Garden Photo of the Day

Jean’s garden in Connecticut

Today's photos are from Jean Huot, who says, "Here in Connecticut many of us are anxiously waiting for Spring after the coldest February ever recorded for our state. With that in mind, I decided to pull up some old pictures to remind me why we New Englanders endure such winters. When we had our home built back in 2000, our .75 acre lot was completely devoid of shrubs and trees. All we had was a new lawn and some brambles in the backyard.  I had tried to plan my landscaping, but with young kids and a limited budget for gardening, I did most of my shopping over the years at end-of-season sales, causing frequent changes to my plans. Also, realizing that I had only limited time for maintaining the yard, I have focused mainly on planting trees and shrubs. Luckily with so many area garden shops, I still managed to gather a nice variety of shrubs and trees that flower beautifully in Spring. In the pictures I have included, some of my favorite plants are shown – French hybrid lilacs, 'Prairie Fire' crabapple, 'Sugar Tyme' crabapple, 'Snow Goose' and 'Okame' cherry trees, 'Olga Mezzitt' rhododendrons, and a small collection of tree peonies (these were an indulgence even at “bargain” prices)." Jean, you were so incredibly smart to invest in trees and shrubs from the start, even when you didn't have a lot of time! Most of the gardeners I know didn't have time to really dig into gardening until their kids were grown and out of the house. You have a head start on them in that your woody plants are already in place, maturing! Your garden is lovely, and it makes me want to take off my shoes and walk barefoot through that lush grass, taking in the scents of the lilacs and peonies. YUM! Please make the snow stop…..

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  1. GrannyMay 03/07/2015

    Jean, if I had to choose just one thing to plant in my garden it would be a lilac bush. For me the fragrance is so wonderfully reminiscent of happy times outdoors and long summer days to come. I can smell it and feel it, just looking at that first photo! Thank you!

    As Michelle said, you were wise to plant trees and shrubs early in the process of developing a garden. However late spring comes, you can certainly look forward to it being a beautiful one in your garden!

  2. user-7007411 03/07/2015

    Ouah, it's really a great website! You should have a look at , it should interest you. See you. samuel.

  3. NCYarden 03/09/2015

    Loving the explosion of pinks and purples. My wife so misses the lilacs she knew growing up. I really like your crab apples, always a Spring favorite. And those peonies are pretty amazing. You've really created a beautiful garden, and very wise to do so much with structural trees and bushes. And I always celebrate a little less grass. Thanks for sharing.

  4. lynn_felici_gallant 03/09/2015

    Oh Jean, thanks for the reminder that spring will come. From one hopeful Connecticut resident to another . . .

  5. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 03/09/2015

    Lilacs and peonies are two of my favorites for looks and scent. Your tree peonies are gorgeous. I am slowly trying to move more toward shrubs, trees and lower-maintenance perennials, but I am so easily seduced by new and interesting plants. Thanks for sending the great photos of your wonderful choices and giving some hope of spring!

  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/09/2015

    Gosh, Jean, what a captivating sight the soft purply/pink of the beautiful lilac flower heads makes against the white arbor...yes, like the others, it reminds me how anxious I am for the spring season to start unfolding. Heck, I'm even drooling over the vibrant green of your lawn. And, anyone who knows me, would have guessed correctly that my heart did a happy jump at seeing those glorious mounds of creeping phlox in full bloom...the very presence of spring personified! Thanks for the lift!

  7. User avater
    HelloFromMD 03/09/2015

    Hi Jean, I certainly echo what others have said, but add that your hardscaping is so nice. How wonderful to have a big porch. Do you have hanging pots for summer color? Is that a vegetable garden in the back yard? Your property is so nice and looks to be very sunny. I envy you that since I have so much shade. Looks like clematis will be providing color later on your nicely curving walk. You have so much to look forward to once all this dag snow melts. As much as we have been lamenting the snow, the next hurdle is mud. My perennial border is partially flooded so I will have to move snow piles to let the water flow out.

  8. greengenes 03/09/2015

    The prettiest house on the block, Jean! What lovely, happy and colorful photos today! Thanks for sending them in for us to see! You have done a beautiful job all these years! Good idea to of planted the bones early on. There are so many trees I would of loved to of planted way back when so I could enjoy them now...hmm... Well can you tell me anything about the aderondack crab apple? Iam looking to getting one but not totally sure yet. It has beautiful orange fruit on it in the fall and winter. I really like seeing the yards. It seems to go on and on. We are surrounded by firs and it isn't as open and probably hot as yours. And your garden beds in the corner of one of the photos looks pretty nice! Do you grow a lot of food? Your stamped walkway is very nice. And of course the creeping phlox is so stunning! Its all gorgeous and healthy and happy! Thanks for sharing and I can almost smell the lilacs! Beautiful beautiful!

    1. user-7007427 03/13/2015

      Thanks for the compliments :-) As for the Adirondack crab apple tree, I don't have one but from descriptions and pictures on the internet it looks like a beauty (wish I had room for one). It produces small fruits which the birds should like. The birds really like the fruits on the crab apples I do have, and it is not unusual to see Cedar Wax Wings and Robins in the late winter taking advantage of the food source.

      And as for growing food, yes I love to do that also. Apparently my backyard was once part of a cow pasture and the soil is excellent back there. As for perennials, I grow raspberries, blueberries, and asparagus. I also grow a variety of annual vegetables - mostly varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans. Oh yeah, and I make sure to have a pumpkin patch every year also.

      1. greengenes 03/13/2015

        Planting in an old cow pasture! What could be better?! How wonderful is that! Iam sure it produces wonderful results. If you do grow pumpkins for the seed I found a seed company called, "Terroir Seeds" that sells a pumpkin seed called, "Lady Godiva" and it has no outside shell. Fitting name for it. It produces a lot of fruit too! Well happy gardening and harvesting this new year ahead, Jean! Would love to see more this summer!

      2. GrannyCC 03/13/2015

        Thanks Jean I will have to take a look at that.

  9. SJWallace 03/09/2015

    WOW.. those tree peonies remind me of the ones I had at another home, they had about 50 blooms each and were so stunning people would literally stop on the street to ask me what they were. They were well into the ten year mark and still blooming...The most bang for your buck in a flowering shrub you can find I think...I will plant more here at our new location this year. (no pruning at all, like big bouquets)
    All the shrubs are just stunning...ahhhh spring, where ARE you? What a haven you have there Jean. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Cenepk10 03/09/2015

    Oh my goodness… So lush and beautiful ! And I see a definite fingerprint of your design personality on your gorgeous property. Thank you so much for sharing. Looks like you are very busy creating a luscious garden for your family and for neighbors to feast their eyes upon. Great work !

  11. schatzi 03/09/2015

    So many of my favorite plants all in one place! Gorgeous! Love the rhodies and phlox and crab apples and...the tree peonies are magnificent! I just planted 2 of them. I have had regular peonies for years, but never the tree types. While you folks in the East are having the worst winter in years, we just went on record with the warmest winter ever here in the PNW. If we don't get rain soon, I am going to collapse! It is so beautiful I just want to work in my yard. And then I can hardly move. Oh to be young again.

    1. greengenes 03/09/2015

      Oh Shirley! I know what you mean! This year iam finding out that I cant do what I used to do last year! Its so frustrating! To unload a yard of dirt iam sore for a couple of days! Yes,,,oh to be young again!

  12. margegreskowiak 03/09/2015

    Gorgeous. Thant you for the spring flowers. I loved Olga Mezitt (thank you for naming it) and will check if it would fit my area. If so, it will be my next order.

  13. terieLR 03/09/2015

    Could we have EVER desired spring so much as 2015? Your photos maximize the yearning for all Northern viewers Jean. Bravo for getting a head start on shrubbery and trees. Filling in the blanks is like icing on the cake. Enjoy the years of maturing trees and witnessing your gardens evolve.

  14. GrannyCC 03/09/2015

    Thanks for the breath of Spring. It has been beautiful here in the PNW so I feel for all you snow bound people. You garden has wonderful structure. i have a very old tree peony which is lemon yellow with an orange ruffle on the edge. I moved it last year but is very leggy and I am not sure if I should cut it right back or try and get it to fill out from the ground.Any suggestions?

    1. user-7007427 03/13/2015

      Unfortunately I am not a tree peony expert even though I have been lucky with mine. Cutting back your old tree peony might help. However, I understand that some tree peonies are grafted. So if yours is, then pruning too hard might encourage suckers from the original root stock which might not produce desired result.

  15. Nurserynotnordstroms 03/09/2015

    Jean,your gardening journey started where it really should be started,trees should have time to mature,grow and as so many say become the bones of the garden.You have planted some beautiful specimens and later with the addition of conifers and planing beds filled in you will look back and say I am so happy it all began with the trees. Your gardens are beautiful and I enjoyed seeing a glimpse of Spring. Now back out to the gardens I go myself,happy day to play in the dirt. Happy gardening to you Jean

  16. sheila_schultz 03/09/2015

    Jean... you have succeeded in bringing smiles to many faces across the country today with your spring flowering trees and shrubs. You have also reminded us of the beauty and sweet fragrance only lilac's and peony's can bring. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  17. janeeliz 03/09/2015

    How wonderful to see all that COLOR in your garden, Jean! What is that lovely lav./pink shrub or small tree in the first pic. in front of white arbor?? Love your tree peonies, elegant. I'm afraid it will be a really late spring for many of us in this part of the country so please keep the color pictures coming from those of you who are already enjoying 'the real thing' and not just magazines and gardening books-as inspiring as they might be!

    1. user-7007427 03/13/2015

      That flowering shrub by the arbor is a 'Sunday' Chinese lilac (Syringa x chinensis 'Lilac Sunday'). It is one of my favorite lilacs (I have about 15 different varieties). And the flowers smell as great as they look. I just started a new one last summer from a cutting and am hoping that it survived the hard winter.

  18. wGardens 03/09/2015

    BEAUTIFUL! You are doing a wonderful job and I hope you continue to send in photos each season. GREAT tree peonies. I love 'em, have 5 myself, having purchased at "the end of the season"... they are an excellent investment. Your entryway is so inviting! The side garden is especially appealing, love the stamped concrete, also!

  19. user-7007421 03/09/2015

    I hate CT! High taxes, rude people, and not that pretty. Can't wait to move out of here.

    1. user-7007422 03/10/2015

      "Rude people"
      Bye, Felicia!

  20. foxglove12 03/09/2015

    So pretty! I can just smell those lilacs :)

  21. perenniallycrazy 03/10/2015

    Gosh, one look at your photos and I am really longing for Spring. Your photos are bursting with the best of Spring! I know we are the middle of Spring with the arrival of scented lilacs for several weeks and my family and I look forward to that each year. Thank you for sharing your pictures and a reminder that spring is coming very soon.

  22. user-7007427 03/13/2015

    Ouch. It was big time pay back for sure. :-)

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