The beautiful gardens of La Fox resident Donna Neiler are featured in the May/June issue of Cottage Living magazine. It's still on the newstands so grab a copy. It has some wonderful photographs.
Donna is a whirlwind of energy. She serves on the board of Garfield Farm Heritage Society and one other professional organization. Her lovely home was built in the 1860's for the daughter of Timothy Garfield who ran the local inn. His home is now the Garfield Farm and Inn Museum. Angeline Garfield Harvey and her husband called this lovely place home in the late 1800's.
Donna and her husband purchased the home and three acres twenty seven years ago. The property a large barn, milk house, horse barn, silo and the corn crib featured in Cottage Living.
I drove past this property every day on my way to work at the local newspaper. For five years I watched the seasons change and could only glimpse the beautiful gardens that were tucked behind the house. I always wondered who tended this property with such care. I promised myself if I ever saw the owner in the garden I would stop and introduce myself. Commuters hours don't coincide with gardeners hours and the opportunity never presented itself.
Many times I would shoot photos of her Halloween display as I waited for a train to pass. In summer I'd marvel at the beautiful Annabelle hydrangeas in all their glory. Here's a photo of her porch in summer, so inviting with the white wicker furniture. The front gardens are planted in white. It makes for a very clean and fresh looking display.
I finally met Donna at the yearly awards ceremony for Garfield Farm Museum. I told her how much pleasure her gardens had given me, making an otherwise boring commute interesting. She invited me to stop anytime. Finally last summer, shortly after the Cottage Living photo shoot, I got to look into the wonderland that sweeps to west behind her home.
She has graciously invited my readers to a private tour of her property. When you pull into the drive between the house and the large barn you're greeted with this sight. The pathway leads to the rear entrance. The large beds hug the path and the irises were blooming in all their glory. What a sight!
If you walk further down the drive you can look back and see the rear of the house and the lush plantings. A local artist presented Donna with a drawing from this viewpoint. It hangs in her living room.
Directly behind the house is a large round flagstone patio. In this photo you can see the four large planters that ring the patio. It looks like a sea of green, rolling to the south.
The patio is the perfect place to sit in the evening as the sun goes down. Donna's friend was married in this garden six years ago.
The urns are traditional and add some height and drama. That's the silo in the background. The barn is hidden from view by the large pine tree.
The original planting included a forty foot bed of these peonies. Can you imagine the show they put on? She's split and moved the peonies around. Can anyone identify this? Since they were here when they purchased the property, she has no idea which variety this is.
It is spectacular, with a flat outer edging and ruffled center.
I took lots of photos, so come back tomorrow when we will tour the remainder of the property including everyone's favorite, the corn crib!