An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

June 24, 2011

And On a Lighter Note

Given the tone of my previous post, I think it would be good to maybe show something more life affirming, with perhaps a few colorful flowers.  After all, this is supposed to be a garden blog, even though I do stray from time to time.  This past Wednesday I was able to tag along with some co-workers and visit two of my favorite local gardeners.  This couple has spent most of their adult life creating beautiful gardens for other people, and now retired for some years, they can spend time in their own garden.  They are both passionate plantspeople, but she is especially so about daylilies and probably has close to 500 cultivars, including many that are her own crosses. Daylilies were the reason for our visit, as my companions were shopping for what we will carry next year, leaving me to roam around.  The other half of this couple has one of the best eyes for garden design of anyone I know, and he is also an accomplished ceramic artist.  There are many examples of his art throughout the garden.

Shall we head in?
Wisteria Arbor

Brick Path 2

Brick Path 1

A species of Callirhoe and a golden form of Cedrus deadara
Callirhoe and Deodar

Plumbago and Geranium Urn

Olive Jar Under Sumac

Clematis and Cob Webs
Clematis and Cob Webs 2

Front Lawn

Rock Garden 1

Rock Garden 2

Rock Garden 3

Rock Garden 4

Erythrina bidwilli
Erythrina bidwilli

I really like how the color of the fine foliage from the Japanese Maple echos the colors in the ceramic piece, but I am sure that was not accidental.
Shade Garden

A variegated Kadsura Vine (Kadsura japonica) and unusual rock formations from China
Shade Garden 2

Cannas and Daylilies 2

Daylilies are incorporated throughout, but this is the largest grouping of them in the garden.
Daylily Garden 1

Daylily Garden 2

Other stars of the garden on Wednesday were all the Echinaceas.

Down the Hill 5

Down the Hill 1

Down the Hill 4

Overlooking the Marsh

Echinacea 'Hot Papaya'
Echinacea 'Hot Papaya'

This garden sits at the end of a small peninsula and is surrounded by the native landscape.  It would be a beautiful sight even without a garden, but it is amazing what a little passion can do.
Overlooking the James

You can see my full set of photos from this garden here.


  1. It's so beautiful! I so love garden tours-if only through photos.

  2. My favorite shots are the ones with the sound in the distance. Really lovely.

  3. Gorgeous photos of a gorgeous garden. I love all of the reds. Also the brick path with the edge a taller brick.

  4. A place to spend many hours. You captured it in a way that makes me want to knock on their door and ask for a tour!

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  6. Very beautiful garden. I love the plaque on the wall behind the daylilies. I also really like the red echinacea. Wow!

  7. Wow...what a beautiful series! How glorious.

  8. What a gorgeous garden, you can see how talented this gardener is at design. Thanks for sharing. :)

  9. Very, very nice, and I'm not even a huge daylily fan. I love the shot you took of the urn tucked under the sumac (?) trees.

  10. Les, that Canna/Daylily combo is amazing. Once again, amazing photography of a beautiful garden.

  11. Les - two amazing gardens in one day - gorgeous photos by you. Both show a wonderful use of form and texture to make spaces you want to be in. Just outstanding!

  12. Les, I knew I would love the garden from the first photo(of course your photography would capture the best side of any garden and make it beuatiful!). I have never had luck with the "colored" echinaceas, although I can grow the pink one beautifully. Carolyn

  13. golly, what a gorgeous garden!

  14. Wow! These gardens are incredible and inspiring to this Tidewater gardener.

    I have a question. How do these folks protect their gardens from the wind? I live on a peninsula - Stingray Point - not far away. Trying to protect plants from the wind is a never-ending battle, and one i rarely win. Inquiring minds ...


  15. Wonderful tour, Les. That tall callirhoe caught my attention. I especially love the photos that open up to water in the distance.

  16. I think I know these gardens but I can never get enough. Ahhhhh.... Such beauty. Such talent. Such dedication.

  17. Tina,
    This garden is indeed open to garden tours several times a year.

    That would be the James River, and it is at its widest point right where this place is.

    Those are reclaimed brick, and is only one example of paving materials skillfully used.

    They would answer the door for you.

    I am glad you enjoyed it.

    They are successful with all the new Echinaceas, but what they do is cut the flower stalks to the ground for the first summer and do not allow it to bloom. They tend to come back better for the next year that way.

    It is glorious and I am fortunate to be able to visit when I like.

    Thanks for commenting. They are both very talented.

    I have become a daylily fan, but not enough to join the cult. Those are sumac, Tiger Eyes.

    It is a great combo, but very few of the combos in this garden are coincidence.

    Actually this is one amazing garden with two amazing gardeners. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    Read my comment to Phillip about how the gardeners here get the newer Echinaceas to be truly perennial. It is not good retail advice, though, to ask a customer to spend $20 on a perennial and then to tell them cut off all the flowers.

    Golly yes it is!

    Wind does not seem to be a problem there. I know they will stake new trees, but everything else seems to be on its own. There worst natural enemy are deer, followed by noreasters and hurricanes. During Isabelle they lost 20-30' of their garden on all sides, but were able to replace it.

    I could not nail down the exact species, but I really liked it for having practically no leaves, just jade green stems and flowers.

    I believe you might know this place.


  18. Ho utterly lovely, he really is gifted, I even liked what he's done with conifers! What makes it are those glimpses of the water though...

  19. Wow, Less - what a treat for the eyes! You're right, this couple really knows their stuff. I, too, am excited about that tall Callirhoe, as the involucrata species does extremely well here. Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful photos!

  20. Hi Les, What a treat this series of photos was! I like that you showed both plant groupings and overall shots. I love the gate that you opened with and so many of the great plant combinations.

  21. That garden would fall apart without the structure of the pruned shrubs and all the hardscaping. You can have a lot of color and chaos if there is something to hold it together. And as a Midwesterner, I can never look at too many daylilies. Quite a collection.