A Warm-Climate Gardener Visits the North

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Today’s photos are from Teresa Watkins.

Living in tropical gardening Zone 9b, I’m always excited to visit my husband’s family in Taunton, Massachusetts, to envy their Zone 6b gardens. This year’s weeklong family gathering celebrated the 18-month, pandemic-delayed wedding of niece Kelly with multiple outings.

My sister-in-law, Jackie, and her husband, Craig Machamer, have been working on their garden in Berkley for over 25 years. Inspired by Jackie’s mother-in-law, Ruth, who lived with them, Jackie and Craig learned how to plant seeds and transplant shrubs. Ruth (who passed away recently) was the ultimate green-thumb home gardener. Jackie and Craig have created a beautiful forested acre-and-a-half landscape that has been certified as a wildlife habitat. Included in their yard are a seasonal perennial border, container gardens, deciduous trees, bird feeders, a firepit, a compost pile, rain barrels, and more. A backyard fence-hugging, rambling rose that belonged to Jackie’s father was gorgeous and in full bloom, even after being transplanted from three different homes.

Fauna who didn’t mind attending this afternoon’s bird-feeder picnic were cardinals, catbirds, chipmunks, titmice, wrens, and turkeys.

One of my highlights was the unfortunate opportunity to see the devastating beech blight disease that has reached Massachusetts and affected three of Craig’s trees. Sadly, the beech trees will have to be removed.

garden fence with gate covered in rambling roseThis huge rambling rose that is loaded with blooms covers the fence. Ramblers are a group of climbing roses that can get very large, with a wonderful display of large clusters of small flowers in early summer.

Wild turkeys in a gardenWild turkeys paying a visit to the bird feeders.

pollinator houseSome of the holes to the bottom right of this little pollinator house have been plugged with mud, showing that the next generation of pollinators is developing.

meadowy perennial borderA meadowy perennial border

small compost pileNot as glamorous as other parts of the garden, but important: the compost pile!

red bee balmBrilliant red blooms of bee balm (Monarda didyma, Zones 4–9)

backyard garden with golf holeThis yard has an unusual feature—you can play a few holes of golf here!

pink impatiensA burst of color from impatiens (Impatiens walleriana, annual)

old watering as a flower vase in the gardenAn old watering can makes a rustic container for a small bouquet in the garden.

bright annuals in a contiainerA mix of bright annuals brings a pop of color.

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