Garden Photo of the Day

Beth’s Poolside Garden

Making a new space into a garden

sunny garden bed full of pink flowers

Today we’re visiting Beth Tucker’s Waxhaw, North Carolina, garden.

We have been in this home for five years and had the pool put in three years ago. It’s taken a while to develop the borders around the perimeter of the travertine pool surround because the ground was so compacted, but everything seems to be settling in happily now. The property is just under half an acre, and I’ve been stealthily whittling away at the lawn turf by enlarging the garden beds. I wept when we left my gardens of 20 years in northern New Jersey, so seeing the gardens here coming into their own is a real treat. It gives me great joy when people out walking in the neighborhood stop to compliment our gardens and to ask questions. Seeing the results of hard work and persistence makes them curious about trying some gardening themselves. Our two miniature poodles, Parker and Pepper, enjoy posing artistically among the plants.

Wisteria growing next to a fenceThe Wisteria frutescens ‘Amethyst Falls’ (Zones 5–9) on the fence by the deep end of the pool is the native U.S. species of wisteria, which is less aggressive than the Asian species and will sometimes rebloom in the summer.

peach and purple irisesOne of my favorite irises (Iris hybrid, bearded group, Zones 3–8) in the sunny side border

garden bed full of catmintA happy little pig with catmint (Nepeta × faassenii, Zones 3–8)

shade garden with foliage plants and white flowersHeuchera, azaleas (Rhododendron hybrid, Zones 5–9), and an oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia, Zones 5–9) in a shady corner near the side gate

small border around poolThe sunny-side border includes Dianthus, Stella d’Oro day lilies (Hemerocallis ‘Stella d’Oro’, Zones 3–10), bearded irises, and many more perennials to come.

plant with large leaves and small white flowerMayapple (Podophyllum peltatum, Zones 3–8) in bloom. These are transplants from the woods behind us where there is an immense patch.

dog sitting in the shade of a treeParker the poodle sits in the shade watching the garden.

sunny garden bed full of pink flowersSunny border at the deep end of the pool. I know the pink evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa, Zones 5–8) can be a weed, but it is so pretty that I just keep it controlled by pulling it out where I don’t want it. The fence along this side is planted with climbing roses, Carolina jasmine (Gelsemium sempervirens, Zones 6–10), star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides, Zones 7–10), and the wisteria.


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View Comments


  1. user-5117752 05/10/2022

    Just lovely! That iris is a stunner! So is Parker but where is Pepper? Happy summer to you!

  2. User avater
    simplesue 05/10/2022

    That travertine is a real compliment to the pool/garden area, it gives it a special touch over just using cement.
    I love your Bearded Irises, especially that pink/peach colored one amongst the pink evening primrose- such a nice combination for those two plants.
    I also like the purple butterfly bush peaking into the photo of cat mint- also a nice combination!
    I love pets and wildlife in the garden and your dog looks darling and happy sitting there.
    Oh I can't forget to mention- love love love Mayapples, they are such interesting plants, so sculptural!
    In just 5 years you've already created a beautiful garden space- and I myself know how it is leaving behind a beloved garden and starting over- a garden lover just doesn't feel at home until they've made another garden!

    1. btucker9675 05/10/2022

      Yes - Mayapples! Before the pool went in the the fence went up, I was wandering in the woods behind our property (it's a protected watershed area) and stumbled across a large patch in dappled sunlight. Collected a plant and put it at the edge of our wooded area and it has happily multiplied, surviving the occasional onslaught of poodles!

  3. btucker9675 05/10/2022

    Thank you all for your kind remarks! Pepper will be featured in my next round of photos showing different things in bloom in the pool garden as well as my front borders. An update on the twilight primrose - it is now being pulled out by the roots as it started behaving rather like Godzilla in Tokyo!!! I know it will take a while to get rid of it all and will miss those lovely soft pinks blooms but - good grief - enough is enough! It should come with a warning label! I had a yellow evening primrose in a side border when we lived in Michigan for a couple of years a long time ago but the cold winters seemed to keep it from running amok. We don't have enough below freezing nights here to contain it.

  4. User avater
    cynthia2020 05/10/2022

    Hi, Beth. I enjoyed reading your gardening story and looking at the photos! I think my favorite photo is the one with the heuchera in it because I like the colors and variety of leaf shapes. Pink is my favorite flower color, though - so I love how your dianthus looks very full and healthy. Re: the Oenothera speciosa - yes I enjoyed that for a while in one garden. I had it next to a low, fruitless, quince that flowered in coral. Ha - that was a mess at times especially with the suckers... However, an aunt in her eighties with a border surrounded by concrete sidewalk loved that I gave her some Pink evening primrose because it was easy for her to enjoy and take care of.

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