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Bloggers Beautiful Gardens…Nella from Acorn Lane Vintage Living

Nella pens the lovely blog Acorn Lane Vintage. She resides in Canada so she has a completely different climate than I have in my garden.  She is able to grow peonies (sigh) and many others that I can’t even consider.  Nella graciously answered some questions, shared her philosophy, and provided some beautiful images of her lovely garden.  If you haven’t stopped by Nella’s beautiful blog you must because not only does she have an enchanting garden, she is a beautiful writer. 
What are your favorite plants?
My favorite plants in my garden are the peonies.  Although not typical for woodland gardens, I have a great south west exposure where they do really well  They are planted in a border with roses, boxwood, and under planted with ivy and pachysandra.
Sarah Bernhardt and Countess de Nemors are pink colored.  My white ones were given to me, so I don’t know what these pristine beauties are called.  One solitary Japanese peony tree, takes center stage with spectacular plate sized deep pink blooms every summer…
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Herbacious and deciduous peonies
I Wish I had added more Japanese peonies, they are slow to mature and very temperamental, but worth every bit of effort!
Japanese peonies just ready to pop!
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A very cold, harsh winter just stressed this plant enough to produce dozens of blooms a few seasons ago…
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Puffs of peonies, picked just before a predicted rain storm..
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Peony buds about to open, in the foreground, rhodos in the background…
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What plants are the best performers in your garden?
The best performers are the rhododendrons, which serve as the understory to the tall hardwood, century old trees, which surround the garden…they are pale lavender, roseum elegans and white Boule de Neige shrubs, approximately 30 years old, and standing about 10 feet high…the conditions here are perfect for their growth, dappled shade, acidic soil and protection from wind and harsh winter sunlight..they contribute to the soft shade palette I strive for…
Rhodos at the edge of the south lawn, the only area with sun…and grass!
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“Roseum elegans, rhododendron,very common variety…they just show up every Spring with a bit of water soluble fertilizer and leaf mould around the base…”
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What are your favorite companion plants?
The best combination of plants here for the short growing season, we are Zone 6, in my shade garden are, hostas, hydrangeas and ferns, accented with English ivy, pachysandra, vinca as ground cover among the moss covered stones, with boxwood and flowering shrubs as anchors..

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“ Early Spring….
Roses, boxwood, peonies,hydrangeas, hostas, unlikely mix, but they work for me…

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Mid summer….”
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“Like so many of us, I adore roses, but am limited to growing them because of the conditions here, so I have found that gallicas perform best, they will tolerate some shade and have the qualities of the gems of the past,incredible fragrance,hardiness and opulent

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“ This is Cinderella Fairy Tale, floribundas, just two years old, in pink and creamy white, all the characteristics of the antique roses, but vigorous, healthy foliage and abundant flowering…”
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“This year I went a little crazy and added eight new roses, all gallica, which are more shade tolerant… I will happily provide the varieties to anyone interested….I think I choose them as much for their lovely names as for their other characteristics!”

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Do you have a favorite feeding program that you follow?
“I have a feeding program of, fish emulsion, Epsom salt, sheep manure and a good top dressing of “gardener’s gold”,  leaf mold which I make here with the abundance of fallen leaves…
Although it can contribute to acidic soil, lime can be added for perfect results…it provides a good mulch for the beds and augments the soil with so many nutrients…naturally.”
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Do you grown any vegetables?  If so what?
”The only vegetable I can grow successfully is rhubarb…and a few herbs, mint, basil and such in pots near the lower terrace…”
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“The garden has taught me many things……the power and beauty of Nature, but mostly patience and restraint!  When you wake up one morning and see what you have worked and envisioned for so long
long, come to fruition before your eyes, it is terribly gratifying…I have learned that every single plant needs at least three seasons in the garden to show it’s stuff! Restraint, to not go out willy nilly and fill the empty spaces with whatever beautiful thing caught my eye, in full bloom at the garden center….patience and vision and restraint…my mantra towards gardening….I admire the work of Vita Sackville-West, Gertrude Jekyll and more currently Rosemary Verey, inspired by the grand English formal gardens….but always an underlying wish for individuality….make my garden my own…..”
Thank you Nella for sharing your philosophy, and your enchanting garden with us.  I can’t imagine a more beautiful garden tended by a more talented and caring hand.

AND!  I almost forgot!  The winner of the giveaway of Nathan Turner’s American Style is Steve!
Please email me with your address so I can send it off to you!

Reader Interactions


  1. Heather Lindstrom says

    This garden is simply lovely. The peonies are so showy and delicate. I have never been able to grow them in California but I would love to~spectacular!

  2. LaPouyette says

    Nella's garden – truly beautiful! Love the forest/wood which gives such a natural background, and the feel of it continues by farns, evergreens, different shades of green and shaped leaves…
    The lovely roses and peonies amongst…a natural look, interesting to walk around, to discover, and at the same time calm and restful!
    Beautiful garden, Nella! Beautiful post, Cindy! Thank you both for sharing!
    Warmest and sunny greetings from the Perigord,

  3. Victoria says

    What a beautiful garden Nella has and I am sooo jealous. She has all of my favorites; hydrangea, hosta, hellebores and, most especially, peonies — all of which I had in my NY garden and cannot grow here in SW Florida. Not only are her plant choices superb, but her garden design itself is also spectacular. Kudos to her.

    • Nella says

      Dear dear Victoria, anyone can do this…for years all I knew about shade gardening was impatiens….I purchased flats each Spring and filled the spaces I had created as a novice gardener…I read voraciously, anything I could learn about gardens, and was very fortunate to have a mother who taught me so much about augmenting the soil, tilling by hand with a garden fork, so much more…it takes time and patience to grow a garden…somewhat like raising our children…it is in all of us to foster nurturing in many ways…N.xo

  4. Debra Phillips says

    i love this series cindy!
    what a gorgeous garden nella has nurtured, so serene and voluptuous. now i am thinking of reigning in some patience and planting some japanese tree peonies!

  5. Maryanne says

    Thank you for the introduction, it's nice to have found someone who shares the same interest and garden philosophy as myself. What a lovely garden!

  6. Nella says

    Dear Cindy, thank you again for inviting me to share the garden with your readers….like most gardeners we love to do just that! It has been a work in progress for many years…and Loi to get such lovely comments from you, well, makes all that digging in the dirt worth every minute! Thank you. What I truly love about blogging, sharing, connecting and being inspired by a world, literally, of amazing people….N.xo

  7. Loi Thai, Tone on Tone says

    Hi, Cindy! Hi, Nella!
    What a wonderful post on Nella's beautiful garden. Her peonies are divine and very romantic. I am a fan of this talented lady 🙂 Following both her blog and Pinterest boards. And yes: patience and restraint…..totally agree!
    Hugs to you both 🙂

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