Garden Photo of the Day

Sharlene’s garden in New York

The foundation planting at the back of the house. 'Limelight' hydrangea is the star along with 'Rozanne' geranium, black-eyed Susan, and 'Volcano' purple phlox. Photo/Illustration: All photos courtesy of Sharlene Spina

Today’s photos are from Sharlene Spina in Skaneateles, New York. She says, “First I would like to say how much I enjoy each morning, having my coffee and enjoying a visit with my fellow gardeners. Gardeners are truly an amazing bunch of people, so much talent and creativity. Here are a few pictures that will give my fellow gardeners an idea of what my garden is all about.

The garden shed that my hubby designed to house all my garden stuff along with the tractor. I started to plant and ran out of time. Double ‘Knock Out’ rose, Clethra ‘Rosea’, and Russian sage.

“We have lived at our house, which sits on 3 1/2 wooded acres, for 9 years now. My husband is an architect and did a great job with the house, but when we moved in all that surrounded the house was trees and lots of mud. I hated it and I missed my old garden, and I was overwhelmed with where to begin. But I pulled on my boots and started.

One of two arbors that are on the back property of which a trail has been installed thru the woods. I think the urn helps the eye draw you through visually. Another Longshadow project.

“We just put in a pool this past summer so I will be sending in-progress shots of the landscaping beds that surround that as they are developed.”

A planter that is placed at the halfway point on the trail. Hosta ‘Patriot’, Solomon’s seal, Hosta ‘Francee’, ‘Delft Lace’ astilbe, ‘Vision in White’ astilbe, and Japanese beech fern, also some ‘Pink Pewter’ lamium.

Sharlene, your garden is beautiful, but I must say that I am completely distracted by the GORGEOUS garden shed!! Does it match your house? I must see it….. OK, I know, I got sidetracked. Thanks so much for sharing the garden with us! **Much more info in the captions**

The second urn heading out thru the second arbor.

**** I’m still looking for photos, everyone! While I’ve got a bunch of great submissions in reserve, I can always use more. We’re heading into winter, when GPOD submission tend to be a bit scarce. If you still want to see a new and exciting garden every single weekday in your inbox, do your part and show us YOUR garden! You can email photos to either [email protected] or [email protected]. Be sure to tell me where you live and tell me a bit about yourself and your garden. And the more photos the better! Thanks!! ****

A sharp shinned hawk sitting on top of the arbor that is near the 3 “B’s” garden. We had a nesting pair in the woods out back and they produced 2 beautiful fledglings that stayed most of the summer. I finally took the bird feeders down, it was a drive thru McDonald’s for them. They were a lot of fun to watch though, honing their hunting skills.
A bed that was the focus of my attention while the pool was being constructed, as evident of the plants still in nursery pots. I call this my bird, butterfly, and bee garden. ‘Guacamole’ hosta, ‘Jacob Cline’ bee balm, ‘Delft Lace’ astilbe, ‘Brocaded Gown’ daylily, pink turtlehead, ‘Quick Fire’ hydrangea, Aronia (chokeberry), Russian sage, ‘Red Rocks’ penstemon, grasses, and of course some black-eyed Susan. Bird bath is from Longshadow, this was a project unto itself installing this beauty.
An extended view of the 3 “B’s” garden which leads to the back of the house.
A bed in the back of the property.  I cleared of a lot of brush and unearthed copious amounts of concrete from the foundation pours that contractors put there. This bed mostly consists of hosta, ferns, and astilbe along with 3 ‘Arnolds Promise’ witch hazel. There are a couple of dwarf conifers of which I do not remember the names.
The koi fish that are in the pool area bed. They are swimming in a school heading to the water through ‘Lucerene’ blue-eyed grass and a ‘Garnet’ Japanese maple.

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View Comments


  1. user-1020932 12/06/2013

    well, this is all just spectacular. the plantings, the garden pavilion (it's way more than a shed) the planters, urns and birdbath (i just looked at Longshadow website, wow)and i really really want those fish! i gotta ask, what is your secret deer protection system? i think i spied a fencepost in the woods, is the entire property fenced to ensure survival of those perfect Hosta? it's all just great, Sharlene and i'm glad i got up this early to see it

  2. JanisCort 12/06/2013


  3. user-1020932 12/06/2013

    are those Tyson Weiss fish?

  4. gloriaj 12/06/2013

    Sharlene, I so enjoyed the tour of your garden. You drew me in the minute I saw the Limelight Hydrangea. ( love hydrangeas ). I love how you place the urns to beckons a invitation for a walk through the woods. As you said gardeners are talented and created and it shows in your gardens. Thanks for sharing your talent with us. Got to check out Longshadow website

  5. Plantstuff 12/06/2013

    To tntreeman - the fish website is
    Found this artist at the Philly flower show. The deer protection is 8ft fence. Was really tired of planting food for the deer. First I used the heavy duty mesh fencing which the rabbits made Swiss cheese out of with the changing snow pack and the male deer ripped it with their antlers. Had to change it all again to black chain link fencing which works beautifully and it does pretty much disappear into the woods. You have a good eye to see the post.

  6. user-1020932 12/06/2013

    yep, that's tyson weiss, i love his work. samuel salcedo does some amazing things too as does leslie fry. thanks for the info and again,,, your place is just snazzy

  7. wGardens 12/06/2013

    Ah, this is just GREAT! Thank you for the photo captions, also. Love that you able to incorporate the woods with your gardens. I had recognized the fish from the Philly Flower Show, tho hadn't remembered the artist. Your garden shed is fab; very unique! I love your use of so much ornamentation... I keep looking at the photos to see if I've missed anything! And I love that beautiful planter!!

  8. User avater
    meander_michaele 12/06/2013

    Hey, Sharlene, and the rest of you...I wanted to have a productive day but now I suspect I am going to be drooling over my computer screen looking up these various websites that feature garden fair.
    Well, Sharlene, there's no stopping you when you pull on your boots and get started! You have created so much beauty to delight the human eye and the critter palate...birds, bees, butterflies all celebrate your productivity. Ha, the deer...not so much!
    Compliments to your husband on the elegant and sophisticated design of the garden shed...definitely an outbuilding with a ton of style. And, yay for you, a reason for more creative landscaping.

  9. GardenGrl1 12/06/2013

    The garden shed is AMAZING! I love the placement of the urn in sight of the arbor entrance. It is reminiscent of vintage European gardens. You have done so much in just 3 1/2 years! I look forward to more photos from your beautiful garden!

  10. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 12/06/2013

    ditto to all the previous comments and a special shout-out to the stone wall!

  11. pattyspencer 12/06/2013

    I can't think of anything more to add to the other's comments - lol I am just blown away by everyting. I would have left the bird feeders out for the hawk tho - just me - I'm such a sap for wildlife - lol

  12. user-1020932 12/06/2013

    patty, i think the birdfeeders were attracting an easy buffet for the hawks,,,,,,,,,,,dinner on the fly

  13. JonMoss 12/06/2013

    Such a strong garden! My favorite part though is in the narrative, "But I pulled on my boots and started." Such a spirit could not fail.

  14. tractor1 12/06/2013

    I'm a big fan of forest paths and meadow trails. I recognize that most of the forest consists of native flora that the critters wouldn't bother. I'd not have fenced it all, I enjoy having the critters roam freely too much, instead I fence my beds, vegetable garden, and newly planted trees until they grow enough to survive on their own. What is that tree that the bird house hangs from, looks like American mountain ash, with another smaller specimen in the bed, do they have the red berries that birds love? Great job!

  15. bee1nine 12/06/2013

    Hi Sharlene, Love the peaceful and serene feel of enclosure
    by Mother Nature's backdrop.(a first thought that came to mind)..And yet I can understand as well, how overwhelming it
    must have been felt to start from scratch!
    Well indeed, nothing certainly was going to stand in your way- the avid gardener in you, kicked in...and WOW look at all this amazing and wonderful work created, now!

    Can't forget to praise your hubby's outstanding garden shed
    design. Fab!! Surely it had to match the architecture of your


  16. celiahoneysuckle 12/06/2013

    I have to say WOW! The bed at the edge of your wood, a lot of work there Lady! It's what I call "selective bushwacking". The clock is a good idea.

  17. greengenes 12/06/2013

    Well good morning to everyone! What a place! Sharlene you sure are having fun! I especially enjoy seeing the deciduous background where the trail goes.. I could already smell the trees in the hot sun! We have those hawks, too. They are a lot of fun to watch... You have a good flow sense and I cant wait to see your home and pool! Its so exciting to see new gardens and watch them grow. In a few years take more pics and then compare to these! Isnt it so fun being creative in this way! Gloves off to you, Sharlene!

  18. wittyone 12/06/2013

    Just beautiful. You've done a great job starting from scratch can be daunting.

    I love the garden shed. It makes me think of a train station somehow----maybe it's the clock. An unusual but very useful addition. I rarely wear my watch when out gardening and have to continually run inside to see how much time I have left to play in the dirt.

  19. GrannyMay 12/06/2013

    Sharlene, such an enormous amount of work in a relatively short time! You can't have taken your boots off for very long. Love the sweeping curvy beds with the forest backdrop. Love that you created a forest trail so that you can enjoy the natural woods away from the house and gardens. Love the planter half-way along the trail - it is a perfect reminder to go back and enjoy the gardens! Love the fish!

    I do hope you will continue to share as the garden evolves. Now I just have to go to those websites and dream about possibilities.

  20. user-7006902 12/06/2013

    Beautiful Sharlene! I have been through Skaneateles on several occasions - great area! Love your garden, love that shed(?!), love the urns (especially the color), love those fish!

  21. sheila_schultz 12/06/2013

    I'm still drooling over that incredible shed. The design is more than gorgeous, a tractor never had such a beautiful home! I also love the path meandering thru the forest, no wonder the hawks made a home on your property. Sharlene, your work is beautiful.

  22. quinquek 12/06/2013

    I am totally blown away. I finally sneaked a peak at work and will have to figure out how to study all these pics on the sly! What a great job (what a huge job!), and you were right to tackle it right away. I envy your deer-proof fence.

  23. Plantstuff 12/06/2013

    Thank you fellow gardeners for all the praise, I am overwhelmed by your kindness. To wittyone - get a clock outside, it tells you what time to put down the pick and some days depending on clay soil I mean that literally. I look forward to cocktail hour which is when I stand back and admire my handiwork.

    tractor1 - I did not fence my whole 3 1/2 acres my hubby reeled me in and said you are not going to plant all this leave some woods for the deer. The tree the bird house hangs on is a honey locust. The other tree is also a honey locust.

    pattyspencer - I always make my peace with whatever happens in the wild. Hawks must eat too and they will only kill what they need to survive. It was just getting to be to much death watching from the deck.

  24. Meelianthus 12/06/2013

    Sharlene, thank you for sharing your beautiful gardens. You have done a wonderful job of mixing your natural forest with your domesticated gardening areas. They mix together beautifully. I especially like all of your stone edging, so neat, yet doesn't stick out. I too have a garden clock and find it so useful when I am out. Your forest paths are so inviting for a nice walk thru the woods. What an accomplishment for the short time you have been there! Thanks.
    P.S. Are there places to sit in the woods to take in the beauty?

  25. tractor1 12/06/2013

    Plantstuff: Hi neighbor! I'm only a couple three hours drive away, in the northern Catskills. Since I retired, almost eleven years now, I have no need to wear a watch or look at a clock while I'm at home, all I need to know is day time and night time... and when working outdoors I can come close to exact time by looking at shadow length and sun position... on cloudy days I know it's near dinner time when I see the deer creeping out of the woods. I only put on a watch when I leave home for an appointment. I love your shed, only I don't call something I could live in a shed! LOL I like your clock only I have something similar but it's a thermometer, I'm more interested in temperature than time.

    At first I thought those were honey locust but was hoping not as they grow huge. But I checked those leaves and branching habit and to my eye they look exactly like American mountain ash, which only grows to about 25 feet and is much more suitable for that spot and makes for a much nicer specimen tree. Are you sure you have honey locust, if you say so I won't argue. Well, I checked again against my Trees of New York Field Guide by Stan Tekiela and your tree's leafing pattern sure looks like American mountain ash.

    Anyway I went all week not receiving even one email from Fine Gardening, I guess the web site is managed by the same folks at Obamacare.

    Wishing all a great weekend!

  26. tractor1 12/06/2013

    Meelianthus: I don't think you'd want to sit on a NY forest path in warm weather, the deer flies would eat you alive. You'd do much better sitting in winter, if you're dressed appropriately, in full ski gear. When I groom my forest paths in warm weather I'm wearing protective clothing, full head netting and I keep moving lest the deer flies find me, and of course they do... none of the insect repellents work very well.

  27. wildthyme 12/06/2013

    Starting from scratch is daunting, but at least you can do it exactly the way you want. I really admire the curving lawn and the paths, the shed, and I'm in love with the koi! I also fully understand not wanting to provide dinner for the hawks, they do have to eat, but you don't necessarily have to feed them! What a spectacular job you've done; you should be very pleased. Thank you for sharing your photos.

  28. Meelianthus 12/07/2013

    tractor1 - OMG, that's just scary!

  29. janetsfolly 12/07/2013

    What a lovely way to end the week! I love everything about your property, Sharlene. Is that a bat house in the next to last photo?So great that you provide so generously for wildlife! Your hawk pic is beautiful...I'm envious! More pics, please!

  30. janeeliz 12/08/2013

    Sharlene, your garden is just wonderful. I love it all! It's very inviting….I'd love to stroll through it and enjoy your plants as well as all the wild-life. Look forward to seeing more.

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