Hello GPOD! My name is Kelly Hansen, and I live in Delmar, New York, right outside of Albany, which is in Zone 5b.
I started “planting” in our yard 25 years ago knowing absolutely nothing about plants and gardening. YouTube hadn’t been invented, and I literally did not even know how to correctly water a plant.
Fast-forward to today. I can confidently say that I have “gardens.” My yard was featured on our community garden club tour, I am near completion of classes toward a gardening certificate through the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), and in 2022 I started a garden design business, New Leaf Garden Design LLC.
The purpose of my story is to serve as both a warning and an inspiration to new gardeners: a warning to save your money on the front end and to take the time to learn about gardening before you start shopping, and an inspiration to stick with it and enjoy having your hands in the dirt and seeing that first green leaf break in the spring.
We often see gardens from a distance. The perfectly planned drifts and brilliant pops of color allow us to absorb the entire garden through a widescreen lens.
I also love to zoom in as close as possible to see the tiniest parts of the bloom, the color of the leaf veining, and the symmetry of the leaf margins. Inevitably, I back away, completely awe-inspired, and think to myself, “How cool is that?”
Every year, I say I want to move the Euonymus fortunei (Zones 5–9) shrubs out of this bed. That idea evaporates when the butterfly weed (Asclepius tuberosa, Zones 5–9) blooms next to the creamy yellow euonymus, and the color combination is dazzling.
The dark lacy foliage of the ‘Black Lace’ elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’, Zones 5–8) in this photo fades into the background.
These photos were taken at 6:30 pm, and the sunlight creates the shadow on the red oak bark and lets the simple green-and-white color palette of the astilbe (Astilbe × arenseii, Zones 3–8), hosta (Hosta hybrid, Zones 3–9), and red oak (Quercus rubra, Zones 3–8) bark really shine through.
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.
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