Garden Photo of the Day

Woodland Retreat

By Alexandra Dittrich

Janet Best gardens in Spencerport, NY.

"Welcome to my woodland garden retreat!  This is my favorite garden and the place we go to relax.  When we moved to our home 19 years ago, there wasn't a woodland garden.  I was very excited to create one and I started right away.  After removing many wild honeysuckle bushes and roses it started to take shape.  My husband, David, built the gazebo the following year.  The garden continues to be a work in progress.  We have cut down some trees and planted new ones (mostly Kousa Dogwoods and Japanese Maples).  Every year I try to plant something new.  This year it was the native hydrangea Haas Halo (hydrangea arborescens)."

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  1. frankgreenhalgh 08/11/2016

    Hello there Janet & David (let's not forget the talented carpenter) - I really enjoyed reading about your gardening journey. You both must have been 'flat out like a lizard drinking' (don't mind my attempted humour, guys) doing so much work to create such a picturesque woodland garden in which to relax. The gazebo has plenty of character and is a credit to you, David. I can relate to building one; the angles nearly did my head in (lucky I had a compound mitre saw)! All gardens are work in progress I say - after all, they wouldn't be as interesting if that wasn't the case!

    Keep up the great work. Cheers from Aussie land.

  2. ClareRocky 08/11/2016

    I love the gazebo and the plantings around it! The beds look so full and lush. What a beautiful woodland garden!

  3. sharongoetchius 08/11/2016

    Such beautiful gardens! Love the lushness and use of different textures with the pops of color! Sooo peaceful! The gazebo is perfect!

  4. diane_lasauce 08/11/2016

    Janet, your retreat is jammed packed with loveliness! What a restful respite you created! Kudos!

  5. User avater
    meander_michaele 08/11/2016

    A garden gazebo doesn't get more picturesque than yours, Janet. Your husband did a masterful job and Mother Nature is making her contribution by adding a patina of charm with some moss on the roof. Your plantings of hostas, astilbes, brunneras, hydrangeas, etc. are super splendid...all so lush and healthy. And what a welcome and delightful sight it must be when those kousa dogwoods are in bloom...pure magic. I think I'm noticing that your gazebo is screened..a .wise move ...what with how much summer mosquitoes seem to also enjoy a woodsy ambiance.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 08/11/2016

      G'day Ginger - well aren't you just the 'sharpest tool in the tool shed' for picking up the screening on the gazebo! Nice work, and I still say that you were hot, hot, hot in your pic. yesterday (and it wasn't the temperature thing!).

  6. NCYarden 08/11/2016

    Love a woodland garden, and yours is a prime example of what I would like to achieve myself. Very beautiful. The woods that came with our house were a nice attribute indeed but filled with too many competing and ratty junk trees. Like yourself, over the years we have been removing the undesirables and replacing with japanese maples and dogwoods and other shade lovers. It's getting there. Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. user-4691082 08/11/2016

    Janet and David, your gardens are spectacular! I love the moss on the gazebo roof. I see you have a brunnera that's it 'Jack Frost' ? Mine disappeared after the second season. It looked so beautiful that year! I hope you spend many hours enjoying the fruits of your labor...and Frank, what would we do without your humor! Keep it coming!

  8. Sunshine111 08/11/2016


  9. Jay_Sifford 08/11/2016

    Beautiful space! I think that a woodland garden is arguably the most magical of all because of the ever-changing filtered light, the presence of large trees that elicit emotion in us, and frequently uncovered secrets that the forest holds if we really look. But I also think that a woodland garden is the most difficult type to create. You have honored the spirit of your land and created a successful space. Congratulations!

  10. annek 08/11/2016

    Your garden is so peaceful and lush. You've designed a beautiful retreat, Janet and kudos to David for his gazebo prowess. Your photos are so inviting, I can imagine a walk down your paths to enjoy coffee (or wine) in your charming gazebo.

  11. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 08/11/2016

    Really beautiful and relaxing! Such a different feel from a full-sun garden, with large leaves and beautiful shades of green. If your new hydrangea is the one in the photos with the white lace-cap flowers, it is definitely a winner. Love the pops of color with the begonias, especially the one on the pedestal. Really adds some height and a cool focal point.

  12. VikkiVA 08/11/2016

    You have created such a beautiful garden. Your choice of plant combination is so peaceful and relaxing to the eye. You should be very proud of your hard work. Thank you for sharing the beauty. Vikki in VA.

  13. sheila_schultz 08/11/2016

    I can feel my shoulders relaxing with each photo of your woodland garden, Janet. If I were you, I would never get anything accomplished because I would always be lounging in David's beautiful gazebo breathing in the earthy scents of the gardens and comforting woods. BTW, the moss covered roof is definitely the icing on your garden cake! Perfect!

  14. sumhillgardener 08/11/2016

    Your garden is absolutely gorgeous. Peaceful and woodsy and yet full of color. I love the plant combinations. Great job !

  15. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 08/11/2016

    Janet and David, you two have created such a lovely place to relax. Shade gardens have become my favorite kind since we finally live in a place with significant shade. Your new 'Haas Halo' hydrangea is a knock out and one that I haven't seen here yet but will have to search out. Thanks for sharing.

  16. schatzi 08/11/2016

    So beautiful and peaceful. You have made a masterpiece of a garden.
    Hi Frank - go Aussies! and go they did, right over us!

    1. frankgreenhalgh 08/11/2016

      Goodonya, Shirley. Funny things happen in the Olympics. Our world record holder in the swimming wasn't placed and yet a school boy who is relatively unknown won the gold for us in the same event. Those unexpected wins are the ones that really excite me. The pressure must get to some of the athletes, and it affects their performance. An experienced rugby player for NZ in the Women's Rugby Sevens made a fundamental mistake in the gold medal game against our girls and it cost the Kiwis a gold medal - poor girl, that is going to play on her mind for the rest of her life. So there are great highs, but also lows associated with the Olympics. Cheers, Frank

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