Garden Photo of the Day

Saying Goodbye to a Beloved Garden

Moving on after twenty years of gardening

Wine and Roses wiegela

Today’s photos are from Angela Jobe.

I’ve got my 200th issue of Fine Gardening in front of me, looking at Garden Photo of the Day. I don’t know why I’ve never submitted anything before. I guess I just didn’t think you’d be interested.

But things are different now. I’ve been collecting dirt under my nails in this garden for almost 20 years. It is pretty special, and now it’s hard to believe it was a disaster when we bought this house—pretty much nothing but ugly red and pink azaleas (sorry, not a fan) and lots of weedy vines.

Over the years, walls have been built and trees have been felled (or come down in hurricanes), only to be saved and repurposed into a rustic pergola. A shed was moved, stone steps have been hauled in and set. My father’s 70-year-old peonies have been transplanted and retransplanted.

In four weeks, we will be leaving, moving on to greener pastures—literally. We bought an old farm. We are in our 60s. What are we thinking?

In the meantime, I thought I’d share my treasure. The people who are moving in have no idea the love that lives in these gardens. Nor do they understand the relationship these plants have with the birds, the bees, the flowers, and the trees. I love this place with all my heart. It will be tough to leave.

spreading plant with green foliageEvery Sunday morning I stroll in the garden. It’s my favorite time. These treasures self-seeded. Mother Nature knows what she is doing. These are my Sunday morning feet.

garden bed with lots of pink and purple flowersThe back border was started from nothing 18 years ago. Now look at her. Some of the peonies date back to 1950 and were dug out of my father’s garden.

bluestarThis underused plant, Amsonia hubrichtii (bluestar, Zones 5–8), goes from diminutive delicate blue flowers to a powerhouse of golden feathery leaves in fall. Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’ (Zones 4–8) forms a lovely backdrop.

mass of purple salviaThis mass of purple salvia looks like Salvia guaranitica ‘Amistad’ (Zones 7–10 or as an annual).

pink and white flowersIn this magical scene, dark pink in the back transitions to white in the front, with the soft pink Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Zones 3–10) in the middle.

dog sitting on garden stairsA four-legged garden resident rests on the stone steps.

plants with white flowers next to garden stairsThe color scheme along the stone steps is white flowers and yellow-green foliage.

vegetable garden with wooden fenceThe vegetable garden

garden bed with lots of shrubs and white flowering treesA beautiful spring view

Wine and Roses wiegelaWine and Roses weigela makes a dark contrast to the lighter flowers around it.


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View Comments


  1. Carolyn3134 06/25/2021

    Absolutely gorgeous! I wish you well in your new garden! I am in my 60s too, and I still think up more projects, LOL! You have done such a wonderful job of improving what you are leaving behind. Hugs!

    1. User avater
      cynthia2020 06/25/2021

      Re: gorgeous

      Re: I am in my 60s too, and I still think up more projects...

      Again, agree!

      No matter our experience, gardening can be so fulfilling in so many ways.

    2. ajdirt 08/12/2021

      Thank you, Carolyn! I am JUST seeing this post almost TWO MONTHS late because I totally forgot I submitted these in the middle of our move, and I missed the acknowledgement email from FG. We moved into our new home a week after this, on our 30th wedding anniversary. We are so happy in our NEW old house and everyday I dream up new plans for this place. I have to admit, I haven't looked back for a millisecond since we arrived... until I saw this post. It really is a gorgeous space, tugging at my heartstrings.

  2. runfortheroses 06/25/2021

    Stunning! I really dig the hardscraping. The low stone wall at the front of the border and the stone steps complete with canine, bravo!

    1. ajdirt 08/12/2021

      Thanks Runfortheroses! That is Téo, my faithful companion. He loves posing for me.

  3. sandyprowse 06/25/2021

    I can understand your heart being left in this garden. They consume us emotionally and in a wonderful way that nothing else could. What a beautiful garden you have made over the years. A joy to behold. And now it is onward and upward to the next garden and the next chapter in your lives. All the best.

    1. ajdirt 08/12/2021

      Thank you for your thoughful words, sandyprose. You hit the nail on the head. We've been in our new place for about 6 weeks now, and I am just seeing these posts! I am a very impatient gardener, and can't wait to start planting in fall once the weather breaks. It's been opressively hot here in NY. I brought a few special things from my garden with me. Fingers crossed they make it.

  4. nwphilagardener 06/25/2021

    Thanks, Angela! I can't imagine why you would not have thought we'd be interested in such a rich and well executed garden. In fact, I'd be interested to see more. Nicely composed photos and grand sweeps of rich plantings are why GPOD is a delight to wake up and start the morning.
    We can only imagine how that farm will benefit from all you've learned. And I hope you can take some of your father's peonies with you.

    1. ajdirt 08/12/2021

      oh don't worry. I took Dad's peonies. They are in the ground, and my fingers are crossed and SO TIGHTLY for them that I may never have straight fingers again!

  5. davlinkun 06/25/2021

    Beautiful Garden
    Beautiful Photos
    Best of luck with your new adventure.

  6. User avater
    JanetInCwood 06/25/2021

    Your garden is lovely. It’s got to be very hard saying goodbye. I hope you can take your grandfather’s peonies with you. This article will be a great momento for you. One thing I know for sure whatever garden we have will be enough. You will be consumed by your new space using all your knowledge with it. Send pictures of it when you get there and I’d like to see what you plan or change. From collingwood Ontario

    1. ajdirt 08/12/2021

      Thank you new friend in Collingwood, Ontario. Seeing these photos now that we are gone feels very odd... but you are so right. I am already consumed by my new space... and my head is reeling with ideas.

  7. User avater
    user-7007816 06/25/2021

    Such a lovely space you have created. Hopefully the new residents will also cherish and preserve it.

    1. ajdirt 08/12/2021

      Thank you user-7007816. I do hope the new owners grow with the garden and find ways to make it their own.

  8. gardendevas 06/25/2021

    Wow! Simply gorgeous. Thank you for sharing these inspiring photos. Would love to see more, and look forward to hearing about your gardening at the new farm, and seeing photos of your progress. A farm has also been a dream of ours.

    1. ajdirt 08/12/2021

      Sorry for all these late replies... Thank you for the generous compliments. I can't wait to get started in this new garden. And the farm! It's a bit overwhilming so just letting it be for a bit, but I am dreaming of Babydoll sheep and mini donkeys.

  9. jtaert 06/25/2021

    Finally! Someone who knows how to combine colors. Absolutely stunning!

    1. ajdirt 08/12/2021

      LOL-- sometimes I get lucky.

  10. User avater
    treasuresmom 06/25/2021

    Can you tell us if you have dug peonies to take with you? Also, I think it is unanimous that we would like to see more of this beautiful garden.

    1. ajdirt 08/12/2021

      Hi treasuresmom-- OH yes, I managed to dig 21 peonies in March and put them in huuuuge pots until we moved. They are in the ground. Some look better than others. It's always a crap shoot. Don't tell anyone, but we also dug a seriously special weeping dogwood which looks like it's doing fine, along with a special acer "Full Moon"... jury still out on that one. I love that tree... hope she makes it.

    2. ajdirt 08/12/2021

      I actually submitted a whole lot more than the suggested 10 photos because I got carried away. (I feel bad for the editor.) But the day I decided to submit was the day I was packing up my office. I have saved nearly every single Garden Design issue since it started. I was about to recycle them... and when the 200th edition came, I just couldn't do it. I love this magazine.

  11. coastalgardener 06/25/2021

    What an outstanding garden you have made! It's just simply gorgeous. I totally understand how you're feeling about leaving it behind. I once left a 25-year-old garden I had started from scratch, and now I will be leaving another one just as old very soon...but the photos you have taken of all this beauty will remain with you and everyone who has seen it. I wish you more happy gardening years in your new home.

    1. ajdirt 08/12/2021

      Thank you Coastalgardener. Good luck to you in your new adventure as well. You are right, I am so grateful for my thousands of photos that take up way too much room on my computer. :P

  12. user-6861263 06/25/2021

    So beautiful!!!!! Can you tell us where you live/what zone you’re in?

    1. User avater
      cynthia2020 06/25/2021 of the photos in this set appears on this website

      1. ajdirt 08/12/2021

        Hi Cynthia-- that is my website. I am a garden designer. Some photos from my own garden always make it onto my website. I can't help myself.

    2. ajdirt 08/12/2021

      Hello user-6861263! We live in Zone 5b. I think it gets colder every winter, though. And hotter every summer.

  13. brackenfairy 06/25/2021

    That’s just lovely! I especially like the stonework and what it adds to the beautiful plant combinations. Best of luck in your new home.

  14. btucker9675 06/25/2021

    Hope you can take some of your plants with you. I left my 20 year old gardens in northern NJ in the dead of winter and couldn't get to plants I would have loved to bring along. Still hurts my heart when I think of my grandmother's lilies of the valley that I had taken slips of to 4 different gardens. Sure wish I had them here, too. Best of luck as you move on to your next adventure and I hope whoever is fortunate enough to move into your house and garden will treat them with the respect and care they richly deserve.

    1. ajdirt 08/12/2021

      Thank you for our kind words, BTucker9675.

    2. ajdirt 08/12/2021

      Ugh... leaving in winter. I don't know what I would have done. I wonder if you could just send a note to the new owners and ask for some of your Grandmother's lillies of the valley? It's hard to go back, though. I can't do it. Not yet.

  15. User avater
    Dee21 06/25/2021

    Thank you for sharing, it is stunning and would be very difficult to leave! As you said so much love goes into the garden. We too, in our 60's have thought of moving to more land...just more possibilities. Best wishes!

  16. sheila_schultz 06/25/2021

    I can't even imagine the rich beauty you will create for your new gardens because your current, love filled gardens are a joy to the eye and soul. They are so rich in color and texture and the combinations you have created brings a huge smile to my face this Friday morning. You are an artist, Angela, and I have no doubt that your next gardens will reflect the beauty you imagine when thinking about them. Please continue sending photos, your vision is spectacular.

    1. ajdirt 08/12/2021

      Thank you Sheila_Schultz for your very generous words. I am really looking forward to digging deep here. But also plan on controlling myself!

  17. 18bees 06/25/2021

    This is an absolute stunner of a garden! Thank you for sharing the photos and I wish you well in your new space.

  18. Cenepk10 06/25/2021

    Wow !!!! Magazine worthy, for certain. Brava !!!’

  19. Rebeccazone7 06/25/2021

    I've never been an inside the box kind of person, so I guess it makes sense that the picture with your feet really got me. Sorta like another take on bloom where you're planted. I can't even conceive of leaving all my gardens or the stuff things are planted in. Your passion for gardening was evident. May the fairies follow you to your new property, so they can whisper in their language and give you insight on where to put what...

    1. ajdirt 08/12/2021

      I love this, Rebeccazone7. Thank you.

  20. User avater
    simplesue 06/25/2021

    Oh what a gorgeous garden, your back border is my favorite photo, although the whole garden is just total perfection.
    My heart goes out to you that you have to leave it behind, it happened to me too- but it will always live on in your memories and photos.
    I'm sure your next garden will be just as pretty!

  21. RealMe 07/08/2021

    This is pretty impressive! Would love to see more, and look forward to hearing about your gardening at the new farm, and seeing photos of your progress. --- Kitchen Remodel Contractor

    1. ajdirt 08/12/2021

      Thanks, RealMe. You might be more interested with what we did to the kitchen! LOL!

  22. Madmardigann 07/09/2021

    The photos you have taken of all this beauty will remain with you and everyone who has seen it. I wish you more happy gardening years in your new home. |

  23. mikefraser 10/13/2021

    I just read your article "Saying Goodbye to a Beloved Garden". I loved it! It brought back so many memories of when my dad and I planted our garden together.
    Thanks for sharing all those images of your beloved garden with us too--your photos are stunning!
    -Tree Service

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