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Small Garden, Big Impact: Peaceful Cottage Garden
Mar 30
2021

Small Garden, Big Impact: Peaceful Cottage Garden

By Juliette Olshock

As we wrap up the winter months, we will continue highlighting gardens of Western Pennsylvania that inspire us with their beauty and their positive impact on the environment.

Gene and Carrie Swiech’s garden reflects over 20 years of labor and love. When they decided to build a home on a typical western Pennsylvanian lot, they took up the challenge of planting on a clay hillside. With some added compost and lots of elbow grease the couple added local flora to brighten and enhance the hillsides of their home. Annuals and perennial flowers hug the slope, blanketing the area in a burst of colors. The garden features day lilies, roses, hostas, Peonies, assorted hydrangeas and various deciduous and evergreen trees.

The hillside is the perfect place to put a waterfall that then leads to a pond. This is Carrie and Gene’s favorite part of the lush garden. Of the area they say, “The water pond garden is certainly the focal point, chalk full of Koi fish, lily pads, waterfalls and lighting features deceptively built among the hillside.”

Of course the wildlife enjoy all of the plants and water features. Carrie and Gene say, “We are very proud of the sanctuary we have created by incorporating various species of flora and placement of bird feeders that attract a plethora of Cardinals, Hummingbirds, Blue jays, Orioles, gold finches, Pileated Woodpeckers, and even a resident Owl.” They also enjoy the various bushes and flowers that attract multiple species of butterflies and other pollinating insects that support this mini ecosystem.

In addition to all of the natural elements of the garden the couple has included camouflaged speakers hidden throughout. This creates a welcoming atmosphere that invites visitors to step closer as they investigate the many pathways of the garden and commune with nature.

In order to create such a beautiful, sustainable garden Carrie and Gene focus on utilizing organic gardening practices and employed a lot of time in planning and properly matching plants to the conditions of their yard. When asked what they enjoy most about gardening, the couple say, “The perpetual nature of constantly improving and enhancing the garden from the year before. We find the elements of nature and gardening to be relaxing and therapeutic, especially after a long day/ week at work.”


Comments

I have been there in person and the atmosphere is absolutely magical. Love you two.

By Donna Konik on Apr 1, 2021

I have had the blessing of seeing this garden in person many times.  It is truly a wonderful place to experience the beauty of nature created by God!

By Fr. David Driesch on Apr 1, 2021

This is my cousin’s beautiful garden, a wonderful oasis!

By Mary Alice Armour on Apr 1, 2021

We’ve been lucky enough to see this beautiful garden too. It’s a wonderful place put together by two amazing people!

By Len & Karen Orendi on Apr 1, 2021

We have seen this beautiful masterpiece. Makes one truly appreciate Mother Nature and God’s richness.

By Ron and Madeline Kelley on Apr 1, 2021

So proud of my son-in-law who we think of as our son and my daughter for what they accomplished through the years. There yard is so beautiful and when I visit I feel like I am at a relaxing resort. May God continue to bless them as they journey through life. Thank you for recognizing their hard work by featuring their garden❤️

By Joan Whitney on Apr 1, 2021

So proud of my son-in-law who we think of as our son and my daughter for what they accomplished through the years. There yard is so beautiful and when I visit I feel like I am at a relaxing resort. May God continue to bless them as they journey through life. Thank you for recognizing their hard work by featuring their garden❤️

By Joan Whitney on Apr 1, 2021

We have spent countless hours enjoying this beautiful garden. It certainly shows the love that my sister and her husband have for gardening and each other. It is a true labor of love.

By Chuck and Pam Whitney on Apr 1, 2021

This is their very special secret garden, but wait , they love to entertain so the secret is out. Love ❤️ it.

By Greg Swiech on Apr 1, 2021

I’m going to have to come over to see all you have done.  The only problem is that I don’t drive anymore.  I’ll have Dan call you when the weather settles down.  Did you hear that Lois passed away?  She is being buried here.  Her first husband John Servov is buried in the cemetery on rt 30 in North Versailles.

By Dorothy Holtzman on Apr 1, 2021

What an absolute paradise! Every photo is gorgeous! What an amazing oasis for your family and friends. I can’t imagine the work that it took to create such beauty. It’s obvious, though, that it was a labor of love.

By Bunny and Bill Vitori on Apr 1, 2021

What an incredible garden!

By Bridget Rouser on Apr 1, 2021

Thank you ALL for the kind words, we really appreciate it. Thanks also to Phipps Conservatory andBotanical Garden for featuring our garden. We would like to send out a special thanks to all the people Who have helped us make our garden a beautiful sanctuary: Bill and Allison at Blue Ridge Landscape Supplies, Mary at Expert Outdoor Power, STIHL dealer, Martin’s Nursery, Niles at Chelsea’s Nursery, Scotty at Scotty’s North Hills Water Gardens and Labuta Farm Service.

By Carrie and Gene Swiech on Apr 1, 2021

Carrie & Gene have a beautiful backyard garden. My cousins are an amazing couple .
May God continue to bless your family.❤Love you!

By By Susan Morrow on Apr 1, 2021

I’ve been to a wedding celebration hosted in this beautiful garden. Truly amazing that it is tucked away in our little township!

By Trudie Samudovsky on Apr 2, 2021

What a beautiful garden!  How do you ever leave it!  So happy for you Carrie and Gene, it is truly beautiful, and it shows how much you love it!  You have alot to be proud of.

By mike and mary on Apr 3, 2021

These pictures depict this beautiful garden of Gene and Carrie’s place but they truly don’t do justice until you see it in person. I have visited my cousin many times from Michigan and each time I’m there I’m blown away by the beautiful and peaceful sanctuary they have created. Truly a labor of love

By Chris Rendon on Apr 4, 2021