Gardening in the Southern New England Woods

Garden Design

My name is Karen Squillacci, and I’ve been gardening in Southern New England since I was knee high to a grasshopper. My family consists of a long line of avid gardeners who graciously passed down so much of their knowledge to me. I have been propagating plants since before high school and quite a bit longer than it was fashionable to do so.

I have also been a subscriber to Fine Gardening for many years. It has become a great resource and point of inspiration to me.

My property consists of 25 acres, mostly wooded with walking trails. However, approximately 5 acres makes up my garden and living space. I’ve been gardening in this location for almost 20 years. I am a backyard chicken farmer and beekeeper as well. My gardens are pesticide free, and I use compost mostly for enhancing the gardens.

vegetable garden with rustic wooden fenceHere’s the vegetable garden, with a pear tree and perennials growing in front of the fence to attract pollinators.

garden seating area surrounded by plantsTo the left is our firepit garden, with a stone wall I built with rocks collected on the property and Adirondack chairs made by my husband. The area in front of the wall is filled with perennials.

garden stone that looks like a faceThis interesting rock is on top of the wall. She is the guardian of my gardens.

leaf with pink variegation next to bright pink flowersThe planters on the wall are filled with New Guinea inpatients (Impatiens hawkeri, Zones 9–11 or as an annual) and caladiums (Caladium hybrid, Zones 9–11 or as a tender bulb). Each was “browsed” by the local wildlife shortly after this picture was taken.

small tree frog resting in the middle of a leafThe garden supports all types of wildlife, big and small. Here a small tree frog has found a place to rest.

vine plant with unusual purple flowersBetween the seating area and potager garden, this beauty sits. It is native passion fruit (Passiflora incarnata, Zones 5–9). I love that it looks exotic yet grows in my New England Zones 5–6 (depending on the zone map I look at) garden and is dual function beauty and fruiting!

large orange and yellow flowerOrange daylily, commonly referred to as “Ditch Lily” (Hemerocallis fulva ‘Flore Pleno’, Zones 3–9) because it is found on many roadsides, is prolific in my garden. Even with deer and bunny browsing, it returns year after year.

rabbit statue peaking out through the leavesHere, a lichen-covered rabbit statue tucked into the garden blends nicely with leaves of the bellflower and false sunflower.

garden bed along a forrestThis woodland garden consists of a mixture of shrubs, perennials, and annuals that I use to fill in gaps and keep the scene colorful throughout the year. I use chicken-feed bags that have been cut to fit as my hanging-basket liners.

basket full of colorful vegetablesI love that not only are the gardens colorful, but my harvests are as well.

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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