Garden Photo of the Day

Spring in Rural New England

Beauty in the beginning of the gardening year

My name is Jesse, and I live in East Haddam, Connecticut (Zone 5). I love the vibrant spring colors in my garden against the backdrop of the woods when the leaves are just opening!

I’ve been building my gardens in stages for the last 17 years. We have a robust deer population in this rural area, so I designed an effective, reasonably priced, unobtrusive fence and had it installed about 15 years ago. My gardens have been growing and thriving ever since. I’m learning how to design a garden for greater visual impact, and I study the pages in your magazine like a scholar! In the last two years, I’ve been moving plants to create contrast in color and leaf shape, and transplanting self-sowers that scatter all over the garden into bigger clusters.

Last year I built a long, winding natural stone walkway through the garden and created two areas for a rest on a bench along the way. I love to sit and view the garden from these different vantage points. Last year a friend gave me a beautiful columbine for Mother’s Day, and I added two more for a grouping. They came back this spring even larger than they were last year—so I’ve been adding more columbines to the garden. Their flowers are intriguing and so unique, and they like our rocky soil and cold winters.

Sedum lines the edges of the curve in the foreground, a golden threadleaf cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Filifera Aurea’, Zones 5–7) and creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’, Zones 3–9) add a chartreuse palette, and false indigo (Baptisia australis, Zones 3–9) on the left is just emerging and will reach 3 feet with purple flowers.

garden statue

My husband and sons gave me this statue years ago for Mother’s Day. I moved her this year so she greets visitors when they enter the garden, surrounded by golden spirea (Spirea japonica ‘Goldmound’, Zones 4–8), caramel heuchera (Zones 4–8), and sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum, Zones 4–8).

Bearded iris and astilbe in the foreground, with a blue glass sphere nestled in a golden threadleaf cypress.

garden trellis

We built this trellis years ago and added a deck under it this spring. Wisteria climbs over the trellis, and next to it is a brilliant fuchsia-colored azalea in full bloom.


This beautiful azalea has lavender petals with fuchsia centers. Tiger lilies (Hemerocallis fulva, Zones 3–9) are just emerging, and a golden spirea and leucothoe (Leucothoe axillaris, Zones 6–9) create a natural enclosure next to the garden fence. The deer nibble the leucothoe through the back of the fence.


Columbines (Aquilegia hybrid, Zones 3–8) blooming in May.

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View Comments


  1. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 06/03/2020

    Thanks for posting!
    You will certainly have plenty of Columbine, since they are heavy self-sowers. You may end up with more than you ever dreamed!

  2. blondie3 06/03/2020

    Very beautiful, love the arbor and hard scapes.

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 06/03/2020

    I imagine it is so peaceful sitting out & looking at all the beauty around you.

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 06/03/2020

    Glad your fence has done the job and has allowed your lovely woodsy garden to thrive. The pink and white blooms on your columbines are quite eye-catching and they look to be one of the large flower size hybrids. I wonder when they self sow if the babies will be of different colors. I love your of so many chartreusy toned plants...they really add gentle luminosity.

  5. PattyLouise 06/03/2020

    All is beautiful! Love your Mother’s Day statue!

  6. coastalgardener 06/03/2020

    What a glorious garden you've created! I love the mix of colors and textures, and your fencing seems to be keeping the deer at bay. Thanks for sharing...

  7. lynnedale 06/03/2020

    May fellow Fine Gardening subscribers drop my for a cup of tea in your lovely garden? 😉

  8. mgol1068 06/03/2020

    Love all of the beautiful garden rooms... Would be nice to sit in these relaxing environments.

  9. wittyone 06/03/2020

    What a beautiful job you have made of your garden. All your moving around and rearranging of plants to contrast and compliment each other has paid off big time. it looks like a comfortable leafy space to enjoy.

  10. User avater
    simplesue 06/03/2020

    Looks like paradise to me! What a huge project it must have been putting in a long stone path! I'm putting in a very short stone path and just chipping away to finish when the mood strikes...and it hasn't struck me lately in this heat LOL!
    I really love your garden, your choice of plants and statues/ornaments. Really pretty!

  11. btucker9675 06/03/2020

    What a glorious garden! Love your garden lady and the mossy boulders. Everything just fits to perfection.

  12. carolineyoungwilliams 06/03/2020

    Jesse, Your garden is beautiful. You mastered your studies and your studies paid off. I absolutely love the statue and all of your contrast colors. Thank you for sharing. I hope there are more photos to come. Be Blessed

  13. arboretum 06/03/2020

    jesse, i am so excited that gardeners of your caliber- are posting now on GPOD. Like the old days...and gives me hope for GPOD of the future.
    thank you so much!

  14. toweringpines 06/03/2020

    Agree with Arboretum.GPOD keeps getting better and better.

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