Garden Photo of the Day

Harriet’s Garden in Maine, Before and After

Last Friday, Harriet Robinson shared her pool garden in Otisfield, Maine, with us, and I so longed for a before shot. Lo and behold, she sent one in that night! She also gave me a little more info on the decision to do it and the process of filling in the pool.

She says, “I have loved gardening for a long time and have a perennial border in front of my house, a garden along the fence that encloses the back yard,  as well as a roadside garden by a stone wall.

“When the children grew up my husband realized he was spending hours cleaning the pool no one used and putting a lot of money into the chemicals for it. We decided to fill it in, and I eyed it as a garden space,  The bottom fill is sand (so I have perfect drainage) but the top is 2 feet of loam amended with compost.  We put down 7 layers of newspaper topped with bark mulch to keep down the weeds, put in paths formed by cobblestones, and began to plant.

“The curves of the paths are inspired by an English knot garden, but instead of box hedges, the cobblestones form the outlines of the planting beds.We kept the cement decking around the pool as a walkway surrounding the new plantings. A row of daylilies lines most paths that face south (since they angle south) while peonies line the other side of the walkways.  Other favorites are planted here and there.  I love color, and I have it out there for almost 6 months of the year. I’ve included a photo of the original pool, in June 2004, with a border next to it that is still there but bigger and more beautiful.  I still love the matts of dianthus.  I’ve also included photo of some of the peonies.  A fabulous view of the White Mountains forms the backdrop.  This has been a challenge because we don’t want to compete with nature.  Every year I add more.  I am looking forward to when this garden is overflowing and the mulch no longer shows.” Thanks for the extra info and the before shot, Harriet. Fascinating!

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  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/12/2012

    That really is a wonderful story, Harriet and I'm so glad you wrote in more and shared some additional pictures. The fascinating thing is how when your garden is in bloom there really is no strong sense of its original rectangle footprint. The design you gave your pathways create the pleasing curves that always give a garden extra visual appeal. Your plants look supremely happy and seem to thrive on their great view.The difference between that concrete swimming pool as opposed swaying colorful plants against that stunning backdrop is so dramatic...guess which one I like best?!

  2. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 04/12/2012

    Thanks for sending in the before picture. Great choice! I think your foreground garden and beautiful natural backdrop really compliment each other. Neither alone would be as beautiful!

  3. MichelleGervais 04/12/2012

    meander1! So glad you're back!! I hope everything went well and that you're taking it easy.

  4. tractor1 04/12/2012

    I can understand having an outdoor pool, even in Maine, when there are children who will use it but I much prefer that space without the pool, the garden is more natural in the landscape.

  5. annek 04/12/2012

    Oh my, the visual, spatial and sensory difference between the original pool design and your stunning garden design is breath taking. You took a very 'nice' concept and made it spectacular. And what a noble goal....all flowers and no mulch! I applaud you on a job well done!

  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/12/2012

    Grrr, Michelle, I have been in the hospital all week and have missed one of the best stretches of east Tn gardening weather. I'm just so glad I was very industrious before this glitch hit me. Now I would like to be home and enjoy some walkabouts!. I'm supposed to have the at fault gallbladder removed this afternoon. Let's hope it happens (ha, crazy thing to wish for...yes, please cut out my organ).
    Anyway, thanks for your good wishes.

  7. sheilaschultz 04/12/2012

    Meander1, I'm so sorry you have been under the weather... get well wishes are coming your way from Denver!Heal quickly so you can get out in your gardens and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings. (This is a belated get well, lots of grandkid moments around here!)

  8. sheilaschultz 04/12/2012

    Harriet Robinson... this is an exceptional transformation! You started with a beautiful pool with a great view. With the transformation, you have created an amazing garden that makes your view more glorious. Reuse and recycle comes to mind. Truly beautiful.

  9. mallow 04/17/2012

    From one ex-girl scout leader and gardener in Maine to another. Loved seeing your garden. especially loved the peonies. Thanks for sharing. Florence Wendell

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