I am Kevin Kelly, and I garden on a suburban property of a third of an acre in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b). Autumn was slow to arrive and is slow to leave. My winter preparation is now complete. I have taken cuttings of my coleus and have moved my tender plants indoors for the winter. I spread about 1,200 pounds of compost across the garden and planted 1,000 bulbs. I treasure all my leaves and have spread them around the garden. I also collect many additional leaves that neighbors raked out to the curb. I leave all the dried stems of perennials standing to provide winter habitat for the insects, frogs, and other wildlife who share my garden space. Please enjoy the photos.
I took this photo standing just off my patio in the backyard looking east. You can still see some plants in nursery pots to the left. I was able to get them in the ground about a week before Thanksgiving. The focal point is Cryptomeria japonica ‘Black Dragon’ (Zones 5–9).
Our first light snow arrived, creating a nice contrast with Berberis thunbergii ‘Orange Rocket’ (Zones 4–8).
Dinosaur kale (Brassica oleracea, cool season annual) holds up well in the cold weather. I grew a dozen plants from seed, and most spread throughout the ornamental gardens, with one in the veggie garden. This was the best-tasting kale I have eaten.
The dried flowers of Hydrangea paniculata ‘Phantom’ (Zones 3–9) still look great and hold up well through the winter.
This is an image of my front yard looking to the east. I have minimal grass and use it as a pathway. The plant in the container near the light pole is Salix discolor (Zones 4–8).
Fothergilla major (Zones 4–8) shows off its beautiful fall foliage.
Hydrangea quercifolia Snow Queen™ (Zones 5–9). Oakleaf hydrangeas are wonderful native shrubs that have multiple seasons of interest. The autumn foliage is gorgeous.
Fallen leaves are present in all my garden beds. Eventually they will transform into compost and enhance the soil. I test the soil every three years and have not needed to add any fertilizer in the last 15 years.
This is my pollinator garden, which is now in its third year. This used to be a shade garden, and I had two Callery pears (planted 25 years ago before I knew better). I cut down the invasive trees and planted a native Nyssa sylvatica ‘Tupelo Tower’ (Zones 3–9) on the left. The garden is now in full sun. It also contains native grasses and perennials.
Beautiful photos, Kevin. Morning sun is truly magical. Merry Christmas.
Thanks, Jay. My garden photographs best in the morning sun year round. Only in the summer can I get good evening photos. Merry Christmas to you as well. Enjoy Rhodwood.
Spectacular gardens! And they bring such joy in all seasons.
Thanks for sharing.
Thanks. I have worked hard to create a 4 season garden. I love the joy it brings me.
Always a delight to see your gardens, Kevin. But...always seems like such a tease! Want to see more!😉
The Black Dragon photo is especially wonderful! Thank you for sharing!🍃
Thanks. I tired to include some wider shots as well as closeups. I love my garden, and it brings me so much peace and joy. That Black Dragon is about 15 years old and has such a beautiful form.
As always, Kevin, your beautiful garden shines no matter the season!
Thanks, Priscilla. Merry Christmas.
The quality of the photos was as delightful as your garden. Truly a garden filled with expertise and love. Thanks for sharing and have a very merry Christmas!
Thanks so much. The hobbies I am passionate about are gardening and photography. Both have been so helpful to me during the pandemic. Merry Christmas to you.
I like your approach to gardening and the results. Great Job.
Thanks. Creating habitat has become my focus in the garden over the past 5 years. Still could do better, but am having fun and learning along the way.
An absolutely gorgeous garden! I love what you've done!
It's even dazzling in the Autumn season, and that's the real challenge of a zone 6b garden! (I'm zone 6b too, in Pittsburgh)
I love when a garden creates an entire environment as opposed to a bed with some plants.
You've done a wonderful job, and with sensitivity to nature!
Thanks so much. My passion over the past 5 years is to enhance my garden for wildlife. Still a work in progress. I have seen some lovely gardens in Pittsburgh. Very interesting terrain. Merry Christmas.
Your gardens show the intensity of your passion, Kevin. Merry, Merry Christmas to you you and your family.
Thanks so much, Sheila. I love your garden as well. Merry Christmas.
Love that Black Dragon pic
Thanks. I love that image as well.
Love the leaves of the oakleaf hydrangeas - they look like they're cut out of leather. Your garden is really lovely, gently melancholy as we move into winter. Merry Christmas to everyone and very happy gardening in 2022!
Oakleaf hydrangeas are a superb addition to every garden. The large leaves are so cool during the summer, with great fall color. The bark exfoliates, giving it great winter interest, and the large panicles of flowers are amazing. Thanks for your comment and Merry Christmas.
Stunning photos! You have a gift for photography as well as gardening. I really apperciate the longer shots of your garden. The wider view pictures gives me a better sense of really being in your garden. You capture the glories of fall beautifully. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the wonderful comments. I love being outdoors and gardening and photography go hand in hand.
Re: Fallen leaves are present in all my garden beds. Eventually they will transform into compost and enhance the soil. I test the soil every three years and have not needed to add any fertilizer in the last 15 years.
Nice to know something of how gardeners use compost and the results!
Awesome to hear you picked up a tip. I learned to treasure all the leaves, and even collect some from neighbors who pile it up on the street. Not only being good for the garden, and the many insects and butterflies that overwinter in the leaves, it has greatly reduced my work.
Great color and combinations! I just planted a 'Snow Queen' last year. I love the fothergilla too.
Thanks. You will love 'Snow Queen'. Mine is about 10 years old. The flower panicles are huge. It will slowly sucker. I keep it about 4 by 5 feet. Absolutely gorgeous shrub.
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