Creating Your Special Garden

First Garden in 2005 in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

The first garden in 2005 (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

There is something special about a garden created by its owner, the passion and love are planted in the soil along with each plant. It’s the sweat equity factor. When a person decides to dig up a spot of land and plant something solely for the purpose of creating beauty, it is the selfless act of love paired with a desire to share and learn that truly speaks to my heart.

When we moved to our country property almost 30 years ago, we had a yard of over 2 acres surrounded by open cow pastures. Other than some multiflora rose and piles of old tires and tractor parts from its former farming years, I had an open palette to work with. I dug in within months.   [Read more…]

The Variegation Sensation

Knautia 'Thunder & Lightening' in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Knautia ‘Thunder & Lightening’ (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

It may not be time to plant yet, but it is the opportune time to start planning.  Are there a few bare spots you’re looking to fill?  Maybe an area that needs a little revamping? Or, perhaps there was a mole/vole party that has created a new vacancy. You can finally start perusing through those piles of plant catalogs with a vengeance, and compile your lists.  You know, the list categorized by the “must haves”, the “wish I could have” and the “if I win the lottery, I can have.” I always have at least a few dreamy wish plants and lottery picks, just in case of a windfall.  In the meantime, let’s narrow down your “must haves” to include some spicy foliaged specimens. [Read more…]


Fences separate gardens from walkways in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Fences separate gardens from walkways (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

It is often said that fences make good neighbors, yet fences offer much more than a friendly barrier between adjoining properties.  A lot more.  A fence can add another dimension to an existing garden bed.  A fence can create multiple rooms within a property.  A fence can add a dramatic backdrop or entryway.  A fence can separate a public area from a private one.  A fence can be practical or ornamental.  And, a fence can certainly be used to obstruct the view of prying eyes as well. [Read more…]

The Selection Process

A young Pin Oak's ample canopy in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

A young Pin Oak’s ample canopy (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

With the landscape in hibernation mode, there’s no time like the present to view your blank palette and think about ways to kick it up a notch.  In a recent article, Winter Bones, I shared some of my favorite trees and shrubs for long season interest.  But there is another consideration when it comes to selecting a tree for your property, one that requires a little more thought and research.  In this case, size does matter, and surprisingly even the most knowledgeable gardeners (myself included) often neglect to determine exactly how big a tree might become over time.  If you observe landscapes as you drive around, I’m sure you’ve witnessed dozens of trees planted too close to a residence or under power lines, resulting in unnecessary tree massacres.  But it doesn’t have to be this way . . . [Read more…]

Winter Bones

Weeping katsura, hemlock and grasses in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Weeping katsura, hemlock and grasses provide a variety of forms and colors (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

For those of us enduring long periods of dormancy in our seasonal landscapes, winter bones help to keep our outdoor environments lively and inviting.  Structures popping out of the snow and forms drizzled in frost create artistic objects that we may gaze upon and enjoy during the coldest days.  For no matter the season, and even without the benefit of green adornments, our gardens can be incredibly beautiful and interesting with the simple addition of living framework.  Andrew Wyeth said it best: “I prefer winter and fall, when you can feel the bone structure in the landscape-something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.”  [Read more…]

A Natural Garden

Button bush and ironweed in a natural garden in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Button bush and ironweed in a natural setting (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Do you have a spot on your property that’s sort of “Blah”? Perhaps it’s a little wet or in a difficult place to mow, so it always tends to look messy and unkempt. Or, you may simply have an area that you would like to turn back over to nature, creating a place that you don’t have to spend much time tending but will look attractive and invite lots of birds, bees and butterflies. Over the years, I have slowly returned portions of my landscape to the wild, which has resulted in some of the most beautiful (and frequently visited) areas of my property. [Read more…]

Plants for Seasons of Fragrance

Casa Blanca Lily in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Fragrant Casa Blanca Lily (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Ornamental gardens are traditionally designed for visual impact; vivacious blossoms are chosen to display a bold array of colors while shapely shrubs and grasses enhance the landscape with complementary hues and textures. But there is an unseen aspect to the garden that can be as alluring as the view itself, like the enchanting song of a siren luring you closer to the source. In a word: fragrance.

A luscious bourbon rose in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

A luscious heirloom rose (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

In 40BC, Cleopatra used sweetly scented rose petals to lure Mark Anthony to her bedchamber, and today our 21st century markets have followed suit with fragrant hygiene products and unique perfumes, all created to give us our own signature scent. People identify with fragrance, it has the power to soothe, entice or invigorate (think Aromatherapy) yet, it can also transport you in time. Think back to the fresh baked aroma of your grandmother’s apple pie or the first whiff of lilac blossoms in spring. Helen Keller said it best: “Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived”. [Read more…]

If These Walls Could Talk

Stone Wall in New Preston in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Stone wall in New Preston (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

As the layers of foliage fall away abandoning the tree limbs, a new aspect of the landscape is revealed; one with walls of stone meandering across its hills and valleys.  Whether formidable structures or crumbling piles, they crisscross heavily wooded acres in patterns reminiscent of boundary markers. [Read more…]

A Time to Prune

Mix of Shrubs Fit Together in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Mix of Shrubs Fit Together (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

In my New England garden, where 6 months of the year plants are dormant, the backbone consists of low maintenance shrubs, evergreens and small trees. To keep order in the border, I prune most shrubs annually. There are many books written on this subject, emphasizing the importance of knowing the “When and How-to’s” of pruning trees and shrubs to promote their overall performance and well being. And that’s where things can get confusing.  Certain trees and shrubs should be pruned late winter, early spring, while others need to be left until summer. Following are a few tips I use to keep my gardens looking tidy year after year: [Read more…]


Decorative Wire Ball in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Decorative Wire Ball (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

As we wander about living our lives, we often come upon various curiosities, many that can be used for purposes other than originally intended.  In other words, embellishments for our homes and gardens.  Yes, I’m talking about trinkets, tchotchkes, unnecessary objects-pieces that we collect through our life time, some that become beloved treasures.  And it’s funny when you consider some of the things that could potentially become art in your home, garden, or both. [Read more…]

A Garden for All