Design

14 Readers Share Their Gorgeous Gardens

14 Readers Share Their Gorgeous Gardens

Do you have a garden? Or trusty houseplants? We asked Cup of Jo readers to share photos of their green spaces — ahhh, it feels like a deep breath — and here are 14 inspiring spaces…

14 Readers Share Their Gorgeous Gardens

“This is my first time living in an apartment with a balcony. Having a personal outdoor space has been life changing and a huge help for my mental health during quarantine. It’s my favorite place to work during the day and read in the evenings.” — Marisa, Seattle

14 Readers Share Their Gorgeous Gardens

“I live with my husband, our two daughters, and lots of animals. Our vegetable garden is not at its most beautiful right now, but by the end of July, the trellis will be full with cucumber vines, and the hazelnuts on the trees will be ready to pick.” — Seja Brumley, Bloomington, Indiana

14 Readers Share Their Gorgeous Gardens

“I’ve lived in this apartment for five years, but we’re moving because my partner and I are expecting a baby in August (exciting and terrifying!). My beloved houseplants are coming with me and I hope they survive the move. This fiddle leaf fig is my pride and joy.” — Beth, Greensboro, North Carolina

14 Readers Share Their Gorgeous Gardens

“My husband and I turned our front yard into a garden when our youngest son was born. We haven’t turned back since! We are constantly learning about our little eco system here and trying new things.” — Veronica, Vancouver

14 Readers Share Their Gorgeous Gardens

14 Readers Share Their Gorgeous Gardens

“My husband and I are currently living in his grandmother’s house and the last couple of years have been a balance of revamping her gardens and seeing what is already in place.” — Natalie, Hudson Valley, NY

14 Readers Share Their Gorgeous Gardens

“Here I am in my community garden. This garden is my everything.” — Naudia, Brooklyn

14 Readers Share Their Gorgeous Gardens

“I rent a small home, but I love to utilize my wall space for plants. I found these WallyGro planters made out of recycled milk cartons.” — Alli, Los Alamitos, CA

14 Readers Share Their Gorgeous Gardens

“The pandemic finally gave me a reason to purchase the Lettuce Grow Farmstand I had been eyeing for months. It’s lots of fun, and we eat from it regularly!” — Victoria, West Los Angeles

14 Readers Share Their Gorgeous Gardens

“The pandemic was so overwhelming (and my husband works at the CDC and was always flush with new data) that the simple routine of watering and gathering brought our whole family together.” — Shannon, Cincinnati, Ohio

14 Readers Share Their Gorgeous Gardens

“I am a hotel general manager. Last spring was a strange time in my industry, and to manage the stress I dove into gardening. I ripped up the grass in our front yard and built this cut flower garden. It’s been the most rewarding project, and bringing buckets of flowers to our team at the hotel each week is such a fun way to surprise and delight my co-workers.” — Tessa, Portland, Oregon

14 Readers Share Their Gorgeous Gardens

“I have a container garden on the back staircase of my apartment!” — Stephanie, San Francisco

14 Readers Share Their Gorgeous Gardens

“I’m so incredibly grateful for our garden. We had our first baby last spring and basically lived back here from April to November. My husband even put in a ‘pool’ to make the brutal Missouri summers more bearable. Here’s a photo of me, a month postpartum last summer, trying out the pool for the first time and feeling very happy and loved.” — Rachel, Kansas City, MO

14 Readers Share Their Gorgeous Gardens

“My plants were a result of my labor and kept me sane all through 2020.” — Shweta, Netherlands

P.S. Readers share their cozy corners and relaxing-at-home outfits.

(Top photo of a CoJ reader named Upasana in Boston.)

  1. Rebecca Cage says...

    Loved seeing all the unique forms of gardens. There is something so meditative about gardening and weeding. I’ve just come to learn it takes 5 times as long to get things done with a 2 year old but so magical introducing her to my love of gardening. Thanks for the respite that is always this blog!

  2. Christina says...

    These are so great! And Stephanie in San Francisco: I got chills when I saw your photo because I swear I lived in that same building on 25th Street. Or maybe many SF back stairs all look the same? Brought back happy memories!

  3. Wow! I am a new Plant-Mom and it’s nothing but sheer joy. I talk to them and sing to them and when my back garden pot bears a tomato I am always head over heels. It has taught me the one thing I have in the tiniest portions, which is patience!

  4. Debbie P. says...

    Wow! These are wonderful stories and lovely gardens.

  5. S says...

    Absolutely loved this – each person’s garden was unique but the joy and happiness exuding from each was commonly shared. Thanks for letting us in for a glimpse of your spaces!

  6. K says...

    I loved this! I’m smiling ear to ear seeing all of these women’s awesome creative gardens.

  7. Jami says...

    This was wonderful! Thank you!

  8. Cheryl says...

    This post was so touching because I felt connected to others! Thank you! It reminds me of that website we all loved during quarantine, the view from your window. What are you seeing right now, where you are, on this big planet, fellow human? We all still needs hugs more than ever, we still need to be seen. You have a wonderful community to feature, so kudos for turning the spotlight!

  9. Julie says...

    After living in tiny apartments in Boston with no outdoor space for years my partner and I are finally buying our first home! And it has an epic garden with grapes and peach trees and tons of other fruit. I’m too excited to be out there until it snows!

  10. lauren says...

    Please keep posting things like this. I love seeing other people’s joy!

  11. Amy says...

    What a wonderful post. It was lovely to see the gardens and the different way they show up in and outside of people’s homes, but my favorite part was seeing the joy and pride on everyone’s face. This may be one of my faves on COJ! Thank you to all of the readers that shared their gardens and congratulations on the abundance you’ve helped thrive this year!

  12. Sarah K says...

    These are all lovely, but the one of the mom just chilling in her pool was my favorite.

  13. Kelly M says...

    I just need to say to every reader featured in this post, I love your gardens and plants so much! All the heart eyes!!! Thank you for sharing!

  14. Alex says...

    We have a #gardening Slack channel at work and it’s been really fun to see people post and share over the past year. It also brings people from different parts of our firm together over a commonality you wouldn’t have realized otherwise.

    Start one!

  15. Julie says...

    Great post! I’m definitely an avid gardener, and I love planting new things and seeing how they turn out. Living in Northern Ontario, Canada means the growing season is painfully short, so I do a lot of planning and daydreaming over the winters. I envy those who can have outdoor gardens year round. The admiring and the fussing over my plants is one of my greatest joys!

  16. Kathy says...

    That was lovely – thanks for sharing!

  17. Darby says...

    I LOVE seeing other people’s gardens. Here on the Canadian prairies, we are currently in the stage where everyone is asking, “Is it safe to plant outside yet?” because if our overnight low temps are too cold, the garden will freeze. Right now, I have about 10 vegetable seedlings in pots that I have been putting outside during the day and bringing in at night… I’m going to take the plunge this weekend and just go for it and put everything in the ground. Wish me luck!

    • Trish Williams says...

      This is me too! It’s this weekend, for sure. Hi in gardening solidarity, from Calgary.

    • .S. says...

      More gardening solidarity from Calgary, and so jealous of everyone who has growing seasons longer than four months!! I’ll be planting this weekend too, in planters and at our community garden plot :-)

      Would love for this to be a regular series, like house tours!! It’s so fun to take a peek at everyone’s gardens, and so, so comforting to see all that greenery <3

  18. kat says...

    My office corner was fantastic – ponytail fern, growing ficus, and two of those vine plants wrapping everywhere. Rescued ’em week 2 of the pandemic. It’s been hard keeping the larger ones safe at home all this time, but the vine plants now extend both lengths of our living room! It’s an odd testament to the pandemic’s duration but has brought me such joy to have so much green at home. I’m trying to grow huge sunflowers out front with our toddler – fingers crossed they make it to super bloom.

  19. Thanks so much for sharing my space! Love these posts where I get a peek into the lives of this wonderful community <3

  20. Erica says...

    Can this be a regular series?! Would love to see more gardens across the states and through the seasons!

    • Elisa says...

      Yes, I would love that!! This post brought me so much joy.

    • L says...

      Agree, agree, agree!

    • Emma says...

      Yes!! You could even do individual garden tours as full posts (like house tours). I loved this, too! Thank you <3

  21. CS says...

    Love all these gorgeous plants and gardens!

  22. J. says...

    I’m not sure exactly why, but this post made me cry! (in a happy, grateful way). I’m so thankful for this part of the world/internet, for plants, for beautiful people growing and loving beautiful things — all of it! Thank you.

    • Amy says...

      Me too!!

  23. Caitlin says...

    The Hudson Valley house and garden are absolutely swoon-worthy!! I dream of owning a house like this someday in a small town somewhere. Thanks for sharing, Natalie!!

    • Tis says...

      Thinking about you, Anjie. xoxo

  24. suki says...

    That pool photo is, %100 *chef’s kiss*.

  25. Diana says...

    Howdy from 33rd and Fulton :)

  26. Diana says...

    For all the wonderful people in the comments that are inspired by green spaces and passionate about improving our ecosystem I implore you to watch “Kiss the Ground” on Netflix. It rocked my world. Like, SOIL, guys!! IT’S SOIL!! And to keep the party going, “Green Gold” is on youtube and also bananas.

  27. Rosalie says...

    WOW! These gardens and gardeners are inspirational.

  28. Tovah says...

    I love this post so much! Reader roundups always feel like meeting new friends.

  29. Alex says...

    Gardening feels so optimistic. We just (happily) sold our house and what I will miss most about it is seeing the garden I planted grow through the years. This was the first spring our lilac bush, planted three years ago, gave us flowers and it was the sweetest goodbye.

    • Akg says...

      That’s so lovely about the sweet goodbye! Very sweet, indeed. We went through something similar when we sold our home this spring after 3 years of so much work making our garden beautiful (work relocation). But I heard the greatest quote, something along the lines of: “ kindness is planting trees you will never be able to sit in the shade of” and that brought me peace and joy thinking about the beautiful memories the new family in the home will enjoy there because of the work we were able to put in.

  30. K says...

    that garden pool makes me sooo happy

  31. K says...

    loved this!

  32. Emily says...

    More details on Tessa’s flower garden, please! That is GORGEOUS.

    • Tessa says...

      Hi!

      I have an Instagram if you want to see what I’m up do. I’m certainly no expert gardener, but I do enjoying learning and sharing. If you want to check out what the garden is looking like this year check out @yardbirdgardenclub!

  33. AJ says...

    Love all these! Especially Stephanie’s stair pots!

  34. Valeria says...

    It seems the perfect moment to recommend to all of you Abbi Waxman’s novel The Garden of Small Beginnings!

    • Ooh thank you Valeria, I LOVE Abbi Waxman’s books but I haven’t read this one!

    • Trish says...

      Just put on hold at the library. Thank you!

  35. Maria says...

    I looove these sneakpeaks in the life of some of the cupofjo readers! I always get so curious about the ladies behind the lovely and wise comments in the comment section. I would love more, also to know like what do they work with, what are their dreams etc, so inspiring!

  36. Vero says...

    I need to know more about which flowers Tessa from Oregon planted in her cut flower garden! That is my dream!

    • Totally agree – Tessa, if you have the opportunity, I’d love if you shared what you planted in the cut flower garden and any other tips you might have!

    • Tessa says...

      Hi!

      Thanks for asking. Last year I grew China Aster (the light pink puffs in this photo), Snapdragon, Cosmos, Stock, Dahlias, Lavatera, Roses, Peonies, Sweetpeas, and a boat load of Zinnias. I killed a lot of things (like poppies, and calendula) too unfortunately. But learning a new skill is FUN! This year I added an additional garden in the backyard and am trying some new varietals. If you want to see some other images from the garden check out @yardbirdgardenclub on Instagram!

  37. Sarah says...

    Love love love this article! And so timely – I am currently in the process of joining a community garden and am about to build a raised bed myself. So excited!

  38. Can anyone source Stephanie from San Francisco’s shoes?

    • Meghan says...

      Yes! I thought the same thing!

    • K says...

      i’d love to know too!

    • Stephanie says...

      Hi Lindsay and Meghan! They are an older pair of men’s Sloggers garden clogs! They were my dad’s before I adopted them :)

  39. Sadie says...

    Landscaping is my nightmare. Things are looking pretty wild in my yard but my planter boxes are filled with seeds so I’ll take the veggies with the weedy lawn.

  40. Katie says...

    Hi, I’m gonna need to know where Marisa from Seattle’s rug, chair, and planters are from *pray emoji* ;)
    Loved this post so much. Thanks again for bringing just the right mood to my day.

  41. Jay says...

    Very curious about the skull in one of the photos!

    • Natalie says...

      Hahaha I think you’re referring to me! Those are Halloween decorations in the photo 😅

  42. April says...

    Really enjoyed seeing all the readers and their green spaces. I started a cut flower garden last fall and have tons to learn but I am enjoying it so far. Trying to pursue hobbies that aren’t scrolling on my phone. I think this one might stick!

  43. Meg says...

    What a delightful post! Anyone have any good recommendations on books or blogs on gardening? Moving to a new home with a gorgeous garden that I am doing to try my best not to let die.

    • Jen says...

      Margaret Roach’s blog Away to Garden. She also has a column on the New York Times in the Real Estate section called In The Garden.

    • I follow Floret Flower on Instagram. She is a flower farmer but the has the best advice and resources.

    • Yes! I love Margaret Roach too. Her podcast and book are great as well. For other gardening books, regional books might give more specific advice. The book Gardening for Butterflies by the Xerces society is really interesting. And this is my little garden blog I do for fun :) https://maybeillbecomeafarmer.wordpress.com/

    • Rachel says...

      SO MANY! Gardenista’s book and blog, House and Garden magazine and Instagram, Gardens Illustrated Magazine, all Monty Don content, Bringing Nature Home by Doug Tallamy, The Edible Front Yard by Ivette Soller, The Well-Tended Perennial Garden by Tracy DiSabato-Aust, and The Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosh, Charlie McCormick and #decolonizethegarden on Instagram.

    • Tessa says...

      The Land Gardeners and Floret!

    • Kelly says...

      Alys Fowler and Claire Ratinon are two gardeners / authors with great Instagram accounts!
      @alysf and @claireratinon 💕

  44. Elspeth says...

    Love these gorgeous gardens!

  45. Sara says...

    Highly recommend City Farmers Nursery (cityfarmers.com) in San Diego if you’re nearby!

  46. A says...

    I splurged on a David Austin rose bush (“old world” roses) last summer and they’ve finally budded for this year and I spend at least 10 minutes a day gazing and counting the buds. It is wonderfully calming and there is something really lovely about the quiet anticipation and instilled waiting for the blooms.

  47. Toni says...

    My mother and I tried to garden together when I was a kid but we ended up gabbing so much that we had a total disaster of a garden. We somehow managed to plant a handful of flower bulbs in the vegetable section. There were random zucchini plants growing throughout. Mysterious peppers popped up when my entire family is allergic to them and my mom and I each swore we didn’t pick them up from the shop. Each day we would laugh our selves silly looking at the tangled, disorganized, beautiful mess we made. One fateful day the family dog dug up almost the entire garden and ate all the spoils. She was a very happy camper. As an adult, I’m proud to say I have a happy NYC windowsill full of organized plants.

    • Emily says...

      This is such a sweet memory. I love it!

  48. Marisa says...

    What a great post! Reading comments is always a nice way to stay connected to this blog, but seeing readers’ beautiful spaces and smiling faces is just the BEST!

  49. Shannon says...

    Love this! I wish we could all post pictures of our own gardens in the comments (maybe in a month or two, since my Colorado garden is mostly dirt right now 😅) !!

  50. Sage says...

    Buying containers, soil, and seeds today to try my hand at gardening … in the Arizona desert. I’m honestly not optimistic hahaha, but since I’m home with my son full-time now, seems like a fun skill to learn and share in together! Loved this post.

  51. Tanya says...

    I love all these gardens! Natalie’s little house in the Hudson Valley is a dream.

  52. Lisa says...

    My mother and grandmothers is / were amazing gardeners. I am not. However, during the pandemic I managed to grow a mint plant (named “Plant” by my children) and has survived! It’s not very useful as a source of mint for cooking, but it keeps on bravely growing and my 5yo loves pointing out all the new leaves and shoots. With two small children and a FT job this is as much garden as we can manage (London’s royal parks are our outside space, and the Queen’s Gardeners maintain them for us)

    • MB says...

      We live next to Kew Gardens and I take as much pride in their flowers and trees as if I’d tended them myself – works for me!

  53. Agnès says...

    Oh I love this post! seeing those gardens and those nice faces! My husband started a vegetable garden at my father, that’s how he coped with the pandemic, and it turned out so beautiful! I have been having a difficult time lately and I have planted some flowers in our apartment and yes, it is sootinhg and it gives me hope. Thank you so much for the photos! I will definitely send my little green corner from my parisian appartment for the next round of CoJ gardeners’!!

  54. Gem says...

    I love this! This is my first summer trying to grow vegetables. Of course, now that I planted my seeds, I can’t remember what I planted. BUT they are growing! So this summer I am going to have surprise veggies. If all goes well, I think I may be on to something….

  55. Eleanor says...

    Loving all these views! And desperately trying to find a similar cozy chair like Marisa’s!! Any ideas?

  56. Abbey says...

    Happy houseplant caregiver here! Connecting with plants is an experience to be treasured, for sure, whatever form that takes.

    By the way, I lived in San Francisco for 10 years and as soon as I saw Stephanie’s potted succulent garden I KNEW it was an SF back staircase haha :) Those treacherous narrow wooden victorian staircases can’t be mistaken.

    • Desiree says...

      Same! I’ve lived in SF for ten years and just moved to a new apartment (Inner Richmond anyone?), complete with setting plants on my impossibly narrow back staircase landing. Stephanie, I’m going to steal your sand dollar idea!

    • Stephanie says...

      Hi Abbey! They are indeed the most treacherous narrow stairs haha!

      And Desiree, we are neighbors – I’m in the Inner Richmond too! The sand dollars are from walks at Ocean Beach. I put them out to dry and let the sand fall off, but then they inevitably just stay there :)

    • Sarah says...

      Just here to say- I live in the Richmond too! I feel like i have friends I don’t know yet. See you at the farmers market!

  57. Carol says...

    This made me smile so much! I love seeing each person create an oasis, however large or small, with the space they have.
    This story shows that limits are only in our mind.

  58. Amanda says...

    An article on how to tend to common house plants may be needed! :)

    • Ana D. says...

      I would bookmark that for eternity.

    • Lisa says...

      I do recommend Carmeon Hamilton, AKA Nubi Interiors. She has great plant tips on her Instagram and her blog.

  59. Monica says...

    What a delightful and unifying post, thank you! Our town is an odd mix of super huge homes on a lake, regular houses in a neighborhood, and lots of apartments with varying income restrictions. The last year with parks (state and local) and playgrounds closed, the struggle for people without yards has been difficult.

    I’m proud of our local leadership though, they closed playgrounds but not green spaces surrounding the playgrounds, as happened elsewhere. Community gardens stayed open. I don’t know if it was a conscious decision, but it made outdoor time for many people and kids much more accessible.

  60. Lettie says...

    I love Marisa’s apartment balcony and want to know how she blocked the slats to the outside world–we have a balcony we never use because it’s nearly at street level and everyone looks in when they walk by! I love that gorgeous set up and would love to know more about how she revamped her balcony for privacy!

    • Hi Lettie! It’s actually the way the balcony was designed so unfortunately I don’t have any wisdom to share. I actually kind of wish they weren’t there so the plants could get more light haha

  61. Beth says...

    Love this!

  62. reba says...

    As someone who just killed (how?! it’s only been 2 weeks) not one but two Mother’s Day plant gifts, I am in awe. And I love the variety, from houseplant havens to veritable farms. Keep growing, ladies!

    • Michelle says...

      Hahah I’m with you!!

  63. Erin says...

    These gardens look lovely. As a person who has had very little luck gardening on my own, I am very curious about the Lettuce Grow Farmstand. Any one else have one of these?

    • Shannon says...

      Is there a pic of the reader’s actual Farmstand?

  64. LB says...

    that shot of those tiny SF apartment steps spiraling down takes me back to living there and apartment parties years ago!

  65. C says...

    Lovely!
    As an owner of a small organic seed company we have noticed and are so excited that people are finding joy, comfort, and deep nourishment growing veggies and flowers. ❤️ Witnessing this as well as the way the community has stepped up to purchase seeds for those who are having a tough time financially and/or bear the brunt of policies that continue systemic racism, poverty, etc has lifted us up and renewed some of my faith in humanity. Lift others up! May all be fed and deeply nourished.

    • Alex Pearl says...

      What is your seed company! I am about to buy some seeds and would love to buy from a COJ reader!

    • Lindsey says...

      I love this, C! May I ask the name of your company?

  66. Shayla says...

    I am an anatomist (I teach health professional students Human Gross Anatomy and Head & Neck Anatomy, among other things). My office is within the anatomy lab – a large, sterile, windowless room filled with cadavers kept at 65 degrees to maintain their integrity. Aside from lectures, I don’t interact much with other (living) people during the workdays, so I’ve become a plant lady. There’s something beautiful in the balance of energy in the space now – the donated individuals, although no longer physically living yet ‘living on’ by selflessly sharing their own bodies for students to explore and learn with, and the numerous plants lining the space and filling my office. In an environment that is intrinsically (and literally) cold, my plants help give a sense of life and beauty that can only be appreciated by experience. In fact, just last Friday morning, I told my boss I needed to make a plant run (at the time, for my mental health with the stress of academia)…. and accidentally came back with 4. There is beauty in the balance.

  67. jenn says...

    I have always loved gardening,I spent my summers as a kid at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Children’s Garden program, but never had the time. During the pandemic, I planted sunflowers and zinnias in front of the house so I could have something to look at when I walked the dog. I really didn’t have expectations but it has become one of the greatest joys. So many butterflies and hummingbirds came throughout day and looking at all the life that appear was so much needed. The neighbors came by to walk and look also. The kids called it the Magic Garden.

    • karen says...

      I love zinnias! They’re such a treat. Plant a few seeds and you get fresh cut flowers from August – October!

  68. Amy says...

    These posts made my week. I recently lost my job of 30 years and, more importantly, someone dear to me passed away. At the same time, my BIL beekeeper told us our bee hive was queenless. This means the bees are highly irritable and may buzz us out of the garden while they are cultivating a new queen. Your question made me reflect on my garden and in doing so realize that in my own grieving process, I’m highly irritable and am trying to set boundaries while I heal. The garden is my solace early in the morning and late in the day. Grateful to the bees in so many ways and to this community!

    • Judy Nelson Lewis says...

      Peace to you, Amy, as you make room for grief. I literally just read this today, so I will take it as a sign to pass it on 😍 From Dr. Henry Cloud:

      Grief is the toughest pain we have to deal with. It’s not the worst human experience, because it leads to resolution, but it is the most difficult for us to enter into voluntarily, which is the only way to get into it. The rest of our human experience just happens “to us.” Hurt, injury, anxiety, alienation and failure all break through, and we suffer. Grief does not “break through.” It is something we enter into.

      But its voluntary nature is not the only thing that sets grief apart from other kinds of suffering. The other difference is that grief is the one that heals all the others. It is the most important pain there is. This is why God calls us to enter into it voluntarily. It heals. It restores. It changes things that have gone bad. Moreover, it is the only place where we get comforted when things have gone wrong. So, God tells us and our counselors tell us, “Go there.” Listen to Solomon: “Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure” (Eccl. 7:3—4).

      Why is that? What is so special about grief? Why is it the “pain that heals”? Because grief is God’s way of our getting finished with the bad stuff of life. It is the process by which we “get over it,” by which we “let it go.” And because of that, because it is the process by which things can be “over with,” it becomes the process by which we can be available for new, good things. The soul is freed from painful experiences and released for new, good experiences.

    • K says...

      @Judy that is so interesting, I never really thought about grieving as a voluntary process. but the way it is described does resonate, a sort of emotional cleaning of the dust left behind by the previous supernova explosion to make room for newborn stars

  69. Elizabeth says...

    Just saw this after re-potting five of my babies! All of these are stunning and so joyful. Beth, that fiddle leaf fig is INCREDIBLE! I just moved in January and talked to my plants about it before moving, during packing, and while we were settling in. I like to think it helped them with the transition, and they all survived!

    • Beth M says...

      Thank you, Elizabeth! I need to start talking to my plants to prepare them for the move ASAP – thanks for the tip :). This fiddle leaf fig amazes me every day. When my first roommate and I bought it in January 2017, it was a small tree. Watching it grow is one of the greatest joys of my life! It’s had all the NC sunshine, heat, and City of Greensboro tap water for the last four+ years. Now to figure out how to safely get it out of my 7th floor apartment…;).

  70. Courtenay says...

    Agreed! I felt so excited to start the day with these photos!

  71. Janey says...

    LOVE this and was sad when I got to the last one! Veronicas gorgeous edible garden is so impressive, all those healthy salads she must make! And Tessa’s beautiful flowers.
    I can’t wait to have a garden one day although despite keeping countless children and animals alive I seem to kill every houseplant that has the misfortune to cross my threshold!!

  72. JAK says...

    Currently typing this, staying at my parents place, looking out into our family garden which my dad has planted for 35 years (he is happiest in the summer when the garden is growing and he has something to take care of). Growing up with a large vegetable garden was magical… its where I learned that raspberries and tomatoes are the best off the vine and that all good things take time to come to fruition. My dad ‘specializes’ in growing garlic, meaning we are spoilt to have enough that we almost never have to buy any and have plenty to share with neighbours and friends too. That is a true gift! I’m planning on making a little sign for my parents that reads “Victory Garden” to put up, as it really feels like one. Recently, I’ve been working with my mom to redo the garden in the front yard. It has been a lot of fun to dig into the earth and learn about some of my favourite plants and flowers, how they grow and making sure it is a layered garden, so it doesn’t look too bare. As it turns out we are never too old to pick up a new to ‘you’ way to connect to the earth.

  73. Rusty says...

    I didn’t know you called for photos or I’d have sent one of my fairy garden in Perth, Western Australia!
    I love love love that people are doing things sustainably!!
    Beautiful and smart! 🌿🏵🌻🌺🌲🌳🌵

  74. Hilary says...

    Does Stephanie live at 22nd and Anza in the Richmond District, by chance?! I had to triple take that photo – it looks EXACTLY like my old back staircase from when I lived in SF, right down to the gray steps.

    This photo was like a time machine, zapping me back four years, pre-baby, pre-move, pre-pandemic, pre-everything. Kind of taking my breath away this morning! It will be very, VERY cool if you live in my old apartment. And if you do, I hope you love it as much as I did. It’s the most magical place :)

    • Alex Pearl says...

      I’m a few blocks away from there :) and thought that was one of my old apartments too!

    • Hilary says...

      @Alex Pearl – please head over to Angelina’s and have a soft serve cone in the sunshine for me! (or the fog :)

    • Danielle says...

      I used to live at 20th & Clement and thought the same things. @Alex Pearl please have a pizza at Pizzetta 211 for me :)

    • Stephanie says...

      Hi Hilary, Alex Pearl and Danielle! I’m several blocks east in the Inner Richmond, but wouldn’t be surprised if our buildings have the same layout! I love this apartment so much!

      Just thinking about Pizzetta 211 made my mouth water! On the topic of plants though… @Alex Pearl make sure to visit Clement Nursery, my favorite SF plant shop with the most kind and knowledgeable owner Philip and his sweet dog Opal :)

    • Alex Pearl says...

      I bought plants at the Clement Nursery on Tuesday! LOOOVE that place – so happy and magical.

      Next up soft serve and pizza :)

  75. Laura says...

    Loved these! ❤️

  76. Mia says...

    I’m a 36 year old mother of two young kids and I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May of 2020 – only three months after losing my beloved younger brother to a drug overdose. Going through a mastectomy, chemo therapy and radiation treatment during the pandemic was so hard, but after my first infusion I bought myself a plant. It became my tradition to get a new one after every treatment. I can’t say it made me look forward to chemo, but it did add a sliver of positivity to the very sucky situation. Now our house is positively brimming with plants – I want them everywhere! Nourishing something, seeing them grow and flourish while my body was going through so much, it was all very symbolic and therapeutic for me. Now when my daughter excitedly points out new growth on one of our plants I’m filled with gratitude and pride. Highly recommend such a ritual to anyone going through something similar 🌿🌱🪴

    • Sara says...

      I absolutely LOVE this. What a beautiful ritual and positive mindset. Your home sounds like such a sanctuary! Sending love to you and hopes for a clean bill of health!

    • Elizabeth says...

      That is so beautiful, Mia. I’m a firm believer that everything does NOT happen for a reason or need a silver lining, but we can do a lot to add small doses of positivity to big challenges. Good for you for adding something pleasant to an impossibly difficult time. Sending love and prayers for your grief and recovery (and your plants growth!)

  77. BeckyB says...

    Tessa! Fellow Portlander…your flowers are amazing. AND! Your jumpsuit. Any chance you’d be willing to share the source??

    • Tessa says...

      Hi Becky!

      I’m so sorry, I am unsure of the brand and the jumper is currently at the tailors. I got it at Anthro last spring though. Not sure if that’s helpful.

  78. Nicole Wilson says...

    “Hello? Hello? Yes, can you speak up? I’m on my cucumber phone.” Haha! That’s a big cucumber! So totally jealous of all these green-thumb’d women! I can’t keep a plant alive to save my life, unfortunately!

  79. Meg says...

    These types of posts (collection of reader photos) might be my favorite!!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      mine too :) :) :)

    • Heather says...

      Same – I could have scrolled endlessly through ones like these! What a great way to start the day

    • Karen says...

      Agree!! So much garden space inspiration.

    • Emma says...

      Yes, please feel free to make it twice as long next time, hahah :-) Loved!!

  80. E says...

    It’s not quite gardening, but I recently got a basil plant for my boyfriend’s apartment. He was initially skeptical, but when I saw him again after a week away, he’d gotten very into watering and moving the plant around the apartment so it gets enough sunlight. Now he’s researching indoor plants!

    Also, the Hudson Valley house from Natalie’s post is magical. I love her necklace in the picture—any idea where it’s from?

    • Natalie says...

      Thank you E!! So glad you enjoyed my photos of our front garden (and monstrous elderflower)!

      The necklace was my grandmother’s – I guess you could call it vintage! No clue as to where it’s from originally.

  81. caroline says...

    Oh how I love this. Thank you!
    Please consider featuring gardens as frequently as you feature homes on C of J.

    • Lisa says...

      I understand that with gardens it’s a lot harder to monetize, and I do not want you to in any way undercut your business. But, I agree, if you could. We had mothering around the world, what about gardens now and then?

  82. K says...

    My husband and I are moving into our first house this week and all we can talk about is starting/continuing a garden! (Lovely previous homeowners left a beautiful old school garden with lots of local perennials!)
    We live in a semiarid area, any hot (lol no pun intended) tips on things to start growing in a desert summer?

    I love this post, Joanna! I love it!

  83. It’s so nice to see how folks are making their spaces of all shapes and sizes more green- as usual CoJ has inspired me to level up and maybe even plant a raised bed this summer! :)

    I’d also strongly encourage CoJ readers to check out this excellent podcast episode, Casting Shade from the Not Built For Us series by Angela Zhang. It’s about how systemic racism affects cityscapes and the amount of greenery in different neighborhoods (gross oversimplification of a truly fascinating listen.)

    https://www.notbuiltforus.com/podcast/episode/9b1b9340/ep-2-casting-shade-shade-inequity-health-and-spatial-justice

    • So important to think about! Thanks for sharing. Adding it to my podcast queue for today!

    • Meghan says...

      This sounds so interesting, I am downloading now.

      A few summers ago I volunteered with a community organization in the city I was living in at the time (Hamilton, ON Canada) as the city has a very poorly advertised free tree program (where they plant & maintain the tree of your choosing from a list, cost-free). We went door to door in a neighbourhood that was in close proximity to heavy industry and lacking in urban canopy and told people about the program and encouraged them to sign up. It was such an easy volunteering gig and people seemed excited to have some new trees in the neighbourhood.

      In other places I’ve lived since I’ve thought about campaigning to have a similar free tree program implemented. Maybe it already exists and is underutilized. Posting here in the hopes that some COJ reader with sway and/or a group of dedicated folks might make it happen in other cities! Such a good program!

    • Meghan, what an awesome program! I love that so much :)

  84. Andrea says...

    Hey has anyone turned a yard into a meadow? My Mom has a massive back yard (200 feet deep, 80 feet across) and I would like to put 2/3rds of it in meadow. Any good leads on how to do so?

    Any other ideas for low maintenance landscaping? We are redoing the whole yard and she loves greenery, but can’t do high maintenance. I would like to do 1/3 as yard with shrubs and plants and 2/3rds as meadow behind a strip of plants or trees.

    Thanks for any ideas or resources.

    • Charlotte says...

      Hi Andrea, most of what I know about maintaining a wildflower meadow I learned from COJ readers’ favorite gardener, Monty Don. It’s a topic he’s covered off and on over the years on Gardener’s World. There’s some helpful general overview to be found on their website. https://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/grow-plants/how-to-maintain-a-meadow/

      I would also recommend contacting your local native plant society, because what a wildflower meadow looks like will depend on your area and your growing conditions. They’d be a good resource for tips and how-to’s specific to where you live. I mentioned in a comment below that I changed my lawn in California to natives and my local native plant society was a huge resource in that process. When we made the move to our new state, I was happy to find plenty of local native plant societies here as well! Planting natives means your maintenance will be super low and so will your water usage, meanwhile it’s a huge boon for pollinators and other wildlife that depends on those spaces. Good luck!

    • Annie says...

      Yay!!! Good luck, I love this idea!

    • Emily says...

      Hi Andrea! I second reaching out to a local native plant society or your local extension service (most large colleges have these). As a landscape architect, I’ve referenced this book before: https://www.amazon.com/Urban-Suburban-Meadows-Bringing-Meadowscaping/dp/0984456007

      Ernst Seeds is also a great resource, particularly for the east and midwest. Their website has lots of great information about how to create meadows regardless of where you live too. https://www.ernstseed.com/ It will help give you an idea of what needs to be done in the various years of establishment.

      The most important thing with keeping your garden low-maintenance is selecting the right plants (native!) for the soil type and moisture content. Getting a soil test done is a great idea (your local extension can also help with that, often for free). You want plants that you don’t have to constantly water (after initial establishment) and to find ones that will adapt over time without a lot of pruning or cutting.

      Hope that helps!

    • Aimee says...

      Totally agree with Charlotte! In addition to your local native plant society, you could look into local Master Gardener programs. Ours here in northern Virginia has been an amazing resource during the pandemic and I have learned so much from them about vegetable gardening and planting native plants. While we haven’t made the jump into a meadow yet, we have transformed part of our front yard into a pollinator garden. As Charlotte said, plants native to your area will require less water when planted in the right spot and are generally lower maintenance overall than non-native plants. Native plant societies and Master Gardener groups around here often have native plant sales, and you might look to see if there are native plant nurseries in your area. Good luck to you and your mom!

    • Rachel Elizabeth says...

      I haven’t actually read it yet, but this book is on my ‘To Read’ List -https://bookshop.org/books/lawns-into-meadows-growing-a-regenerative-landscape/9780998862378

    • suki says...

      Plant it out then mow the perimeter only. That way it looks intentional and architectural. Someone I knew mowed everything but a very large perfect circle that was allowed to be wild and it was so beautiful. As soon as I have a lawn I will do the perimeter’s only thing and I can’t wait. Also second any Monty Don advice, his meadow’s are gorgeous especially now that he’s planted tulips amidst the grass! They look so nice in a natural vs formal setting!

    • Anone says...

      I love love fellow readers for being considerate and providing such great advice: YES, go to local native plant chapters and put in natives appropriate for your soil, sun, etc!! Great advice and the most thoughtful one for the environment. :-) We humans need to be good neighbors o the rest of our non-human organisms!

  85. Lisa says...

    I wish I could upload a photo here and share my suburban garden–phormium, manzanita, ferns, hydrangeas, dogwood, hellebore galore, and more. Finally close to recovering from the fall of two 50-70 foot high trees (luckily no one was hurt), it brings me joy every single day. I am happy to see so many women finding happiness in growing green things.

  86. Charlotte says...

    I love this! I’m so digging (no pun intended) everyone replacing their lawns with gardens. Before we moved away, we replaced our lawn in California with natives. It’s beautiful, practical (super low maintenance, super low water) and the house absolutely comes alive with pollinators and other critters. Now in a rental, we can’t do the same, but I cannot WAIT until we’re in a place we can do it again.

    For anyone interested, I highly recommend the sheet mulching process to remove turf. It utilizes tons of cardboard that would otherwise have to be recycled, preserves soil structure, and works like magic. https://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/techniques/sheet-mulching-aka-lasagna-composting-builds-soil-saves-time

    • Sarah says...

      Thank you!

    • suki says...

      I’ve done this to a sloped landscaped border. The delivery entrance of Lowe’s/Home Depot (they would only let us take them at 6am though) and the very clean recycle bins behind Barnes and Noble are your friends for clean cardboard without a lot of tape or gloss. Top with 6-8″ of delivered mulch and you are set.

  87. Katherine says...

    Also I would appreciate advice about cutting flowers in general; I always worry that if I cut the flowers they will not return. Do most cut flowers tend to be annuals? If not what’s the best pattern to follow? Any advice appreciated :D

    • Charlotte says...

      Hi Katherine, it really just depends on what variety of flower you’re cutting and where you cut it. The rule of thumb is to always cut back to just above a leaf or branch– it keeps the plant looking better than a bunch of bare stems poking out and encourages new growth from the “node”, the little bump where leaves and branches start that contain most of the plant’s growth hormones that get working once it’s pruned. Basically, always cut back to something else on the plant, whether it be a leaf, a branch, or the base of the stem.

      As far as varieties go, some flowers are more vigorous to regrow new buds after cutting. You’ll oftentimes see these referred to as “cut and come again” types of zinnias, dahlias, and calendulas. Certain kinds of flowers, like sweet peas, actually NEED to have their flowers cut back regularly in order to avoid going to seed– the more you cut the more they flower!

      Many seed packets also note when a flower “makes a great cut flower”– essentially that it’s happy to regrow after cutting and that the flowers last long and look healthy in a vase.

      I hope this helps!

    • Rachel says...

      Hi Katherine! It really depends – the majority of cut flowers you probably think of do tend to be annuals. And often with annuals, the more you cut, the more they produce! But there are many pretty perennials and shrubs for cutting, too. Floret Flower Farm has a great book just on cut flowers. Studio Choo “The Flower Recipe” and Chelsea Fuss’ “Field Flower Vase” are also great resources to check out. For growing perennial flowers (at least in the Midwest), “The Well-Tended Perennial Garden” is my favorite book. :)

    • Natalie says...

      Hi Katherine! I’d recommend checking out Floret Flowers. Erin Benzakein and her team grow loads of cut flower varieties and she offers so many tips in her books, website, and social media accounts.

    • Lisa says...

      With success I have cut some roses (hybrid teas do best), lavender, “snowball” viburnum, and hydrangeas. Rose campion however is a complete dud;).

  88. Caitlin says...

    I love seeing all these gardens! My husband is really into gardening, it is so sweet, he finds so much joy being out there with his little plant buddies! I’m trying my hand at it as well and it has been a fun activity to do together. My 2-year-old daughter will join us and always says, “Let’s go check my garden!”

  89. Katherine says...

    That pool! These all look beautiful, any garden is a lovely thing to be endeavouring towards.