Garden Photo of the Day

The Accidental Gardener

Inheriting a garden hidden under snow has turned one of our own into an accidental gardener. And we think he's doing pretty well with it! Matt works here at Taunton Press, and lives in Carmel, NY.

"We actually somewhat inherited the gardens. We moved to the house in the winter of 2009 and didn't even know what we had for grass, let alone gardens, since it was all under snow. But the owners before us, who had lived there for decades, loved to experiment with little garden areas all over the property. We keep playing with what we have–we plant annuals each year and have moved plants around and built up the stone borders and thinned out some of the abundance to create more of an effect of perspective and depth. We dug up the concrete sidewalk and laid stone pavers instead. We also redid the pond, which is in the front of the house. It used to have a fountain in the middle, but we created a small rock waterfall effect instead and made the far side shallow with white pebbles on the bottom. Now, robins, sparrows, and jays use that end as a birdbath, since they can see the bottom. The frogs also love it. The house is in Carmel, NY, built in 1942. It was a summer cottage by a lake then, but is now our year-round home."

Keep sending in photos, everyone! Whether you've never shared before or you've been featured multiple times, we want to see your garden! Email a few photos and the story behind your garden to [email protected].

View Comments


  1. Hritter007 06/06/2015

    Great looking garden, I can almost feel the cool air that the photos capture! I bet it's wonderful during the dog days of summer. Love the rustic details like the fence. The pond was also done very well as sometimes they stick out like a sore thumb but this looks like it is in the perfect setting.

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 06/07/2015

    Gotta' express a particularly enthusiastic hubba hubba over the stone bench/trough...I can't quite tell whether there is actually a shallow container carved into what otherwise would have been the seating area? Hopefully, Matt, you will pop back in and also tell what the plant is that is growing so artistically across the top. Looks like you have a real gem of a property and have been a very worthy owner. Do the previous owners ever come back and check on their gardens?

  3. wGardens 06/08/2015

    How wonderful to find these "hidden" gems- then add you own personal touches to expound and enhance their beauty. Love the natural setting; you have a peaceful, beautiful area to enjoy. Well done!

  4. NCYarden 06/08/2015

    What a great inheritance. I'm sure it was pretty sweet as is, but so pleased to hear it inspired you to go further, adding your own personal touch, which is exactly what every garden needs and thus expresses. It looks like a wonderful setting to enjoy each day. Got my eye on that stone bench..hahaha. Thank you for sharing.

  5. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 06/08/2015

    I'd say that's a happy accident! So green and verdant. The garden, pond and stones really mesh with the beautiful surroundings. Is there a genre of gardens to describe this? It just has the feeling of an eastern deciduous forest garden. Good job in taking the hand-off and running with it.

  6. pegmccann 06/08/2015

    Love the moss on the concrete bench. Those benches sure aren't any good to sit on, this is the best use I've seen!

  7. thevioletfern 06/08/2015

    Beautiful! I love a garden that looks natural - it is a difficult mood to achieve but you have achieved it and I bet not so accidentally - great job!

  8. hostamom 06/08/2015

    What a lovely surprise when the snow cover melted. I wonder if there were native plants in the wooded areas. Take a photo in early spring next year. You've done a wonderful job building on a strong foundation of small gardens.. Love it!

  9. GrannyMay 06/08/2015

    Your garden looks like a lovely, cool, wooded retreat. Lovely to inherit a carefully tended property and then have time to study it and make it your own. Is it right on a lake?

  10. mattulland1 06/08/2015

    Thanks for the kind comments everyone. The moss on the bench
    was actually an accident, too. When we added mulch, we thought the moss was too pretty to cover, so it was moved out of the way to the bench. It kept growing there and, since the
    area is cool and shaded, we decided to leave it.

    1. Nurserynotnordstroms 06/08/2015

      Don't you love happy gardening accidents?this is all so very beautiful

  11. perenniallycrazy 06/08/2015

    So peaceful, restful and green! Indeed, a happy accident.

  12. GrannyCC 06/08/2015

    Beautiful and serene garden,

  13. user-7007140 06/08/2015

    How clever of you to tune in to the garden senses. It is all wonderfully calm and natural. Congratulations, Matt.

  14. user-7007327 06/08/2015

    What a wonderful the boulders and rock art.

  15. foxglove12 06/09/2015

    So green, natural and lush. Love all the stonework. Love the garden. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Cenepk10 06/09/2015

    What a wonderful retreat ! So pretty

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