Today we’re visiting Lee Miller’s garden.
Welcome to my late May–early June garden! I am a Long Island, New York, native, having grown up, and still residing, in the friendly town of Sayville located on the south shore. My love of gardening developed around the age of five as I first started growing flowers from seed, a passion that continued to develop. Today I am the author of three gardening books, and I spend most of my time in the gardens of clients as a landscape designer and garden consultant. My love of gardening lies deep within me as I continue to garden as both a hobby and as a career.
The part of garden design I am most passionate about is combining foliage and color. I must admit that while I am involved in some form of horticulture throughout the year, the months of May and June are among my favorite times to be in my Zone 7a garden. By mid-May and into the beginning of June, new foliage is emerging everywhere, and perennials are just waiting to burst open their blooms, exposing an array of color. Come along with me to see what the garden has to offer!
One of my favorite combinations is in this view along our back patio. Itoh peony ‘Bartzella’ (Zones 3–8) is in full bloom with its voluminous yellow flowers, along with Minuteman hosta (Zones 3–9), purple salvia ‘May Night’ (Salvia × sylvestris ‘Mainacht’, Zones 4–9), Allium ‘Mont Blanc’ (Zones 4–9), and Stachys byzantina (lamb’s ear, Zones 4–8) with ‘Blue Globe’ spruce (Picea pungens ‘Blue Globe’, Zones 3–7). One of the attributes of this hybrid peony is that the stems are sturdy enough that they do not need staking. The plant grows into a shrub form, reaching a height and width of 2 to 3 feet, with blooms that last for two to three weeks. Salvia ‘May Night’ produces a profusion of deep purple blooms that will last throughout most of the summer with deadheading.
Another favorite in the May-June garden is Allium ‘Globemaster’ (Zones 5–8). I plant the bulbs among daylily ‘Stella De Oro’ (Hemerocallis ‘Stella De Oro, Zones 3–10) so that the 4-inch-diameter lavender blooms of the allium rise up above the slender foliage of the daylily. Once the underlying leaves of the allium start to fade, the daylilly fronds cover it up, allowing for a full look. For an extra bonus, the daylilies start to bloom while the allium is still at its prime, adding an abundance of golden yellow blooms. From this particular view, you can also see Spirea ‘Limemound’ (Zones 3–8) in the foreground with its newly formed lime foliage tipped with hues of pink, adding another element to this combination.
Here is another perspective of the same bed looking from the opposite direction. Weeping Japanese maple ‘Red Select’ (Acer palmatum, Zones 5–9) can be seen in the left background with the Spirea ‘Limemound’ appearing behind Allium ‘Globemaster’ and daylilies. To the right is part of the shade garden.
I call this area of the backyard my “secret garden,” because to discover it, one needs to follow around the bend to see what is in store. In addition to this hidden area, there is another garden on the southern side of the property.
The southern secret garden. I find walking to the back of the property to visit these two gardens to be very relaxing and therapeutic, and visitors enjoy it too.
As we come to the end of our stroll, I hope you enjoyed the tour of my Long Island Zone 7a garden. I have always had a love of gardening, but I find refuge in the garden now more than ever. A garden is an extension of its owner, a living piece of artwork that constantly changes, and the resulting creation can be enjoyed by all those who encounter it.
As always, happy gardening!
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Beautiful color combinations! Would love to see more! Thanks for sharing!
Hi Patty. I am so happy you enjoyed my gardens. One of my favorite things to do is to combine foliage and blooms. I hope the views gave you a smile!
Love the combination of the purple balls of the 'Globemaster' shooting up in the vicinity of the chartreuse mounded shape of the spirea. Your garden beds look impeccably and enviably maintained. It's all very impressive. You are obviously in the right profession.
I am glad you enjoyed the combination and thank you so much for your kind words. Gardening is a true lifetime passion for me and getting to spend days in the gardens of clients as well as my own is a career dream come true.
Love that peony!
I discovered Peony ‘Bartzella’ some years back and have been in love with it ever since! It is one of the first blooms I look forward to as the garden comes to life in spring and the flowers are magnificent!
Lovely gardens. Pam
Thank you so much Pam! I am glad you enjoyed them!
Lee, this is one of the most meticulously groomed gardens I've ever seen - but the genius lies in the effect! Rather than feeling stilted (as so many meticulous gardens do), it feels very calming. Love the repeated usage of colortones as well; all in all, a tour de force! Thank you so much for sharing it with us!
Thank you! You just made my day with your kind words and it gives me great pleasure in being able to share my love of gardening and passion with others. I am so glad you enjoyed the tour!
I especially love the crispness of the photo with the Itoh peony. I was given a Bartzella last year for my birthday, and hope to see it bloom next year once it is more settled in.
Hi Cheryl. ‘Bartzella’ becomes fuller and more beautiful with each passing year, so you should be able to look forward to some spectacular blooms next season. Enjoy!
Gorgeous garden, Lee. I too love Itoh peonies and Bartzella is one of the best. I lived in Bayport for a time, growing up. Are the old mansions with the immense Beech trees still there? They were the most impressive trees. Of course, that was over 60 years ago, so maybe not. I live and garden in western WA in zone 8 - gardener's paradise! It has been a beautiful, floriferous spring. Happy gardening!
Thank you for your kind words. The town of Bayport is still as quaint as it used to be and some of the old mansions still exist with the Beech trees. Even though I've lived here all my life, I still enjoy driving around once in a while to take in the nostalgia. Some of the homes still bring back memories of childhood.
Thank you for your reply. It's nice to know those magnificent trees are still there. Your clients are lucky to have someone of your talent to work with. Wish you were here!
Gorgeous and the butter yellow color of the peony is mouthwatering! Thank you so much for sharing the results of your obvious skill and passion.
Thank you for your lovely words and I am so glad you enjoyed the virtual tour! It gives me great pleasure when I hear that visitors have enjoyed my labor of love.
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