Condo resident in Amherst develops large, colorful garden

lush condo garden in Amherst NYIn the first year, Judy Horan planted eight pink geraniums. Now, just four years later, her garden encompasses the area from the front door of her Amherst condominium, around the corner to her deck. It continues beyond a huge evergreen where she has a small vegetable garden.daylily in Amherst NY Oh, and she has a garden on the other side of the driveway, too.

“I was bored,” said Judy, who is retired. “But this is it. It’s not going to get any bigger.”

She shared her colorful garden during the Amherst Garden Walk on Saturday, July 23.

Judy’s condominium association gave her permission to install the garden.

The garden “makes everybody happy, and it makes me happy,” she said.

Judy has neighbors who have trouble with the physical tasks of gardening, and she helps them out in their gardens. In turn, her neighbors help her by watering her garden when the couple is out of town.gooseneck loosestrife in Amherst NY

During our recent hot spell, Judy said she was watering twice a day. It was so hot, she said she say birds standing under the cascading water in her fountain as if they were showering. Then they’d hop up top and sit in the pool at top, as if they were in a hot tub.

In her garden, Judy uses a variety of perennials,  bulbs and re-seeding plants. Her garden starts with tulips and bleeding hearts in the spring. Summer color includes daylilies (above left), roses, butterfly bush, morning glories, bee balm, cosmos and cardinal plant.

secret garden in Amherst NYThe white flower above right is gooseneck loosetrife, a perennial that you can buy now.  I’ve been seeing it quite a bit in gardens this summer. While everyone I’ve talked to likes it, they all said it’s invasive.

“It will really start to take over,” Judy said.

At left is Judy’s secret garden, created for children to enjoy. Low-hanging branches at the entrance to the path make adults reluctant to enter– if they notice the path at all. The entrance is just right for kids, though, and once inside, they see a world filled with fairies and gnomes.deck with garden at condo in Amherst NY

The deck, which you can see at right, enjoys a beach theme, with a thatched parasol, wind chimes, driftwood and statues with a nautical theme.

Judy lived in South Carolina at one time, and every time she visits now, she brings back sea shells and tosses them along the garden under the raised deck. Colored glass balls add more decoration.shells at condo in Amherst NY

Judy’s husband, Bob, enjoys sitting on the deck and feeding the birds by hand. The couple is also visited by chipmunks, butterflies and hummingbirds.

In addition to the gardens surrounding her unit, Judy has planted another garden across the driveway. That garden, which you can see below left,  is a memorial garden where she plants flowers in honor of loved ones she has lost.

Judy spends two to three hours a day weeding, dead heading and doing other work in her garden at condo in Amherst NY

“I check the garden constantly to see if it’s okay,” she said. “It brings a lot of joy to me.”

Judy admits with a smile that she talks to her plants and sometimes plays music for them.

“You have to show the garden that you love it,” she said. “You have to tell the plants how pretty they are and ask if it’s too warm for them and whether they’d like a drink.

“Then what the garden does for you is it blooms its little heart out!”








4 Comments on “Condo resident in Amherst develops large, colorful garden

  1. Beth,
    We’d love to see your nature photography. Please consider sharing your pictures on the Your Photos page of To submit a photo, email it to me at, along with information about what we see in the photo. Judy’s garden is wonderful, so I know you have great subject material!

  2. Judy,

    Your garden is such a joy to see, my girls love gong over and looking at it and showing their friends. i love taking photos of your gardens for you to enjoy during the long winter months (especially since I love nature themed photography). Your gardens always make the best pictures. Thank you for making our area so beautiful.

  3. Thank you Penny,hope to see you soon. And thank you Connie for running this wonderful article, you’ve made me(and my garden!)so happy!

  4. Bob and Judy,
    I just want to say a big congratulations for having your garden showcased on!

    Bob and Judy are old friends and knowing Judy I know that her garden has to be a true work of art! I missed the garden walk this year but will try and get by to see Judy’s before the season ends.

    Love y’all and will catch up at the Farmers’ Market!

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