The First Spring Rose Blooms in my garden…

   Having been busy in the garden these last few days planting more roses,  I was able to enjoy some of my first rose blooms this spring. The excitement of seeing those buds open to beauty and grace never gets old. I took a break from planting and was able to capture these first spring rose blooms in my garden…

‘Easy Does It’ Floribunda Rose. 2010 AARS award winner.


'Madame Alfred Carrie' Climbing Noisette. Fragrant. Full of buds and about to give a spectacular display.


"White Licorice' Floribunda rose. Fragrant


'Distant Drums' Shrub Rose


'Julia Child' Floribunda Rose


Reve d' Or' Climbing Noisette (1869). Earthkind Rose. Fragrant


Beautiful 'Don Juan' Climbing rose. Fragrant


Awaiting the debut of so many other rose blooms in my garden, I’m grateful for the ‘early birds’ that have given me the enthusiasm to continue planting more in the weeks to come….









An Early ‘SpRInG FeVeR’ in my garden…..


In the garden or in a lovely vase, nothing represents spring’s finery more than tulips, hyacinths and daffodils. Even though the contribution of spring bulbs is short lived, it is indeed spectacular when they are in full bloom in my garden. Having planted over 3,000 bulbs by myself I might add, check out my post ‘Oh, My Bulb Mania in my garden’, today I am enjoying the splendor and color of all my hard work!

Here are some photo highlights of my favorite spring bulb groupings in my garden…..


Blend of maroon and lavender tulips with rose pink snapdragons.

One of my favorite color combinations ...




Every year I plant hundreds of 'Best Red' tulips in my front planting beds. I use an Auger for faster and easier planting.


Lovely when mixed with white snapdragons.


Timeless mix of blue hyacinth and red tulips.


Lovely with conifers.


'Best Red' is a keeper in my spring garden.


The most beautiful tulip of all- 'Angelique'.



'Angelique' does very well in containers in my garden.


Tulip 'Angelique' with blue Starflower


Tulip 'Mt. Tacoma' and creeping jenny fill out this blue container.
'French Rose Blend'


Spring bulbs planted amongst my conifers.


Stonebridge view




Daffodils surrounding conifer 'Pendula Bruns'


Daffodils and Camellia 'Professor Sargent'


My son, Nicholas, among hundreds of daffodils in the woodland area of my garden.

 I know my days are numbered to enjoy the beauty of my bulbs, especially since due to very warm temperatures my Spring came earlier than usual this year!  I’ve more to look forward to though, I already see my roses swelling with buds …..



Bulbs planted: Tulips- Best Red, Mt Tacoma, Angelique, Strike Me Pink,French Rose Blend and Maureen. Daffodils- Ice Follies, Carlton and February Gold.

My tulips are pre-chilled (in the refrigerator) in October for 8-10 weeks and then planted in December.








The American Conifer Society – Southeastern Region Rendezvous 2012 visit to my Garden…

I recently had the honor in having members of the American Conifer Society- Southeastern Region and other conifer enthusiasts, visit my garden this weekend. Harry and Rona Bethea, of Bannister Creek Nursery, hosted this ‘Rendezvous’ of visitors throughout my garden and another local garden, that of Wes and Charlene Rowe. Meeting and mingling with all the fellow conifer enthusiasts (a.k.a. coneheads), was an incredible experience and made me realize that I too am a conifer lover and proud of it!  Being able to converse with so many knowledgeable and wonderful people made me want to become a part of their  ‘conifer family’  in sharing this enthusiasm .


January 7, 2012- ACS Southeast Region Rendezvous


Though I also adore my Japanese Maples and other flowering shrubs and trees, I must admit I have acquired an addiction for conifers over the last 6 years.  I’ve come to realize, conifers are incredibly versatile and reliable adding wonderful texture, form, and color to my garden. They come in a palette of different blues, greens, golds and bronzes and also add ‘personality and art form’ to my landscape all year long when most of my deciduous trees and shrubs have shed their leaves. Most of my conifers are easy to care for in my Zone 7b garden. Of course, through trail and error and having a great conifer mentor like Harry Bethea, I’ve learned certain conifers will do really well in our climate as long as you have implemented the following steps: choosing the right planting site, planting properly, plant high or in raised beds, give adequate water especially in the 1st year and during drought, and do some occasional pruning and spring fertilizing with a mild organic fertilizer such as Hollytone.


My garden-Summer 2011


Summer 2011


Here’s a sampling of some of the many conifers I have collected over the years for my southern garden- I have well over 100 in my landscape but these are some of my favorites…

Conifer Association links:  and

Picea orientalis 'Skylands'
Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar -(Cedrus atlantica)
Chamaecyparis nootkatensis & Tsuga canadensis 'Pendula'
Cedrus deodara 'Snow Sprite'
Cupressus macrocarpa 'Saligna Aurea'
Cedrus deodara 'Feelin Blue'


Picea omorika 'Pendula Bruns'
Picea likiangensis var. purpurea
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Lemon Twist'
Picea abies 'Frohburg'


Tsuga canadensis 'Summer Snow'
Picea abies 'Pendula'



Cedrus deodara 'Sanders Blue'
Juniperus horizontalis 'Gold Strike'
Juniperus squamata 'Blue Star'
Metasequoia glyptostroboides 'Golden Dawn'




Oh My! Bulb Mania in my Garden…

Over the holiday break I finally found the time to plant my spring bulbs. I ordered over 3,500 this year, mainly tulips and daffodils. Since I live in the south (Zone 7b) I usually treat most of my tulips as annuals  in order to have an abundance of huge blooms in the spring. Having planted over 2,000 bulbs last year,  hand-troweled I might add, I decided to use an auger this year.  Wow!  What a difference it made. I saved alot of time, having finished most of my bulb planting in 2 days,  but most importantly, my back and hamstrings definitely benefited from using the auger.




I bought this bulb auger at my local nursery.  It attaches easily to a cordless drill and is long enough so you can stand while using it.

It saved my back while planting over 3,000 bulbs.




Here are some of my 2012 Bulb picks for my Garden ……

Best Red Tulips

‘Best Red’– a poppy red tulip that I plant every year in my front yard planting beds by the hundreds. Beautiful!




French Blend Rose Tulips

 ‘French Blend Rose’– Beautiful combo of pink, rose, and apricot that goes well with my apricot/orange roses in the spring.


Mount Tacoma Double Tulips

‘Mt. Tacoma’- lovely double white late tulip. I love using these in containers and in my blue and white garden.


‘Angelique’- considered as one of the most beautiful tulips. Double soft pink petals with silver edges. Absolutely stunning!


Strike me Pink  Tulips

‘Strike Me Pink’- a blend of maroon and lavender. I love to plant this with yellow snapdragons around my ‘Lemon Twist’  Hinoki Cypress.


Linifolia species Tulip

Linifolia’- a species tulip. Flowers open to scarlet with black centers.  Great for rock gardens. Mine are planted around my Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar and other conifers.


ElNino Tulips

El Nino’- Flowers red and rose, amber and rose, or all three at once. Beautiful in containers.


Ice Follies Daffid

‘Ice Follies’- Large, silvery white flowers with a lemon-yellow cup. Great daffodil for naturalizing. I have hundreds of daffodils; I like mixing these with the traditional yellow ones.



‘Starflower’- Blue flowers on low mats of foliage. Great for rock gardens and edge of border. I plant mine everywhere..containers ,around other bulbs, my conifer gardens, and my woodland area. Great bulb for the south.


Maureen tulips

‘Maureen’-Classic tall white tulip, great for cutting.  Looks lovely in my all white garden.


Now, if spring would just get here….I’m counting the days.





For the last several years I have ordered my bulbs from Colorblends. Love the selection and quality.

Credit for Bulb photo’s – Colorblends.

























The Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park

During Thanksgiving break my family and I took a trip out west to beautiful San Francisco.  Our oldest son was turning 18 during that time plus we were also visiting some colleges in the area that he was interested in attending. It was a perfect opportunity to fit in some wonderful family time. We did the normal sightseeing stops; Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, Chinatown, Coit Tower, Fisherman’s Wharf and a few museums.

Much to my delight, we were able to fit in a visit to The Japanese Tea Garden in the heart of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The Japanese Tea garden is considered the oldest public Japanese garden in the United States. The garden features many classical elements such as; an arched drum bridge, pagoda’s, stone lanterns, tranquil koi ponds, native Japanese plants, stone paths and a Zen garden. In March and April Cherry blossom trees bloom throughout the garden. However, even in the fall I found the garden to be spectacular with its natural beauty and tranquility…








My youngest son, Nicholas on top of the Drum Bridge



Stone Pagoda and bronze cranes in Main Pond



Alexander, the” birthday boy” standing in front of the Buddhist Pagoda



Drum Bridge





Koi Pond

Zen Garden

Large bronze Buddha

A clipped hedge in the shape of Mt. Fuji.

Of course, I could not close without a photo of the Golden Gate Bridge...







My Love Affair with Japanese Maples

My love affair with Japanese Maples started five years ago, starting out with 4 large (Dissectum) Japanese Maples which quickly  morphed into 25  (19 different cultivars).  I guess you could say I have started a small collection of Japanese Maples  in my garden landscape which I am sure will continue to grow over the next several years.

Japanese Maples are known for their lacy and delicate foliage, their elegant architectural form, and their beautiful foliage colors both in the spring and fall, making them excellent choices for your landscape. Below are some of the Japanese Maples in my garden showing off their fall and summer colors …


FALL FOLIAGE…Acer palmatum ‘Mikawa yatsubusa’

 A beautiful dwarf Japanese maple. Leaves emerge light green with red tips and turning yellow to red in the fall. 3′


FALL FOLIAGE…Acer palmatum ‘Mikawa yatsubusa’

 The leaves unfold in the spring to a green, and then are exceptionally beautiful in the fall turning yellow to red.

SUMMER FOLIAGE… Acer japoncium ‘Full Moon Maple’



FALL FOLIAGE… Acer palmatum ‘Watnong’- (Dissectum)

New growth begins red that later turns pink- red with emerging green. Beautiful in that many colors – red,pink and green- can appear on the tree all at one time. In fall the leaves are scarlet. 5-10′

SUMMER FOLIAGE… Acer palmatum ‘Watnong’ – (Dissectum)


FALL FOLIAGE…Acer palmatum ‘Orangeola’ – (Dissectum)- Recently pruned
SUMMER FOLIAGE… Acer palmatum  ‘Orangeola’ Dissectum



FALL FOLIAGE… Acer shirasawanum ‘Autumn Moon’

 In spring, the leaves turn a pale yellow green that deepens to golden tones late summer/fall.

Protect from afternoon sun.

SUMMER FOLIAGE… Acer shirasawanum ‘Autumn Moon’



FALL FOLIAGE… Acer palmatum ‘Waterfall’  (Dissectum)

 Has a beautiful cascading manner, turns a beautiful shade of gold/crimson in fall. 5-10′


SUMMER FOLIAGE… Acer palmatum ‘Waterfall’- (Dissectum)



EARLY FALL FOLIAGE…Variegated… Acer palmatum ‘Oku Kuji Nishiki’ – (Matsumurae)


 A variegated Japanese maple, with small green and white leaves with a hint of pink in spring.




 A finely dissected maple, has light orange-red leaves. 5-10′


FALL FOLIAGE…Acer palmatum ‘Twombley’s Red Sentinel’

 A columnar Japanese Maple whose brilliant red foliage lasts through summer, turning crimson in the fall. Shines in my landscape. 10-15′

FALL FOLIAGE…Acer palmatum ‘Ryusen’

 A cascading form which has a lacy appearance with wonderful  orange-red fall color.



Japanese Maples are beautiful in so many ways, and in so many seasons.

No wonder I love them so much!













November GBBD

Here’s whats blooming in my garden.. for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day…


Camellia sasanqua old fashioned favorite.



'Diamonds Blue' Delphinium



Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'




Some of my shrub roses are still hanging on even after some cold weather..


Red and Pink Knockouts



Shrub rose 'Amber'



White Climbing rose 'Iceburg'


Check out more GBBD posts at:







Camellia sasanqua… a Fall Southern Classic

Fall is the time for one of my favorite evergreen shrubs to shine… the sasanqua Camellia.

My three sasanqua Camellia’s are in full bloom right now and really putting on a stunning show. This fall blooming Camellia starts flowering in my garden late October and will last until December, but November is when C. sasanqua’s peak in my garden. I have about a dozen camellias in my landscape,  (mostly C. japonica, late winter/early spring blooming), but welcome the floral simplicity of the C. sasanqua  in my autumn landscape.

  Sasanqua Camellia ‘Yuletide’ is a favorite in my garden, with single brilliant red blooms and prominent yellow stamens, which blooms now and sometimes until Christmas.

Sasanqua camellias are the easiest camellias to grow as they can take just about any exposure from partial shade to full sun. These evergreens will grow 8-10′ tall (some can get bigger) and there are even some dwarf varieties that stay under 5′.

This is an unidentified sasanqua Camellia in my garden with single pink blooms.

The photo below , C. japonica (winter blooming) Nuccio ‘Bella Rosa’, has formal 4″crimson red blooms with a long winter blooming season , even though right now mine is loaded with buds and blooming ( go figure).

Now is the time to shop for Camellia sasanqua in nurseries because they are in bloom and you can easily decide which color and variety you would like to add to your garden.

So search out one that you will like and find a home for one of these striking evergreen shrubs in your landscape.

For more information on camellias:












My Fall Kaleidoscope…Fall Color Project 2011


Dave, at  The Home Garden, has been giving bloggers the opportunity via ‘The Fall Color Project’


to share their posts & photo’s on fall color in their area .

This will be my first year participating.


In the fall , my landscape changes into a kaleidoscope of color, with hues of yellow, red, orange, brown and green.



Hydrangea quericifolia ‘Snowflake’

Ginkgo biloba ‘Mariken’-  Dwarf Gingko


Abelia ‘Rose Creek’


A ‘Window View’ from inside my house…..



Acer shirasawanum  ‘Aureum’ known as ‘The Full Moon Maple’ has brilliant orange, yellow, and red fall colors.


“Autumn is a second spring, where every leaf is a flower” ~ Albert Camus






























































For the Love of Birds… wild bird ‘Bed and Breakfast’ garden


I LOVE birds.  I love feeding them, housing them in my landscape, and watching them as I tend the garden.  I guess my garden has become a haven for my feathered friends since it offers them an assortment of food, water, and shelter . Over the years, I have collected quite a variety of bird feeders and birdhouses; many given to me as gifts. Here are a few photo’s  of the ‘Bed and Breakfast‘ opportunities my garden has to offer my many feathered friends  ……

This birdhouse has housed many birds over the years; the cypress vine embracing it attracts lots of hummingbirds in the summer.

 My trio of bird feeders/birdhouse attracts a variety of birds to my garden, such as: chickadees, golden finches, woodpeckers, cardinals, blue jays, and doves,  just to name a few. The bird seed I normally use to feed my birds are:  black oil sunflower, nyjer, safflower (due to all the squirrels) and suet. Finches are especially fond of nyjer seed . Woodpeckers, titmice and jays like to feed on suet.

A Christmas gift from my niece last year..a birdhouse covered in bird seed!

Bird feeders will help you attract wild birds to your property but make sure to provide a consistent supply of birdseed in a quality bird feeder.

Also, be sure to clean your feeders to protect the birds and yourself. They should be cleaned periodically to remove old seed so that disease organisms do not kill the very birds you are trying to feed.


My window bird feeder (attached via suction cups) allows me to view my birds up close…maybe I’ll get lucky and get a close-up photo of my birds one day!


One of my more unusual feeding stations….a small bird feeder in my succulent basket container!

My Suet Feeder  provides a protein filled snack for some of my smaller birds and woodpeckers.

Another way of feeding birds is by offering and planting foods they would find in nature, and that starts with bird friendly plants such as berries from holly bushes and left- over flower seed heads. Also, a consistent supply of clean water for drinking and bathing via a birdbath,  fountain ,etc. is needed to maintain a bird-friendly habitat.

Bird feeders and birdhouses add a liveliness to my garden; after all, our feathered friends need a regular place to dine and live…….so why not start your own wild bird “Bed and Breakfast” in your garden?

  I did.




For tips on feeding your wild birds check out these links:























Autumn Charmer- “Hillside Sheffield” Chrysanthemum


For a splendid splash of color in your autumn landscape you need to try Chrysanthemum ‘Hillside Sheffield’. On autumn days you’ll love the beautiful mounds of its single,daisy-like flowers in peachy apricot with a rich golden yellow center.

This Chrysanthemum graces my garden with blooms starting the 1st week of  October until frost in my Zone 7b garden. Typically grows 2-3′ tall with a slightly smaller spread. I pinch them in summer (June) to keep the the stems more compact. Does best in full sun , however, in my southern climate it appreciates some afternoon shade, in rich well drained soil.

Anyone who sees this mum flower in my fall garden loves it and immediately wants it in their landscape.  So go ahead, add some “autumn charm” to your fall garden.



Colorful Pumpkins in my garden….

Pumpkins are ideal for autumn decor in your garden.  With so many colors to choose from;  white, blue, green, striped, peach, red and “traditional” orange, they bring a sense of fun and uniqueness to my garden.  I just finished decorating my porch and some of my fall containers with pumpkins,  here’s a peek…













With hardly any effort at all you can give your garden a fall “facelift”. So have some fun and experiment with all the colorful pumpkins!
















” Orange Blossoms” in my garden


Lantana "Miss Huff' is a magnet for bee's and butterflies in my garden.


"Amber" Flower Carpet Rose with lantana.


Floribunda "VaVoom" (Weeks Rose) ,beautiful orange color. 3'-4' H


Orange area of my garden; Lantana "Miss Huff", Zinna "Zowie, and Floribunda "Vavoom".



Zinna "Zowie"


Lantana “Miss Huff” blooms from late spring until frost.  It’s color combination of orange, pink, and yellow blends well with my Amber flower carpet roses. “Miss Huff” is a hardy lantana in my Zone 7b garden surviving many of my winters. As you can see in the photo’s, it gets quite large reaching 3′-5′ easily. I love how it attracts the butterflies!




“Planting Roses Makes Common Scents”


Climbing "Cecile Brunner" nicknamed the "sweetheart rose", makes a spectacular display over an arbor in my garden.


“Planting Roses Makes Common Scents”….. so make the time to plant one. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing these last few weeks in my garden. Luckily, since I live in Zone 7b, I don’t have to wait till spring to plant my roses even though I’m sure I will find more to plant once spring arrives. This year I’ve planted several Climbing roses, Hybrid Musk’s, and a few Floribundas.  The roses I selected needed to be tolerant of my hot and humid summers, as to keep any diseases down to a minimum, since I’m not an advocate of spraying my roses. Some of the roses I’ve planted are Antique Roses.  Antique roses seem to be tougher and are more disease resistant than some of the modern roses. Also, keeping my roses well fertilized with organic fertilizer during their growing season and pruning when needed seems to  keep them pretty happy. However, I do have my challenges;  living in a heavily deer populated area, I’ve learned that in order to grow ALOT of roses, I’m having to grow them vertically and apply “stinky smelling” deer repellant regularly.  Oh, the things we will do for the splendor of the rose….

Climbing Tea Noisette "Madame Alfred Carriere" (1879). This climber blooms it's head off in my garden. It opens with large pink blossoms then changing to creamy white. 15'-20'.


My favorite red climber is "Don Juan". Fragrant blossoms are deep velvety red and a perfect rose for cutting. It's a prolific bloomer in my garden. 8'-12'.
Old climbing Tea rose "Sombreuil (1856), has fragrant creamy white blossoms full of petals. One of the most "romantic" climbing roses in my garden. 8'-12'.


Some of the Climbing roses I planted this year:

      • Rev d”Or– Noisette (1869).Vigorous. Flowers are golden yellow,with pale yellow edges and apricot petal backs . One of the best climbing roses for warm climates.. Repeat bloomer. 12′-15′.
      • Compassion – Modern climber. Fragrant delicate pink buds open to apricot and fade to butter yellow.  Repeat bloomer. 8′-12′
      • Golden Gate– (Kordes) . Golden yellow changing to pure yellow,citrus fragrance, repeat bloomer. 8′-10′
      • Sally Holmes– Modern climber. Large clusters of peachy buds open to “hydrangea-like” creamy white blooms. Repeat bloomer. 6′-8′ (small climber).
      • Evelyn– David Austin rose.  Large cupped apricot blooms with a strong fragrance. 6′-8′ (short climber) Good pillar rose.
      • Moonlight-( Kordes)Fragrant, semi-double apricot buds turning yellow with edges fading to pink. Repeat Bloomer. 8′-10′.
      • Veilchenblau– Multiflora Rambler (1909). Nearly thornless, highly fragrant rambler with large clusters of cupped semi-double violet blooms. Tolerates partial shade. 9′-12′. (Climbing) No repeat bloom.


My Shrub Rose selections:

  • Belinda– Hybrid Musk (1936). Deep pink blossoms with yellow stamens and white centers. Repeat blooming.4’x6′ (shrub). Makes an excellent short climbing rose in hot climates.
  • Buff Beauty-Hybrid Musk (1939). Beautiful rose with clusters of double blossoms that begin as buff yellow and mature to apricot. Repeat blooming. 4′-6′ (shrub/small climber).
  • Lavender Lassie– Kordes(1959). Hybrid Musk. Large trusses of fragrant,semi double blossoms that leans more to the lilac side of pink. Repeat bloomer. 6′-8′ )shrub/low climber).
  • Moonlight-Hybrid Musk (1913). Its buds are cream colored and open to soft yellow to white flowers. Repeat blooming. 6′-8′ shrub/pillar rose.


"Sombreuil" against my chimney wall.


There are so many different ways I use roses in my garden; growing them over arches and pillars, in beds and borders, against walls, on railings, as hedges, and in containers. With just a little care they add beauty, grace and charm to my garden.   Planting roses does make “common scents”. Hope you find that to be the case in your garden and that you take the time to plant one. I promise you’ll be glad you did.  Happy Planting!













“Passionate Red” in my Garden




 Garden designers agree that red colored plants in the garden can greatly affect the senses of those who view them. When red is used sparingly it can be beautiful.




 Red Vinca’s embrace my front entrance blending well with my green and blue conifers.

  Red Roses hugging my Blue Atlas Cedar trees

There’s something about red flowers that draws a hummingbird’s attention, excites  a gardener’s green thumb, and makes me use my camera lens more often.

I planted my large olive jar containers with a splash of red this year.


Red in the garden often says something about the gardener too. She is vibrant, out-going, passionate and spirited.  Well, I was definitely that in my younger years. I am passionate about gardening, does that count?

About the gardener

I have been a southern gardener for 25 years and have learned so much from so many wonderful gardeners over the years. This journey of learning still continues today as I share my garden and hopefully inspire and help other gardeners. I am not a  landscape professional or master gardener  (does 25 years count?).  I just love all beautiful gardens; large and small, it makes no difference.







“Pretty In Pink”


For some reason this summer I seem to have alot of “pink” in my garden.




I guess unconsciously I had the need for some femininity in my garden since I am surrounded by three wonderful men in my life, my husband and two sons. Sometimes nature provides us with just the right color.


                                                              I call it “Pretty in Pink”.