Garden Photo of the Day

Beautiful and Bittersweet in TN

By Kim Charles

Taxodium distichum

A sense of finality in Jeff Calton's TN garden.

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"Autumn is a messy time in the garden but beautiful and bittersweet as soon all will be bare and hunkered down for winter. It is still my 2nd favorite season to enjoy the vibrant colors, cooler weather and knowing soon there will be a couple of months of downtime to recharge both the plants and myself."



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Variegated yucca, auricaria, auracana, euphorbia 'blackbird'

Treetops through the ginko

Acer japonicum, aconitifolium, acanthus, mollis 'summer beauty'

West border of artemisia 'powis castle', miscanthus 'little kittens', a. palmatum dissectum 'inaba shidara', sciadopitys verticillata, pinus strobus 'pendula'

View Comments


  1. user-3565112 11/15/2016

    Jeff< All of your photos are terrific & Treetops thru the Ginko could be a Bob Ross painting. I revisited your earlier posts & think your gardens are as beautiful as any ever seen.

    1. jeffgoodearth 11/15/2016

      thanks, Joe!

  2. jeffgoodearth 11/15/2016

    not sure where all those commas separating the plant ID's came from. the light was a little bright but you get the "picture" ... have fun, I am out the door for the day

  3. user-7007498 11/15/2016

    Jeff, love to see your garden again. Looks fantastic. There is something about lower sunlight and leaves on the ground that make everything look extra special. Wow, that is one wide Japanese maple in the last photo. And the sciadopitys is much wider than mine, which is 20 feet tall, but only 6 feet wide with multiple stems. Acer japonicum 'Aconitifolium' is one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing. Great start to the day.

    1. jeffgoodearth 11/15/2016

      Thanks, Kevin. The Inaba Shidara is probably 8 ft tall and at least 18 ft wide, the grandson plays inside the tree during summer. The Sciadopitys is maybe 15 ft or so and about 8 ft wide, single stem. The Aconitifolium is hit or miss for me as far as fall color goes,some years spectacular others not so much. It also gets frostbitten in spring in A LOT of years. Waiting for the rest of the leaves to come down so I can clean up, mulch up and be ready for winter. VERY smoky here this week from the forest fires. Super dry and I can't believe I am watering beds in mid November

  4. frankgreenhalgh 11/15/2016

    Absolutely lovely garden, Jeff. It's a real credit to you. Not sure what your favourite season is, but autumn is my favourite here in Oz - just love the crispy mornings, still (little wind) and sunny days, and the autumn colouration. We don't have the same chill factor as a lot of you guys experience, so we certainly cannot match your autumn colours. Have a great day. Cheers, Frank

    1. jeffgoodearth 11/15/2016

      Thanks, Frank, I enjoy all the seasons but I struggle with maintaining enthusiasm for winter.

  5. User avater
    meander_michaele 11/15/2016

    Hi, Jeff, had to smile for a couple of different reasons...
    #1 a sharing from you always means a series of delightful pictures.
    #2 at first, I thought I was seeing a bird's nest with eggs in the opening photo of the bald cypress and it elicited a "what???" reaction.
    #3 "Treetops through the ginko" sounds like an awesome book title for almost any subject. It just has a cool ring to it.

    1. jeffgoodearth 11/15/2016

      Those bald cypress cones are something and the trees are loaded this year. I'm moving in to my cone, berries and bark appreciation time in the garden since almost everything else has or is getting nekkid for winter.

  6. user-4691082 11/15/2016

    Jeff, all of your photos are lovely. Sorry to hear about the fires, hope a big rain puts them out. That taxodium is really beautiful, as well as the Japanese maple. I think euphorbia is underused, I love the cultivar you've chosen. Powis Castle is another one you don't see much of. Thanks for sharing!

    1. jeffgoodearth 11/15/2016

      A lot of people locally have told me they didn't like Powis Castle because it got "stringy" with age. I cut it back HARD every spring. I wish I could get stringy with age, I just get shorter and more round

  7. User avater
    treasuresmom 11/15/2016

    Jeff, are the ginko leaves still hanging on?

    1. jeffgoodearth 11/15/2016

      nope, all gone now,,,,,,,,,,,,,carpet. They pretty much all fall at once. The dwarf ones haven't colored up yet but not sure why

  8. Chris_N 11/15/2016

    Beautiful as always, Jeff. The commas kind of threw me for a loop there a moment, too. Love all the Japanese maples. I finally got one small one and hope it survives the Wisconsin winter. Is that your mini-crevice garden on the stone bench in the last photo?

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/15/2016

      Hey Chris, keep your eyes out for Acer japonicum instead of A. palmatum. I think they tend to be hardier. At the top of my list, and hard to find, is the very, very hardy Acer pseudosieboldianum takeshimense: it is rumored to be a great substitute for cold climates.

    2. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/15/2016

      PS. although Jeff has noted what I experience with my young Acer japonicum 'O Isami" that it is susceptible to early frosts.

    3. jeffgoodearth 11/15/2016

      That is one of the slab/crevice planters. I got kind of carried away with them this season. Will be interesting to see what survives the winter and what doesn't

  9. wGardens 11/15/2016

    Great photos, Jeff. LOVE the one, especially, of the ginkgo. I am also admiring the Taxodium distichum. Always a pleasure to "visit" your gardens! Your Acers are always magnificent! And... I do think I need to get 'Blackbird'!!

    1. jeffgoodearth 11/15/2016

      I love the Taxodiums,,,,,,,,,,all of them. The Peve Minaret has not colored up yet nor has Crystal Falls. Trouble free and always a good performer

  10. LeeGun 11/15/2016

    Beautiful!!!!!!!!love the euphorbia 'blackbird'. Not sure where TN is?

    1. jeffgoodearth 11/15/2016

      Tennessee,,,,,I am in the uppermost northeast corner of the state. Native born hillbilly

  11. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/15/2016

    Absolutely breathtaking, Jeff. I think it is a pity that Acer japonicum cultivars are not more widely available, planted and reasonably priced. They seem to be hardier and their fall color is unparalleled. I am still dead-in-love with your variegated yuccas. In that photo with gorgeous 'Blackbird', they are a doppelgänger for Agave 'Blue Glow'. We certainly can all use some rest. I'm not sure my body could take gardening year-round!

    1. jeffgoodearth 11/15/2016

      The variegated yuccas are my make believe Agave and so far haven't let me down. A. japonicum cultivars are hard to find here as well especially of any size and you're right they are not reasonably priced. I did blow the budget on a different maple this year,,,,,,August Moon,,,,,,beautiful , it was very small but with a big price. my one big splurge,,,,,,,,,ok, my 3rd big splurge of the year ( I refuse to acknowledge any other budget busters of the season)

      1. sheila_schultz 11/15/2016

        Ha! You know you fell in love with...... and just had to have them!!! Want pics in the Spring!

      2. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/16/2016

        Love August Moon; don't have it. My A. shirasawanum 'aureum' is so beautiful but finicky. It seems to be settling in, though. I'd love to have A. japonicum 'Ed Wood', but I've only seen $400 specimens locally.
        I like to forget my big splurges. It helps me with the pain of realizing I've just flushed money down the toilet when something dies.........

  12. user-5117752 11/15/2016

    Ahhhhh! Another day started with wonderful pics! And, as I said to Kevin yesterday, thank you for identifying both trees and plants. Now, when I crave something somebody else has grown, I know what to ask for at the nursery. The leaves of my dwarf ginkgo haven't even turned their wonderful gold yet here in WNC. We're expecting a very cold hit this weekend. That may do the job.

    1. jeffgoodearth 11/15/2016

      Where in WNC? We are neighbors! kinda/sorta. Are the fires near you?

  13. VikkiVA 11/15/2016

    Oh Jeff, Ginko, Euphorbia and Acanthus Mollis...3 of my best loved garden jewels. Your photos are inspiring. Vikki in VA

    1. jeffgoodearth 11/15/2016

      I love the Acanthus too but I never ever get flowers. The Tasmanian Angel still looks great . I wonder if it will flower ever. A. spinosus sometimes flowers sometimes not.

      1. VikkiVA 11/15/2016

        It took my Acanthus several years before it bloomed. I have heard it is a biennial and blooms every other year. After the first year mine bloomed I moved it and I'm still waiting for more blooms. Good thing I love the foliage. Vikki in VA

  14. sheila_schultz 11/15/2016

    The images of your end of the season gardens were a welcome treat this morning, Jeff. The orange, red and yellow leaves of your maples and ginkos getting ready for winter are stunning. It's definitely been a long growing season for many of us with so many leaves yet to fall. Looking out my window I can hardly believe next week is Thanksgiving, especially when they are predicting a high of 77 today! Do you think the weather will hold until we get the last leaves raked and composted?

    1. jeffgoodearth 11/15/2016

      I only realized today that next week is Thanksgiving. I can't believe it. mid to upper 70's here too .

  15. GrannyCC 11/15/2016

    You have reminded us what a beautiful time of year this is. Thanks Jeff.

    1. jeffgoodearth 11/15/2016

      This really is a beautiful time of year and I enjoy fall, I am trying to convince myself that I also enjoy winter. So far,,,,,,,,,,,,,it ain't working :)

  16. greengenes 11/15/2016

    Hey Jeff! Yes it is bittersweet! Your photos are so pretty and showing their last beauty. It is a nice break coming up for you and all of us other gardeners... Then the seed catalogs come and it begins again! Have a wonderful season Jeff!

    1. jeffgoodearth 11/15/2016

      I won't get a rest until January and then start back up mid February. short down time or else i'm just crazy and like to get dirty

  17. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 11/15/2016

    Good morning, Jeff. It's always fun to see your garden in any season. Your 'Inaba Shidara' is huge. Ours is still quite the baby but it had to be moved so maybe now it will get big like yours. I really like 'Blackbird' but have had some bad luck with euphorbia spreading so was wondering if you've had that issue. Thanks for giving us some fall color since fall in the PNW is the green season when the rains start up and the grass once again needs mowing:)

    1. jeffgoodearth 11/15/2016

      Inaba Shidare gets BIG . I can stand up inside the tree with room to spare / comes in handy for deadwooding and detwigging. I have never had an issue with reseeding with any Euphorbia here, in fact, I have the opposite problem. I have difficulty getting it to live. I hope I only have to mow the yard one more time

  18. Meelianthus 11/15/2016

    Jeff, truly lovely as always and your Ginkgo still has all of it's leaves. Mine already turned gold and have since all fallen off, makes a beautiful carpet on the ground. Your Yuccas are so grand and I always enjoy all the views of your gardens - so full and healthy looking. Thanks for another peek.

    1. jeffgoodearth 11/15/2016

      thanks! the gingko is now bare with a golden carpet. if we EVER get rain the rest of the leaves will fall and I can clean this place up

  19. user-5117752 11/15/2016

    Jeff, I'm in Fairview just outside of Asheville. We've been very lucky so far that the fires have not touched us. Today we had our first blue sky in days and far less smoke. Those terrific and very brave firefighters are working their hearts and lungs out for us all!!! Just planted up some winter pots to take my mind off "things".

  20. perenniallycrazy 11/16/2016

    I still drool over your remarkable and ever growing plant collection. The older the better! You also seem to always find a refreshing and interesting new perspective to photograph your garden. Love your garden! Love your talented eye! Love your green thumbs!

  21. annek 11/16/2016

    Always enjoy your photos, Jeff. Your garden is exquisite and very worth the budget busting. That last photo has my heart. Keep 'me coming!!

  22. fourseasons 11/17/2016

    Jeff, I am in Ohio and my Gingko usually drops its leaves in one day, except this year. The bottom half of the tree is bare and the top half has a lot of leaves that have not fallen. I have a leaf wacker that I use to shred all my leaves and I spread them on my beds for winter. The Gingko leaves are to Waxy and do not shred. Will my plants suffer if I use them as a mulch?

  23. schatzi 11/22/2016

    Love your garden and your photos, Jeff. It's all beautiful, but I especially love the last 2 pics. Happy TG.

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