Garden Photo of the Day

Creative Combinations Found Here!

By Kim Charles

Mixed planting with 'Dragon Eye' pine and weeping hemlock.

Jeff Calton shares some beautiful combinations with us from his Tennessee garden.

"Still frozen here but I am looking forward to spring………….early I hope. Scoping out last season's photos for inspiration and ideas for changing it up for 2017.  It will spring before we know it despite feeling frozen forever."

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Backyard looking southwest.

Chard City!

Daylilies and globe thistle.

Dry garden with agave and yucca.

Looking through the switchgrass.

A mixed bed that keeps getting larger each season.

West lawn with 'Annabelle'.

View Comments


  1. frankgreenhalgh 02/13/2017

    G'day Jeff - Nice selection of pics. showcasing your picturesque garden and photographic ability. Lovely integration of lawns, curved beds and mature trees. How large is your property?

    Frozen in your part of the world, but some crazy extremes in weather across our continent over the last week. Cheers from Oz

    1. jeffgoodearth 02/13/2017

      I am currently using 3 acres

    2. User avater
      meander_michaele 02/13/2017

      I read an news article yesterday about bushfires in different parts of Australia. How is your area doing, Frank?

      1. frankgreenhalgh 02/13/2017

        We are fine, Michaele - thanks for asking. However, the central-eastern parts of the country have just had record temperatures for the Feb. and severe bush/grass fires. The poor farmers have lost houses and have had to put a lot of stock out of their misery (terrible). Fires are still out of control. In north-western Aust. there has been a cyclone and monsoonal weather, and south-western Aust. has received record rainfall and is suffering from floods.

        1. User avater
          Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/13/2017

          Wow, Frank. Glad you have not been hit too hard. I did hear about some of the record-breaking heat, but all of these other disasters are terrible! You've quite a huge country-so ok, it's a continent..... Wishing you all the best recovery and resilience.

        2. schatzi 02/13/2017

          Frank, so sorry about all the storms and destruction. Glad you are safe.

          1. frankgreenhalgh 02/13/2017

            Thanks Shirley. We are a pretty resilient lot (as Tim hinted), and the local communities will pitch in and help those affected - that's what Aussies do. However, the big problem is that the frequency of these extreme weather events is increasing. Cheers, Frank

  2. Jay_Sifford 02/13/2017

    Good morning Jeff. I always enjoy seeing your plant combinations. They are inspiring while, at the same time, bring a level of comfort because many of the plants are things I grew up with. Great work.

    1. jeffgoodearth 02/13/2017

      Thanks, Jay and I am "starvin' to death for spring"

  3. tmwg 02/13/2017

    So inspirational! As soon as I can I am transplanting my globe thistle to my day Lilly bed.

  4. VikkiVA 02/13/2017

    Beautiful Jeff. I'm going to have to give globe thistle another try. Yours is amazing sharing the spotlight with your daylilies. Vikki in VA

    1. jeffgoodearth 02/13/2017

      Try the Echinops again and the bees will LOVE you

  5. jeffgoodearth 02/13/2017

    The large tree is an Amecan elm, I have 2 here in the yard and both are 100% healthy.

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/13/2017

      The home in which I grew up in Iowa was surrounded by enormous, ancient American Elms. It was such a tragedy to watch them succumb to dutch elm disease and turn to skeletons. There was one young tree that survived and I believe it is still there. They had an amazing silhouette.

  6. user-7007498 02/13/2017

    Morning, Jeff. Always a pleasure to see your wonderful garden. It was fun to see a couple of wider shots of your property. The photo of the backyard looking southwest is terrific. How lucky to have that view. Your design skills shine. I love the photo with the echinops. What really makes it pop is having the color echo of the blue spruce behind it. Well done.

    Thanks for a great start to the week.

    1. jeffgoodearth 02/13/2017

      Thanks, Kevin! 70's here next week, my body is gonna be aching

  7. NCYarden 02/13/2017

    Good morning and great inspiration, Jeff. And a sweet reminder Spring will be here sooner than we think, though I may argue summer has already arrived with 80 degrees yesterday - I was sweating in shorts and t shirt while tending to the woodland garden.
    I love your plant collection and then how you get them all to mingle so well. Really digging the switchgrass photo.

    1. user-7007498 02/13/2017

      I am so envious right now. We were mild at 42 yesterday, but had rain and 25 mph sustained wind. Same today, but without rain (just clouds).

  8. User avater
    meander_michaele 02/13/2017

    These picture are great company to help pass the time when gardening comes to a halt here in east TN, Jeff. I would feel challenged about how to change things but, then again, that's one of the things that is so endlessly interesting about gardening...ideas suddenly pop up and the "doing" starts all over again. I really love the combination of the blue globe thistle with the daylilies...esp. with the blue of the spruce in the background. Do you have a particular named variety?

    1. jeffgoodearth 02/13/2017

      That particular spruce is Thume and is grafted on a 24" standard. I got it from Bob Bullington 30 years ago. Nice tree but catches ALL the heavy snow and I am out there brushing it off before it turns into a pretzel.

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 02/13/2017

        Ahh, well, interesting to know about the blue spruce but I was actually wondering about the echinops. I have small weed type thistles with yellow flowers that can be so invasive and I was wondering if a named variety of blue behaves itself better.
        Oh and remember the 2 'Baby Blue' spruces that I told you we bought and planted nov. of 2015? They both kicked the bucket by mid summer. When we dug them up, we saw that their root system had been so chopped, it was no wonder they didn't survive. I'm on the lookout again.

        1. jeffgoodearth 02/13/2017

          I don't have a variety name for that globe thistle and don't even remember where i got it! Too bad about those Baby Blues . I planted 2 last summer and so far ,,, so good

  9. User avater
    treasuresmom 02/13/2017

    Everything is beautiful at your place in TN. I noticed you said that it is still frozen there. We have had 2 freezes this winter and no days of extended cold. Plum and pear trees have bloomed and leafed out. Sweet bay magnolia that is semi evergreen has always totally lost its leaves in the past but not this year. Climate change is evident all around my place.

    1. jeffgoodearth 02/13/2017

      frozen no more. 60's this week and 70's next week. sure all will start to grow then get zapped by a deep freeze

  10. Maggieat11 02/13/2017

    Delighted to have your photos displayed today, Jeff! Love the weeping hemlock and am wondering about the Dragon Eye Pine.... is that a dwarf selection? Your large grouping of globe thistle is marvelous. This year, I MUST add that to my gardens! Thanks for including the wider shots also. Fabulous!

    1. jeffgoodearth 02/13/2017

      Not a dwarf but it's a slow grower that doesn't get that large anyway and I am a frustrated surgeon with a pair of Felcos in my hands!

  11. user-4691082 02/13/2017

    Good morning Jeff! What a tasty treat today! With 50 mile an hour winds here, I'm not even going outside today! We are all dying to get outside, I know! With some milder temps last week, I did a little weeding. I love your orange creamsicle? hot pokers. Your color combinations are stunning. Thanks for sharing!

    1. jeffgoodearth 02/13/2017

      Those are Papaya Popsicle pokers. There is a whole series of them Papaya, Pineapple and some others

  12. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/13/2017

    Fantastic as always, Jeff. I killed an Echinops a while back and was gifted one last summer by a good friend; it seems quite healthy. I'm wondering if you planted a large grouping or do they spread? In my shoe-horned planting scheme, I could be in trouble.
    And of course I am insanely jealous of vareigated Yucca Agave-doppelganger with the great Kniphofia and carex. They look so great together. I added four different Kniphofia last summer and am anxious to see them go to town this year. Thanks for stoking my appetite for spring!

    1. jeffgoodearth 02/13/2017

      Since I do not do well with Agave in the garden I rely on yucca for the look. that Eryngium agavifolium does a pretty good job too

  13. User avater
    gringopeligroso 02/13/2017

    Mr. Caltonn!!!!
    Just a too quick note to say we set a record high temperature here (far-Eastern Oklahoma) on Saturday, and while outdoors in the bright, warm sunshine, I heard a commotion overhead. Upon gazing upward, I spied a huge formation of geese bearing due North at flank speed! I believe they were ferrying eddies of warmth amongst their tail feathers!
    Gotta hurry and get more pecans and blueberries planted today....they've promised showers on the morrow and my mood is cautiously turning hopeful! Keeping fingers crossed that those warm currents make it to your neck of the woods and that the clouds now overhead here become generous!! Jesse

  14. janisod 02/13/2017

    Your yard is so lovely and a perfect combination for my morning coffee. What sparks my imagination is the collection of Annabelles under tree canopy. Last year Ii replaced some of the 80-year-old foundation plantings with hydrangeas. Any tips for helping them thrive under established oaks? Have a wonderful week.

    1. jeffgoodearth 02/13/2017

      The only thing I do for Annabelle is supplemental watering

  15. sheila_schultz 02/13/2017

    The photos of your gardens always take me to a comfortable place, Jeff. The way you play with the shadows makes a cold winter day feel toasty warm and cozy. You are so lucky to still have 2 healthy elms, they are such magnificent trees, I always think of them as gentle giants. The little midwestern town I grew up in was cooled by the shade of hundreds of elms lining every street... and then there were none. I remember crying when strangers came into our yard when I was 4 or 5 and took down my favorite tree. I had spent hours upon hours sitting on those big roots making mud pies and dreaming of possibilities. Give your 2 beauties a little love pat from me! Have an excellent week!

    1. jeffgoodearth 02/13/2017

      Sheila, we pretty much bought this house for those Elms. If they go I don't know what we would do

      1. sheila_schultz 02/14/2017

        You would cry as I did as a child...the exquisite beauty of elms is undeniable.

  16. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 02/13/2017

    Good morning, Jeff, and thanks for treating our color starved eyes to some summer beauty. Love the switchgrass photo, the beautiful echinops and your elm trees. Those take me back to my childhood in WI where they lined our streets. Dutch Elm disease certainly changed the look of the landscape in the Midwest. Thanks for sharing your always lovely garden.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 02/13/2017

      Hi Linda - We are very fortunate that we don't have Dutch Elm disease in Aust. As you know we have lots of lovely mature elms in public gardens and along many streets in Melbourne. It would be an absolute disaster if the causal fungus entered our country. Cheers, Frank

      1. User avater
        LindaonWhidbey 02/15/2017

        Late reply here, Frank, but I certainly hope that Dutch Elm never hits there. It's devastating to watch those lovely big shade givers taken down. It changed the whole look of our little town. Fortunately, people replanted and the streets are once again tree lined with more stable varieties like maples , locusts, etc. I still miss the elms.

    2. jeffgoodearth 02/13/2017

      I would surely miss the elms and they are HUGE

  17. GrannyCC 02/13/2017

    What a lovely post today Jeff. The sweeping views want to make you wander and enjoy everything. Your gardens and plants combinations are inspiring. Thanks for wonderful wake up call.

    1. jeffgoodearth 02/13/2017

      Thanks, Catherine! Hope all your snow and ice is gone

      1. GrannyCC 02/14/2017

        Not yet but it is warming up and I am seeing grass again!

  18. schatzi 02/13/2017

    What a beautiful estate, Jeff. Especially love the dry garden colors and textures and the magnificent old trees. Always a pleasure to visit your garden.

    1. jeffgoodearth 02/13/2017


  19. DarliBarli 02/13/2017

    I am so impressed with your garden, Jeff. Im guessing you must have a greenhouse or big cold frame somewhere to store your agaves and similar plants (Thats a question!). I recently moved to Bowling Green Kentucky and am struggling w gardening in the climate. IIm now thinking a sprinkler system is a must. Im a BC (Canada) Master gardener and a grad of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew (England) School of Garden Design, so have some tools...and am anxious to get at it after a season of mainly observing. Thanks for sharing your garden with us.

    1. jeffgoodearth 02/13/2017

      Vastly different gardening requirements here in the southeast as compared to BC. I do not have a greenhouse and I have exceeded my capacities for over wintering plants. I am in the northeast corner of TN . Should you everbe in this areaDO stop by

  20. Meelianthus 02/13/2017

    Jeff, the sweeping views of your backyard area, and the last photo, are just magnificient. The well placed varieties throughout your gardens are always such a delight to see and think about. You have a masterful setting that I would just love to wander thru and enjoy each scene. Your 'dry garden' is especially beautiful - as are all !! Thanks Jeff for another trip thru your acreage.

    1. jeffgoodearth 02/13/2017

      Thanks and glad you like my yard. We put in some new beds lastfall and enlarged some of the other. Yes, I am crazy

  21. Chris_N 02/13/2017

    Jeff, once more you have made me smile. Love to see your place. Your "Looking through the switchgrass" is well done. I cannot quite pull off photos like that. Like the chard city. Bright Lights? The echinops with daylilies was wonderful but when I saw your dry garden with the agave and yucca and kniphoria I had to sit and gaze at it for a while. As for the weather, Madison is going to be in the 40's this week hitting the 50's this weekend. If it were a month later I'd be happy. But for February, it just makes me nervous.

    1. jeffgoodearth 02/13/2017

      Glad I could give you a smile me mat is always out here come on by anytime

  22. bsavage 02/13/2017

    Your yard and gardens are soooooo beautiful!

    1. jeffgoodearth 02/13/2017

      Thanks so much! We like digging holes!

  23. meta_chalker 02/13/2017

    My admiration for your garden is endless. Such beauty you have created and your knowledge of photography complements your beautiful gardens I am in awe.

  24. NWAgardener 02/13/2017

    Jeff - your grounds are spectacular, like a botanical garden! Five acres - I'm envious.

  25. foxglove12 02/14/2017

    Love the textures of the yuccas and agaves! And the wandering paths through the full beds. Beautiful!

  26. annek 02/14/2017

    Hey Jeff. I thought I had posted but it Looks like I'm a day late and a dollar short.

    Looooove the echinops mirroring the blue of the spruce and that shot of yellow daylily will surely be copied in many gardens. You have such an 'eye' for plant combinations and texture. Your pot creations are wonderfully fun and your vistas are like paintings. You rock, Tennessee Treeman!

  27. tennisluv 02/14/2017

    Catching up on posting from the past couple of days. Jeff, you property is beautiful. I love the way you have used blues to enhance other plants, or should that be vice versa? My favorite along with almost everyone else is the shot of the day lilies and globe thistle with the Thuma Blue Spruce in the background. Although I am also pulled in by the Annabelle hydrangeas. Is that a hydrangea with the white & pinkish flowers in the mixed bed? Thanks for sharing.

  28. cynthiamccain 02/15/2017

    Every time I see photos of your garden, Jeff, I am consumed with envy. Just lovely! A question, if I may: how do you water the hydrangeas planted beneath the tree?

  29. Cenepk10 02/15/2017

    Good Lord- I scrolled through the blurb directly to the pics - Had to be Jeff Carlton's garden- Scrolled back up- oh yeah... Absolutely stunning. Exquisitely layered and sophisticated & yummy. Always a delight to see !!!

  30. perenniallycrazy 02/15/2017

    Wowza! I wouldn't change very much but knowing you it'll get amped up a lot I'm sure. Can't wait to see your garden this 2017!

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