Garden Photo of the Day

Shelley’s Upstate New York Garden

A garden packed with blooms

flower-filled garden

Today we’re visiting with Shelley Haefner in Old Chatham, New York, who is sharing a few favorite garden photos that always help her make it through those long New York winters.

I started gardening ten years ago in an attempt to “pretty” my yard. Little did I realize the journey I was about to begin! Our home is situated in upstate New York, half of our landscape is in the shade, and the other half is in full sun. I get the best of both worlds and enjoy creating interactive gardens around my home. I use mostly perennials, shrubs, and small trees. My gardens have meandering borders and follow the contours of our natural landscape. Beauty was only the beginning of my journey. The garden has since rewarded me with amazing experiences. I love learning more every year about the relationships between insects and flowers, plants and soil, and humans and nature. It is my true happy place.

different colored hostas in a shade gardenMy shade garden is over 40 feet long and 20 feet wide!

Long full sun garden bed filled with flowersIn the full sun garden, a panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata, Zones 3–8) blooms in the foreground, and a variety of coneflowers (Echinacea hybrids, Zones 4–8) and other perennials do the same beyond.

flower-filled gardenAnother view of the full-sun garden.

purple daylily blooming in garden‘Festivus’ daylily (Hemerocallis ‘Festivus’, Zones 3–9) takes center stage in the sun garden.

a large rock set in a shade gardenThe boulder to the far right was dug up during excavation of our property. It is an amazing part of the structure for this shade garden.

rustic cedar arbor in a gardenA local artisan in the Catskills built this rustic cedar arbor for me as the entrance to my vegetable garden.

a butterfly over a flower gardenI caught this beauty on my phone and used the “Live” option to see it fully open its wings as it flew.

small garden bed with yellow hakone grassYellow hakone grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’, Zones 5–9) highlights the foreground of this small island bed.

Hummingbird on catmintHummingbird on our catmint (Nepeta × faassenii, Zones 3–8).

shade garden full of hostasLooking down the length of the shade garden.

Tree frog on Golden Jubilee hyssopA tree frog rests on ‘Golden Jubilee’ hyssop (Agastache rugosa ‘Golden Jubilee’, Zones 5–8).

lots of colorful plants in bloomLate summer, packing the blooms in!


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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View Comments


  1. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 04/05/2021

    Lots to like. Thanks for sharing,

    1. nyshade 04/05/2021

      Thank you!

  2. garden1953 04/05/2021

    Beautiful gardens. Lush and full of life!

    1. nyshade 04/05/2021

      Thank you!

  3. blondie3 04/05/2021

    Your garden if fabulous, Love everything about it, the meandering borders, the panicle hydrangea, (I now need one), those red hot pokers are awesome, you have truly been rewarded for all your efforts....No doubt that you look forward to spring every year...thank you for sharing, I’m inspired!

    1. nyshade 04/06/2021

      Spring is the best season for us after the long winters! Right now everything is awakening and it’s so exciting! Looking forward to a great year!

  4. User avater
    treasuresmom 04/05/2021


  5. sandyprowse 04/05/2021

    Hungrily drinking in your splendid photos this morning was like a blood transfusion in these tired sad arteries after a cold, depressing and brutal Canadian winter. Your garden is awesome. Thank you.

    1. nyshade 04/06/2021

      Yes, you know very well then living in Canada. Photos help! Thanks for the comment!

  6. User avater
    user-7007816 04/05/2021

    Your garden is stunning, both the shady and sunny sections. Congratulations on a job well done.

    1. nyshade 04/06/2021

      I appreciate that, thank you!

  7. gardendevas 04/05/2021

    Gorgeous gardens! Love the lushness, colors and textures. Looks like you are working on some slopes - I like how you contour the beds and arrange the plants around them. So many happy, healthy plants, and lovely sense of design.

    1. nyshade 04/06/2021

      Yes! But it wasn’t always this way. My shade garden was two separate oval gardens at first (8 years ago) and it wasn’t until I had this “ah ha!” moment that I combined them with a contoured and meandering border and totally fell in love with it!

  8. Icgirl 04/05/2021

    What are the flowering shrubs in the Festivus picture?

    1. nyshade 04/05/2021

      That is a hedge of ‘Little Quickfire’ Hydrangeas. :-)

  9. cheryl_c 04/05/2021

    All of your pictures are incredible, but that final one, Late Summer, is jaw-dropping! You have done an amazing job. Congratulations.

    1. nyshade 04/06/2021

      Thank you! I try to plant for a succession of color but that is one of the peak times in that garden!

  10. User avater
    simplesue 04/05/2021

    Your photography, and observations of nature are beautiful...That is the coolest photo of a butterfly ever!
    What a super nice garden...shade, sun, and woods you have it all in this nicely designed too!

    1. nyshade 04/06/2021

      Thank you! It’s been a fun journey!

  11. btucker9675 04/05/2021

    There is something lovely everywhere you look in your stunning gardens. Thank you for sharing your gardening skills with us.

    1. nyshade 04/06/2021

      Thank you 🙂

  12. Sunshine111 04/05/2021

    Truly Lovely! Your garden is spectacular, and your photography is superb! Thank you so much for sharing

    1. nyshade 04/06/2021

      Thank you! I love to photograph everything! The fun connection between gardening and photography is rewarding!

  13. carolineyoungwilliams 04/05/2021

    OMG Shelley, your garden is absolutely amazing. You had my full attention before I even opened up the page. I love everything about it; the lay-out, the colors, textures, structures and plant selections. It is beautiful. This is what my happy place would resemble. KUDOS to you. I look forward to seeing more.

    1. nyshade 04/06/2021

      Thank you! It’s been a work in progress for years but so rewarding!

  14. user-5117752 04/05/2021

    Love, love, love your photos!!! Every picture is a work of art!!! Your garden is exquisite!!! What a marvelous eye you have!!! Simply amazing!!!

    1. nyshade 04/06/2021

      Thank you so much! 😊

  15. sagebird52 04/05/2021

    Spectacular and well kept. So much variety of color and shades and textures. True treat to see your photos.
    Fantastic Garden !!!

    1. nyshade 04/06/2021

      I appreciate your feedback, thank you!

  16. avongardener 04/09/2021

    I am late in visiting this site. What a beautiful, colorful, lush garden! Your plants color selection is truly gorgeous! Love the pinks, purple and blues. Looks like your garden backs into the woods. I was wondering how do you keep the deer out of your garden? I have woods too in my backyard and gardening in spring and summer has always been a challenge.

  17. Mashabear21 11/12/2021

    The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from small piece of land. ( concrete contractors lehigh valley pa

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