Garden Photo of the Day

Anticipating Spring in the South

Turning a yard into a botanic garden

Today we’re headed down to the warmth of Zone 8 and looking back at the beauties of this past spring with Caroline Williams. She has been playing with flower gardening for over 40 years. While roses, peonies, amaryllis, salvias, and snapdragons are some of her favorites, she loves all flowers. She gets excited about starting a flower from a cutting and watching it succeed. Her hope for the future is to have her yard resemble a botanical garden. To be in the flower garden is like walking in the presence of God. You get to feel peace, sit back, relax, and enjoy the blessings.

Containers of flowersContainers of flowers mix with the colorful backdrop of blooming azaleas (Rhododendron hybrid, Zones 7–10).

spring peoniesGorgeous spring peonies (Paeonia hybrid, Zones 3–8). Peonies need a period of cold temperatures during the winter in order to grow and flower well, so Zone 8 is about the warmest place most of them can be successfully grown, and most will do best in Zones 7 and colder.

Louisiana group of hybrid irisesA lovely iris, which looks to be one of the Louisiana group of hybrid irises (Zones 4–9). This group of irises is derived from hybrids between species native to the American Southeast, and they are great choices for hot, humid climates where bearded irises may struggle.

pots of colorful annualsCheery pots of colorful annuals bring long-lasting color and beauty to the garden.

amaryllisWhile many gardeners think of amaryllis (Hippeastrum species and hybrids) as tender houseplants, some of them are surprisingly winter hardy perennials. This is the old-fashioned hybrid Amaryllis ‘Johnsonii’, which is hardy in Zones 7–10 and may survive in even colder gardens if given a sheltered spot. Its flowers are smaller than those of the big hybrids usually grown inside, but it more than makes up for that with vigor and hardiness.

large-flowered clematisIt’s hard to beat the wonderful vines of a large-flowered clematis (Clematis hybrid, Zones 4–11) for sheer impact of flower display.

plants in summer bloomCaroline says she dreams of her garden looking like a botanic garden. I’d say she is well on the way! What a dreamy spot to sit and enjoy the beauty she has created.


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View Comments


  1. PattyLouise 01/01/2021

    Beautiful flowers, beautiful photos! Wonderful to see during these winter days! Thanks for sharing & Happy New Year!

    1. carolineyoungwilliams 01/04/2021

      It is my pleasure Patty. Thank you and Happy New Years to you.

  2. Rebeccazone7 01/01/2021

    Your clematis seems to be doing so well in a pot. It's gorgeous and I'm envious as they don't like me very well. All the color is wonderful and something to look forward to.

    1. carolineyoungwilliams 01/04/2021

      Thank you Rebecca. For some odd reason, my Clematis in the pots are doing better than those in the ground. I am looking forward to Spring. :-)

  3. User avater
    cynthia2020 01/01/2021

    Hi, Caroline.
    I enjoyed looking at your colorful garden with so many different flowers. Just yesterday I was thinking of trying to grow some Louisiana iris in containers... I saw there is a nursery in Carriere, MS that specializes in them...
    I like the bright colors in the photo with the column - plus I can see snapdragons in the photo, too - which brings back memories of a family photo with lots of snapdragons in the background.
    Thank you for sharing your joy of gardening with us!

    1. carolineyoungwilliams 01/04/2021

      You are so welcome Cynthia. Thank you. I love mixing bright colors and I absolutely love a matter of fact, I planted some snapdragons yesterday. Most of my Irises were trades or purchased from Angie Han (Facebook Garden Club) and Breck's catalog

  4. User avater
    simplesue 01/01/2021

    I learned a lot from your post!
    After all these years I just learned that the Amaryllis bulb can possibly push the growing zone!
    I had no idea!
    That's some surprising information that I'm happy to give a try in my garden!
    Your flowers are gorgeous and inspiring, thanks for sharing!

    1. carolineyoungwilliams 01/04/2021

      Sue, Thank you and Thank GPOD. GPOD's staff are great with the photos, giving you ideas to try and providing you with the information for your plants to succeed.

  5. User avater
    treasuresmom 01/01/2021

    I have an Amaryllis ‘Johnsonii’ that came from my mom. I really have no idea how long she had that clump. I have had it myself for 30+ years. Love them, don't you?

    1. carolineyoungwilliams 01/04/2021

      Treasuresmom, I absolutely love Amaryllis and believe it or not, most of mine were given to me as a gift or by trade. I look forward to seeing their beautiful display this Spring.

  6. btucker9675 01/01/2021

    Thanks for brightening up a dreary morning here in NC with these beautiful photos of your beautiful gardens!

    1. carolineyoungwilliams 01/04/2021

      It is my pleasure BTucker. I am so glad that you enjoyed them. May your day be Blessed.

  7. User avater
    bdowen 01/01/2021

    So many pretty colors to contrast with our currently subdued winter in New England color scheme. Favorites: the blue clematis and the collection near the hanging chair. Thank you for sharing your garden.

    1. carolineyoungwilliams 01/04/2021

      Thank you BDOwen. I was inspired by the Cottage gardens with their beautiful color schemes. I love bold bright colors and how they contrast with each other. My yard (and porch)is filled with swings, birdbaths, angels and color...lots of colors. :-)

  8. User avater
    phanya 01/01/2021

    "To be in the flower garden is like walking in the presence of God. You get to feel peace, sit back, relax, and enjoy the blessings."
    Hi, Caroline! I am totally with you on this. Yes. I feel the presence of God in my garden too.
    Thank you for sharing your garden. I love your blue clematis. I will find one to plant in my yard.
    Happy New Year!

    1. carolineyoungwilliams 01/04/2021

      You are so welcome PhanYa. Thank you. I wish the whole world had a hobby that would bless their spirits as much as our garden have blessed ours. It's an awesome experience to have. My Clematis came from Wal-Mart. Happy New Year.

  9. Maggieat11 01/01/2021

    Nice job, Caroline. Especially love your Clematis and cheery containers! Thanks for sharing. Happy New Year to all!🍃🌺

    1. carolineyoungwilliams 01/04/2021

      Thank you Maggie. The Clematis, as well as several of my roots/bulbs came from Wal-Mart. I am so glad that you loved it, hopefully as much as I love sharing them. :-)

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