Garden Photo of the Day

Filled with Peace and Plants

By Kim Charles

Leftover bedding plants I potted up

Mary Quigley and her husband have built one outstanding woodland property in the mountains of North Carolina.

"My husband and I have lived in the mountains of western North Carolina for 17 years, where we have 150 (mostly wooded) acres with 3 ponds, a horse farm, and 2 streams running through it.  We have enjoyed having so much space to learn to garden and feel fortunate to steward such a beautiful spot.  Visitors invariably comment on how peaceful our place is.  It is filled with large boulders and rhododendrons.  After years of dreaming and planning, last year we built a walled garden and planted a formal knot.  There is still much to do to design and plant the outer beds and surrounding areas, but we are learning so much and enjoying the challenge.  This year I started posting a daily photo on Instagram of something on our property, trying to keep track of when plants bloom, as well as learning to look more closely at the world around me.  Check it out @mountain_stills on Instagram."

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Native rhododendrons in full bloom–mid June

Our shady pond in front of the house

The thyme walk in May

The view across the cutting garden to the enclosed vegetable garden and tool barn 

This north-facing rock wall self-seeded with lamium and ferns

David Austin roses. The red is 'Tess of the Dubervilles'. Pink are 'Mayflower', 'Sceptor'd Isle' and an unknown variety.

Houseplants' home in winter

Houseplants' home in summer

Annuals near the front porch

View Comments


  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/20/2017

    My, oh my, Mary, your sharing today resulted in a babbling brook of many "oohs and ahhs" of admiration and appreciation from me. Your description of your property sounded heavenly and the pictures did not disappoint. Unless someone sees it in person, it is hard to grasp the all encompassing magic of the mountain rhodies in full bloom in the states of NC and TN (I'm sure other states, as well, can lay claim to such sights). I love your own contributions to your beautiful property like the arbors, the specialty gardens and what looks to be a very charming home ...sigh, oh, that porch!

  2. frankgreenhalgh 04/20/2017

    Wow Mary, you and your husband are living in paradise. Wonderful landscaping design and plantings. Congratulations to you both on your outstanding gardens. Your hard work has paid big dividends. Cheers from down under.

  3. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 04/20/2017

    What a beautiful garden and property. The work and learning are a life-long endeavor, aren't they?
    I'm crazy about the stones and all of the moss.

  4. millienavarrorumain 04/20/2017

    Stunning!!! It took my breath away!!!

  5. Chris_N 04/20/2017

    Beautiful, Mary! Your gardens look wonderful. Sadly, I can't see your daily posts as I'm not on instagram (and not getting on it - I spend too much time on social media as it is.) Love the porch filled with plants and the sun room filled with plants and all your garden arches. I'm with Tim - the moss and fern covered rocks are the best. I know this is not strictly gardening but I read "mountains of North Carolina" and see your woodlands, ponds, streams, and rocks and think "There must be some cool salamanders living there!"

    1. user-7008495 04/20/2017

      Indeed we do have lots of interesting critters, including salamanders, in the creeks and ponds. Also snakes, which I'm not crazy about having too near the house, but that's part of living in the woods...

  6. adeline_kong 04/20/2017

    Wow wow, amazing!!! My dream place, can you start up a page on FB? love to follow your gardening journey ❤️❤️❤️

  7. floreyd 04/20/2017


  8. greengenes 04/20/2017

    Wow! Your place is so, so beautiful! You both have really created a wonderland. Who would want to go anywhere? Thank you for sharing and i so look forward to seeing more!

  9. foxglove12 04/20/2017

    So pretty and so much interest. I'm really liking that thyme walk. May have to steal that idea. ?

  10. Coveside 04/20/2017

    What a wonderful place. That winter space is where I would want to sit and read garden catalogs!

    1. user-7008495 04/20/2017

      Yep. I sit in there on winter afternoons. In warm weather, not so much. We use the front porch as our sitting room.

  11. linnyg. 04/20/2017


    1. kenthpenter 04/20/2017

      I am with you, Linda. I want to move

  12. pattieswinfordclifford 04/20/2017

    Peaceful, indeed!!

  13. user-7007466 04/20/2017


  14. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 04/20/2017

    Very nice. Thanks for the tour :)

  15. terrysmyers 04/20/2017

    So very beautiful! Thanks.

  16. connieparrett 04/20/2017

    Lovely! What a great structure to enclose the vegetable garden. Hardscapes add so much to gardens, job well done!

  17. nancy_royal 04/20/2017

    You are blessed to live in a little slice of heaven on earth.

  18. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 04/20/2017

    Good morning, Mary. Wow, is right as others have said, you live in a spectacular place. That thyme walk, the winter conservatory, summer porch, rose garden are all beautiful but I'm really envious of that stream. I'll check you out on Instagram. Thanks for sharing.

  19. user-7007498 04/20/2017

    Mary, thanks so much for inviting us into your garden today. I absolutely love what you have done. Like others, I am most drawn to the rock wall. It is like a beautiful painting with color and textures.

    Also love your pond, and the wrap around porch. Wow.

    When I think about how many plants I have crammed into my 4/10 acre, I can't imagine what would happen to me to have the vast landscape that you have.

    1. user-7008495 04/20/2017

      Thanks Kevin. That's been the fun of learning to garden here. Plenty of room for error, and still other spots to focus on when a plant doesn't work out as planned. Gardening is mostly trial and error for us....but so much fun in the process.

  20. janiesweelybaker 04/20/2017

    What a blessing you have been given in your beautiful property and your vision for it! Thank you for sharing it with us! One of the most magical gardens I've seen!

  21. marysweda 04/20/2017


  22. mjensen 04/20/2017

    beautiful. love it all, i really love the pond, this is like my dream garden.

  23. Sunshine111 04/20/2017

    How lovely ?!

  24. tennisluv 04/20/2017

    All I can say is Oh My! Absolutely lovely and a posting that I will come back to again and again. Thanks for sharing.

  25. NCYarden 04/20/2017

    Wow, what a scenic setting. Talk about taking care of the land. You've created a beautiful garden in what is an already beautiful locale. I love our state's mountains.That north-facing stone wall and moss has me delirious. It's so good to see the work you've put into your "little" paradise. Maybe I can get a tour next time I drive west. Thanks for sharing.

    1. user-7008495 04/20/2017

      We love to show fellow gardeners our property and talk plants. Visitors welcome!

  26. sheila_schultz 04/20/2017

    Mary, every single detail in every single photo is perfection! Your wooded acreage it truly a paradise and you and your husband are indeed thoughtful stewards to the land you love. The images of the more than lush thyme walk and the mossed stone wall are glorious, and I adore that the ferns and lamium have so happily reseeded into every nook and cranny of that wall!

    1. user-7008495 04/20/2017

      Thank you Sheila. It's encouraging to us to receive so many kind words about our efforts. It's ironic to me that so many are commenting on the rock wall. That is the alleyway to the mechanical room of our pool house, an out-of-the-way spot that requires zero effort. The rose garden, however, I have labored many hours over, and struggled with aphids, black spot, etc. That is the photo I am most proud of.

      1. sheila_schultz 04/21/2017

        As a gardener that occasionally posts on GPOD, I'm always amazed which photos gather passion from our friends. You and I know the garden spaces we bust our buns to make 'perfect' for us, but it always seems as if the spaces that just happen naturally are the most perfect in their simplicity and others appreciate the most. Never stop working for perfection of the garden spaces that catch your minds eye... I do my own over and over and over. It's this strange balance of color/shape/whatever that keeps us striving for perfection in our own eyes. Accolades from strangers are a gift, but what really matters are the spaces that make our hearts sing. They are balances that work and keep us digging in the dirt. Keep doing what you are doing.

  27. gardencook 04/20/2017

    My, what a wonderfully beautifully property!!! I love David Austin roses and it is great to see some on your property!!! You have a creative touch!!!

  28. sithanthialfred 04/21/2017

    One of the BEST photo shoots of a mind blowing garden.

  29. marlenemullet 04/21/2017

    I LOVE your gardens and patios! It looks so peaceful and very well designed!

  30. cynthiamccain 04/21/2017

    It's obvious, Mary, that you love plants. It's even more obvious that they love you!

  31. thevioletfern 04/26/2017

    Wow, I enjoyed this peaceful tour through your gardens — a thyme walk! I love the winter home and imagined myself sipping coffee there just now and then moving along to the porch for scones and tea, and then by the afternoon sitting on the dock by your pond with my legs dangling into the water sipping a G&T. Thank you for the fantastic day! The rock ledge is truly a work of art. I also love that you have native rhododendrons.

  32. user-6536305 05/18/2017

    I don't know why I missed this post but it is never too late to put a comment in. Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

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