Garden Photo of the Day

READER PHOTO! Jan Johnsen in upstate New York

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Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jan Johnsen

Today’s photo is from Jan Johnsen, a garden designer in Mt. Kisco, New York. She says, “This photo shows part of a double cascade that I created for a client.  Japanese junipers (Juniperus procumbens ‘Nana’, USDA Hardiness Zones 3-9) line each side of the stream (they hang over large rocks that define the edges of this waterway). The stream itself leads to a lower basin. This photo was taken from a small arched Japanese-style wooden bridge. From here the visitor gets an inviting glimpse of the basin but must walk around to see the full view, an old landscape technique to prod the guest onward.” Beautiful! Thanks, Jan, for sharing this with us. Check out Jan’s blog, where you can get a video tour of this garden.


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  1. tractor1 11/10/2011

    I like water features. I like the use of boulders to define the perimeters. But I'm wondering if that's a natural woodland stream or it's on a city lot with a pump recirculating the same water. I'd like to see a wider view depicting how that stream fits into the surrounding landscape, that picture looks so heavily cropped that there is no way to get a sense of scale. Those juniper look very healthy... I'm jealous because here the deer would treat them as salad. Nice stone work.

  2. gottagarden 11/10/2011

    check out her blog video - the waterfall is set in a huge parklike garden. but more still photos would really show it at its best.

  3. cwheat000 11/10/2011

    Lovely design Jan! In response to the first comment, that garden must have deer fencing or use deer repellents. I went to high school in the area. It is about an hour train ride out of New York City and the deer are highly concentrated there. The area is surprisingly woodsy for being still in commuting distance to NYC. Do check out the blog. It is a wonderful garden.

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 11/10/2011

    I really enjoyed following the link gottagarden provided and seeing more of Jan's work. It's a rainy day where I am so it was quite a treat to sit at my computer and take a lovely garden tour.

  5. pattyspencer 11/10/2011

    Stunning! First I'd love to have the land - 2nd I'd love to have the money to do a landscape like that and 3rd I'd love to have her as a neighbor! (well maybe not in that order - lol) Watched the video - just beautiful!!

  6. tractor1 11/10/2011

    Now that I've seen the video I can see that this is all professional landscaping, probably a wealthy estate, very laborious and extremely costly, not something any one individual can accomplish, or should covet. I didn't read the blog so I don't know how much acreage is involved or if it's even indicated. I'm very disappointed in the water features, they're fakes, which is what I thought from my first impression. Those kind of gardens do not impress me... they just mean someone has a lot of money to pay people to do it. The only green thumbs those kind have are from the ink rubbing off as they fondle their cash... those are hands that never touched dirt. I consider that video more a advert for the landscaping company. There are professional landscapers where I live in the Catskills who do much more natural looking water features... to me that stream looks like it came out of a kit.

  7. wwross 11/10/2011

    I tend to agree with Tractor1. Its pretty, but there is a lot one can do with lots of money. Michele, its just nice to know if a garden is a professionally designed, landscape garden or one that is essentially produced by the homeowner themselves. It gives us a better perspective on what is possible.

    Related to this, I was amazed be the "clean" almost sterile look of the water feature. In the stone creek that I built myself, out of stones from my own garden, things get pretty messy, with leaves falling into the creek, and dirt flowing in to it from storms. Maybe the pictured water feature is very new.

  8. tractor1 11/10/2011

    WWRoss; that water feature is so pristine because it is fake, the same water is constantly pumped so is easy to filter, and can be turned off at will to give the entire water feature a hose down. I wish people wouldn't build water features like that, they remind me of when I was a teenager into aquariums, with fake sunken pirate chests and such. I agree that such gardens should be indicted up front so that average gardeners don't swoon with oohs and ahhs over them... anyone with lots of money can have that kind of garden. Like WWRoss I have a natural creek that crosses my front yard but it requires constant labor to maintain. A few years ago during heavy flooding it became so eroded that I needed to have an excavating company come in to reform it and and put in riprap to help hold it in case of more flooding... had I just left it to its own devises it would have eventually erroded right up to the foundation walls of my house, and probably washed the house away. Real water features are a lot more involved than fakes.

  9. greengrowler 11/10/2011

    Taking into consideration the comments regarding professional landscaping, yes, with deep pockets, anything is possible. It may be true that the property owner doesn't do much of the "labor" and may or may not have a green thumb. That being said, when viewing elaborate (and for many of us, financially out of reach) gardens, aspects we find interesting can be incorporated into our own modest gardens, in an affordable manner. So, while gardens of this scale may cause a bit of frustration, taking from them ideas to enhance our own landscape may be a more constructive way to appreciate them.

  10. MichelleGervais 11/10/2011

    Wow. I have to say that, based on the comments for the last few weeks, I start to get quite a bit nervous every time I prepare a new post these days. Writing a daily blog is challenging, to say the least. Seriously, I'd love to feature only small, home gardens, since it's what seems to make everyone happiest, but I just don't have the volume to do it. Once in a while I have to post photos from a public garden or a grand estate, and I can only hope that some of you will find some element of them inspiring. I certainly do! I LOVE seeing photos of over-the-top gardens. They give me the freedom to dream, and I always see something that I can use in my own garden-making.

    Help me out--send me photos of YOUR gardens! I'd be eternally grateful...

  11. User avater
    meander_michaele 11/10/2011

    I never mind if a featured garden has been professionally designed and installed. The final product is still the result of someone's creative aesthetic. There's always the possibility that some element will seem doable for us regular "folks" even if on a smaller scale. I have a generous sized garden and some hardscaped areas have been done by young, capable muscle. Those of us who garden in our somewhat senior years have to be selective in how we expend our physical resources.
    Anyway, Michelle, don't be scared off from sharing whatever comes your way. Some rainy day, maybe I'll try to learn how to send pictures your way.

  12. pattyspencer 11/11/2011

    To Mgervias - you do a wonderful job! Pesonally I think some of the commentors are just a tad too critical and not viewing this as a thing of beauty but more in an anlytical way. And just like viewing art - not everyone sees it the same. If I were to merely look at in those terms then I'd probably be critical too but you know what? Shhhh - I think I saw a fairy or two in that picture and I'm sure I saw a couple in the video.

  13. gottagarden 11/11/2011

    I love seeing professional and public gardens. They are beautiful and can be appreciated for what they are. Doesn't matter if I can't copy it. I can't copy tropical themes or desert themes either, but I still enjoy viewing them.

    I love seeing them all, big, small, expensive, on a shoestring, wild, outrageous whatever.

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