Garden Photo of the Day

Petra’s part-time garden in Vermont (8 photos)

Hydrangea 'Limelight', various grasses hiding the well head, 'Tiger Eye' sumac, Coreopsis 'Zagreb', daylilies, a purple smoke bush, and volunteer rudbeckia.

Today’s photos are from Petra Williams in Vermont. She says, “My husband and I bought a small ski house in the Green Mountains in 1999. Initially I wasn’t going to have a garden; we are only there 2-3 weekends a month and a week during the summer. However, the urge to put in a plant here and there was difficult to resist.

Hydrangea ‘Limelight’ , a pink ‘Knockout’ rose, blue fescue grass, lavender on the right, peonies on the left. Photo/Illustration: All photos courtesy of Petra Williams

“My arrangement with my plants was, “I plant you and you grow.” Mostly that works. Of course now the garden beds have multiplied and when I’m there, I spend the entire weekend weeding and, if we’ve had no rain, watering.”

The corner of the screened-in porch with one of my salvaged logging chains. ‘Stella D’Oro’ daylilies still working it, portulaca in a sedum planter.

Yeah, good luck resisting the call of gardening when presented with a blank slate… 🙂  You’d never know it’s a part-time garden, Petra, it’s super-duper nice! That courtyard is particularly dreamy. Thanks so much for sharing. Love the autumn pics (hint, hint, everyone!). Be sure to send spring/summer pics next year!

A sculpture acquired on a Studio Artist’s tour this summer. The artist had named him “Spectre.” It was created from a cherry log, a tin can, and part of a piano. One of my sedum planters is preventing him from being blown over.

**** The push is still on–get outside and take some last minute shots, or compile a few you took earlier in the season. I’ll be eternally grateful…. Email them to [email protected]. Thanks! ****

‘Annabelle’ hydrangea and Ligularia ‘The Rocket’ with native birches. They are planted in a area where the snow plow piles the snow up to 10 feet high.
Native sugar maples and our beautiful native birch. In front is a Lyman Whitaker sculpture which gets a workout with all of the wind that we get. A still small ‘Prairie Fire’ crabapple is there but hard to see because most of the foliage is gone.
A curly willow on the left, climbing hydrangea on native trees; a balsam and a sugar maple. Various daylilies on the right in front of our outdoor shower. We have heat tape on the plumbing so that we can use it through October. There is nothing more invigorating. Next to the shower is a Viburnum plicatum.
A small courtyard with morning sun, created when we put on an addition in 2005. Virginia creeper is on the right, I’m still not sure about that. I keep it at tip-toe height so that I can control it. Under the standardized Salix ‘Hakuro-nishiki’ are Japanese painted ferns. In front of that to the left is Japanese forest grass and to the right of that are ‘Stella D’Oro’ daylilies. In the back are hollies of an unknown variety. They were given to me by my son who took a class in plant propagation at UVM. Along the wall on the left are big blue hostas which I got as seedlings from my sister’s garden.

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  1. user-1020932 10/29/2013

    i wish my full time garden looked as full as your part timer! i am now convinced that tiger eye sumac is a plant more for northern gardens i always see it flourishing in photos taken much further north than me . it doesn't do well for me here and i've killed more than a few. it's all great but i covet the grind stones next to the hydrangea and especially the Pianosaurus

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/29/2013

    Wow, Petra, nothing "part time" about these results...everything is beautiful.I was happy to see a somewhat mature Salix 'Hakuro-nishiki' ...I am tempted every year to buy one but then chicken out because of uncertainty of how it will look after some years of growth. Yours is very cool. Without a doubt, the Virginia Creeper looks awesome right now but it is alarmingly vigorous. You're smart to keep it at a height you can continue to manage.
    You have a truly gorgeous piece of property and soul touching it all!

  3. GardenersWK 10/29/2013

    The foliage fall colors are spectacular! I can't take my eyes from the picture with the climbing hydrangea up the trees! I try to imagine how lovely the view is when this vines are in bloom!
    You've done a marvelous job with the part time garden!

  4. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/29/2013

    The sumac. The grind stones. The sculpture. The logging chain. The view. Just green with envy. When we go to art museums, we play a game at the end of the day called, "If I could steal just one....." I'm having a hard time picking what I would steal from your garden. :)

  5. annek 10/29/2013

    Your "part-time garden"?? Wow, you MUST send in photos of your full-time garden! Such beautiful colors. Your Salix with the Virginia creeper looks so inviting and the climbing hydrangeas add an unexpected shot of green to your autumn tree palette. Lovely, indeed.

  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/29/2013

    Love your art museum game, Vojt! I participated in a juried art show this past weekend with my froofroo birdhousekeepsakes creations and played a version of it when my husband and I were driving home. Except, since things were for sale, I put my money where my mouth was for a few items. Boohoo, others were so gorgeous but, oh, so pricey.

  7. tractor1 10/29/2013

    Hmm, the deer do a wonderfully precise job of pruning my sugar maples, etc.... you must not have deer in Vermont or most of your plantings would not exist... or your property is well fenced. I can't grow hosta or roses either other than the few I have behind a fence. Anyway, from what I can see, that looks like a lovely property... more photos please.

  8. GrannyMay 10/29/2013

    Petra your urge to put in a plant here and there has rewarded you beautifully. Wonderful garden that looks like it absolutely belongs with those fabulous Vermont vistas!

    You have given permanence to a part-time place by surrounding it with your chosen plants and ornaments, making it your home, however brief your stays.

  9. cwheat000 10/29/2013

    Today I read the comments first and I was like, what the heck is a pianosaurus? Spectre is very cute. I am sure this garden is shaping up to beautiful in all seasons, but you can't beat a good Vermont garden in the fall. Nicely done!

  10. sheila_schultz 10/29/2013

    Petra, your part-time garden is spectacular. I'm sure it's wonderful in other seasons, but these fall shots are amazing. By any chance do you have any pictures of your full-time gardens?

  11. DCNative 10/29/2013

    Petra, Thank you for reminding us about the beauty of Vermont in the fall. I am just blown away by the color of your garden and your talent in combining plants. I grow "Tiger Eyes Sumac" and even posted the pics this past spring during the height of its chartreuse glory. However, unlike your beauty, the color of mine in the fall always seems to fade quickly to brown and black. I'm thinking it's because the plant needs to age a few years before it shows off it's fall color. At least, I'm hoping. Have you read "Our Life in Gardens" by Joe Eck? He and his partner created an unbelievable garden in Readsboro, VT that they write about in this incredible book. I've never seen a garden book written like a novel, and Joe did it perfectly. I put more sticky notes on the pages of this book, of future plants to buy, than I do my normal garden books. Adrian Higgins wrote about their garden in the Washington Post on August 20th, 2009. It's still online.

  12. User avater
    HelloFromMD 10/29/2013

    Hi Petra, your emerald green lawn really sets off the lovely fall colors. By the way, what hydrangea is that next to the rose that is holding up those huge blossoms so nicely?

  13. PetraW 10/29/2013

    Tractor1 There are many deer and nothing is fenced. (Moose too.) Occasionally the deer do show up; as a matter of fact they finished the hosta before the frost did this year. Unlike at our New York home, there is a hunting season in Vermont, I think that keeps them a bit shyer. Also there is so much more for them to eat in the surrounding undeveloped areas, that it's not a daily invasion the way it is in New York. Everytime we come up,the first thng I do is walk around and check to see what's happened in my absence.

  14. wildthyme 10/29/2013

    "Part-time???" Just goes to show you can take the gardener out of the garden, but you can't take the garden out of the gardener . . . or something like that! I'm with Jeff; the grind stones are dynamite!

  15. PetraW 10/29/2013

    DCNative I've been to Joe Eck's garden, a fabulous garden. That is where I got the idea to have the climbing Hydrangea climb up my trees. I read the book that he wrote with his late partner, Wayne Winterrowd "A Year At North Hill." I'll have to read the one you suggest.

  16. DCNative 10/29/2013

    Petra, I'm so jealous about your trip to Joe Eck's garden. I bet you loved it.
    I found "Our Life in Gardens" so much more entertaining than "A year at North Hill", but you'll have to tell me what you think one day.
    Keep up the fantastic work!

  17. PetraW 10/29/2013

    Tractor 1. Indeed what you describe would be way too much for two people to handle. What you see in the view is the neighboring farmer's hayfield which comes right up to our property line. It is hayed once a year. We do have a lawn service that mows the lawn once a week and once a year they cut back the encroaching woods. That would be the weekend's work if we took that on. The problem with having someone else mow is that while weed-wacking, flowers and weeds tend to be them same thing. The criteria appears to be, if it leans, wack it down. In choosing which photos to post, I picked the ones that I thought would show the most interesting Autumn features.

    HelloFromMD It is a Hydrangea Limelight.

  18. tractor1 10/30/2013

    PetraW: How many acres do you have, I'm guessing about 15, but could be a lot more that's wooded... or could be a lot less considering the hayfields belong to the neighbor. I tend to my 16 acres by myself. I look forward to winter, I get a well deserved break. Sunday I took the mower off and I put the front loader and snow plow on the tractor, I'm ready for a north Catskill winter... and I'm well stocked with bird seed.

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