Garden Photo of the Day

Terry’s Connecticut Garden

Making a beautiful garden in the shade

garden bed full of hostas

Today we’re visiting with Terry Karpen.

My garden in Redding, Connecticut, is a study of interplay between the planned and the wild, the artistic and the practical, the ecologically sound and the aesthetically pleasing.

Woodland shade perennial borders, in which the native trees and shrubs comprise the upper story, surround my log home, which is adjacent to a 1,600-acre Nature Conservancy preserve.

The property is protected by a discreet deer fence that was installed to allow the forest to recover from the ravages of the excessive local deer population. In addition to emphasizing hardy perennial plants, the structure and composition of the garden precludes all use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides, which minimizes both negative ecological impacts and maintenance costs. For example, fallen leaves are left on beds to provide natural mulch, invasive plant species are removed by hand, and volunteer native plants are encouraged. My goal with this garden, as well as with Queen of Spades, my garden and landscape design company, is to provide an example of how global concerns such as forest loss and chemical fertilizers and pesticide use can be addressed in gardening practices without compromising the grace and beauty of the landscape design.

small tree surrounded by ornamental grassThis Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’ (Zones 5–9) is surrounded by Carex ‘Ice Dance’ (Zones 5–9).

purple flowers next to plant with variegated foliageHelleborus orientalis ‘Royal Heritage’ (Zones 4–9) blooms in the midst of variegated vinca (Vinca minor, Zones 4–9).

garden bed full of hostasHosta ‘Great Expectations’ (Zones 2–9) is side by side with the foliage of Helleborus orientalis ‘Royal Heritage’.

hostas planted along the edge of a pathHosta ‘Pacific Blue Edger’

hoastas along the edge of a forestHosta ‘Regal Splendor’ dramatically edges the woodland with beautiful foliage.

view of the backyard gardenView of the garden from the back of the house.

foundation plantings on back of houseAgain viewed from the back of the house, the garden is a beautiful, serene, green space.

stone path in the gardenCorydalis lutea (Zones 5–7) blooms all summer with small yellow flowers in the shade, complementing the foliage of Hosta ‘Regal Splendor’.

garden shed surrounded by plantsGarden shed with window boxes


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View Comments


  1. Maggieat11 06/16/2022

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos. Absolutely gorgeous gardens and I love all the stonework as well. I'd love to see more photos which would include how your home nestles in its' surroundings.
    The garden shed is beautiful. Love the windows.

  2. hinchy 06/16/2022

    I would love to know what type of deer fence you are using. I am currently not having much success trying to convince the deer from leaving my landscape alone!

    1. queenofspades 06/16/2022

      Do internet search for:
      PVC Coated Steel Hex Web Deer Fence

      There are local companies that do the installation or DIY and buy the rolls of fence and posts and accesscories.

  3. user-7392754 06/16/2022

    Your garden is so inviting! Makes me want to grab a glass of iced tea and soak in the scenery! Thank you for sharing!

  4. katherine_8 06/16/2022

    Remarkable, Terry!!

    So natural and a very nice flow with the woods right behind your property. The garden and woods blend together so harmoniously. I love all the stonework, rocks, and walkways. To copy another commenter: "I'd love to see more photos which would include how your home nestles in its' surroundings."

    Have a lovely day.

  5. User avater
    treasuresmom 06/16/2022

    Wow, those hostas are amazing.

  6. User avater
    simplesue 06/16/2022

    So beautiful so peaceful...I can almost hear the silence mixed with the sound of the birds (I live in the city and the sound of birds is mixed with HVAC, vehicles, construction).
    The stone structures in your garden are so beautiful and substantial, such solid looking flagstone paths, etc.
    Your Hostas are all so healthy, and I've never understood why people get excited about Helleborus , but your Helleborus orientalis ‘Royal Heritage’ really caught my attention, planted in a nice group and a great color, I actually saved that photo for inspiration!

    1. User avater
      simplesue 06/16/2022

      PS...what a creative/clever website you have! I love your garden philosophy also!

  7. sheila_schultz 06/16/2022

    Your gardens are so peacefully beautiful. The richness of the lush foliage shows that your natural methods of caring for your land is what is needed. They are wonderful,

  8. user-3020904 06/16/2022

    I'm wondering about the Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood'. This variety is supposed to have dark red/purple foliage.

  9. btucker9675 06/16/2022

    This is a truly lovely garden - love all of the stone work and your hostas and hellebores are to die for! You must work hard defending the hostas from slugs...

    1. queenofspades 06/16/2022

      The answer to the Hosta slug problem is to use the varieties that the slugs aren't attracted to.
      Those are the Hostas with thick leaves.
      There are lists of slug resistant Hostas on the internet.

  10. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 06/18/2022

    Thanks for sharing your lovely garden

  11. pattyspencer 06/19/2022

    What a pretty garden! It looks so calm and peaceful

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