Garden Photo of the Day

Nancy’s in-town prairie garden in New York

Redbud archway in early spring. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Nancy Stedman

Today’s photos are from Nancy Stedman in Tarrytown, New York. She says, “Four years ago, my husband and I moved to a small house near the center of the historic village of Tarrytown. We have a small property (about 1/8th of an acre) enclosed in back with a wooden fence.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Nancy Stedman

“We cleared out privet, grass-like growths (in other words, mown weeds), yews, and a huge half-dead Norway maple. My garden guru, Robert Welsch of Westover Landscape Design, created the bones of the down-sloping backyard by adding a serpentine gravel path, several serviceberries, and the star of the garden–an archway formed by two redbuds at the entrance to the back.

Corn and ‘Autumn Minaret’ daylilies
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Nancy Stedman

“My goal with the plantings was to create a naturalistic environment that would attract bees, hummingbirds and butterflies. That worked best in what I call the “prairie garden”–a small area that mainly features prairie and meadow plants.

Purple liatris
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Nancy Stedman

“These are photos largely from the “prairie” area of my garden. I was very inspired by the book “Dream Plants for the Natural Garden” by Hank Gerritsen and Piet Oudolf. I spent an almost embarrassing amount of time last summer standing in this area watching various creatures fly by me.

Rear view
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Nancy Stedman

“The photo of my elevated terrace shows the prairie area in back, dominated at that moment by tall ‘Autumn Minaret’ daylilies. The ‘Black Beauty’ lilies are in a bed across from the prairie section but stole the show when they were in bloom.”

I am yet again amazed at how much you guys can accomplish in a garden in so little time. Four years? Wonderful, Nancy.

Tuxie in the herb box
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Nancy Stedman
Echinacea paradoxa in June
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Nancy Stedman
‘Black Beauty’ lilies
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Nancy Stedman
Allium and geum
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Nancy Stedman
Front with pear tree
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Nancy Stedman

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View Comments


  1. Annedean 11/28/2012

    What a beautiful welcome for so many creatures! Thanks for sharing. You've done wonders.

  2. JuleMG 11/28/2012

    Great work!

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 11/28/2012

    Nancy, the vista framed by the stunning redbud archway certainly gives the impression of a much larger garden area than your description would lead one to guess. The sweeping curves of the gravel walkway are very inviting and I'll bet when your Black Beauty lilies are in bloom, a person can't wait to walk along and follow their nose to get to the source of the alluring aroma. You've really done a great job. Ha, I'm sure the adorable Tuxie agrees!

  4. Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/28/2012

    The redbud arch is such a great idea. Really nice!

  5. cwheat000 11/28/2012

    You have proven even a small plot of land can be a truly great garden space. I am also impressed with the results after only 4 years. As the garden matures and the fence line becomes even more blurred, you will truly be able to get lost back there. I love the Tiarella and woodland phlox grouping. That must smell wonderful. Your kitty looks very cute and very comfortable. I hope he/she isn't lying on one of your plants. I know my big dog loves to flop down on a newly planted prize, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Enjoy your beautiful piece of nature.

  6. bethnbijoux 11/28/2012

    Spectacular!! And I ditto what vojt said - love the redbud arch. I, too, could spend an "embarrassing amount of time" in your lovely garden!!!

  7. tractor1 11/28/2012

    Those redbuds make wonderful sentries, and those are not just ordinary eastern redbuds, they're special, with their red heart shaped leaves they can't be other than redbud forest pansy... I love how they begin to flower in early spring right on their branches before they leaf out. I like your pear tree too, does it produce edible pears or is it an ornamental? Your stockade privacy fence is well weathered so is really not so obvious, it needs some shrubs planted along it's length; pyrocantha, lilac, and some small conifers, perhaps a vine or two, maybe grapes. And last but not least your gorgeous tuxedo. Thank you, Nancy.

  8. tractor1 11/28/2012

    Newt is improving more each day, he spent this morning exploring.

  9. pattyspencer 11/28/2012

    Catching up here - couldn't get the site to open up a couple of days ago - just kept "thinking" and then got distracted yesterday but did leave a comment today.

    Nancy - your garden is beautiful - I too love those red buds. I have a couple of teeny tiny heart shaped "somethings" that the birds have left and I haven't killed but the leaves are not red so I'm not sure if they are redbuds or not - nothing has flowered yet but then again they are only maybe 18" or less in height. If they are redbuds I will be thrilled and they will get transplanted into a pot until they get big enough to go into the back yard. Your pic is giving me a view of what the future might bring.

    Tractor1 - I read your post about Newt yesterday - he has become one happy cat I see - so happy!!!! Since he's out of his confinement how is he getting along with the other cats?

  10. tractor1 11/28/2012

    pattyspencer: Newt has been exploring some but there hasn't been any real interaction between him and the others, they are more or less avoiding him, cats can take a while to accept a new interloper. Mooch and Sarah are too old to pay him any attention and probably will never. Blackie is a big wuss and is keeping clear. Peach is sort of aggressive/possessive so has hissed at him a few times and he hissed back. Jilly is the dominant cat but has stayed away, she has her breakfast and then goes to sleep because she is awake mousing all night. Each has their routine, it will take a while for Newt to learn the schedualing and develop a routine too. He goes back to the Vet on Monday for his two week check up. The Vet did a very good job on patching up all Newt's battle wounds too, did plastic surgery to repair an old torn ear, dressed a new wound on his neck, and even gave him an ID chip. I'm sure Newt will do well. Thank's for asking, Patty.

    I sure wish the "Keep Logged On" issue would get resolved, shouldn't be that difficult, should be simpler than installing the pop-up ads... it's a real pain having to log on every time. The only thing I can figure is there must be many thousands of people who log on just to read and the server hasn't the capacity to retain so many.

  11. AnniW 11/28/2012

    I love it! I am a particular fan of alliums. Practical and pretty!

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