Garden Photo of the Day

Terrie’s Urban Sanctuary

A tiny garden full of beauty

small garden water feature with koi fish and potted foliage plants

We’re visiting with Terrie Lewine today:

I live in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia, in a rowhome. I call my garden the Urban Sanctuary. The garden is a work in progress (as I imagine all gardeners say!). I’ve been here for more than six years, and I adore it. The garden is a mix of shade and sun. In the front I have raised beds for the usual herbs and veggies. I have two big trees, a holly (Ilex opaca, Zones 5–9), and a Norway maple (Acer pseudoplatanus, Zones 4–7) that were here before me, kiwi berry vines (Actinidia sp.,), roses, many natives, a pagoda with a hammock, and an outdoor soaking tub. Lots to explore!

My focus has been food (for all beings), native species, and beauty.

view of the city garden lot from the sidewalkThis is an urban space, but there is a lot of beautiful garden beyond that gate.

garden full of stone and gravel pathsAn urban sanctuary indeed—green and lush; it is a wonderful place to sit, relax, and enjoy.

small garden water feature with koi fish and potted foliage plantsA few fish live in the water feature, while next to them a pot full of golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’, Zones 3–9) glows like a puddle of sunshine.

close up of purple flowerOne of the residents of the water feature is the native pickerel weed (Pontedetia cordata, Zones 3–10), which has spikes of beautiful purple flowers.

close up of pickerel weed in the gardenMore of the pickerel weed

close up of astilbe flowersClouds of white astilbe blooms (Astilbe, Zones 4–9)

close up of pink and white columbine flowersDouble-flowered columbine (Aquilegia hybrid, Zones 3–8), with blooms in a sweet sugar pink

close up of pink and orange roseThere’s nothing like the drama of a perfect rose blossom; here, the hints of golden color echo the creeping Jenny below.

close up of cucumber plantThere is food in the garden as well; here, a cucumber is ready to be picked and enjoyed.

bee feeding off of white flowersSome plants provide food for humans and other beings. This carpenter bee is enjoying the pollen on those white flowers that will, thanks to the pollinating efforts of the bee, develop into delicious blackberries.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 11/02/2022

    Lovely. Great use of space.

  2. User avater
    simplesue 11/02/2022

    If I walked past your garden gate I'd be so curious of what garden surprises were beyond and out of sight! So glad I get to tour it virtually on line!!
    It really his a fitting name "Urban, flowers and a water feature!
    Love those Double-flowered Columbine!

    1. drterrie 11/05/2022

      Thanks. I do have a gate door that people consistently peer in. It's part of the fun and often I get to meet neighbors that way. I have found that people 'know' my place because of the passionflower 'fence'. Although I will take it all down for the winter. A new one grows every spring.

  3. user-7032743 11/03/2022

    Beautiful. I bet it hums with activity.

  4. sheila_schultz 11/03/2022

    What a charming garden filled with gorgeous blooms for the pollinators! Don't you just love the bright yellow of Creeping Jenny? It has always been my fave trailer and makes other plants just 'pop'! I'm curious, do you have to bring the fish inside for the winter? I've had some neighbors that do and some that don't.

    1. drterrie 11/05/2022

      Thank you! I do love the Creeping Jenny. It's kind of the gift that keeps on giving, and grows almost anywhere. Where I am and the depth of my ponds makes it so they can stay outside all winter. They slow down quite a bit, no food, and in the spring they are happy to come back up and play. I've had the ponds for about 5 winters now.

  5. btucker9675 11/03/2022

    Love your little fish pond! What a charming respite from city life you've created - just beautiful.

    1. drterrie 11/05/2022

      Thank you so much. It is very nourishing (and lucky) to have this private outdoor space in a bustling and often noisy place to live. I get to play in the dirt!

  6. drterrie 11/03/2022

    Thanks everyone for your comments! It really has been wonderful to have such a big space in a city where backyards tend to be 9' deep and cement. Over the years I have learned about sun and shade, and by luck what each plant looks like and where they should go. It's this time of year when I am just waiting for the right time to do the pruning that I dream of for next year and the new seeds I will plant. It is so fun, and rewarding and at times, so much work. Like when the million leaves start to fall from the maple tree. So grateful to have this space!

  7. fromvirginia 11/03/2022

    Lovely! And that double bloom columbine😍. Haven’t seen that before. Thanks for sharing.

    1. drterrie 11/05/2022

      Thank you! To be honest, neither did I. I planted seeds and these came up and boy oh boy did I fall in love. I saved seeds from those and planted more all around, yet these are the ones that just come up each year. Flowers!?! They are so magical.

  8. paiya 11/04/2022

    Your garden is so charming. Although you have such a large variety in a relatively small area,nothing looks cramped and each plant & flower pristine

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