Garden Photo of the Day

David’s garden in North Carolina, Day 3

And finally, the 3rd and final day in David Sabio’s garden. David, you’ll definitely need to keep us posted on your projects! A gallery of winter scenes would be great, too! Thanks so much for sharing with us for the past three days. You and your wife are an awesome team, and your garden is super.

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘RE105’ (Forever & Ever Together hydrangea)
View from end of the driveway, a little of everything
Lespedeza liukiuensis ‘Little Volcano’ – not so little anymore, Panicum virgatum ‘Dallas Blues’ switch grass
Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower), Gardenia jasminoides ‘Variegata’, variegated chamaecyparis, Hosta ‘Striptease’

Western edge of woodland garden – Cornus kousa dogwood, Purpureum elegans (Rhododendron), Cercis canadensis ‘Lavendar Twist’ redbud, Rhododendron ‘Conleo’ (Autumn Monarch), Eleagnus pungens (Silverthorn), Cryptomeria japonica
Rhododendron periclymenoides (Pinxter azalea) , Acer palmatum ‘ Shigitatsu sawa’, Acer palmatum ‘Orangeloa’
Begonia ‘Metallic Mist’ at the base of Sellowiana feijoa (pineapple guava)
Rhododendron bonsai

Looking toward the woodland garden from the deck – Acer palmatum ‘Elmwood’, Acer palmatum ‘Orange Dream’, Acer palmatum ‘Seiryu’, Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’ in the right-hand foreground

One of the moss gardens heading into the low woodland garden
Like I said, I really just love plants!


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View Comments


  1. schatzi 09/25/2014

    It's Wednesday evening but day 3 was up so I snuck a peek! WOW! More fabulousness!! I too love rhodies , azaleas and hardy fuchsias, all of which thrive in my climate. I just planted 6 more of the latter - they were irresistable. Of course, my resistance is negligible at any time, regarding plants. I always say I can resist anything but temptation. The other good one I saw was "lead me not into temptation - aw shucks, follow me, I know a shortcut!" I'm sure all of us that follow this blog are dangerous at a nursery with a checkbook or credit card. Love the photo of the tree hugger! And the bonsai rhody, and the begonia "Metallic Mist" (have to look for that one) and the gorgeous rock and...
    David and Christine, you are an inspiration! I have work to do...

    1. NCYarden 09/25/2014

      Good morning, shirley. I know that shortcut too well. I've even tried putting up a roadblock, but find I can still just jump the fence. Quite an affliction, but one I can certainly live with. You're not alone, I assure you. I bet we're all guilty here.

      1. greengenes 09/25/2014

        Oh yes, I totally agree. I keep saying that I am not going to make any more new beds and just take care of what I have but I always find out about a new plant and what do you know... a new area to plant! Its such a creative outlet for us! I love it!

  2. perenniallycrazy 09/25/2014

    Wow, it only gets better and better. Isn't there a fourth and fifth day more for your gardens David? I am suffering from serious plant lust right now! Someone on GPOD please send me the cure.

    1. NCYarden 09/25/2014

      Hello P Crazy. At some point there will be a fourth and fifth. There is more garden to see. I have certainly consumed enough of everyone's time and attention as Michelle so graciously allotted 3 days to our garden. But it's great to know it was so enjoyable to you.

      1. perenniallycrazy 09/26/2014

        Where do you source your plants especially your trees and shrubs?

        1. NCYarden 09/26/2014

          I would have to say we are really fortunate with a number of resources in the area. We are members of the JC Raulston Arboretum at North Carolina State University (Go Pack!) and benefit from some of the plant give-aways there, as well as the Horticultural fraternity's plant sales. Of course, there is Plant Delight's right up the road from us. Camellia Forest out in Chapel Hill. There a several really good garden centers in the area - Homewood, Cary Garden Supply, Logan's. And we have manged to become friends with a few nursery owners and industry folks too (Weston Farms, McCracken Nursery), which has proven to be a very beneficial friendship. If you do have a little extra in the budget, Architectural trees out in Bahama has great specimen trees. As I had said in another reply in these posts, Christine and I really like to support as many of the businesses as possible. We often stop at nurseries and garden centers even when we take trips. Stauffer's of Kissel Hill and Nature's Way up in Harrisburg, PA are great places as well.One thing too is that gardening is patience for sure, so I am also willing to buy a small plant, especially the Japanese maples as they can be very expensive when purchased as grown specimens. Knock on wood (one of our tree trunks will do), we hopefully have some time ahead of us to watch them grow up.

  3. sarahwolpow 09/25/2014

    Lovely photos David. I'm wondering what kind of camera you use as the color tones are very rich and saturated. I'm thinking I need an upgrade from my very old digital - probably filled with dirt in every crack & crevice.

    1. NCYarden 09/25/2014

      Hi Sarah. It's a combination of cameras, an old and still working Sony Cybershot, and a newer little Nikon point-n-shoot. But each does have a few controls for some of the parameters. Earlier this year though I did finally purchase a DSLR (Sony alpha-58) but really don't know how to use that very well yet. It's overwhelming. Still learning. But as I wrote in yesterday's post, I do like to play with the settings to try to capture what I think my eyes are seeing. One thing is, I typically avoid really bright times of the day unless it really suits the shot in a uniquie way. Usually not a big problem though as garden strolls tend to be in the morning and evening. And as for those camera settings, I often slightly underexpose the shot...colors just seem to come out richer. But you gotta love the digital age - take as many shots as you like until you get the picture you want, right. It makes experimenting a lot easier. I hope this helps, because I find photography fascinating, but I'm definitely no pro.

      1. sarahwolpow 09/26/2014

        Hi David. Thanks so much for the info. Maybe I need to look into something better this winter....

  4. VikkiVA 09/25/2014

    Beautiful garden David. I'm in love with your bonsai Rhododendron! Vikki in VA.

    1. NCYarden 09/25/2014

      Hello Vikki. Thank you. I like to garden on all scales. This has been one of my most successful bonsai. There was a time when I thought I was going to Bonsai the world - yeah right. It is way more manageable to just maintain a few. I still keep an aye for good potential material, but find I put more emphasis on the main garden.

  5. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/25/2014

    Without a doubt, Day 3 did NOT disappoint...I remain inspired and enthralled. It seems like your beautiful property has it all...even including the whimsy of a fairy garden to tickle the fancy of the inner child that resides in most of us. Your bonsai rhodie (in bloom no less) is amazing...did you start it from scratch yourself? Even if not, maintaining it and doing all the proper pruning of roots and branches is quite the responsibility and a high art form. Ha, just so you know, my poor laptop probably feels like it has had the lead role in The Exorcist because I keep spinning it around to show my husband one picture after another. He should just move his chair close over to mine here at the kitchen table.
    First picture...absolutely gorgeous!
    Second picture...sublime and serene!
    OK, you get the drift...thanks so very, very much, David and Christine, for sharing so many views and vignettes of this dream garden.

    1. NCYarden 09/25/2014

      Good morning, menader1. Christine has had such fun with the Fairy garden, especially because it is really embedded within the garden right by the patio. I really enjoy it too. The rhodie bonsai was started from a sprig essentially. I'm pleased it has done so well. As you can imagine, I have killed a number of plants in this endeavor - it is a beautiful but tough form of artful gardening. As I commented to VikkiB, it is easier to maintain a few, at least at this point.
      The exorcist comment makes me laugh. I can totally picture the scenario you described.
      Thank you for all your sincere and thoughtful comments.

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 09/25/2014

        I totally understand Christine's extra enthusiasm for this special project. I went whole hog on creating a miniature world this spring which a facebook friend cutely named Gnomeville because initially, I had it only populated by the guys. However, you know how assertive girls are nowadays and some lively dainty fairy females have moved in also! I haven't shared it on GPOD yet but one of these days... Anyway, yours struck a chord with me having fallen under the spell myself.

  6. user-7007083 09/25/2014

    Your garden is breathtaking. Up here, in chilly zone 5, we can only dream of growing some of the amazing specimens that grow in your garden with ease! I am planning a fairy garden for my niece's birthday--yours is inspiring!

    1. NCYarden 09/25/2014

      Hello Kirstin. Thank you for sharing in the garden. Have tons of fun with the fairy garden...remember there are no rules but to be creative. I hope some plant you found irresistible finds its way into your garden. Let us know what takes root.

  7. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 09/25/2014

    Pretty darn wonderful. Have had poncirus trifoliata flying dragon on my list for a long time and that lespedeza is crazy beautiful. It dies to the ground, doesn't it? Does it look good through the growing season or does it just have a shining-star moment. Thanks for sharing and your explanations. Happy gardening!

    1. NCYarden 09/25/2014

      Good morning, Tim. The lespedeza does pretty much die to the ground. Some strong stems will remain if you want them to and push new buds, but we typically cut it back anyway. It is a strong grower. This time of year is definitely is greatest display, truly a cascading explosion. My neighbor really loves it - it was his favorite until the blue atlas cedar took off. But yes it does look good throughout the growing season, and it grows well in pretty poor conditions. Once it breaks dormancy, it is fairly vigorous and you have a whole season of blue green foliage that sways in the breeze. It is a spectacular plant, but do give it some room.

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 09/25/2014

        Thanks David! Room is something I definitely do NOT have! :) Of course I am always moving things around and plants do die....

  8. imlawoman 09/25/2014

    oh yes, I look forward to the winter scenes too. Great suggestion. Thanks for including the moss garden. I have circumstance that developed in similar fashion. I knew I wasn't crazy for wanting to keep the moss. Glad day 3 let the whimsy show. All gardeners have whimsy in them.
    To Plant something, is to believe in the future.

    1. NCYarden 09/25/2014

      Hello imlawoman. Moss is wonderful...actually it's "totally moss-ome." I think it has a wonderful look and feel, requires little maintenance, just a little sprinkle of water to brighten back up. And besides why fight Mother Nature? She is letting you know grass is pretty much not going to grow there. I also use it in containers and of course in my bonsai. Maybe pics of that another time.
      Yes whim must be present in the garden. I may be a serious gardener, but I don't take it that seriously. Let's have fun out there, otherwise why bother.

  9. GrannyMay 09/25/2014

    Another morning to enjoy your garden and remind myself that I don't have to own it to enjoy it! Great tree-hugger photo! I would hug that gorgeous maple too, and all the others, if it were mine. Is that hummingbird hovering over the Begonia 'Metallic Mist' an art piece? It doesn't quite look real, but lovely just the same. Aah , the Lespedeza! And perfect photo of the big rock with dahlia! And that first photo with the clematis and the dahlia! All of them! Yes! Please come back with more photos.

    1. NCYarden 09/25/2014

      Yes that hummingbird is garden art. The colors married so well. However, hanging just above it off the deck rail is a feeder that draws the real ones. Still got few left fattening up for their big journey.
      I wish I had a picture of that dahlia at this very moment. It really is a small tree this year, almost 6 feet. Must really like it's placement this season.

  10. GrannyMay 09/25/2014

    Michelle, I love this format. The photos are a good size to start with. There is a place for a description with each photo. On my computer I can right-click on any of the photos, open it in a new window, and enlarge it there. Hope others have a similarly good experience with it.

  11. Nurserynotnordstroms 09/25/2014

    I love the moss garden and the entire woodland area. When I saw how much space you still have left to plant in I thought to myself oh if only I had woodlands I would make a stumpery. You should google it and check it out. I have made a teeny tiny version since I don't have the room. We finally visited the one I have been dreaming about seeing forever,it's owned by Walt and Pat Riehl. We have another here in Wa.State at the Weyerhaeuser Gardens(just trying to help you do a little landscaping he he he) a stumpery would be perfect for your gardens. We have a Seiryu it's changing color already,and an Orangeola what a perfect tree in all seasons. Looks like I need a Metallic Mist Begonia. What do you do with it in the winter? Mulch hard?I love love love the greenish rock combined with the pine. You two are really great at landscaping. I loved all three days of phots so very very enjoyable. Again thank you so much for sharing your private space with all of us who love Fine Gardening. I hope some day to get to take a private tour. Happy gardening to both of you.

    1. NCYarden 09/25/2014

      Hello again Nurserynotnordstrom. Funny you should mention a stumpery, which is actually new to me. As I wrote in the intro, the woods were a mess, not just overrun with muscadine and thorny smilax, but a lot of ratty and damaged trees like sweet gum and water oaks that were killing each other trying to get resources. And we have gradually been thinning them out to expose the strong-trunked trees and encourage a healthy canopy. Plus it leaves great space below to fill in with more cool plants. So we have been left with a number of stumps, but nothing too showy at this point. However, some I have left a little taller and use them as stands for potted plants or garden art (see the gnome on the overturned terracotta pot on a sweetgum stump, like a mushroom?) I like your suggestion, and will look more into it.
      Sieryu is incredible. On top of top it's sinuous flow and delicate yet tough leaves, it's the one maple that changes color a little later for us and holds till about Christmas. It's amazing. I'm saddened though that a nursery friend of mine says it is an unpopular cultivar here - says no one ever wants to buy it. I find it hard to believe. Our NC summers can be quite intense so a number of the Japanese maples often struggle with the fall display; Spring is a much better show I find. But Sieryu is a performer. We should take up a cause! It's also Christine's favorite, though Rhode Island Red is really beginning to woo her away.
      As for Metallic Mist, I do mulch it pretty well each season once it dies back.
      Thank you for all your interests, and the wit.

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 09/25/2014

        I've been making lemonade out of lemons by leaving high enough stumps to make birdhouse poles. I know they won't last forever but at least it lessens the sense of loss if it was a tree I was used to. I was hoping to include a picture along with the comment but with my limited techno skills I can't tell if the picture will show up when I click post. Oh, the adventure of being a dinosaur.

        1. schatzi 09/25/2014

          I just clicked on the picture icon and it came up. Beautiful! Great idea.

        2. NCYarden 09/26/2014

          Total agreement. Yep it may be for a limited time, but, hey it's a resource to be used in the meantime. A free post without me having to dig a hole for it...sign me up. And yes, the picture is there, and looks fantastic. Thanks, meander1.

  12. NCYarden 09/25/2014

    We are really overjoyed at all of you who viewed the garden
    and the generous praise you imparted. On a quick note, my grandmother had one
    chance to visit the house not too long after we purchased it, but the garden was
    just in its early stages – hardly mentionable. About 2 years ago, as her health
    declined, she was moved to a nursing home for a short while before her passing.
    Thinking it would cheer her up, Christine and I went to visit her there and
    brought along the laptop with a number of photos of the garden, more like it is
    today. As we clicked through countless pictures, she looked up at us and in her
    shaky but bright voice, exclaimed, “I believe the ugliest thing in your garden
    is beautiful!” It was such an unexpected and genuine quip which really tickled
    us that when I got to the car I immediately wrote it down, lest I forget it. But it
    was so sincere I think I will always remember it. Maybe we’ll have a sign made
    for the garden with this inscription. Nonetheless, I feel much the same after
    reading all your kind words. Truly overwhelming. Thank you again. And thank you,
    Michelle, for all you do to keep the gardening community enthusiastic. I hope to send
    more photos before too long.

    1. User avater
      meander_michaele 09/25/2014

      Ahh, David, no's hard to type when one's eyes are welling up. That is such a beautiful memory you have of your grandmother and it was so very thoughtful of you and Christine to give her the pictorial tour. It had to mean the world to her to see your young and vibrant faces so enthusiastic about something you share doing together. I'm sure it brought her many smiles even after you left.

  13. greengenes 09/25/2014

    Well gloves off to you and your wife!!! What a beautiful three days of gardens we all have had! Iam so glad you both enjoy it so! It is so rewarding and its full of hope and fun!
    I like that tree huggin photo and I think we should do a photo "Album" of all of us gardeners hugging a favorite tree! Well I do have one question and that is the picture with the nice white flowering tree... Is that the fringe tree? The bark and trunks are so beautiful! Thanks again for letting us into your lives! We are all blessed and encouraged!

    1. NCYarden 09/25/2014

      Hi greengenes. Sorry, could you be a little more specific as to which tree..maybe in what picture #? I'll tell you for sure then.
      The 'Big Hug' photo album is a great idea.

      1. greengenes 09/25/2014

        Hi David, yes, it is picture number six that I was interested in. Is that the fringe tree? Thanks..

        1. NCYarden 09/26/2014

          Oh, that is a crepe myrtle - Lagerstroemia indica 'Natchez', fantastic deep cinnamon red trunk as well.

  14. sheila_schultz 09/25/2014

    David and Christine, you have made a whole lot of garden junkies very happy this week. Your gardens are inspiring and have inspired us to keep having fun with what we all love to do in our free time. Your artistry is evident in the positioning of your incredible collection of plants, your thoughtfulness shines through in the time you take responding to everyone's comments and your sense of humor just pops up not only in your words but also in unexpected places in your gardens. It's been a pleasure getting to know you this week and to have the opportunity to see parts of your gardens through your eyes.

    1. NCYarden 09/25/2014

      Thank you, sheila. That really warms my heart. I certainly feel like we are all becoming a little family here as we share our passion for gardening, and essentially get together 5 days a week. Hey, it's like we're all back in grade school! I'll see you at recess.What did you bring for lunch? Hahaha.

      1. sheila_schultz 09/25/2014

        I'll see you at the jungle gym... you and Christine want to share my bologna sandwich if it doesn't smell too bad after sitting in the locker all morning?

  15. schatzi 09/25/2014

    Just one more comment. The stumpery is at the Rhododendron Species Foundation's garden at the Weyerhauser offices in Federal Way, WA. The gardens are really something to see, something in bloom almost any month of the year. Species collected from all over the world, including a gorgeous conservatory full of Vireya tropical rhodies and other tropical companions. I don't go nearly as often as I should. But it is wonderful and a labor of love for those who started and maintain it. Something to put on your list if you ever come west, David and Christine. And once again, thank you so much for sharing your wonderland. I look forward to more pictures whenever.

    1. NCYarden 09/25/2014

      A trip west is on the planned itinerary at some point, hopefully sooner than later. A friend of ours has been trying to take us out there for a few seasons now. He loves it and goes every year. This is a trip that will happen. Thanks for the destination suggestion.

    2. greengenes 09/25/2014

      Wow! Thanks Shirley! I went there a few years back to see all the bonsai trees but this stump garden is fairly new? I will definitely check it out! Oh and David and Christine and you Shirley, are all welcome here in Port Orchard when you are over this way! I sure would love to meet all of us sometime!

      1. schatzi 09/25/2014

        Thank you for the invitation. I would love to visit sometime. The stumpery is not new. Even the conservatory is 6 or so years old, and I finally got to see it last August. And I'm a member...and I live about 15 miles away...can you say time management problem? or is it priorities that sometimes get skewed? The bonsai garden has been closed for a few years due to lack of money, but if you haven't wandered the rhody garden itself, you are in for a treat. And if you email me and make a date, I will get you in as my guest. My email is simple: [email protected]

        1. Nurserynotnordstroms 09/25/2014

          The Bonsai collection is there I just posted the info. It's called the Pacific Bonsai Museum.

  16. GrannyCC 09/25/2014

    Gorgeous David and Christine thank you for sharing. I love the Dahlia with the Clematis and the Fairy Garden. What a transformation you have done. Makes me want to redo my place maybe in the Spring.

    1. NCYarden 09/25/2014

      Hello GrannyCC. It is still a work in progress, but has definitely come a long way.
      I will be interested to see how you build upon your garden in the upcoming seasons. I'm pleased you found some inspiration. Thank you for all the compliments.

  17. jagardener 09/25/2014

    Beautiful. Keep it coming. Wish I could garden in your zone.

    1. NCYarden 09/25/2014

      Hello jagardener. It does seem that this a great area to garden, despite the oppressive summers we often get. A lot does seem to grow here, opening up quite a palette for endless combinations.

  18. Meelianthus 09/25/2014

    Your last picture says it all David ! Thank you, and Christine for all of this beauty.

    1. NCYarden 09/25/2014

      You are welcome. Hugs all around.

  19. CarlaGriffin 09/25/2014

    I love y'alls gardens!! The plants are so beautiful! I've taken notes & names of some of the plants I want. Well, I want them all, but I have limited space. I look forward to seeing more in the future. :)

  20. Nurserynotnordstroms 09/25/2014

    I just wanted everyone to know that the Bonsai collection is at the same property as the Weyerhaeuser Gardens,it's called Pacific Bonsai Museum It was closed for a little while during the economic down turn but it's been back and they have a wonderful collection and it shouldn't be missed.
    It's open Tues-Sat.10am 4pm year-round Closed on Mondays

    1. schatzi 09/26/2014

      Thank you for the update. I guess I wasn't paying attention - didn't notice that it was open again. It is definitely worth seeing. I keep coming back to view the pictures and read what has been added to the conversation. What a great group. Thank you Michelle for bringing us together.

  21. sumhillgardener 09/25/2014

    Sum Hill Gardener

  22. lesliefarrelldelongpre 09/26/2014

    The sheer number of plants is fantastic! I just want to save all your pictures! And you have NAMES! I see I need to add a LOT more! Thank you so much for your inspiration! carry on!

    1. NCYarden 09/26/2014

      Hi Leslie, Glad you enjoyed the garden photos. I hope the names help you make your new shopping list. Fun! Long live our gardens.

  23. lindanewber 09/26/2014

    David and Christine, what an exquisite garden. I have so enjoyed your pictures this week. Glad you took the before pic of the front have completely transformed a blank canvas. I am so inspired, I'm going to start transforming my own front yard....starting with the Japanese Maples. Love your everything. I also live in NC, on the coast, and intend to try some of your plants in my own "Yarden." Thank you so much for sharing your lovely garden with the rest of us. It was a real treat. Looking forward to more of your pics.

    1. NCYarden 09/26/2014

      Good morning, Linda. How exciting that we've inspired you jump into your own transformation. Certainly have fun with it. Just remember to be patient. Where in NC are you? keep in mind the salt and wind on the coast can be tough on some maples, particularly the lace leaf varities. Certainly not impossible, but consider a slightly protected area of the garden, heck even if you have to use other plants as that protective screen. Enjoy and thank you for your kind words.

  24. sumhillgardener 09/26/2014

    Hello David and Christine,

    I love seeing your beautiful "yarden" ! I have enjoyed having my Maryland garden in GPOD a few times and am blown away by yours. I travel about once a year to Raleigh to help my niece renovate her property, one area at a time. Three years ago we planted over 100 trees and shrubs in 2 days, her family crazily planting as I designed on the spot. The two prior days she and I happily plant shopped, finding amazing bargains. However, her soil is a nightmare. We add up to 10 yards of compost / soil each time and still I worry about drainage. My nice deep edges become moats. How do you ever do what you do ??? They are in the North section of Raleigh and I read that you are South of there. Thank you for those fabulous garden photos and for being my new inspiration for future trips to N.C. And thank you for giving your email, because like so many other admirers I would love to talk and even see your "yarden" !

    I have a star Natchez Crepe Myrtle also, but will attempt to play catch-up with those Japanese maples.

    1. NCYarden 09/27/2014

      Hi Sally, Thank you so much for the praise. I will have to search for your GPOD pics on the site. Can't wait to see them. You definitely sound like a gardening trooper - fantastic. We are fortunate here that the soil is surprisingly nice, I think mainly because it was all wooded at some point and therefore lots of decomposed plant material. It gets a little worse as you approach the street. But a while back I did realize the importance of the soil for healthy plants. SO even when I dig a new hole, I usually add some combination of soil and compost (often those bagged ones from Lowe's) and for the big projects I have a 50/50 blend delivered to the house and dumped on the edge of the cul-de-sac, where we then break our backs pushing each wheel barrow load onto the property.
      Please contact us next time you plan to come to the area so we can arrange a visit, and maybe we can see your artful efforts at your niece's place too, as North Raleigh is my youthful stomping grounds. I would love to see it.
      Thanks again and glad you enjoyed the garden photos so much.

  25. user-5829577 09/28/2014

    The thied day certainly didn't disappoint .......your photos have been very inspirational and is helping me think out of the box for changes in my own garden. Thank you so much.

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