CORNWALL — For Liz Holm, gardening is a creative outlet, and though she says she is no artist, her beautifully structured Cornwall garden is pretty enough for any garden painting.
Holm’s garden spans across her backyard in several well-kept plots, each home to a variety of flowers and trees that serves specific purposes.
In the forefront of her yard is a white garden or as Holm calls it, a moon garden because it glows in the moonlight. Here Holm keeps a variety of white flowering plants such as veronica, phlox, Shasta daisies, columbine, trillium, bell flowers and hellebore that have kept their bloom since springtime.
“I grow things because I like them,” Holm said. “I am fond of phlox because they have wonderful color, bloom for a long time and are easy to manage.”
Skirting a portion of her yard near the tree line is a shade garden of mostly astilbe, hosta, evergreens and hydrangea.
In the center of her yard, just below an open patio, are two semi-circle rose gardens. “I like the ones that bloom all the time,” Holm said, such as the hybrid shrub rose.
One patch is dedicated to corn and fall gold raspberries that are plump and golden. Just a few paces away, Holm keeps her vegetable garden divided by small brick walkways. Here she grows alpine strawberries, beans, peas, potatoes, onions, shallots, beats and tomatoes. But, said Holm, her potatoes are suffering this year from the potato blight — and, she added, the massive amount of rainfall doesn’t help.
On the highest point of her yard is a garden dedicated entirely to the birds. The garden provides the animals with seeds, fruit and shelter. She grows coneflowers, phlox, bee balm, hawthorne trees, weeping mulberry trees, mountain ash trees, elderbushes, winterberries, birch trees and various forms of viburnums, which are like cranberry bushes. Holm often times sees cardinals, tufted titmouse birds and sparrows flying about the garden.
“I wanted it to be a tiny habitat,” she said. “It pays off because there aren’t as many insects around.”
When some of the plants mature, Holm divides them and transplants one half of the plant in another area of her garden. When she began her garden in 1975, Holm said she wouldn’t have known to do this.
“My mistake was thinking about plants as color and shape,” said Holm. “I didn’t know too much about plant maturity and combining plants together. You really have to read up on the plants you’re looking at and then maybe you won’t play musical plants.”
Though, Holm admits she still tends to play that game of “musical plants,” shifting her plants around her garden.
“I do something and then I want to change it.”