❧ Secret Garden

The Blue Green Dragon (Acer palmatum x dissectum ‘Seiryu’) Arches Over the Secret Garden Door in May

Welcome to my Secret Garden. Located on a small clearing, surrounded by 45 acres of native forest, my property is a windy, ledgy site in the foothills of the Green Mountains (altitude near 2,000′, USDA zone 4/5) in Southern Vermont. My studio, home and gardens are private, and are not open to the public.

A life’s work in progress, I designed, installed and continuously maintain all of the garden rooms pictured here. From a horticultural standpoint, the garden is quite young. The walled portion of my Secret Garden —pictured first here on this page— is the oldest room; planted in 2003 after Vermont artist Dan Snow completed the stone courtyard enclosure on the eastern side of my garden design & painting studio. All stone —with the exception of the flat terrace sections— was gathered and recycled  from collapsed field-stone walls on this property. I continue to develop the gardens by adding a new feature each year, as time and budget allow. There are many separate spaces within the larger garden. These outdoor rooms lead to one another and to forest paths and vistas on the property. There is a separate page at left for the kitchen garden, or potager.  I love designing, installing and working in gardens. When not creating outdoor spaces for others, I can usually be found here, in my own.

I hope you will enjoy your online visit…

The Secret Garden Door & Water Bowl in Early Spring (Plantings include Glaucidium palmatum, Cryptotaenia japonica atropurpurea, Aquilegia and Athyrium filix femina ‘Lady in Red’)

Secret Garden Steps and Entry in May

Brushing past the cranberrybush (Viburnum trilobum ‘Baily Compact’), along a path filled with woodland phlox, grape hyacinth, stonecrop, ajuga, daphne and emerging rudbeckia seedlings, the glow of new Japanese forest grass and the nodding heads of jonquil within the Secret Garden beckon…

Fiddlehead Ferns

Acer palmatum x dissectum ‘Seiryu’ at the Secret Garden Door

Looking Back Through the Secret Garden Door and Out Toward the Winding Path Beyond the Steps

The Water Bowl is Filled in Early Spring and Remains in the Secret Garden to Reflect the Changing Seasons Until Late November

Prince Pickerel of the Secret Garden

Deep Inside the Far Corners, Tender Plants Begin to Migrate, Mingling with the Secret Garden’s Full-Time, Outdoor Residents for the Summer Season. Plants from the left: Moonlight Hydrangea Vine (Schizophragma hydrangeoides ‘Moonlight’), Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia pensylvanica), Hosta ‘Patriot’ and on the chair, a young Streptocarpus hardens off…

Japanese Hydrangea Vine (Schizophragma hydrangeoides ‘Roseum’) Creeps Along the Moss Covered Wall, Moving Slowly but Steadily Toward the Doorway and the Reflecting Bowl; Shimmering Beside the Prized Japanese Wood Poppy (Glaucidium palmatum)

Paeonia moutan x lutea ‘High Noon’ an American hybrid (1952) – Here in the Secret Garden with Bergenia, Hosta and Rodgersia aesculifolia

Athyrium filix x femina ‘Lady in Red’ Catches the Afternoon Light at the Secret Garden Threshold in Late May. Here planted with Heuchera ‘Dale’s Strain’, H. ‘Green Spice’ and Phlox divaricata ‘Clouds of Perfume’

This Candle Niche is One of My Favorite Architectural Details in the Walled Garden: All Stonework is by Dan Snow

Weigela florida ‘Red Prince’ Tumbles Over the Secret Garden Wall in June

Looking Back Through the Door on a Foggy May Morning

Looking Through the Secret Garden Door in August. (Plantings include Heuchera ‘Stormy Seas, Euphorbia, Bergenia ‘Bressingham Ruby’, Athyrium filix x femina ‘Lady in Red’, Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’, Rudbeckia hirta ‘Becky Mixed’ and in the distance Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’)

The Secret Garden Water Bowl (Plantings include foreground: Glaucidium palmatum, Heuchera ‘Stormy Seas’, and to the background: Euphorbia, Hosta ‘August Moon’ and Fothergilla gardenii)

Secret Garden Plantings in late summer.  From left to right: Lamium maculatum ‘White Nancy’, Cimicifuga racemosa ‘Hillside Black Beauty’, Helleborus x hybridus, Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’, Paeonia suffruticosa ‘High Noon’

Hello Lover… Streptocarpus ‘Black Panther’, Casting a Dark, Seductive Spell…

A Shady Vignette Beside the Secret Door: Foreground Persicaria virginiana ‘Painter’s Palette’ and Lamium maculatum ‘White Nancy’, Background: Matteuccia pensylvanica. Potted is Hedera helix ‘Variegata’

Crow Atop the Wall by Vermont Artist Virginia Wyoming

Schizophragma hydrangeoides ‘Moonlight’ Climbs the Walled Garden in June

The Blue Green Dragon’ Acer palmatum x dissectum, ‘Seiryu’ at the Secret Garden Door in October. This beauty changes from sea green to orange every fall, like a true chameleon…

The Secret Garden entry at Ferncliff  leads to my office and a seasonal garden ‘room”. Annual displays change from year to year. Ground cover: Lamium maculatum ‘White Nancy’, Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ Hosta ‘August Moon and ‘Guacamole’, Athyrium ‘Ghost’ Background: Ostrich fern, Matteuccia pensylvanica. Potted Lamium maculatum ‘Orchid Frost’, Agapanthus and in the seat, Streptocarpus ‘Black Panther’

Acer palmatum x dissectum ‘Seiryu’, (also known as the Blue Green Dragon) with Daphne x burkwoodii ‘Carol Mackie’, October

The Secret Garden in May, viewed from inside the garden ‘room’ ⓒ Michaela at TGE  (The white daffodils are Narcissus ‘Sterling’  with companions Heuchera ‘Purple Palace’, Euphorbia, Matteucia pensylvanica and Muscari ‘Valerie Finnis’)

The Secret Garden room in mid October  ⓒ Michaela at TGE  (Plantings include Stewartia pseudocamilla and Rodgersia aesculifolia)

Fothergilla gardenii in the Secret Garden – early December ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Bergenia ‘Bressingham Ruby’ at the Secret Garden entryway in late autumn ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Secret Garden plantings in summer ⓒ Michaela at TGE (Rodgersia aesculifolia and Mattecuccia pensylvanica)

Close-up of Secret Garden plantings, viewed through the Garden Room screen door in May ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Athyrium nipponicum ‘Ghost’, planted with Hosta ‘August Moon’, Lamium maculatum ‘Orchid Frost’ and Cryptotenia japonica ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Athyrium nipponicum ‘Pictum’ with Cryptotenia japonica ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Athyrium filix femina ‘Lady in Red’ with Heuchera ‘Green Spice’ ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Path to the Secret Garden in Spring at Ferncliff ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Aquilegia in flower in the Secret Garden ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata ‘Clouds of Perfume’), summer snowflake  ⓒ Michaela at TGE  (Leucojum aestivum , bloodroot (Sanguinaria), lady ferns (Athyrium filix x femina) and Heuchera ‘Dale’s strain’ beneath The Blue Green Dragon (Acer palmatum dissectum x ‘Seiryu’)…

The reflecting bowl, surrounded by Bergenia ‘Bressingham Ruby’, Athyrium nipponicum ‘Pictum’, Heuchera ‘Palace purple’ and Astilbe ‘Bridal veil’ in the Secret Garden Room in June ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Courtyard ⓒ Michaela at TGEThreshold between the Garden Room and Secret Garden, viewed from inside ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Corner wall of the Secret Garden in August – Asparagus Fern with Hachonechloa macra ‘Aurea’, Hosta ‘August Moon’ and Cimicifuga racemosa ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ – Japanese forest grass, with Heuchera ‘Palace purple’ and  and Lamium ‘Orchid Frost’ ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Close up of Hedera helix ‘variegata’, Matteuccia pensylvanica and Hosta ‘Patriot’ inside the Secret Garden ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Woodlland-phlox-muscari-narcissus ⓒ Michaela at TGEThe path leading into the Secret Garden in May ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Scillia hispanica – Spanish bluebells ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Secret Garden steps - June fog ⓒ Michaela at TGESecret Garden Steps on a Foggy June Morning ⓒ Michaela at TGE (Plantings include ground cover Cerastium tomentosum, emerging Rudbeckia hirta ‘Becky Mixed’, Sedum ‘John Creech’, and on the stairs: Daphne ‘Carol Mackie’, Heuchera various including ‘Palace purple’, ‘Green spice’, ‘Stormy seas’ and other hybrids; Atop Lupine x hybridus and Juniperus squamata ‘Holgers’)

Spring - looking down the stone steps ⓒ Michaela at TGESpring – Looking down the Secret Garden steps and  path  ⓒ  Michaela at TGE

Secret Garden entryway in Spring ⓒ Michaela at TGEAt the Secret Garden entry, Acer palmatum x dissectum, ‘Seiryu’, surrounded by spring flowering bulbs, emerging perennials, and shrubs in May ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Summer - Entry to the Secret Garden ⓒ Michaela at TGEThe Secret Garden door, with A. palmatum x dissectum ‘Seiryu’, (the Blue Green Dragon), creating a canopied entry above the stone, in mid-summer ⓒ Michaela at TGE

The Blue Green Dragon shifts shades in late autumn, blazing in Chinese orange ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Acer Palmatum x dissectum, “Seiryu”, The Blue Green Dragon in October ⓒ Michaela at TGE

November Reflections in the Secret Garden ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Acer palmatum x dissectum, ‘Seiryu’ in January during an ice storm ⓒ Michaela at TGE

The entry garden in late December, (Ilex verticillata ‘Red sprite’) ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Ice Storm in the Garden ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ – blossom encased in an icy globe ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Stone Steps, Dusted in Snow ⓒ Michaela at TGESecret Garden Steps (Stonework, Dan Snow) Dusted in Snow ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Ilex verticillata and Juniperus chinensis 'Sargentii', Dusted in Snow ⓒ Michaela at TGEIlex verticillata ‘Red sprite’ and Juniperus chinensis ‘Sargentii’ dusted in snow at the Secret Garden entrance ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Heuchera seed in ice - November ⓒ Michaela at TGEIce Encased Heuchera Seed ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Cotoneaster in Snow ⓒ Michaela at TGECotoneaster Dusted in Snow ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Starry Hellebores ⓒ Michaela at TGEStarry Hellebore ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Dan Snow’s Fire Sculpture in the Central Garden – Image ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Rosa Bibi Maizoon ⓒ Michaela at TGE Rosa ‘Bibi Maizoon’ ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Iris with rain drops ⓒ Michaela at TGEIris with Rain Drops ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Rosa 'De Rescht' ⓒ Michaela at TGERosa ‘De Rescht ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Dan Snow’s lit fire sculpture at twilight in the center of the informal perennial garden and mixed borders leading to the potager ⓒ Michaela at TGE

edged-mixed-bordersPath leading to the forest from the central gardens ⓒ  Michaela at TGE

Path-to-the-meadow ⓒ Michaela at TGEPath Leading to the Northwest Meadow from the Central Garden ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Stone seat with Aruncus dioicus, Baptisia australis and as backdrop Tsuga canadensis

On the Terrace: Moon Urn and Terra Cotta Planters Filled with Verbena, Persian Shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus), Angelania (Angelania angustifolia ‘Angelface Blue’), Gold Moneywort (Lysmachia nummularia ‘Aurea’)

Viburnum plicatum tomentosum 'Shasta' and Aruncus ⓒ Michaela at TGEPlantings along the path include Viburnum plicatum tomentosum ‘Shasta’ and Aruncus ⓒ Michaela at TGE

North facing walkway with thyme, microbiota and moss on walkway to ledge ⓒ Michaela at TGEPath leading to Northwest look-out with wooly thyme, microbiota and moss ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Rusted Bench Ferncliff ⓒ Michaela at TGERusted bench and basket on the Northwestern terrace, with Betula ‘Royal Frost’ and Lespedeza thunbergii ⓒ Michaela at TGE

indigofera ⓒ Michaela at TGEIndigofera spilling onto the Northwest terrace  ⓒ Michaela at TGE

'Heavy Metal' Switch Grass ⓒ Michaela at TGEThe Ornamental Grass and Native Garden in Early Autumn ⓒ Michaela at TGE

perennial-border in summer ⓒ Michaela at TGENative plants and ornamental grasses mingle with non-native cousins in the informal perennial borders ⓒ Michaela at TGE

perennial-borders ⓒ Michaela at TGEThe long, loose, mixed borders in summer ⓒ Michaela at TGE (Plantings here include Physocarpus opufolius ‘Diablo’, Phystostegia, Rudbeckia, and Miscanthus sinensis ‘Variegatus’)

Mid-October at Ferncliff : Ornamental Grasses Flower in The Long Border ⓒ Michaela at TGE   (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Variegatus’ and ‘Morning Light’, Miscanthus ‘Purpurascens’)

Miscanthus and Viburnum in Winter ⓒ Michaela at TGEMiscanthus sinensis and Viburnum with frost and snow in early winter ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Ornamental Grass with First Dusting of Snow ⓒ Michaela at TGEOrnamental Grass – First Snow- Miscanthus sinensis ‘Variegatus’, ‘Morning Light’ and ‘Purpurascens’ ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Microbiota in the Snow Storm ⓒ Michaela at TGEMicrobiota in snow along the path to the meadow ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Ilex verticillata ‘Red Sprite’, bright red berries in snow ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Bench and Basket in Snow ⓒ Michaela at TGEGarden bench in after the first snow ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Secret garden path and steps to the painting studio in early spring ⓒ Michaela at TGE

crocus ⓒ Michaela at TGEEarly crocus along the walkway ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Narcissus 'Lemon Silk' ⓒ Michaela at TGENarcissus ‘Lemon Silk’ along the Secret Garden walkway and steps in early spring ⓒ Michaela at TGE

garden-steps ⓒ Michaela at TGERudbeckia at the Secret Garden Steps in High Summer ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Front-walkway-viburnum trilobum -ajuga-juniper ⓒ Michaela at TGEFront walk entry to gardens, in early May ⓒ Michaela at TGE (Viburnum trilobum ‘Bailey’ Compact’, Ajuga reptans, Narcissus)

Entry walk with Viburnum trilobum, Miscanthus, Lindera b, Viburnum b, autumn perennials ⓒ Michaela at TGEFront walk entry in October ⓒ Michaela at TGE (Plantings include: Entry walk with Viburnum trilobum, Miscanthus, Lindera benzoin, Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’, and various autumn perennials in the background )

Amsonia tabermontana. : Autumn leaf color in garden setting ⓒ Michaela at TGEAmsonia tabernaemontana in Autumn ⓒ Michaela at TGE

natural-drift-rudbeckia ⓒ Michaela at TGERudbeckia Drift in the Wildflower Walk in July/August ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Red twig dogwood and Fothergilla, Miscanthus purpurascens, Sedum ⓒ Michaela at TGEEntry Garden/Wildflower walkway, the last week of November ⓒ Michaela at TGE  (Miscanthus purpurascens, Cornus alba, Fothergilla ‘Mt Airy’)

Wildflower Walk in June ⓒ Michaela at TGEWildflower walk with lupine in May/June ⓒ Michaela at TGE

wildflower walk rudbeckia hirta ⓒ Michaela at TGEWildflower Walk with Rudbeckia Hirta ‘Becky mixed’ July/August  ⓒ Michaela at TGE

chair with rudbeckia ⓒ Michaela at TGEThe Rudbeckia Seat on The Wildflower Walk ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Autumn color Lindera benzoin ⓒ Michaela at TGEEntry garden in early October ⓒ Michaela at TGE   (Golden color: Lindera benzoin with blooming Sedum ‘Matrona’, Fothergilla major ‘Mt Airy’)

Fothergilla major ‘Mt. Airy’, same spot at the entry garden in early December ⓒ Michaela at TGE

9 late summerThe Walled Garden in Late Summer ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Wall garden and pathway in late summer ⓒ Michaela at TGE

walled-gardenWalled garden plantings, late summer ⓒ Michaela at TGE

walled-garden-anemoneWalled garden plantings in autumn, after first frost ⓒ Michaela at TGE

pot-indian-rhubarb-2Urn at the foot of the walled garden ⓒ Michaela at TGE

vinesGarden wall with perennials, shrubs and vines in mid summer ⓒ Michaela at TGE

wall schizophragmaGarden Wall and various plantings including the vine Schizophragma ‘Moonlight’, Cimicifuga racemosa ‘Hillside Black Beauty’, Hosta, Heuchera, and above, ‘Holgers’ juniper ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Clay pot nestled beside the wall ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Golden hops vine (Humulus lupulus ‘aureus’) scrambling up the wall and Steel Balcony above the Secret Garden ⓒ Michaela at TGE

A Mass-Planting of Ucinia Egmontiana (Orange-Hook Sedge) in Oxblood Planters on the Steel Balcony ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Stipa tenuissima (Mexican Feather Grass) in planters on the Steel Balcony above the Secret Garden ⓒ Michaela at TGE

‘Un-Flower’ Pots – Containers filled with Hens & Chicks and River Rocks on the Steel Balcony ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Stipa tenuissima (Mexican feather grass) and Pennisetum ‘Rubrum’ (Purple fountain grass) on the Steel Balcony above the Secret Garden ⓒ Michaela at TGE

The container displays on the Steel Balcony Garden at Ferncliff change with the seasons. Here, Hens & Chicks fill ‘Un-Flower’ Pots in the Summer of 2010 ⓒ Michaela at TGE

The Secret Garden Entry in early November, two years after planting ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Miscanthus purpurascens, (Flame grass), Northwest meadow-edge, in September ⓒ Michaela at TGE

pumpkin1Walkway retaining wall in early November ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Red Twig Dogwood at the Garden Entrance in Early December ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Viburnum trilobum ‘JN Select Redwing’ and Miscanthus sinensis ‘purpurascens’ in November ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Walkway retaining wall in spring ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Walkway retaining wall in early summer ⓒ Michaela at TGE (Adenophora confusa, Heuchera ‘Palace purple’)

Kalmia latifolia ‘Pink Charm’ emerging from the Great Ledge in the front Entry Garden ⓒ Michaela at TGE

The woodland path carpeted with hay scented fern ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Guardian Angel of the Forest ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’ in September ⓒ Michaela at TGE

The native woodlands to the east of the garden ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Morning Light at the Edge of the Forest and Heather Gardens

Forest Guardian in Snow ⓒ Michaela at TGE

The Forest to the East {beech in foreground} – Morning After the First Snow ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Ferncliff Forest in a Snow Storm

Unless noted, all photography on this site is copyright Michaela/The Gardener’s Eden, all rights reserved. Images and text may not be used or reproduced in any form without prior written consent. Please see ‘contact’ at left if you are interested in using anything on this site, I am usually happy to share. Thank you – Michaela


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