Pretty and Practical

Designing a multifunctional potting shed

PS Carpenter1Facing the main house and framing the yard, a shed anchors the edible garden. Photo courtesy of Robbi Woodburn.

Anyone who gardens knows how useful a potting shed can be for storing and organizing gardening tools and supplies, keeping garden records and references, and containing the messy business of potting and repotting plants. As a combination kitchen/office/garage, the utilitarian potting shed has traditionally been banished to an obscure part of a property or else camouflaged. But a potting shed need not be an unlovely adjunct to a garden.

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A Thought-Provoking Garden

A family makes their Newbury property meaningful

ablow longshot pool wallPhotographed by Kindra Clineff/Produced by Marsha Jusczak & Penny O’Sullivan On axis with the
home’s French doors, Fisher lined up the gates, the pool, and the cabana’s chimney.

“I listen to people for a living,” says psychiatrist-author Keith Ablow. And sure enough, when it came to planning his own backyard, the garden has spaces for everyone in the family of this best-selling author, television personality, psychiatric expert witness, Good Housekeeping contributing editor, and Fox News psychiatric expert. “My creative son laid claim to the forest, and the secret garden house belongs to my imaginative daughter,” Ablow says. As for his wife, Deborah Small, the pathways between her children’s venues might best represent her inner being, but she also gravitates toward the stone patio that draws the entire family together. “A landscape needs to have an intent,” he declares. “It’s not just who we are spiritually, it’s who we want to become.”

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Bedrock in Bloom

A floral designer’s coastal cutting garden

PRG Garden OverallPhotographed by Kindra Clineff Hollyhocks lend height to the periphery of Runkle’s garden and Rosa glauca at left furnishes contrasting foliage with a purplish tint.

Pauline Runkle is not the type of gardener to let a little issue like impenetrable bedrock get in her way. Initially, she had no idea of the magnitude of stone beneath the four acres that she purchased on Boston’s North Shore 30 years ago. When she bought the land along the old stagecoach road from Boston to Gloucester, only a pig barn stood on the property beside the charred remains of trees from a fire years ago. “So it really was a clean slate,” the optimist enthuses. As soon as her house was completed, she plunged right in to improve the view from the many windows incorporated into the floor plan. She wanted flowers, and plenty of them, coming from all sides. That is when Runkle, a flower arranger, hit ledge.

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The New Dooryard Garden

A modern twist on colonial plantings

DYG KitchenGarden2Photographed by Kerry Michaels The old kitchen garden with its ad hoc plantings has a shed where Evelyn stores her
collections of pots. The bench makes this garden as inviting as all the others on the property.

When Evelyn Shahan visited a Cape Cod nursery some years ago, a golden-yellow rose caught her eye. With its profusion of fragrant, many-petaled blooms, it looked and smelled like an old garden rose. In fact, it was a newer hybrid, most likely an English rose—a cross between classic cultivars and modern repeat-bloomers that flower from spring until fall. Although the plant was not labeled, Evelyn saw right away that this rose would be right for her home on Barters Island, Maine, near Boothbay.

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Garden Whimsy

A pocketful of art and plants

Deb birdhousePhotographed by Kindra Clineff/Produced by Marsha Jusczak Richards’ garden abounds with garden art,
including a birdhouse and her son’s nautical garden.

Look around Deborah Richards’ garden and discover a space filled with beauty, enchantment, and amusement. No wonder her home has been featured four times on Portsmouth’s popular Pocket Garden Tour.

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Purple Haze

The fragrant path to lavender farming in coastal Maine

GF House Barn2 144Photographed by Lynn Karlin The 1790 barn has ideal air circulation and darkness for drying lavender.

It is high summer and everyone is putting up their Independence Day bunting. But at Glendarragh Farm in Appleton, Maine, early July brings a very different sort of buzz. Literally, the Costigan family can hear the Fourth of July coming by the hum of bees going about their daily labors: July is when their lavender is in high prime, drawing pollinators to pay court. By midsummer, Glendarragh is knee deep in an intoxicatingly aromatic purple haze. Wade through their four acres of lavender, and the scent is enough to make you swoon. Farming never smelled so good.

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Brunswick in Bloom

A sparkling smorgasbord

BG 128Photographed by Kerry Michaels Once a fancy chicken coop, the shed became Tamara Hunzicker’s “center of operations”
where the seeds are germinated.

Every year, an exuberant rainbow happens in Brunswick, Maine. To witness its slam-bang blast of colors, all you need to do is drive by the flower bed at the Favreau property on Pleasant Hill Road.

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Rays of Sunshine

The charming black-eyed Susan lights up the garden

PP RudbeckiaPrarieSun NooneyGreen at first, the centers of ‘Prairie Sun’ gloriosa daisy turn brown as seeds develop (Jackie Nooney photo)

In a contest for the most beautiful flower, black-eyed Susan, with its uncomplicated, daisy-like shape, would not win or even be a runner-up. Instead, it would be voted Miss Congeniality. Cheerful, adaptable, and versatile—it would also ace the talent competition—black-eyed Susan is a plant that ticks a lot of boxes. Growing it is a breeze, and the plant looks as much at home in a fancy perennial border as in a meadow. The flowers add that zing of color gardeners yearn for come August. When cut, they last forever in a vase.

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The Right-size Garden

Changing lifestyles call for scaled-down gardens

FG Jack Barnwell Mackinac Island MichiganA summer border showcases white panicle hydrangea and pink Cleome Senorita Rosalita (Jack Barnwell photo).

Even longtime garden enthusiasts may finally hit the garden wall. After years of planting one garden here and another there, the mounting maintenance can be exhausting, if not impossible. Gardeners have always been perennial optimists who believe that expanding garden edges will be manageable over the years with the old heave-ho, muster-through attitude, especially in the cold Northeast. Yet reality says otherwise. Many exasperated baby boomers, thinking that all good things must come to an end, are simply throwing in the garden trowel.

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Indestructible Houseplants

Indoor plants that thrive on the Seacoast

PP Hens ChicksPhotographed by Kindra Clineff When you need a hint of the garden indoors, hens and chicks are the ticket.

Right about now, you are desperately seeking green and are disappointed at every turn. When little goes on outside, that is your cue to look indoors instead. Call it seasonal denial, call it anything you want—it is time to enlist houseplants to come to the rescue. See for yourself: houseplants are the cure for the winter doldrums. A small bit of green can do wonders for your psyche.

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The Beauty of Broadturn Farm

Not your ordinary flower business

Broadturn Barn flowers229Photographed by Kerry Michaels In Broadturn Farm’s cut flower fields, gladioli rise above ornamental basils.

Stacy Brenner did not see it coming. She was blithely pursuing the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) route on 30 acres in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, when she and her husband, John Bliss, arranged to rent 434 acres from the Scarborough Land Trust in 2006, and Broadturn Farm was born. At that point, their agenda—including educational programs, summer camps, and hosting weddings—was already more open-ended than your typical CSA. They figured that going beyond the usual offerings of vegetable and livestock harvest shares available through CSA would give them the best chance of securing success in their farming endeavor. But when the cut flower component of their CSA took off, Brenner and Bliss were blindsided in a positive way. Without further prodding, they opted to focus on that strength.

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A Fresh Look

Welcome fall with new container plantings

PP Fountain 5aGold and red Heuchera and Peperomia fill a black metal planter.

By the time summer has lost its sizzle, so too have many container plantings. Fall’s cooler temperatures make it the perfect time to replace spent or tired plants with fresh ones. Changing out containers is one of the easiest ways to bring your home in tune with the season, and the variety of plants and planters means there is no end to the design possibilities.

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Fine Fall Roses

Expert advice from the director of Fuller Gardens

FG 3026 WestRosa ‘Jeanne Lajoie’, a vigorous repeat-blooming shrub that can be trained as a climber, produces profusions of miniature pink,
fully double flowers. Photo by Greg West

If you want to see 2,000 roses in spectacular bloom, Fuller Gardens in North Hampton, New Hampshire, is the place to go. All summer long, visitors stop to smell the roses, marvel over their myriad colors and forms, and learn about old favorites and new cultivars. After Labor Day, the number of sightseers tends to decrease, but that is not because there are fewer roses to see. As garden director Jamie Colen points out, most of those 2,000 roses continue blooming right up to the first frost.

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Colorful Coleus

Flamboyant foliage on a versatile landscape plant

Coeus MakeAnEntrance PWPhotographs courtesy of Proven Winners and Ball Horticultural A container with Lime Time coleus, Calibrachoa Saffron, and fiber optic grass.

Remember when you were a kid and clumps of deep burgundy or dark green coleus grew in every shady garden corner? Well, today’s coleus is not your grandmother’s plant…or maybe it is—but those old shade lovers have been joined by an array of colorful, textured, sun-tolerant varieties. In fact, the National Garden Bureau called 2015 “Year of the Coleus.”

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The Collector

A plant lover finds places to add just one more

B GardenChairPhotographed by Kerry Michaels Next to a chair carved from an old French tree trunk is a weeping hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla ‘Thorsen’s Weeping’).

If you pass Ann Barker’s house in Newton, Massachusetts, and see an elderly woman lying flat in the grass, do not call 911. It is Barker simply enjoying her hemlocks or Japanese maples from the perspective her aching spine finds most comfortable: on her back. And she is prepared. After passersby went into a panic upon seeing “a little old lady lying on the ground,” Barker’s husband, Townsend, insisted that she carry a cell phone into the garden with her.

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High-Fashion Garden

Vibrant plants and accessories shape a landscape

sch detail1Photographed by Penny O’Sullivan Mounds of hosta and boxwood echo the bed’s curvaceous shape.

Stunning . . . exotic . . . sexy. This is how Linda Schuler wants you to react as you stroll through her curvy, voluptuous, garden beds. The combination of color, texture, and style is striking.

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Seaside Garden Tour

Hydrangeas Galore and More

 CL Garry frontPhotographed by C.L. Fornari Fragrant creeping thyme perfumes the walkway in the Garry’s front yard perennial garden.

Imagine seaside gardens where huge blue flowers echo the colors of ocean and sky. On Cape Cod, these mophead hydrangeas are everywhere. It is not surprising that blue Hydrangea macrophylla shrubs are the Cape’s signature plant. In midsummer, Cape gardens are overflowing with them, often accompanied by bright pink shrub roses, yellow and coral daylilies, and crisp white daisies.

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The Open Gate

Maine’s McLaughlin Garden and Homestead is the state’s loveliest secret

M TrilliumGrandiflorum650xPhotographed by Kerry Michaels Spring-blooming trilliums, surrounded by ferns, have naturalized by the hundreds in shady
areas of the garden.

South Paris, Maine, is 45 miles north of Portland via Route 26. Also known as Main Street, this part of road is lined with strip malls, gas stations, and fast food restaurants. Opposite a car dealership is a large patch of green. Not quite a park, yet not a private residence, its open gate offers escape from the concrete and the asphalt.

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Easy Edibles

Weed-free gardening in containers

Edi EdibleFlowersBoxPhotographed by Kerry Michaels For a lovely early spring container garden, line a clementine box with newspaper, fill it with
potting soil, and plant it with pansies and violas. The flowers are edible and look gorgeous garnishing a salad.

Ten years ago, my family moved from Manhattan to Maine. When we arrived, I dreamed of magazine-worthy perennial beds and of growing my own food in a kitchen garden that looked as fabulous as it was productive. After one summer, reality set in. I was not a very good gardener. I would come home from the nursery with a minivan full of plants, having spent way too much money, and watch as they disappeared into the landscape—without making the visual or culinary statement I was hoping for.

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