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Mel’s Rustic Cabin Garden – FineGardening

Today we’re visiting Mel’s garden.

I have had a landscape design, installation, and maintenance business in the western Catskills since 2005. My business name is Zone4 Landscapes, and I am not changing it to Zone5 Landscapes even though it might be more appropriate now.

I called my garden a rustic cabin cottage garden because that is how it is billed for the Open Days Garden Conservancy tour, and that pretty much captures it. As a designer, and definitely in my own garden, I strive to create a functional layout first and then to create a wonderful feeling of the garden. I love plants and love detail in the garden, but the overall function and feeling is what I really go for. In my garden, the function is to look great from the front porch where the view is visible and to draw you into the garden to explore. It is pretty much a stroll garden, and you are definitely in the garden, not looking at it from the lawn.

view of the rustic garden from aboveA drone’s-eye view of the garden from above shows the overall layout of the design. Even at this height, it is easy to see all the contrasting colors of foliage and flowers that make this space magical.

view of the garden from a deckThe view from the porch looks out over the lush plantings to the rolling hills beyond.

a gravel path in the garden with lots of plants on all sidesThe gravel path invites you to stroll through the garden and take it all in. Plantings right along the edge of the path, like the orange geums (Geum hybrid, Zones 5–7), soften the edges and create a relaxed, informal feel.

metal containers filed with various plantsMetal containers filled mostly with herbs are both beautiful and functional, keeping aggressive spreaders like mint (Mentha sp., Zones 4–10) from expanding beyond their bounds.

garden bed in front of a rustic wood fence with lots of flowersFlowering trees and shrubs add dimension and layers to the garden. Everywhere you look there is something beautiful.

wooden garden archway surrounded by shrubs and evergreen plantsA simple archway welcomes you into this section of the garden. Notice that though there are few flowers to be seen, there is a lot of beauty and interest thanks to the wide range of colors and textures of foliage, including many conifers, which will look good every day of the year.

orange flowers in the gardenThe garden path winds past apricot bearded irises (Iris hybrid, bearded group, Zones 3–8) and invites you to walk on and see what other beauties this garden has to offer.


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!

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