Garden Design

Today we’re visiting with Michele Baker and seeing how she has transformed her new garden on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

I’ve loved Fine Gardening for years and am always inspired by readers’ photos with new gardens and what they’ve been able to accomplish. I finally got a chance to do the same thing last year.

This house was in the family, and when it came time to retire, we moved here to Cape Cod from California. Last year we remodeled the inside of our little cottage, and then last spring we started on the outside. The house sat on a plot of sad brown grass with no garden beds. We dug and amended and planted and kept going. It’s come a long way in about 15 months.

backyard before gardeningThis “before” shot was taken in April 2020. Not much to see here except potential!

garden path leading to small garden patioAnd the “after” shot—wow, have they been busy! It’s hard to believe this transformation took place in just over a year.

garden path with foliage plants on either sideThe new backyard is mostly in shade and so is filled with plants that can take lower light conditions.

garden bed full of colorful shade plantsOne of Michele’s favorite corners of the garden has a mix of shade-loving annuals and perennials. Putting annuals in empty spaces in a new garden is a great way to avoid black areas while the perennials develop and expand to fill the spaces.

container plants in bloom on a deckContainer plantings on the deck

sunny garden bed in bloomThe front yard, like the back, has been transformed, but it contains more perennials for sun. Again, a few annuals (such as marigolds [Tagetes]) mix with the perennials to fill the space and make a lush garden.

shade garden with lots of coleusAnother corner of the back shade garden has coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides, Zone 11 or as annuals) tucked in around the new shrubs and perennials.

fence and home surrounded by plantsA window box gives the area a romantic, cottage-garden feel.

If you want to see more, check out Michele’s instagram: @michelebaker2001

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.

If you want to send photos in separate emails to the GPOD email box that is just fine.

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You don’t have to be a professional garden photographer – check out our garden photography tips!

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