Garden Photo of the Day

Mary’s garden in upstate New York

Iris, early peonies, and Livermore poppies. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Mary Brainard

Happy Friday, everyone! Today’s photos are from Mary Brainard. She says, “I live in central New York, in the Finger Lakes region on Cayuga Lake.

Front door surrounded by Virginia creeper. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Mary Brainard

“This garden sits on a hill overlooking the lake and is a restful and enchanted area of the property. I have been a gardener for 18 years and a master gardener for 13 years with a landscape business, All Things Dirt, for 4 years. I started gardening not knowing if I was pulling weeds or flowers out of the yard. I plant what I love and do the same for my clients.”

This is a favorite viewing spot in the garden, the waterfall with its splash alongside the heavenly scent of the wisteria. I just wish the coral charm peonies were in bloom to make the sight truly awesome. This wisteria was a big decision to plant. I had two standard wisterias for 10 years at a previous property that never bloomed. But I took the chance, and voila-utter success. I found the key is to purchase this plant in bud, then it has already gone through the waiting period of time before it blooms. It started as a 1/2-in standard with three buds. It is now on an umbrella trellis that has broken under its weight. I have steel angle iron supporting the trunk and guide wires keeping it straight. If you love wisteria, be prepared to build a fortress to support it. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Mary Brainard

Beautiful, Mary! Thanks, and please do send in more photos.

This is prime time to take some photos in your garden. So get out there with your cameras and send some in! Email them to [email protected].

Reblooming lilacs. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Mary Brainard
Panoramic view of garden overlook. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Mary Brainard
This area, when we purchased house, was overgrown with enormous junipers. Here it is a cottage garden look with flowering plants all around. The house is covered with Virginia creeper. The boxwoods surround two varieties of apple espaliers with lavender and globe master alliums. At the curve, there is a dwarf Japanese maple in red surrounded by roses. The tree to the right of the front door pediment is a French lilac standard and to its right is a viburnum. In front of that is now a wildly blooming oak leaf hydrangea with bride hydrangeas to its right. Our dog Ed goes around sniffing all the flowers. I have a strawberry planting under the reblooming lilacs and he checks out his favorite snack daily. I have yet to pick a strawberry from this crop. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Mary Brainard
Oakleaf hydrangea with sunflower. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Mary Brainard
Espalier and alliums in bloom. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Mary Brainard
‘Blushing Bride’ hydrangea hedge leading to front door. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Mary Brainard
The three stages of ‘Coral Charm’ peonies–Fabulous! Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Mary Brainard
My first bouquet of ‘Raspberry Rumba’ peonies. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Mary Brainard

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  1. user-1020932 07/19/2013

    great garden! wisteria is beautiful but i'm too slow/lazy to keep up with the maintenance here. i can't keep up with it

  2. crizmo 07/19/2013

    Wow! I really like the lines, layers, geometry, tone & scale. This is a garden.

  3. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/19/2013

    Beautiful. That waterfall is spectacular!

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 07/19/2013

    Mary, I can well imagine how delightful it must be to enjoy the combination of the wonderful fragrance of your wisteria along with all your other senses being activated by the sights and sounds of the waterfall. Is the wisteria now tall enough to stand under? I would love if you would stop back in and share some info on the reblooming many times do they rebloom?
    The bouquets of the two peony varieties are beautiful. I just might have to do some internet research and do a fall order so I can enjoy them in my own garden.
    Everything you are growing looks glorious!

  5. Quiltingmamma 07/19/2013

    Lovely garden, thanks for sharing. Coral Charm is one of my favourite peonies. It started with Red Charm and its 'bomb' shape, but Coral Charm, with all it's colour variations is great! The fact it will survive in Canada's cold makes it a real keeper. I love the other colouring as well. Will have to check that out.
    Thanks again

  6. pattyspencer 07/19/2013

    Beautiful garden!! Love the wisteria and totally love the door picture

  7. wittyone 07/19/2013

    The wisteria is gorgeous. Is it growing as a specimen or on a support of some kind?

    Love the Raspberry rumba peony. Have never seen that before. Must get one for the area where I am clearing out the deer food ( daylilies) and replacing them with seemingly non deer food peonies.

  8. cwheat000 07/19/2013

    You have a stunning property with what looks like amazing views. I would love more pictures of the lake view. The natural stone and the maturity of plantings gives this garden an elegance and a grand feel. Your two highlighted peony varieties are really special. I love it. On a separate note,your dog eats strawberries? Really? ( Ed is really cute.)

  9. Daisy64 07/19/2013

    Mary, your garden is beautiful! I love the waterfall and the neat lines of your gardens. The door picture with the Virginia Creeper could win an award. Loved the serenity of your whole garden! Please send more pictures.

  10. priscanello1 07/19/2013

    This garden is Beautiful, Thank YOU for sharing it.

  11. tractor1 07/19/2013

    A lovely property in a spectacular location. Your front door looks very enticing... is that a wreath of pears? I bet Ed would enjoy his strawberries with a saucer of cream... one of my cats loves strawberry yogurt but no other flavor. I see what appears to be a push mower handle engulfed by a hedge, but I don't see any lawn in your photos... I like how your photo compositions include items to give perspective of size and depth... very crisp photos btw. Thank you, Mary, and more photos please.

  12. janetsfolly 07/19/2013

    Wow! Love it all! Your dedication to that wisteria has paid huge dividends, among them the visual connection to the waterfall, very soothing. Coral Charm is one of the peonies I planted last fall...can't wait for those blooms, hopefully next year. And now I must have Raspberry Rumba! Yummy! And Ed, what a cutie. My SO had a Rottweiler that learned to pick blackberries, a delicate maneuver indeed! Thanks so much for sharing, Mary.

  13. Luvfall 07/19/2013

    Coral Charm is a favorite of mine too. The color variations as it matures are beautiful!

  14. terieLR 07/19/2013

    Hi Mary, Your garden is wonderful! I'm sure your Oakleaf hydrangea is stunning right now. We are neighbors! I live just north of Ithaca and would love to get together. Are you, by any chance in the master gardener group that is meeting at Wayne Myers tomorrow? I'm in the phone book ~ Terie Rawn

  15. user-7006902 07/19/2013

    There are so many things about your garden I love! I love that you use Virginia Creeper. I think it is a beautiful vine, and native, too. Your front entry is magic. I love the Finger Lakes region, too - have been there several times (of course, tasting wine) beautiful as is your panoramic view! Your garden is the perfect combination of tamed, wild enticement - something I very much aspire to.

  16. Mbrainard 07/19/2013

    As you all know the garden is changing daily. I will take and send some additional pics of the oriental lilies on bloom. They stand about six feet tall. Magnificent blossoms and the fragrance is unbeatable. If you check out Borglum iris farms on the web for the peonies, they ship, are quality products and the people are fantastic. Raspberry rumbas came from styers peonies and I have not seen them elsewhere.

    The reblooming lilacs are just that. You get a great flush of bloom in French lilac time, which is later than when the standard lilacs bloom. It's not as profuse but I was cutting lilacs for thanksgiving last year. They have a wonderful scent but its also not as strong as the standards. A bit more delicate. I hesitate to purchase them online but I have seen them in several nurseries this year. Not too expensive and I have them under planted with the strawberries, next to a blacktop drive. So they like the heat. They are blooming right now again but it just started so I am n

  17. Mbrainard 07/19/2013

    Continued from previous post.

    So I am not sure of the amount if bloom I will get now.

    Thanks for all your wonderful posts. The front door is special and was a perfect backdrop when my daughter got married.

    I will send in some more pics and maybe Michelle will post them. We are very lucky with our view and property. As you can see, it's been a labor of love. You can check out my business website for some more ideas.

    You are all so kind, really brightened my day.

  18. GrannyMay 07/19/2013

    Mary such a lush and lovely garden! Yes, go with the plants you love, like wisteria. You cannot have pets, children or some plants without having messes to deal with, but they also create magical moments that are totally worth it.

  19. Meelianthus 07/19/2013

    I would love to stroll thru your gardens. They are beautiful and look visually very entertaining.

  20. jbsgarden 07/19/2013

    Truly lovely garden and lovely images, but I can't help noticing that's Boston Ivy, an Asian import, not our native Virginia Creeper.

  21. Mbrainard 07/19/2013

    I am positive it's Virginia creeper. It is deciduous and turns a brilliant red in fall. I have ivy but its perennial ivy on my driveway and behind the waterfall.

    We have many retaining walls made out of native limestone which enabled us to build the waterfall with pond which was covered with the ivy. This stuff is impossible to clear for good.

    Another comment was asking about my lawn. I have next to no grass. My grass area is just along the road. I have two triangles of grass behind the blushing bride hydrangeas and the reblooming lilacs. My boo boo that I left my old rotary mower I the picture.

    I wish everyone could see the garden in person.

  22. user-1020932 07/19/2013

    you have an amazing garden and it's all beautiful but i'm kinda with jbsgarden on the vine. that is definitely boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) not Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) both are related, both are deciduous, both are brilliant red in fall and both are tenacious. boston ivy has a simple leaf, virginia creeper has a compound leaf. it's not a big deal in the grand scheme because your garden is wonderful but if people want to find that vine for their place (and they will) they need to know it is P. tricuspidata and i have both growing here

  23. Mbrainard 07/19/2013

    I'll take close up of vine. Maybe Michelle can post.

  24. user-1020932 07/19/2013

    mary, trust me i was in NO way maligning your garden nor your abilities but you know how "plant geeks" are along with botanists we will argue / debate until death about minute differences in plant varieties. i have had and still have plants here i either had mis identified and was corrected as well as plants i have NO idea what they are. i usually call those by the names of the people who gave them to me and eventually someone shows up who can tell me what they are. it's all in good fun . i have spent many many summers in the Finger Lakes at grandparents and your panorama brings back a lot of memories altho they had no garden they had lots of cows and grapes and i had to work!

  25. bee1nine 07/19/2013

    Include me in too, on the front door photo. I'm lured by the
    feeling of intrigue that's waiting inside that door! Especially with all the lushly thick vine growth that surrounds the area. Notice I said 'vine growth'? I wanted to
    say Boston Ivy as this certainly appears to look like it.
    Also like the pear wreath and its symbolism.
    Thanks for sharing Mary!

  26. janeeliz 07/20/2013

    Mary, your garden is extraordinary! The setting is so lovely. I love you gorgeous white wisteria, wonderful waterfall, luscious peonies and lots more. I'd love to see it all in person. Is that a Kousa dogwood I see above your cute dog, Ed?

  27. janetsfolly 07/20/2013

    Thank you, Mary, for the info on purchasing raspberry rumba...that would have been a frustrating hunt, as I've not heard pf that particular nursery. Your wish that we could all see your garden in person is very generous, and echoed by all of us!

  28. Mbrainard 07/20/2013

    The large shrub above the go is a burkwoodii viburnum. Fabulous flowers, scent and berries for the birds. I prefer the free form shape, so this is the true shape of a mature viburnum.

    The peonies can be purchases either as eyes or shrubs. They take awhile to get to flowering form if you get the eyes, but the price difference is huge. Also the shrubs can be planted anytime, whereas the eyes are fall planting only. Also be careful of the planting depth. It makes all the difference in blooming.

    You might try looking at song sparrow Klehms peonies also. Different breeders use different names for similar plants. You have a picture, so that should help.

    Btw, the large vine turns out to be three vines on the house. The pediment outside the front door is covered in the Boston ivy, one leaf, more green, but not shiny. The house has Virginia creeper, 5 separate parts to a leaf, course and dull green, and at the far end of the house it's climbing euonymus.

    I hope I answered everyone questions. Mary

  29. Wife_Mother_Gardener 07/22/2013

    Lovely! Thanks for sharing!

  30. wGardens 07/23/2013

    Lovely! Thanks for sharing. The wisteria is fabulous... along with that awesome view!

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