These are the Gardens in Your Neighborhood (Veronica’s Garden)

Judy and I have done a lot of traveling to visit gardens in other states and even other countries. But it is worth remembering that there are unique and remarkable gardens literally right around the corner. One such surrounds a small, single-story brick bungalow on a busy street about three blocks from our house.

Veronica's garden, see from the sidewalk.
Veronica’s garden, see from the sidewalk.

I have driven past this garden hundreds of times, and it always tempted me to take a closer look. However, until about a week ago I never did because I didn’t know who lived there.

Path between front and back gardens.
Path between front and back gardens.

That changed, however, when the gardener in question was walking her dog past our house as Judy and I were heading out to work. Veronica, as her name turned out to be, told us that she had admired our garden for some time. She also sheepishly admitted that she had picked one of the currants off our Clove Currant bush (Ribes odoratum) in order to see if she could grow one from seed. I told her that I had no intention of calling the authorities.

Further discussion revealed that the garden admiration was mutual. Veronica gave permission for me to drop by her place with a camera, which I did a few days later. (Judy was tied up so I look these pictures.)

A border full of lilies, seen from the front of the house.
A border full of lilies lies along a path to the sidewalk.

One of the first things I noticed about Veronica’s garden is that we share a love of big, colorful flowers. She has attention-grabbing blooms every season of the year. At the end of July, it was big, luscious, fragrant lilies.


This one seemed to be a favorite of hers.


And here’s one with an unusual color, I think.

The central bed of the front garden.
The central bed of the front garden.

While I have cut back the amount of lawn in our garden, Veronica has done away with it completely. Her front garden consists of a central bed with a dry fountain, filled with stones instead of water. Daylilies, Amsonia and ferns fill this bed.


There is a narrow border along all four sides of the front garden, with a concrete bench at each corner. Pavers fill in the area between the beds.

In the back garden.
In the back garden, a table and a fence along the alley.
A small table with a variety of decorative pots.
Another table with a variety of decorative pots.

In the back garden there are two tables instead of the central bed, otherwise the design is the same.

A clamshell chair
A clamshell chair

Found objects make for some interesting outdoor furniture and garden art.


I like this Coreopsis with the concrete cactus.


Here is a shepherdess with attitude.

Common Milkweed
Common Milkweed

Another aspect of Veronica’s garden that I could relate to was the mix of exotics and native wildflowers. For instance, there were both Common (Asclepias syriaca) and Swamp Milkweed (A. incarnata), and sure enough, Monarch butterflies were making themselves at home. Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) are also plentiful.


Veronica’s beds are a mix of perennials, annuals, evergreens, and small deciduous trees. She is also one of those people who likes to paint the trunks of her trees, which is something I don’t really understand – but to each his or her own.

Another view of the back garden.
Another view of the back garden.

I should say here that Veronica is a hands-on gardener, no one helps her with design, planting, or maintenance. It is entirely a DIY effort.

Veronica has also planted her very narrow parkway along the street.
Veronica has also planted her very narrow parkway along the street.

Now that I’ve seen Veronica’s garden, I am determined to get a closer look at some of the other unique and beautiful gardens in our area. Stay tuned.

58 Comments on “These are the Gardens in Your Neighborhood (Veronica’s Garden)”

  1. It’s always nice to find like-minded gardeners, especially close by. I love peeking at neighbours’ gardens when I walk our dog. I love the way that your neighbour has planted at the kerbside for all to share.

  2. It is such a pleasure to see colorful and creative front gardens. Thank you for showing us your neighbor’s.
    Here in central Kentucky we have mostly expanses of green grass punctuated by ever fewer street trees, a few foundation shrubs and some Knock-out roses. Depressing.
    I am beginning to understand this American phenomenon from reading Michael Pollan’s 1992 book, “Two Gardens” where his maternal grandfather, a real estate developer and avid gardener in New York, subscribed to the convention of “a visual commons”. Some seventy years later, it seems a convention that is hard to break.
    So for those of you who work to add color and interest to our neighborhoods and put a smile on our faces — thank you!!

  3. Love that you’ve connected and have things in common. I especially love her garden since like mine, she has not a blade of grass to fuss about. The annuals and perennials do their thing, as do many of her other objects of art. Very nice.

  4. Great garden. I love the way you feel enveloped by plants. I am wondering if she paints live trees? I would think it is detrimental to their health. A lot of people paint dead trees. I think it is sort of fun because you can be crazy with color and it will soon go away and things change.

  5. Veronica has a nice garden with a bit of whimsy too. It was nice she opened her garden for your visit. It is funny you mention gardens “around the corner.” Here in our area there are nearly 1000 gardens one can go see. Funny thing this year, I only visited those across the border. Missed every open garden in our area except for the Lewiston gardens that I was a part. Garden overload and too dry a season to spur my interest.

  6. This is a lovely garden with a deeply personal touch. When I saw the “Shepherdess with an attitude,” I immediately thought that she must be a reflexion of Veronica herself. When I saw the blue painted trunks, I was sure of it!

  7. wow! I need a neighbor like Veronica on my street. I feel like a “odd ball” out here on my street some days:-) You are sure lucky to have her in your neighborhood. I mix natives and exotics too πŸ™‚ I love all her quirky twists in her garden-I bet it was fun!

  8. Veronica has a lovely garden! By the way, thanks to your post I did some research and learned that the lovely Ribes odoratum is no longer banned in my state (although 14 other states do still ban it) — so in my next garden I plan to finally have one. πŸ™‚

    I also learned that a number of other plants and shrubs have been newly added to the Banned list in my state though, including Berberis atropurpurea which is so widely sold everywhere.

  9. Lovely to meet a gardening neighbour. And one that has done away with lawn- brilliant. What amazing lilies, I am envious of people who can grow lilies without them being ruined by lily beetle. A lot of people are giving up round here.

  10. Looks great, I love it!
    Not being a fan of concrete I still really really want my own clamshell seat. Even with all the awesome lilies and other blooms… and the interesting placement of the pavers (I like the pattern of gaps for moss), it’s the clamshell I keep coming back to πŸ™‚

  11. Hi Jason, that’s a delightful “hidden” garden. Around us there are many front gardens that hint at hidden beautiful gardens out of sight at the back. I’m hoping ours will be like that too. Some of these gardens may even be open as part of the UK’s “NGS” (National Gardens Scheme), which will be the pinnacle of my gardening achievements, but it’s several years away yet.

  12. Oh I wish I had gardens in my neighborhood to tour but alas there is no one here who gardens just landscapes and has a few containers…although a few are trying and I give them plants and lots of encouragement. I adore this garden and all the concrete adornments….looking forward to more tours.

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