Garden Photo of the Day

Northford Garden

From apple orchard to garden

close up of pink, blue, purple, and white flowers in summer

Today we’re visiting with MJ McCabe.

We purchased this property in Northford, Connecticut, about 40 years ago. It was a former apple orchard. Gradually, the ancient apple trees started to decline, and we were left with a fairly blank canvas that needed to be rethought. We pruned and cared for a few of the apple trees, as they provided some nice structure and shade. One of my first steps was to start thinking of creating garden rooms—individual areas that would work well together but allow for a more cohesive look to the overall landscape.

The new trees and shrubs have grown nicely over the years—many perennials and mass plantings of spring bulbs have made the garden a beautiful backdrop to our 1890 home.

garden bed full of diverse foliage plantsPersicaria polymorpha (Zones 4–9) is in the background, with ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris, Zones 3–7), hakonechloa (Hakonechloa macra, Zones 5–9), ligularia (Ligularia dentata, Zones 4–8), and Pulmonaria (Zones 3–9) in front.

perennials and shrubs around garden fencesWhite aster (Symphyotrichum sp.) is against the fence, with hakonechloa and Kirengeshoma palmata (Zones 5–8) under a tree in the foreground.

close up of pink, blue, purple, and white flowers in summerSummer blooms: baby’s breath (Gypsophila panicuata, Zones 3–9) in the foreground, and shrub rose (Rosa hybrid, Zones 5–9), larkspur (Consolida ajacis, annual), and hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla, Zones 5–9) in the background.

summer gardenBuddlea alternafolia ‘Argentea’ (Zones 5–9) is blooming purple inside the fence. And in the foreground, roses, bearded iris (Iris hybrid, Zones 3–8) are in bloom, while lavender (Lavandula, Zones 5–9) and poppies (Papaver orientale, Zones 3–8) are getting ready to flower.

shade garden under an apple treeA viburnum (Viburnum plicatum, Zones 5–8) is covered in white blooms in the distance. Up close, shade-loving plants grow at the base of an apple tree.

close up of white flowers amongst various foliage plantsAruncus (Aruncus dioicus, Zones 4–8), ferns (Athyrium filix-femina ‘Victoriae’, Zones 4–8), and Heuchera (Zones 4–8)

close up of blue flowers with pink flowers in the backgroundPlatycodon (Platycodon grandiflorus, Zones 3–8), with peach-tone daylilies (Hemerocallis hybrid, Zones 3–8)

close up of blue clematis with pink poppies in the background‘Helen Elizabeth’ poppies (Papaver orientale ‘Helen Elizabeth’, Zones 3–8) and ‘Arabella’ clematis (Clematis ‘Arabelle’, Zones 4–11)

close up of pink and white flowers in the gardenJoe Pye weed (Eutrochium dubium, Zones 3–9), culver’s weed (Veronicastrum virginicum, Zones 3–8) with phlox (Phlox paniculata, Zones 4–8) providing late-August color.

close up of garden bed with flowers of many different colors‘Festiva Maxima’ peony (Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima, Zones 3–8), bearded iris (Iris hybrid, Zones 3–8), foxglove (Digitalis purpurea, Zones 4–8), Allium christophii (Zones 5–8), and peach poppies (Papaver orientale, Zones 3–8)

garden bed with stone border in fallThe garden in autumn


Have a garden you’d like to share?

Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.

View Comments


  1. janeeliz 03/13/2023

    Such a romantic garden! Beautiful combinations. I particularly love the summer-blooming mix of baby's breath, roses, etc. along the gray shed.All very lovely. Your photos are stunning, too.

  2. User avater
    simplesue 03/13/2023

    Your garden is so professional, so creative, so gorgeous!
    I'm just in love with it! Your garden is worthy of being featured in the actual Fine Gardening Magazine, my opinion!
    I just love everything you did here! Everything!
    And excellent job on photographing your garden which is another talent in it's self!

    1. janetsydoruk 03/13/2023

      I totally agree with all the comments. It’s an exceptional garden. It’s just splendid!

  3. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 03/13/2023

    Thanks for sharing your pretty garden. Enjoyed all the photos :)

  4. sheila_schultz 03/13/2023

    The colors, textures and combinations of soft goodness in each of your garden rooms make me smile. You have created a lush magic from an apple orchard! Wow!!! I completely agree with Sue... Fine Gardening should definitely consider a photo shoot at your beautiful property!

  5. User avater
    cynthia2020 03/13/2023

    Fantastic combinations, love the color of painted fence, the long pieces of stone used in borders very impressive.

  6. btucker9675 03/13/2023


  7. Lavenderer 05/17/2023

    papa's pizzeria: Fantastic! I wish that I own one

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest