Garden Photo of the Day

Beautiful bark and shimmery spiderwebs

I still love my cultivator discs. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jeff Calton

Jeff Calton down in Tennessee is looking on the bright side of the waning season, and helping us to appreciate the fine details of fall today, with this series of photos from around his garden.

‘Heritage’ river birch. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jeff Calton

He says, “Last Friday morning I was doing my walkabout and man, is it fall or what? Most of the flowery things are either gone or fading, but this time of year and throughout winter I really appreciate bark textures, branching habits, and many other aspects of the garden that I don’t really notice so much in summer.

Lagerstromia bark. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jeff Calton

“Of course, this time of year I have many many, many spiders and I love the geometry of their webs in the early morning dew. I don’t use pesticides here so I have a lot of insect life. I tolerate a little damage on some of the plants and let nature take it’s course. I rarely have too much noticeable damage and with pesticide use I think once you start…you’re addicted. You not only kill the bad things but the predators along with them, resulting in a population explosion of the harmful ones. They are like the Borg…resistance is futile.”

Musa basjoo, ‘Alice’ oakleaf hydrangea, and spider web. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jeff Calton

I loved taking a closer look at the photos with the spider webs, Jeff! Such a great set of photos. Thanks! I never get tired of your vision and insights.

More spiders in Ilex vomitoria. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jeff Calton

You’re running out of time to take some photos in your garden! So get out there with your cameras and send some in! Email them to [email protected].

It’s a spider hotel. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jeff Calton
Pineapple and yet another spider. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jeff Calton
Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’, interesting in every season. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jeff Calton
Hemlock and more spiders. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jeff Calton
Not sure how to caption this… Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jeff Calton
Monkey puzzle tree and yep, more spiders. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jeff Calton
Blue stem rush and still more spiders. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jeff Calton

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  1. user-1020932 09/23/2013

    ok, i HOPE nobody suffers with Arachnophobia what with all my hillbilly spiders here today. Michelle, i sent you SO many photos i wondered all weekend which ones you would select. sorry for flooding your Inbox so often, i'm outta control

  2. wGardens 09/23/2013

    Keep floodin' Michelle's inbox, Jeff! Love your photos and comments! The cultivator disc photo is really grand.

  3. user-1020932 09/23/2013

    thanks, wGardens, i just noticed in the disc pic that David is in the background. he has worked with me for years and i don't know what i would do without him. the others come and go but David has been with me forever. all the clients love him and i never have to check his work he's a good ole country boy who does NOT know how to lie. he will always tell you the truth even if it is not what you want to hear. i'm so lucky to have him work with me every season.

  4. GardenGrl1 09/23/2013

    Love the use of the cultivator disks! (Thank you for the captions, because I had no idea what these were. Beautiful abstract suns were my initial guess). You have so many beautiful plants, I cannot wait to see more photos!

    Hopefully my garden will be beautiful enough to photograph and share next year!

  5. flowerladydi 09/23/2013

    Love your photos Jeff!,,,, the spider web by the pineapple ( which is GREAT! in itself! ) is Fabulous!!! It is incredible what nature and all it's creatures can accomplish!,,,, and bark!?,,, well,,, I am crazy for it as well! We in zone 5 can not have Crape Myrtle ( lagerstromia ), but wish we could, that bark if beautiful!,,
    I do truly love your ' hands ' in between the carex,,,they are sort of comforting, but not so sure about the baby's head,,, maybe you could find whole ( small ) baby?,, or is that the way it came? Sorry,,
    Anyhow,,, do so enjoy all your photos any time you post!,,, the Monkey tree is so great too!

  6. user-1020932 09/23/2013

    gardengrl, get out there and fire up that camera! it's always good to share our efforts , success and failures (we all have some of those) with fellow gardeners

  7. user-1020932 09/23/2013

    flowerladydi, i bring all remnants, fragments and broken things home with me. i had those hands reaching out of the Carex and the head was there and it just kind of ended up there and i left it. collecting broken heads now off concrete statues to build a small retaining wall. Addams Family garden i guess. btw, i left my email on the patio is complete feature since you asked for it. would love to see your work there in chicago area since we're both "in the business"

  8. gramamarg 09/23/2013

    I don't know the Borg reference. can you explain?

  9. user-1020932 09/23/2013

    gramamarg, the Borg reference is a Star Trek thing. yes, i'm a geek on many levels

  10. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 09/23/2013

    Great photos, great plants, great spider webs. Love this time of year. Love those cultivator disks even more! Love star trek, too. Thanks for sharing.

  11. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/23/2013

    I love, love love misty fall mornings and I love these much mood and atmosphere. David is like a specter in your first picture...ha, a ghostly presence who works when you're not awake!
    In the photo labelled Ilex vomitoria, I initially only focused in on the word "vomitoria" and was mystified. Went to do a google search and, after reading the definition of "vomitoria", thought it was a sly private joke...the Ilex makes all the difference! And, speaking of a sense of humor, I'm a fan of the head and tests the viewer's powers of observation.

  12. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/23/2013

    Oh, my gosh, a small wall of broken off heads...that has to happen! Maybe we need to take up a collection to speed the process along!

  13. gloriaj 09/23/2013

    I love the hands. The first thing that came to mind was safety and hidden in HiS hand. The head looks like a baby's head. Thanks for the pictures.

  14. Quiltingmamma 09/23/2013

    Love the Fall shots. You grow some mighty big spider web in Tennessee, that is for sure. Growing up we had more fog and more spiderwebs than we seem to have now, and I was often late for school as I doddled checking out the webs with the fog droplets on them. Loved the memory these bring back. You have some pretty amazing trees as well. Thanks for sharing them, and thanks, Michelle, for putting together a nice combo.

  15. flowerladydi 09/23/2013

    Hi again Jeff,

    Well,, I do CERTAINLY understand about ' bringing things home'!,,it is so great to be able to ' find ' such things!,,,, yeah,,, your Adams family head wall,,,, will be interesting to say the least I am sure! One thing I think we both ( as well as many I am sure ) have in common, is the ability to have fun with what we do!,,, and you certainly do!
    Yes, one of these days will e-mail you!,,, I am just a ' small fry ',,, but like it like that too!

    I will be anxious to see that wall! -:)

  16. user-1020932 09/23/2013

    flowerladydi, i'm small fry too. i used to have installation crew, maintenance crew and it drove me crazy. finally , i said this is NOT fun anymore! i downsized and i am on every jobsite and have a great client list and i have fun everyday,,,,,,,,almost everyday. now i'm off to work at Rotherwood Mansion, google that sometime if you like ghost stories,,, they are not true but they are fun to read now that we are approaching Halloween

  17. tractor1 09/23/2013

    Great photo compostions all. Love the bark on that 'Heritage' river birch, will have to check if it will survive here and if I can find one... a great replacement for the dying birch I just had removed. And I like that you don't use insecticides, neither me... they are so pervasively destructive. I love spiders, lots live in my basement (they keep the no seeums population down) and I have webs in every window... occasionally I get to see a spider toiling but mostly they are nocturnal. I've got lots of spider photos. Insects don't bother me, only the earwigs. Yes, it's fall here, foliage is turning and leaves are dropping... mulched tons my last mowing... I see a handful of gingko leaves tinged with gold, I'll have to be alert, they go fast. Thanks for the fall tour, TNT.

  18. user-7006902 09/23/2013

    Big applause for not using pesticides! I love misty morning spider webs but always I am wary of just where those spiders are hiding - especially with the really big webs! What about you? I have spiders that live/hide behind the rear view mirrors of my car. Go figure! Live in large, wild garden or rusty car? I love the "spiders" hanging in your tree - very fun! Also love the River Birch. I have a very young sprout that the rabbits nipped off last year but I think it's going to make it - hope it grows up beautifully like yours. Very fun and inspiring (all those textures!) tour this morning.

  19. janetsfolly 09/23/2013

    Oh, this is wonderful! Misty, moisty mornings are one of the beauties of Fall. And another great shot of your cultivator disks! I'm thinking that implement must have been quite old, as these are riveted together? Anyway, endless photo opportunities...they're just so cool! And I love the little webs on the hemlock, look like cottony blooms. Thanks for another round of your garden, with all its surprises! (Head in hands, so many possible metaphors, but I love it when something makes my eyes open wider!)

  20. janetsfolly 09/23/2013

    Violetfern, don't worry! I have several clumps of river birch, the youngest of which was accidentally bush hogged as a whip. It came back with a multitude of sprouts which I then selected for a lovely threesome. They are pretty tough. And tractor1, I think you should definitely try them. Lots of reward for little effort! (My favorite kind of plant.)

  21. terieLR 09/23/2013

    Here's another fan of webs! I just finished a photo shoot of them for fun Halloween notecards. I echo everything Janetsfolly said. Jeff, thanks for making my Monday morning. Your truly are an inspiration to us all.

  22. GrannyMay 09/23/2013

    I love this misty time of year and to be able to walk about your garden and see it through your eyes is really special. Thanks Jeff! Also love the hands. I would probably put something softish in them to cushion baby.

    Oh oh! Now I have serious Poncirus trifoliata envy but, having looked it up, should accept that I should not, must not, try to grow it here. I already have too many thorny plants that leave me wounded!

  23. cwheat000 09/23/2013

    First, I would like to say congratulations. Your monkey puzzle tree is now visible.( it is going to be so fabulous). The other thing that struck me, is how many large unique and wonderful specimens you have. Your weeping hemlocks are gorgeous. Your Poncirus is amazing. I have always wondered if I could grow that here in CT; I know I would be pushing it's bounderies. I like that carex surrounding the awesome creepy baby head. What variety is it? Great spider collection, also. Definitely not a yard for the archniphobic. Gotta love the Latins, vomitoria. This collection of pics is taking on a Halloween theme.

  24. Happily_Gardening 09/23/2013

    Great photos - what a hoot! Jeff never ceases to amaze and in the greatest of ways!

  25. janeeliz 09/23/2013

    Jeff, these pictures are great! I especially love the first one with the disks...great composition with misty mood, depth (tiny David), color (what is that red flower?)...very special.
    Your plants are equally interesting- unique and beautiful..and , of course, your fun-loving spirit comes thru it all. I don't think I could quite have the head in hands in MY garden- but I do love it in YOURS!
    In Oct.I'm looking forward to seeing some of your other gardeners...the ones who created those beautiful webs...especially the huge ones!!

  26. sheila_schultz 09/23/2013

    Misty morning photos, hands cradling a baby's head, spider web heaven, an Addams Family wall filled with heads... resistance is definitely futile. I'm in love with the way you see your world, Jeff! What an outstanding way to start my week of bringing in all my succulents to 'The Little Shop of Horrors'!
    terieLR, I'm copying your idea of spiderweb photos for notecards, I love Halloween!!!

  27. user-1020932 09/23/2013

    oh, Sheila, if you love Halloween you NEED to come to Tennessee. Halloween is a big deal at this house and there is always a party and costumes are encouraged. if you don't wear a costume you can still attend the party but we will talk about you mercilessly :) moving some succulents in here this week as well

  28. annek 09/23/2013

    Ooooo-eeeee, T-man, are you FUN! I'm so impressed (enthralled) with your garden, thoughts, spiders, bark, wall, hands...and on and on and on. What great photos showing your giggly-fun sense of humor. Halloweeeeeen is absolutely my favorite (well next to Christmas) time of year. Inside and out, we decorate like Morticia. You've given me reason to go out and photograph!!!

  29. user-1020932 09/23/2013

    cwheat, i have to fess up. that is not the same monkey puzzle as before (it is still tiny tiny) i found larger ones and they are so slow i got one. i want to see it with some size before i die. that is, i think, Carex morrowi Aurea-variegata but i could be wrong as it's been there for years. That Tsuga nana gracilis is about 4 ft tall and at least 8 ft across , there are many sizeable specimens here that i have had for decades. i sent Michelle so many photos last friday . my favorite today is the Metasequoia, the trunk looks very Jurassic park. yep, i gots too much stuff here and your prayer must have worked because my Gunnera is doing great but the water bills will kill ya

  30. user-1020932 09/23/2013

    AnneK, thanks so much. i'm anxiously awaiting to see your place in print next year. Michelle has told me how awesome it is along with the entire state of Montana and it's people. i'm reading now about a train trip to Glacier traveling on restored rail cars. if you see James West poking around your yard it's not the Wild Wild West it is ME :) have fun!

  31. tractor1 09/23/2013

    janetsfolly: I have several stands of river birch on my property but none have bark even close to TNT's specimen... even the Heritage' variety I searched out on the web didn't have that wonderful defoliating bronze bark. It's probably luck of the draw... I'd need a rooted cutting from Jeff's tree... I've never tried layering birch but I suspect it'd root. I'd bet air layering would work too. I knew that river birch grows in this zone but I wasn't sure about that 'Heritage' variety, however teh imagages on the net show no difference between ordinary and 'Heritage'. The only problem with my planting a seedling sized specimen is if I'd live long enough to see a tree.

  32. user-1020932 09/23/2013

    tractor, if you had a Heritage growing next to a regular river birch you would see the difference they "paper" much more and have a better color and variations of color in the bark compared to the standard river birch. if you find Heritage get that variety you won't regret it. thereis a dwarf called Little King that only gets about 8 or 10 ft tall but has very nice bark. sadly mine here died virtually overnight but Meander1 said she has had great success with hers. i wish you could grow Crape myrtle as the different varieties have great bark color. Natchez white bark looks very similar to Stewartia koreana but is faster growing, much easier to find and considerably less expensive.

  33. wildthyme 09/23/2013

    OK, full confession, I am NOT a spider fan, although I tolerate them in the garden. My motto is: In the garden you get a pass, but in the house I'll swat your #*@! Those cultivator discs are incredible; they reminded me of giant spiderwebs. I'm going to keep an eye out for some to add to my husband's rust collection!

  34. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/23/2013

    I totally adore the white blooming Natchez crape myrtle because of that glorious exfoliating cinnamon bark. It is absolutely stunning all four seasons of the year. And, the bark on my Little King birch is incredibly "papery". It is a beauty but it is the second one in the same spot...the first one pulled the dying overnight thing but the nursery from where I purchased it found a different grower to supply me with the replacement. This second one has thrived for over 11 years.

  35. user-1020932 09/23/2013

    JaneEliz, i forgot to tell you that the red flower is an Anthurium, no clue as to variety just a red anthurium that i got for $1.00 on the clearance rack back in march. it was looking pretty bad. glad you like the head in hands in my garden but you and i both know that Tasha would never allow it in yours :)

  36. crizmo 09/23/2013

    I "liked" it once for each spider web, twice for each great plant I saw and three times for Dave.

  37. tractor1 09/23/2013

    Ah, I checked their catalog, my favorite nursery has the 'Heritage' birch... now I need to check it out. This week they will be planting the third 'Fat Albert' Colorado blue spruce to complete my trio... normally I'd plant it myself but the one I chose was just too heavy.
    This is a very nice nursery:

  38. user-1020932 09/23/2013

    tractor you are wise to get help with that Fat Albert. gravity is not our friend. we are heading into tree planting season here and even with help,,,,,i will be walking crooked until Christmas from all the wrestling with large trees even with equipment it can still be difficult

  39. sheila_schultz 09/23/2013

    tntreeman, You are a man that is as easily amused as I. The head in the hands? The Borg? YES! Heads in a wall? Oh man, I'm grinning from ear to ear ;) I love that GPOD has brought all of us together.
    Michelle, did you even imagine that so many friendships would evolve from your initial thought of GPOD?? What a gift you have thrown our way. Thank you.

  40. sheila_schultz 09/23/2013

    tractor1... you are going to adore Fat Albert! I love him everyday as I look out my kitchen window. He's a magnificent Blue Spruce and he is a fast grower in CO.

  41. user-1020932 09/23/2013

    you are so right, Sheila, and even tho i am a newcomer here and have only ever met one gpod'er , Meander1, i feel as if i know the regular commenters here by their words, their garden photos and by the manner in which they interact with people. i'm convinced that those people who get dirty in the garden are the best .. and Michelle's good will has now spread to Africa. i have been corresponding with a nurserywoman in Nigeria who follows gpod. she has sent me photos of the plants she is growing and she is ever so nice,, another "earthling"

  42. annek 09/24/2013

    Hey Tman..dont' know if you'll get this, but if you do choose to take the rails up to Glacier, you are REQUIRED to stop by the Bitterroot Valley and stay with us for a few days. We're not really on the way, but you must try to make it :-)

  43. user-1020932 09/24/2013

    gosh, AnneK, how could i NOT stop by? if i'm required i'm a skeered not to! same invitation goes for tennessee and the great smoky mountains

  44. annek 09/25/2013

    Tman, ahh shucks, didn't mean to skeer ya! And you can bet, if I ever make it Tennessee way, I'll be giving you a shout.

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