ADDISON — “Seven years ago this was just forest,” said Carol Miller, pointing out toward Lake Champlain.
Now a spacious lawn slopes down to the water, interrupted by scattered shade trees and Adirondack chairs. An artfully weathered wooden house with blue trim perches on a rise, with panoramic views stretching up Lake Champlain. Garden beds surround the house and punctuate the lawn, bordering stone paths and cradling the pool. Most are behind the house, where they are sheltered from the wind.
One spot on the driveway offers a view across the pool, of the gardens all around it, and of the mountains on the western side of Lake Champlain.
“To me, this is the view,” said Miller.
Miller and her husband Joel retired to Vermont from Chappaqua, N.Y., seven years ago. There Miller maintained a small garden, but now, with the amount of land that the couple owns, she gardens on a much larger scale.
“In the good weather I’m out here all day, three days a week,” said Miller.
In the years since the couple moved, the garden has been a constantly evolving thing. It was originally set up by a landscaper, but the plants did not do well.
“They weren’t right for the area,” she said.
Miller has since taken out many of those plants and put different ones in. She is constantly on the lookout for new types of flowers and plants to try; this year she’s been working on her bed of dahlias.
“I slowly change (the garden), and if I see something I like, I try it,” said Miller.
She is a member of the Middlebury Garden Club, and she goes to them for advice and ideas for new plants to try out. Each year she browses nearby garden stores and gardening sites on the Internet.
“My husband says, ‘If you make another bed, I’ll kill you,’” she said with a laugh.
In the late afternoon sun, the garden was alight with many colors of flocks, hydrangeas, roses, stilbys and hostas, to name a few. Miller gazed around at the flowers.
“One thing I’ve learned, you shouldn’t be afraid to cut and you shouldn’t be afraid to change,” she said.