A Garden to Call Home

Visitors often ask if I have a garden at home. The truth is that I live in a small apartment in the city and have a few favorite annuals in containers outside and a small army of houseplants inside. If I were to have a home garden, I would create something similar to our Garden of Hope. Gail and I recreated this garden space a few years ago with a mind to inspire home gardeners. This garden is home to so many favorite plants – from the black locust tree to sweet peas twirling up the arches to tried and true perennial workhorses like sage and betony. We trial new plants here as well and have created a thyme “lawn” complete with chairs to encourage one and all to sit and have a quiet moment.


The black locust tree (Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Lace Lady’) provides an architectural backdrop for the chairs and “lawn”. The beauty of this tree is in more than its shapely branches and curvy leaves – it also tops out at 12 feet in height. It’s a perfect small garden tree. To the right of the chairs is a wonderful perennial called Japanese burnet. Not only does this plant boast fluffy pink flowers, but it is also a pollinator favorite.

Japanese burnet (Sanguisorba obtusa)

Pollinators were definitely on our minds when we re-worked this garden space. The plants here have to be tough, beautiful, and pollinator friendly. Walking through the garden today I was dancing with all of the bees flying past me to their next feast. None of them had any interest in me (besides checking to make sure I wasn’t secretly a flower) and flew past sometimes almost running right into me in their haste to gather more pollen. Bumblebees, honey bees, hover flies, mason bees and wasps were all coexisting peacefully at this garden buffet.

The drumstick alliums (Allium sphaerocephalon) are by far the favorite pollinator food right now. This planting of ornamental onions like a ribbon running through the garden was Gail’s vision. We planted close to 500 of these bulbs last fall at the same time that we planted the tulips and daffodils. They will return for the next few years  (perhaps a bit smaller and in fewer numbers over time). Here they are at a distance in full effect

I love the magic that ornamental onions lend to a garden. They float above the other flowers and sway in the breezes, giving the garden a sense of gentle motion.

Speaking of motion in the garden, we would not be without our annual vines with their constant upward climb. Twirling up the arch towards the back of this garden is a morning glory called ‘Gypsy Bride’.

Ipomoea ‘Gypsy Bride’

The front arch pictured at the top of this post is currently host to two sweet peas – ‘Carlotta’ and ‘Gwendoline’.

These sweet peas will be switched out for late summer heat-loving vines by the end of July.

I just want to highlight a few more of our favorite plants in this garden currently in bloom

A garden is like a concert with all of the performers taking their appropriate moment to shine. We are grateful to have the opportunity to create an ever-changing concert of blooms to inspire you in your own gardens.

What plant would you not be without? What are the key features you include in your garden space? Whatever inspires you, plant with that spirit! Happy gardening!