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.

July 11, 2015

Open Garden in Carrollton

     Back in June I was invited to an Open Garden event at the home of Bill and Linda Pinkham. This was not my first time here (nor this blog's), and I always enjoy visiting. The Pinkhams are consummate plant people, and over the years have designed some of the best residential landscapes in southeastern Virginia, introduced new plants to area gardeners, mentored many in horticulture (including myself), and they have created a remarkable garden for themselves overlooking the James River.
Pinkham Garden (4)

Daucus carota (2)

Hydrangea 'Invincibelle Spirit' and Aralia 'Sun King'

Hosta 'Brother Stefan'

Gothic Window


Koi Pond (2)

     In order to reach the front door of the house, a pond with enormous koi must be crossed first.

Aechmea blanchetiana

Ptilostemon afer

Pinkham Garden

Pinkham Garden (6)

Pinkham Garden (5)

Pinkham Garden (3)

Pinkham Garden (1)

Pinkham Garden (2)

My Eggs!

Mixed Containers

Lily Against Liquidambar 'Aurea'

Lilium, Kniphofia, Yucca

Iris siberica and Carex 'Everillo'

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snow Queen'

Hydrangea Planter (1)

Hydrangea Planter (2)


  1. I've missed a couple of chances to see this garden, so it's nice to see your pics. Beautiful setting, indeed. I love the couple in front of the red wall and the metal piece on the right. Many nice architectural details. One day I hope to see it in person!

  2. Does anyone know the ID of the plant below the planter in the bottom right of the last two photos? The one with the large oval leaves. Thank you!

  3. This garden is magnificent and so well situated, adjacent to the natural setting of the river. I loved the picture of the wild carrot against the panoramic views, the combination of yucca, hot pokers and lilies. The alligator bench is whimsical, and finally, who wouldn't want to walk on water to reach their front door?

  4. Looks like the garden art really enhances the garden. It looks like a lot of garden to be kept up as nicely as you show it to be. In our case there are always weeds poking through our plans...
    I like purple and yellow combo with the Iris and Carex. That takes some nerve...

  5. It looks like a lovely garden through your lens, and they certainly have an amazing view of the water! Obviously creative gardeners--in their plant selections and the placement of the art and hardscapes.

  6. Beautiful pictures (as usual) and beautiful garden! I enjoyed seeing the recent feature on them in Virginia Gardener magazine also. If there is another open garden day and it can be publicized, I hope you'll spread the word on FB.

    The Pinkham’s departure, and yours, from your former place of business, has really been a sad thing. I went to Smithfield Gardens a couple of months ago and they were closed two days a week, Sunday and Monday (in the height of gardening season!!!) and the plants for sale were scarce and compressed into only a fraction of the area that the nursery's for sale items used to consume. I did buy a pot of the liriope 'Pee Dee Gold Ingot' (in one of your pictures) -- only one though due to the price and divided it into five pips and it's doing well. I remain very sad about SG; it was my favorite nursery and original home of many of our favorite plants.

  7. What a fabulous garden! What is the plant in the 2nd photo? It looks like Queen Anne's Lace.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. David, when I visit a garden, or go anywhere that my camera accompanies me, I rarely have an agenda or create pre-set lists of things to photograph. The lens (and my eye) sees what the lens sees. If something "more exotic" catches my eye I will photograph it, as I will something that "can be seen anywhere" .As to the palms you mentioned, unfortunately I don't find them that exciting, or at least that photogenic. However, I do appreciate them, and two of the three have a home in my garden. If you poke around this blog or my Flickr page you will see a few hardy palm shots, as well as many camellia photos. If you want to see something I consider exotic, there are 11 posts labeled "Florida" on this blog, and a link by the same name is in the sidebar on the right. Thanks for the suggestions, but you shouldn't expect to see any major changes.

  9. That's fair enough. I'm a fan of subtropical plants, especially when they're found in unexpected places. I agree, palms can be rather seedy looking at times. But if cultivated in the appropriate environment with proper care, they are quite photogenic. If you've ever been in a Sabal palmetto hammock down in Florida, you might agree.

    By the way, your cotton discussion was quite informative.

    I guess my reply was prompted by my frustration in not being able to visit the area much myself and the fact that my local climate is not suitable for their cultivation. Well, thank you for the reply. It just proves that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. I won't expect any changes.