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Alan’s Rural Garden Beauty – FineGardening

Today we’re visiting with Alan Weisberg.

I live in the foothills of Haycock Mountain in rural southeastern Pennsylvania, I’ve been gardening for 45 years on three acres of what was once a 100-acre farm with a fieldstone home and barn built in 1741. The restoration of the structures, landscaping, additions, and vegetable and flower gardens has yielded almost as many failures as successes, with plenty of lessons learned.

historic home surrounded by evergreen shrubs and pink flowersThe southwest corner of the house is protected by an abundance of conifers and shrubs, including boxwood (Buxus, Zones 5–9), juniper (Juniperus, Zones 2–8), pine (Pinus, Zones 3–8), and spruce (Picea abies, Zones 3–7). Azaleas (Rhododendron, Zones 5–9), Helleborus (Zones 4–9), and cleomes (Cleomia hasseleriana, annual) add color.

bright pink roses on the side of the houseClimbing roses on the side of the house

garden bed full of bright, colorful foliage plantsThe main entrance is flanked with holly (Ilex species), Iris, bugleweed (Ajuga reptans, Zones 3–10), a variety of grasses, and cattails (Typha latifolia, Zones 3–10).

garden bed with yellow and pink flowersA walk past stands of black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia fulgida, Zones 3–9), red geraniums (Pelargonium hybrids, Zones 8–10 or as annuals), lavender (Lavandula hybrid, Zones 5–9), blue butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii, Zones 5–9), alligator grass (Miscanthus sinensis, Zones 5–9), and a weeping pine (Pinus strobus ‘Pendula’, Zones 3–8) leads to the two-story stone and cedar bank barn.

rustic potting shedThe potting shed is surrounded by ornamental grasses and perennials. The translucent roof and propane heater create enough light and heat to harden young annuals prior to spring planting.

fenced in garden area for the owner's dogA 900-sq.-ft. fenced-in area we call “Buddy Park” not only makes life interesting for our faithful Scottie, but it also provides a river-pebble surface for his “business”, thus keeping dead grass and doggy litter off the yard.

garden pond with lily pads and goldfishThere’s plenty there to interest him, including frogs, goldfish, and pint-size paths.

view of the garden from a porchA sculpture of a fish swims through the lush greenery of perennials. 

mass planting of bright pink flowersA stand of ‘State Fair’ zinnias (Zinnia elegans ‘State Fair’, annual) brings color, butterflies, and hummingbirds to the garden.

rows of onion and lettuce plantsEarly lettuce and onions bring the garden into the kitchen throughout May and June.

bluebirds in and on a birdhouseBluebirds are always a welcome sight early in the gardening season.

mix of orange and pink coneflowersCheyenne coneflowers (Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’, Zones 4–9) bloom in a mixture of warm shades.


Have a garden you’d like to share?

Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

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