with your space in such a brief time. I can only begin to imagine what you will continue to develop in your garden, and where it will all go...maybe up? Always space for something some how some way it seems. Thank you for the before and after. Your garden is beautiful. Keep enjoying, and keep us updated.

  5. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 08/29/2017

    Great transformation and story! I really love that old shed, too.

  6. cheryl_c 08/29/2017

    You have wonderfully transformed your yard and discovered, not only the joy of gardening, but some gifts that you didn't realize you had! You've invested a lot of brain work and brawn work to make your vision come to life, and what an amazing vision it is! Adding the white fence was an inspiration, especially since you have so much shade - it will really bounce the light around for you and highlight the plants that you place in front of it. Send more pictures soon.

  7. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 08/29/2017

    Welcome, Lisa, to your new addiction. It's always nice to see a new convert enthusiastic about beautifying their world and you are off to a great start. That shed is a wonderful centerpiece for your cottage garden. I hope that you'll continue to share your progress with us.

  8. Sunshine111 08/29/2017

    You must be thrilled beyond belief with all of your efforts! Bravo, bravo, bravo. A job well done and much to be proud of. Hip hip hooray! ???.

    1. user-7008859 08/29/2017

      That is so nice of you to say. Thank you!

  9. Maggieat11 08/29/2017

    Great job! You certainly accomplished much in a short time. Love what you have done with the area around that shed! The fence was a great idea! Happy Gardening!

    1. user-7008859 08/29/2017

      Thank you! The fence makes a huge difference... the only downside is my neighbor now laments because he can't see my gardens anymore!

  10. JoannaAtGinghamGardens 08/29/2017

    Oh WOW, I love it! It's all so quaint and cheery. You've done an amazing amount of work in such a relatively short period of time. Thanks for sharing!

    1. user-7008859 08/29/2017

      Thank you for replying... I love this is a forum where people can share their hard work with other gardening geeks!

  11. user-6536305 08/29/2017

    You are such a hard work Lisa, you achieved a lot in just 2 seasons. Stunning garden, fence and garden. Thanks for sharing.

  12. schatzi 08/29/2017

    From crab grass to 'WOW'! Great job. Welcome to the club (gardeners, plantaholics, etc.)

    1. user-7008859 08/29/2017

      Thank you so much!

  13. user-7007366 08/29/2017

    Absolutely beautiful. Welcome to what my husband calls "Garden Madness" I am also in love with the garden shed!

    1. user-7008859 08/29/2017

      Thank you for much! My husband just shakes his head every time he comes home, after I have done something else with our yard. I think he is waiting for me to rip up our driveway! But he sure does love the results!

  14. User avater
    meander_michaele 08/29/2017

    Such a fun story, Lisa, I smiled and nodded the whole time as I read. Once infected with gardening-itis, we become incredibly industrious. Instead of The Walking Dead, we transform into The Working Alive! You obviously love happy colors and will continue to find additional plants to love and bring home... and, then you will the generous one who gives away a cutting or a baby plantlet and starts somebody else off on their newly discovered gardening passion.

    1. user-7008859 08/29/2017

      Thank you for your response! And it is true; I have already given some clippings to friends of mine, and it is another benefit to gardening! It feels good to give away parts of nature for generations to enjoy.

  15. user-4691082 08/29/2017

    Welcome Lisa, to our 12 step meeting. The meeting doesn't cure you, it helps you admit to your addiction! You have done soooooo much work! I'll give you some advise...don't let that creeping Jenny escape those pots. It may take over your world! Enjoy the fruits of your labor, and after you have divided, shared and done your fall chores, you can settle in and comb the catalogs for next years treasures. So much fun!

    1. user-7008859 08/29/2017

      Hahaha... actually, I have attended AA meetings in the past, and there many people would talk about the therapeutic benefits of gardening. I always thought these enthusiasts were exaggerating... but now I know how true it is! And I am glad I am not the only one who reads catalogs all winter long!

  16. user-7008735 08/29/2017

    Mighty oaks from little acorns grow -- or lovely gardens from little snippets of bee balm! As far as addictions go, gardening has got to be one of the healthiest. My twin addictions are gardening and books; if it's a gardening book, then I'm lost for sure. Welcome to the club, Lisa. Have fun!

    1. user-7008859 08/29/2017

      The addiction is absolutely real!!! I find myself waiting for the sun to rise now, as the days gets shorter, so I can get out into the gardens! I've already started to gather gardening magazines for the upcoming fall/winter.

      1. user-7008735 08/30/2017

        Well, you already know that Fine Gardening is a terrific magazine. Another one I really like is Garden Making. It also has great photographs and well-written articles on specific plants as well as garden design. You can order back issues, too. Lots to enjoy over the winter!

        1. user-7008859 08/31/2017

          Thank you! I just looked them up on-line!

  17. cyannenglandproodian 08/29/2017

    As a native of MA, I admire your hard work and inviting garden. From my childhood days gardening with my dad, I remember dealing with rocks and boulders.

    1. user-7008859 08/29/2017

      Yes!! All of the rocks you see edging each garden I dug up from the soil. You can't dig an inch without hitting one.

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 08/29/2017

        I used to live in Hopkinton MA and I know just what you mean about putting your foot to shovel and quickly hearing thunk and clink and wondering how much digging it will take to pop the rock.

  18. Cenepk10 08/29/2017

    Great job. ! Very lovely. Nice place & beautiful garden.

    1. user-7008859 08/29/2017

      Thank you so much!

  19. VikkiVA 08/29/2017

    You have done a marvelous job Lisa. Gardening is such an enjoyable hobby and I'm glad you have joined us. Vikki in VA

  20. user-7008421 08/30/2017

    Beautiful yard! Lots of work I know.

  21. grannieannie1 08/31/2017

    That transformation of your yard into a beautiful garden was wonderful to see, Lisa, and the fence a great backdrop for your bright flowers.

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