Susan’s Garden in the Catskills

Today we’re in the Catskill Mountains of New York State, visiting Susan Simperfender’s garden.

I’m a self-taught gardener who has benefited from advice from locals, friends, and our local nursery—and Fine Gardening! It’s been about 15 years of cultivating all you see here. I got especially passionate about 2010 when things were quite hard and my garden was my haven for healing.

garden bed in full bloomMy husband built the stone border for me—60 feet by 5 feet of garden. I chose the location by looking out my kitchen window while doing dishes, imagining what I’d like to see. I started with many silly plants that didn’t make it because I knew nothing.

pink phlox flowersThe late phlox (Phlox paniculata, Zones 4–8) you see here was my first success. Anyone can grow phlox—especially in the Catskills. It’ll make you feel like you can do this!

yellow flowers next to light green flowersNext was the showy sedum (Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, Zones 3–10).

garden full of yellow flowersWhen I bought the tall rudbeckia (Rudbeckia laciniata, Zones 4–9) on the ends and middle. I thought I was buying black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia fulgida, Zones 4–9)! Oh well. So I replanted them in their current locations for contrast and direction. Finally, I bought black-eyed Susans for real. And again, you can’t fail at them.

purple and white irisesIrises (Iris hybrid, bearded group, Zones 3–9) have become a beautiful group in the front and bee balm dots throughout.

Joe Pye weedJoe Pye weed (Eutrochium maculatum, Zones 3–8) is the silliest addition. It popped up as one last year and I kept it; now there are seven. So you see, I work with my Zone 5 and have learned to enjoy it and to encourage what lives our mediocre soil that is supplemented with good soil.

dark purple columbine flowersDark purple columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris, Zones 3–8)

Mountain cornflowerMountain cornflower (Centaurea montana, Zones 3–8) in front of a birdbath

tree-lined street on a foggy dayAnd last, a magical, foggy morning

Have a garden you’d like to share?

Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

If you want to send photos in separate emails to the GPOD email box that is just fine.

Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

You don’t have to be a professional garden photographer – check out our garden photography tips!

Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.



Flower Seeds


Choosing the right fruit trees for your climate
How to harvest herbs: How and when to harvest homegrown herbs
what weed is it? putting names to pesky plants
Georgia’s Farming and Gardening Sector: Top 10 Easiest Veggies to Grow [Infographic]
15 Garden Trends To Avoid in 2024: Experts Warn Against These Outdated Designs
How To Overwinter Ollas For Years Of Use: Get More From Irrigation Pots
How To Grow An Indoor Lemon Tree
No-Till Cover Crops: How To Grow Healthier Soil Over Winter
How to plant and grow potentilla
The best garden shredders in 2024
How to grow ceanothus (California lilac)
How to grow a walnut tree
Quick Tip: Save Your Seeds
Quick Tip: Plant Where You Can Easily Water
Quick Tip: Don’t Work Wet Soil
Quick Tip: Focus on Soil Drainage When Starting a Garden
Top 6 Struggles of Growing Herbs Indoors (w/ solutions)!!!??? // Garden Answer
Top 5 Beginner Tips For Apartment Gardeners Aja Dang Epic
How To Grow Tomatoes Indoors
How To Care For Indoor Plants + GREENIFY YOUR SPACE
How to Grow Vegetable Seedlings
Try it now | How to grow Bean Sprouts in the fastest and easiest
Try it now | How to grow Bean Sprouts in the fastest and easiest
Biggest & Thickest Buds on Cannabis using This Organic Hardener & Sugars
Biggest & Thickest Buds on Cannabis using This Organic Hardener & Sugars