Garden Photo of the Day

The Element of Surprise

By Kim Charles

Rebecca Downie and her husband created beautiful backyard gardens at their home in CT and now start fresh, once again.

"These are my gardens in Southington, CT.  There were no gardens, just a lot of weeds and overgrown areas when we moved in.  My husband and I, and our tractor, really enjoyed transforming the spaces. This is on a very busy road and we created this for our own enjoyment, and you couldn't see a peek of it from the road due to stone walls and hedging we put in.  I included a front house photo to show you this beautiful 18th century house, and how it was retained, properly we thought, with really no landscaping at all in the front. It was always a big surprise when anyone came to the back yard. 

Behind our pool was the biggest mess before we ripped everything out and started over — this is the photo with a lot of lavender and the back of the house in the distance.  We could reach the hose there, so I looked up xeriscape and chose plants that didn't like much water, or at least didn't need much after established. This ended up being our favorite garden.  Alas, the street and highway noise drove us to move recently to a new home, but we have started with a blank slate and are so excited to transform this into a wonderful place too.

Yes, I miss my gardens there, but starting new ones will be fun. In the meantime at our new house with little landscaping this far, I try to at least have fabulous planters for each season.  Also this is our resident bear enjoying the bird seed."

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  1. Sunshine111 06/28/2017

    I love it! What a surprise to wander into the backyard… I had an opportunity yesterday to drive past the woman's house who had kick started my passion for gardening. And her house was very much the same. Nothing in the front, but I am quite sure there is a multitude of blooms in the back! What a treat for any visitor .

  2. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 06/28/2017

    Gorgeous home, great gardens. I love the dry bed with the lavender, yarrow and campion, as well as the great stacked stone in the distance. I feel certain that your new garden creation will allow you to flex your creativity and bring you as much enjoyment as your former garden!

  3. sheila_schultz 06/28/2017

    Oh, the fun you are going to have creating beautiful gardens to surround your new home! Until then, your container gardens are Rock Stars... love the combinations!

    1. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 06/28/2017

      Aren't you doing this, too, Sheila, or did I misinterpret recent comments?

      1. sheila_schultz 06/28/2017

        Linda, we have moved, but I won't be doing any gardening for a while, I'll just be observing! We moved along w/ our daughter and her family to just N of Puerto Vallarta, MX to a little town called Bucerias. We all wanted for the kids (7 & 9) to experience a different culture and have the chance to become bilingual. They invited us to join them and we said, 'why not'! We're taking it year to year so we are renting initially, and our son-in-law found a lovely place where we both have our own casitas and the property is a botanical reserve!!! The great adventure has begun!

        1. user-7007498 06/28/2017

          Wow, Sheila. I didn't realize you were moving. Quite a climate change from Denver. Are you near the ocean? Your daughters new home sounds wonderful. It's great that you can be part of their new adventure.

          1. sheila_schultz 06/28/2017

            Hi Kevin. We are close to the ocean, only a 5 min. drive, and you're right, it's a huge climate change! No moisturizer needed here! Ha! We're quickly adjusting to the new rhythm of our days... and then there is always manana!

        2. User avater
          LindaonWhidbey 06/30/2017

          Wow! Good for you, Sheila. We followed our children, too, but it wasn't quite as much of an adventure. The nice thing is that your language skills should also improve along with the grandchildren. We're brushing up on French since our son moved to Montreal. Fortunately, our daughter remains in Vancouver with her 3 children. Disfruta tu nuevo hogar.

  4. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 06/28/2017

    Good morning, Rebecca. Having recently done what you are doing I can attest to the
    fun that you are going to have creating your new gardens. Now you can repeat the winners and forget about what didn't work. If I were you, I'd repeat that beautiful back garden that needed little care. Thanks for sharing and happy gardening.

  5. User avater
    gringopeligroso 06/28/2017

    Ms. Downie!
    Boy can I relate about moving to a blank slate!
    It's both a bit frustrating and at the same time liberating! If'n y'all are like us, you've switched your imaginations from problem solving, as in how to fit this square peg into that round hole, to narrowing down all the exciting possibilities!
    And, like y'all, our contained gardens soften the edges and brighten the pre-views of what is to come!
    I believe the first view shows what y'all are capable of? (I'm still working on my first mug so if'n I misunderstood, sorry! The caffeine should kick in soon!) Beautifully and tastefully executed!
    And, your new (Olde)' but NICE here!
    Can't wait to see the results of your efforts in the future, and I'll bet y'all can't wait, either!!!!
    SO with you at another blank slate in another place! Thanx for sharing!

  6. user-6536305 06/28/2017

    Sorry to know that you have to leave you current garden behind and hope whoever moving in will enjoy and take care of it as much as you do. Life moves on and hope your new garden will be as beautiful as the current one. Thanks for sharing and looking forward to see your new garden.

  7. sgaylet 06/28/2017

    You did a wonderful job on your landscaping and your contains are gorgeous! Have fun creating your new gardens.

  8. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 06/28/2017

    Thanks for sharing. I hope we don't ever have to move. After all the work and effort, I'm hoping we'll be here until the end of our days.
    Someone will be delighted with your house I'm sure! :)

  9. user-7007498 06/28/2017

    I can't imagine how hard it was to leave your old home and beautiful gardens. The pictures are lovely. Best wishes on your new project. The containers are terrific.

  10. wittyone 06/28/2017

    I can imagine that the combination of sadness with excitement and anticipation makes for a difficult mix. At least you obviously have a great deal of gardening experience behind you which should make the starting over process considerably easier. And I'm sure it is fun to begin again with a new slate with all the possibilities wide open and unobstructed by previous decisions.

  11. User avater
    meander_michaele 06/28/2017

    You and your husband are obviously a talented team in creating lovely landscaping so your new home will probably not be a clean slate for long. The stacked stone walls in your previous place are very handsome...even though your pictures just showed peeks of them. Will you be staying in the same growing zone? Your containers are've definitely mastered spiller, filler and thriller!

    1. alohaland 06/29/2017

      Meander1, I never heard that defining way to describe a beautiful container.....spiller, filler and thriller! I'll remember that and this lovely home as it's placed in the midst of such a beautiful garden.

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 06/29/2017

        I wish I knew who the originator of that nifty three word phrase is....he/she deserves a gold star for perfect and pithy.

  12. tennisluv 06/28/2017

    What a lovely home and cottage garden you created. You definitely stayed true to the period of your home with the clean front and flowing perennial beds in the back. Thanks for sharing.

  13. User avater
    treasuresmom 06/29/2017

    Oh my word! Amazingly beautiful!

  14. User avater
    simplesue 01/05/2021

    Wow...the house and garden!!!!!! Wow!

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