Garden Photo of the Day

Bonus Bloomtime in Jeff’s Garden

By Kim Charles

Muhly grass, & lavender with salvia in the forefront

Jeff Calton shares his end of season garden highlights with us.

"This has been a warm fall so things have lasted better than they normally do.  Things will have to come to an end soon though.  Enjoy the end of season color while we can as it will be a long time until spring. Seems to me colors are more intense in the fall or am I just accepting that most of the color will be gone soon. I won't have any wide angle panoramic photos until I get this place cleaned up. It's a mess!"

Kingsport, TN

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Acer palmatum koto no ito

Aechmea fasciata–the color lasts for months! 

eryngium agavifolium

Manfreda chocolate chips

Montauk daisy & callicarpa

Passiflora lavender queen–always exotic!

Styrax japonica–7 years in the pot.

View Comments


  1. jeffgoodearth 10/21/2016

    It has been a very different season for sure. Still almost hot here but it is raining lightly now,,,,,first time in weeks

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/21/2016

    Your photos today, Jeff, are a mini masters course in the way different textures and shapes add so much interest in a garden. From soft and glowy (the magical muhly) to sharp and pointed (the aechmea fascia) , each named plant in your pictures is so distinct and interesting. Will you be taking your air plants indoors for the winter? If not, even dead, they will add great structural interest to that fun vignette on the wall.
    It's not a contest I want to win but I think our part of TN has been even drier than yours.

    1. jeffgoodearth 10/21/2016

      it is raining lightly here this morning but not nearly enough. i'm afraid of my water bill arriving. yes, i'm taking the tillandsias in ,,,,,,,,,,,,if they die/ they die.

      1. gardeningisfine 10/21/2016

        Give them a 30 minute soak once a week and be sure to drain well and I'll guess they will be just fine. Have had some for over 2 years now and several have even grown pups. Yours are beauties as are all of the othe fascinating plants. Thanks for sharing!

    2. greengenes 10/21/2016

      Hi Michaele! Love your muhly grass here in Jeffs gardens. It always reminds me of you! Best wishes ahead for you!

  3. thevioletfern 10/21/2016

    What a fascinating collection! And so eloquently combined and displayed. Aechmea fasciata - WOW (a bromeliad?), but then again they're all WOW! I love Passion Flower and now have a 2 yr old vine that I overwinter in my cellar. I never tire of those "exotic" blooms. I confess I lifted the following excerpt from the web because hey, short term memory here, but thought you and others may find it interesting. The (Passion) flower holds symbolic meaning in recognition of the crucifixion story - the passion of the Christ. Five sepals and five petals refer to the ten faithful apostles (excluding Judas and Peter). Three stigma represent the three nails that held Christ to the cross, while five anthers represent his five sacred wounds. The tendrils of the flower are said to resemble the whips used in the flagellation, while the filaments, which can number in excess of a hundred depending on the flower, depict the crown of thorns. This powerful symbolism has led to the inclusion of the Passion Flower among the ornamentation of various churches, such as in stained glass window designs, altar frontals and lectern falls.

    1. jeffgoodearth 10/21/2016

      I am going to drag the passionflower into the basement and see if it survives. If not I will get a new one next spring. They really are floriferous

      1. thevioletfern 10/21/2016

        Mine is hardy but not enough for this climate. I let the frost hit it so it goes dormant before I haul it to the cellar. Good luck!

  4. User avater
    HelloFromMD 10/21/2016

    Hi Jeff, the light on the pink muhly grass is beautiful. Nice pic. Fall for me is bittersweet. And October I'm taking the garden 'down', making cuttings, bringing plants in to overwinter, moving perennials around. Thing s are looking funky. I know I should appreciate the end of the season but. Once you get hooked on tender perennials, you have some extra work in fall. But man they sure do wonders for the garden.

    1. jeffgoodearth 10/21/2016

      oh, I love Fall. After a long hot summer I am ready for cool weather and things planted in fall really are well established by the next growing season. I'm usually out there in the garden ( or somebody's) until Christmas ,,,,,,,,,lazy in January then start back up mid February

  5. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/21/2016

    Gorgeous, Jeff. Every last bit of it. I can't believe your Tillandsia xerographica is blooming. How cool is that? Hopefully it will pup instead of just dying.
    Your bonsai Styrax is beautiful. Does it bloom well?
    Love that Muhly grass. I have a nice crop of seedlings growing in a container, but I think I'll wait until spring to plant them out, as I've not had success in the past overwintering that grass.
    Aechmea fasciata is one of my favorite bromeliads. It reminds me of my childhood, when it was the only bromeliad one ever saw. That garish, bubble-gum pink inflorescence with the little blue flowers gets me every time. Plus it is the official plant for outer space travel, at least it is at the head of every bed on Star Trek Next Generation.....
    Nice Japanese maple. At first I thought it was the rare Cannabis aurea...

    1. jeffgoodearth 10/21/2016

      Are tillandsia monocarpic? i don't want it to die. It's bad enough when the agave flower and die and now this. The Styrax does bloom well , I pulled that seedling out of a client's garden bed as a weed and potted it up in a dixie cup . I'm glad you notice my Cannabis aurea, i just hope they are not spotted from the sky

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/21/2016

        I'm not certain that all are Tillandsia are monocarpic. Several of my small ones ceased growing after they bloomed and then threw out side shoots. The mother plants didn't die (although they might); just stopped growing. They are closely related to bromeliads, which seem to do the same thing.

  6. User avater
    treasuresmom 10/21/2016

    Jeff, do you have to pull your Styrax that is in the pot close to your house or into a greenhouse for winter? How do you protect it? What have you used in the pot to make sure it has good drainage?

    1. jeffgoodearth 10/21/2016

      I bury all the bonsai in late fall covering the root zone within the earth, soak them down and leave them alone until spring. I use a bonsai soil that I order (can't remember the name ) The Styrax has been in training for about y7 years, the Pagoda hollies only for maybe 3 and one of the maples i have had for 30+ years

  7. annek 10/21/2016

    I was pretty excited when I saw your name pop up on GPOD this morning, Jeff. You
    have such great photos and fabulous plant selections. I lust after your styrax japonica 'bonsai' (7 years!) and marvel at the muhly grass' other-worldliness. (Mikey first introduced me to that magical grass color and I've been in love with it ever since). I think your photo of the beauty bush has propelled me over the edge to try my hand at that zone 5 marvel and oh, that bromeliad bloom. I was curious as to the differences between your montauk daisies and shastas?
    Whew, just a huge batch of lovely!

    1. jeffgoodearth 10/21/2016

      Montauk daisy flower late late season and get VERY lanky/leggy unless you treat them like a chrysanthemum and cut them back a few times in summer. I think they are in the parentage of Shastas but don't hold me to that

  8. eddireid 10/21/2016

    As gardeners we so often just see what needs to be done, don't we? Your photos give me inspiration, Jeff. All the textures and color negate any "blah" whatsoever. Wonderful.

    1. jeffgoodearth 10/21/2016

      Thanks, Eddi, It has not been an easy garden season this year

  9. greengenes 10/21/2016

    Good morning Jeff! Its so nice to see more of your gardens this morning! Gorgeous as always and i must say the Muhly grass is so beautiful with the sun shinning on it! It always reminds me of Michaele. Well done, Jeff! Enjoy the season!

    1. jeffgoodearth 10/21/2016

      yes! Michaele is the premier Muhly grass evangelist. She introduced me to it and I will forever be thankful

  10. Cenepk10 10/21/2016

    Fab... as always !!! I want a passionflower.... Keep trying to no avail with seed. Love it ! Clean up quickly so we can have the wide angle version

    1. jeffgoodearth 10/21/2016

      The passion flower in the photo is not a hardy variety. It is Passiflora Lavender Queen and has flowered itself to death this summer. i'm working on cleaning it all up but those leaves jus falling

  11. bsavage 10/21/2016

    So beautiful! You sure have the interesting specimens!

  12. schatzi 10/21/2016

    Hello again, Jeff. It's all beautiful, but I love the air plant composition in the last picture. Also the Callicarpa. And the Manfreda looks supremely happy. Trey beautiful! Enjoy the fall.

    1. jeffgoodearth 10/21/2016

      Thanks, Shirley, I ordered a box full of Tillandsia this past spring and have enjoyed them all. The ones i planted on/in the deer skull have attached roots now and pupping so I guess that will be their permanent home. I had NO idea the Xerographica would flower for me here

  13. user-7007498 10/21/2016

    Hey, Jeff. I was so happy to see your garden as the GPOD post today. Beautiful. I love the muhly grass, but could never get it to overwinter for me. Killed it at least 5 times before I gave up.

    The Styrax japonica is an awesome bonsai. Well done. Love it.

    I need to grow the Aechmea. My problem is finding indoor space for the winter. Thanks for sharing your pictures. Made my day.

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/21/2016

      Me, too, on the Muhlenbergia. I keep getting encouragement that it can be hardy to zone 5. I've assumed mine were dying over the winter because they weren't hardy, but maybe it was inadequate drainage? Sheila Schultz said she had them in Chicago; that's colder than both of us. I'm going to try my seedlings out next spring in a container or a very well drained spot and see what happens.
      Careful with the Aechmea. Pretty soon you'll buy a Quenelia and then start lusting after Bilbergia.....speaking from experience!

      1. user-7007498 10/21/2016

        Isn't it frustrating when areas in colder zones can grow it. Not sure if it the clay soil here. Even though I have amended my beds, in winter the soil still seems to get too wet. I did get a clump to overwinter one year, but it looked pathetic the next year, and slowly croaked.

      2. jeffgoodearth 10/21/2016

        yep, Broms are addictive as are Tillandsia and Succulents and the list goes on and on and on. I seem to be back on a conifer binge lately. I am loving the Thunderhead pine

    2. jeffgoodearth 10/21/2016

      The Muhly grass is planted here in full sun and on a slight slope giving it good drainage in winter. I took Michaele's advice and do not cut it back until spring. so far so good.

  14. user-4691082 10/21/2016

    It's so funny. Some of you love passiflora and I have to continually pull it out! My callicarpa is out of control. It's probably 10 by 20 feet. Jeff, the pink muhly grass is a must have, but it's sold out on a few sites..your gardens always bring oohs and aahs. We've missed you this summer but we know it's your crazy busy time. Thanks for sharing!

    1. jeffgoodearth 10/21/2016

      That passiflora will be toast in a few days as it is only hardy to 35. I've never seen Callicarpa that big! what do you feed it? Probably better off planting Muhly grass in spring it's just rarely available until bloom time as it is easier to sell when in color. It has been a REAL struggle this year in the garden with the extreme heat and zero rain.

      1. user-4691082 10/22/2016

        I ignore it and never feed it or water it!

  15. wGardens 10/21/2016

    Wonderful late season color and always enjoy seeing your unique plantings. That Styrax japonica is fabulous! And, that Manfreda is such a traffic-stopper!!

    1. jeffgoodearth 10/21/2016

      Thanks, Margaret. I owe the Manfreda acquisition to Tim. He had it and I fell in love with the photo of his

  16. perenniallycrazy 10/22/2016

    Great shots Jeff! Manfreda Chocolate Chips is definitely on my wish list thanks to you.

    Your garden truly never quits.... nor does your gardening genius. I'll always love your garden.

  17. janeeliz 10/23/2016

    Lovely photos of your fall garden , Jeff. So many different gems! You've inspired me in several ways. I am definitely getting some Muhly grass after seeing yours with the light shining thru.... and I will try another callicarpa- it doesn't always have time to develop its beautiful berries here in Me. ...nice combo w. the Montauk daisy.Does your beautiful styrax boom? That chocolate chip is very cool.! You are definitely an artist in your garden.

  18. Meelianthus 10/24/2016

    Hello Jeff ~ A little late here so I will keep it short, but wanted to say again how much I always enjoy your gardens - the beauty, the creativeness, and the eclecticism is always such a treat. Happy Fall !

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