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Yarmouth Port gardener has ‘flower power’

You might say she’s got ‘flower power,' Cape Cod Life, April 2017 |

Photograph, above, by Paige Biviano, and at right, by Helen McVeigh

She first fell in love with Cape Cod during her college years, when she spent summers working at the Wayside Inn in Chatham. In the summer before her senior year at Worcester State College (now Worcester State University), she met Walter on the Cape, solidifying her love for the region. After Walter passed away in 1993, the couple’s son, Chris, encouraged Helen to return to the area she loved.

She rented in West Dennis for six summers, then found a charming home in Yarmouth Port she wanted to call her own. The spacious lawn intrigued her, and after a closer look at the gardens—the owner had a green thumb—McVeigh says she couldn’t leave without making an offer. “He had a working garden with very good bones,” she says. “There were vegetables, strawberries, and shrubs. I took a small section at a time and made it my home.”

Since purchasing the home in 2000, McVeigh has continually added gardens, hardscapes, and accessories to the property, which she calls an “ever-changing work in progress.” Strolling around the backyard, it’s impossible to miss what she calls, affectionately, “The Great Wall of Yarmouthport.” A string of luscious green Leyland cypress—fast-growing coniferous evergreen trees—lines the back of the property, establishing a natural fence next to her neighbor’s lawn. Inside this border, the gardens’ rich details come to life.

Throughout all of the gardens’ “rooms,” ornate orbs are tucked neatly in rows of plants, and wooden birdhouses built by McVeigh’s partner, Bobby Hallstein, offer feathered friends a retreat.

Perhaps the most whimsical space of all is the fairy garden. An island bed houses dwarf conifers, hostas, and a quaint village of stone fairy houses with miniature “residents,” each of which has a story.

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