Garden Photo of the Day

Garden Eye Candy from Lookout Mountain

By Kim Charles

Sweeping views of the city

Part 2: Lookout Mountain, TN

Here we are back at Sue Chamberlain's property with more sweeping views, unique garden nooks and very creative use of space.

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  1. bsavage 01/05/2017

    Wow! Your gardens are so, so beautiful! Love all of the textures, and blooms, and vignettes! Just stunning.

    1. sue_chamberlain 01/05/2017

      Thank you, Brenda.

  2. user-7007498 01/05/2017

    Sue, the pictures today are even more impressive. The view from the mountain is awesome. You have done a great job integrating your garden into the hillside. Love the stairway path surrounded by the hydrangeas. The last photo also shows off your plant design skills. Brightened my day.

    1. sue_chamberlain 01/05/2017

      Kevin: Good morning! Regarding the hydrangeas you mentioned, having them cascade over the railing helps break up all the structures in a small garden. Glad you like it!

  3. tennisluv 01/05/2017

    What gorgeous views, both of the city and your garden. The hill I am getting ready to attack looks like a bunny slope compared to the hillside you have tamed. Beautiful and inspiring.

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 01/05/2017

    Whew, Sue, once again, I am agog over the beautiful results but can't help but be aware of the labor intensive effort this took to create. Could you share with us how ambitious you were from the very beginning about having steps, hard surface patio spaces, pergolas? Are you blessed with being a big vision type person or did things evolve in a way that surprised even you? Thanks so much for including the candlelit evening shot...makes me feel like I am on vacation somewhere very special.

    1. sue_chamberlain 01/05/2017

      Thank you,,.sounds like you design, too; great fun! When we bought the house, I was having fun with the vision; and knew I couldn't live without a garden. All the decks, steps, and arches were done first. The pergola in the grandmother's curved garden was done about 6 years ago after we lost a tree, and I needed to provide shade. What an opportunity....from above the pergola perfectly repeats the curves in that area. Each piece of horizontal lumber was plumbed to the each piece of lumber is a different size and was cut after being attached. Again, noticed more from our living room above; huge elevation changes!

  5. user-4691082 01/05/2017

    I can't even take it all in. What zone are you, Sue? Make us all feel better by telling us you sat in a lounge chair and directed a team of burly men to do your bidding! I'm with Michaele, I love the candelabras with the REAL candles!!! Sigh. What a garden!

    1. sue_chamberlain 01/05/2017

      Rhonda; Zone 6 as we are about 2000 ft above Chattanooga. We can get cold nights and quickly warm up during the days, so during the winter its important to protect my hydrangeas from those extremes. You are making me laugh with your comment. Really, I'm very hands to dig in the dirt. Lived in many places...always created a garden! For sure, it's easier to plant in my garden...which I do myself...because after I designed the garden, huge amounts of "good dirt" were brought in. That has made it so easy; I'm not dealing with hard clay typical of this area...I've got "Minnesota black dirt!."

    2. sue_chamberlain 01/05/2017

      Rhonda: The candelabras are about 20 years old...again, if you select specific items for outdoor use, they last forever. They look delicate, but are heavy and are out there year round. I feel so many people are in high-stress jobs, and when they come home, be it a small home or large, it's helpful to have a "personal space" in nature...mine is in the garden. Even a 4 x 10 deck can have a table top spa fountain/greenery, and a few special outdoor pillows to say "I love it here!"

      1. User avater
        gringopeligroso 01/06/2017

        Ms, Chamberlain!
        You are SO right!! When living in the DFW metroplex, my sanctuary and retreat was my apartment's patio/balcony. My friends and co-workers said they could tell which apartment was mine by the Babylonian feel my contained garden would exhibit, even from street level!
        Too many feel incorrectly that one needs soil to garden or to enjoy a bit of REAL life in their busy and often crowded schedules/crowded living situations. It just takes a bit of imagination and willingness to colour outside the box!! (Oh, and be fully willing to make and learn from the inevitable mistakes along that exciting learning curve!!)

        Oh, and real candles in the Garden!! Magic!!
        Beee U Tee Full POST!! Thanx for sharing your views!!

        1. sue_chamberlain 01/06/2017

          Jesse: So glad you experience your special space in your apartment deck. I'm amazed at how creative people can be with this space; vertical gardening; layering...and enclosing spaces, tool Would love to see a photo.

          1. User avater
            gringopeligroso 01/06/2017

            Oh, Dear One,
            Alas, that City and those urban gardens and countless window boxes are a dozen and more years and a couple of lifetimes ago!
            You are right, tho: I had small pots of seasonal colour sitting on/in larger pots of small shade trees, with even smaller hanging baskets and air plants hanging from their branches! (Layering.) "Hummer temptations" draped from the railings while passion vines, climbing roses and others scaled the portable trellises I had built or purchased or scavenged!(Vertical Gardening AND a bit more privacy!) Twice while making a living there, I had Property Managers who asked that I NOT move, and even offered me quite generous concessions if'n I'ld stay. But, I digress. Back in those busy days, I wasn't so much into photographing my personal, lush retreats, and sadly, in hindsight, I regret NOT capturing those lanais, stair ways, and even a couple of parking areas and pool patios I clothed and accessorized in colours and verdure. (I reckon I got a bit carried away in a couple of complexes!)
            I was So excited to see your garden as you've employed many of the principles I still use even tho I'm now in much more elbow room and a much quieter and slower part of the Planet! I LOVE how you've woven the changing elevations into new and creative ways to enjoy the members of the gardens and the microclimates you've exploited to further increase your diversity!! There's a couple of other GPODers who have shared their steep gardens in the short time I've been enjoying this post, and y'all's challenges in elevation changes also make some of the most exciting opportunities for seeing somethings familiar in a totally new perspective!!
            I join those others here in hoping we see more pix from your eyrie as the New Season begins for us!! (Altho it probably won't start tomorrow...I don't think we even get back above freezing until Monday!!)
            Again, Thanx!!
            jesse...hunkerin' down in the Ozarks

          2. sue_chamberlain 01/06/2017

            Jesse: It's amazing, having that Iphone with us now gives us endless times to capture gardens. I think we missed an opportunity with your gardens from the past. Bet there is more to come! Hope you share with us.

  6. NCYarden 01/05/2017

    Just splendid, Sue. Beautiful "small" garden with a vast backdrop of scenery...a real gem, for sure. Well done.

  7. cindy_riley 01/05/2017

    All right. How the dickens did she get that foxglove to grow and prosper?! Does 120 miles really make that much difference? Apparently so.

    1. sue_chamberlain 01/05/2017

      Cindy: So glad you enjoy foxglove too! One of my favorite foxglove "appearances" was in my steps! You never know where they will come up...and it seems like I always have a "mother foxglove"...just know it will be the biggest one. Certainly, I also have to replace and add, but it's my favorite time in the garden. It's vertical garden art for sure.

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 01/05/2017

        That is marvelous, Sue! Foxgloves are wonderful. I'm trying several species foxgloves, other than D. purpurea. You can't beat the different cultivars of D. purpurea for floriferousness, but the others are so interesting. This year I planted out D. parviflora. It has gorgeous, glossy green foliage and I can't wait to see it bloom next year.

        1. Meelianthus 01/05/2017

          "floriferousness" - really, that's great Tim, I love it!

        2. sue_chamberlain 01/06/2017

          There is also a "Morton" perennial digitalis; it's strawberry colored....will be checking it's location this spring to see how it's doing. Digitalis Grandiflora is the perennial yellow digitalis.

    2. Chris_N 01/05/2017

      Don't know where you are, Cindy, but assuming you are south of Sue then you are a half to a full zone warmer. Sue's garden is zone 7a which would put you in zone 7b or 8a. Digitalis purpurea is listed for zones 4-8, but like a lot of perennials in the south, it prefers afternoon shade. Since Sue is overlooking Chattanooga, her garden faces east to north east and so should get some relief from the afternoon sun. Sue - if I'm wrong, let me know so I can go back and take remedial map reading.

      1. sue_chamberlain 01/05/2017

        Chris: You are correct...the garden faces basically East. The foxglove bloom mainly in May...depending upon the weather.

  8. Chris_N 01/05/2017

    Oh my gosh. You said you gardened on a slope but I didn't realize nature of that slope. Very impressive. Very impressive and very beautiful. Some of the GPoDer's have had their gardens featured in Fine Gardening magazine. I think yours should be next. "Taming the Slope", "Packing the Small Garden", "Garden Room with a View."

    1. sue_chamberlain 01/05/2017

      Chris: Slopes also provide lots of opportunity for terraced vignettes and containers that can be elevated for added height....also adds dimension and expands the space in a small cottage garden.
      And slopes...after the lower deck....ooops, it's the edge of the mountain...drop off for sure!

  9. greengenes 01/05/2017

    Good morning Sue! What a beautiful garden. You are on a wonderful hillside with a stunning view! Job well done!

    1. sue_chamberlain 01/06/2017

      Thank you Jeanne.

  10. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 01/05/2017

    I'm really enjoying the different views here today, Sue. The vista, the stonework, the candelabras, the bird cages, the plants: wonderful. You've really created a great retreat. Do you really sit and relax in the garden? I always have good intentions, but I pop right back up after a moment to go pull a weed or look at something or edit or check something out!

    1. sue_chamberlain 01/05/2017

      Tim: Yes, we do the same....always a weed to pull. And, when I sit in the's a new look from a different height we see different things. I do relax in the garden, entertain in the garden, and "dig in the dirt" for sure. After dinner I often go to the garden (it's cooler in the Tennessee summers) for a few minutes, however, hours later, my husband turns on the spot lights, as I'm still there rearranging things.

  11. Doxnmomx2 01/05/2017

    Yes, yes, yes to all of the comments and replies. What a wonderful way to start the day.

  12. annek 01/05/2017

    I loved Meander's term 'agog'. Yes, a perfect description. Your garden rooms are magical indeed. That candlelight has the makings for a romantic movie and oh, the foxglove! Mmmm, abundantly superb

    Foxglove and delphiniums carry two of my very favorite blossoms. The elegant spires reflect grandiosity yet are the foundation for any cottage garden. And your foxglove (I even get tickled at the name) looks so pretty with your white pergola and fence.

    Thanks for day two of a charming garden tour

    1. sue_chamberlain 01/05/2017

      Annek: Linda (above post) said she had a digitalis 7ft! We need to see a photo of that! This photo shows more digitalis mixed in the "hanging floral terrariums" for a garden party. The tear drop globes also work well for votive candles in the evening. You are lucky to grow delphiniums; they are so delicate and beautiful. I think too humid in my garden for them. Post a photo...would love to see your garden.

      1. annek 01/07/2017

        The hanging terrariums/candle holders are fabulous! What a grand idea that looks perfect with the tall spires and blossom shape of the foxglove. You have some serious creative talent and vision!

        Below I included a couple photos of the foxglove and lupine and blue delphiniums in my far north (Montana) garden.)

        1. sue_chamberlain 01/08/2017

          Annek: Major color; love it! Does this look charming and inviting. I believe you have the cooler evenings during the summer which adds to the vibrance. (And the home...fabulous!) By late-June, the hot humid days of Tennessee are hard on a flower garden. Thanks for posting the photo, for sure.

          1. annek 01/08/2017

            Yes, our cooler evenings make a difference. I applaud your steadfastness on those hot and humid Tennessee summers!

        2. user-6536305 01/09/2017

          Anne, I love your color. Beautiful. You should send these to GODP.

          1. annek 01/10/2017

            Thank you Lilian! I appreciate your suggestion and with the expansion of some of my garden areas, I will submit some gpod photos this year. Where do you garden? (I enjoyed seeing your boxwood garden scene)

          2. user-6536305 01/10/2017

            Anne, I garden in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Looking forward to see your post.

  13. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 01/05/2017

    Good morning, Sue. So nice to have another look at your well planned out garden. You live in a beautiful part of the world and you've certainly added to your surroundings. I , too, love foxglove and it loves to come up in the most unusual places. Last summer it poked through the top of a huckleberry bush and got to about 7ft tall. Most are purpurea but we also have a stunning white. Thanks for two days of interesting posts.
    Happy gardening.

    1. sue_chamberlain 01/05/2017

      Linda; see photo below for more foxglove...we all want to see that 7" foxglove...that's the best for sure.

  14. jagardener 01/05/2017

    Yesterday Part 1 was great but today is even better. The view! and all those garden rooms and the colour. I just love to see all the beautiful plants which can grow in your zone.

    1. sue_chamberlain 01/06/2017

      Jagardener: Thank you, and the longer growing season here is wonderful. Previously lived in Minnesota, and having early spring here is glorious!

  15. GrannyCC 01/05/2017

    So lovely to see your garden in both seasons. Love all the colours and your beautiful view framed with gorgeous plants.

  16. schatzi 01/05/2017

    Whoa! Everyone has been so eloquent, all I can say is "me too!" . Such a gorgeous (hard) labor of love. Sit and enjoy!

  17. sheila_schultz 01/05/2017

    I'm awestruck with all of the thoughtful details in your garden rooms. Your comments about the shape of the pergola repeating the curves in the nearby area has had me staring at that photo for more time than I would care to admit! Your design skills are absolutely brilliant, Sue. I love it all!

    1. sue_chamberlain 01/06/2017

      Thank you. The builders had never done a pergola by "plumbing" each piece with the curves of a garden edge, but we got it done. I held the weighted string as they made each cut. It was worth it!

    2. eddireid 01/06/2017

      I am keeping this post with all the incredible advice. Amazing isn't it?

      1. sheila_schultz 01/06/2017

        You betcha! Have a great weekend Eddi!

  18. Meelianthus 01/05/2017

    Sue, your gardens are a wonderland of charm and beauty. I have enjoyed the tour thru your garden rooms for these two days. Have you done all of this work over a long period of time? So nice to see you have so many attractive seating areas - but I do wonder if you ever have time to sit. And what a fantastic view out onto the city, really beautiful. Thanks for sharing your labors of love.

    1. sue_chamberlain 01/05/2017

      Meelianthus: Yes, gardens evolve, we learn, and we decide where the plant will do better. (Can't tell you how many times I moved the when it blooms, I enjoy it even more!) However, I really do take time to relax and reflect in my "personal outdoor room".

      Maybe the most relaxing time: having a morning cup of coffee in my floral long bathrobe, and hummingbirds coming within inches of me. Now, that's one with nature. And, garden parties are always special.
      With the help of a neighbor, Ann Brown, who has shared her expertise, my garden is now an established Certified Butterfly Garden. Emphasis is now more on flowers that are better for butterflies, bees, and birds..and us! Since my garden has been pesticide free for years, it all fell into place. My fall clean-up is less, as I leave the seed pods & "comfort branches" for them.
      And, I'm enjoying the textures of various ferns so much more...they really are unique! As my crape myrtles become a "canopy of shade" during our hot months of July and August, they protect and provide wonderful shade for hosta and ferns below.

      1. Luvfall 01/05/2017

        You certainly found the ideal spot for that astilbe, the pairing with the hydrangea is picture perfect. Any chance you recall the name of that astilbe?

        1. sue_chamberlain 01/05/2017

          Luvfall: I'll try to check on that in the next couple days...can't recall.

      2. Meelianthus 01/06/2017

        You have a wonderful feel for nature and your gardens reflect this. Nothing more rewarding than being 'one with nature'. Thanks again for sharing

        1. sue_chamberlain 01/06/2017

          Thank you.. always nice to know you left your imprint with beauty, peace, and caring for the earth.

  19. user-6536305 01/05/2017

    Sue, your garden is breath taking beautiful. I especially love the way you shape the box. I will copy you this season. Thanks for sharing.

    1. sue_chamberlain 01/06/2017

      That's the nicest compliment; thank you and hope you post a photo. For me, the secret is to constantly do "mini trims". Then they stay green and full; if they grow too big/long, then you cut into the wood stem...not as pretty. And, of course, not to trim too early in the Spring. If they get caught by a late frost and have fresh cuts; not a good thing.

      1. user-6536305 01/06/2017

        Sue, here is a photo of my boxwood. All the round ones and square ones will become hot cross buns next season. You are so creative!

        1. sue_chamberlain 01/08/2017

          Lilian: Oh, it would be fun if you would post on this site after your create. I'd love to see it.

  20. Cenepk10 01/05/2017

    Oh good gracious, Sue. So gorgeous up there !!! Encore !!!!

    1. sue_chamberlain 01/06/2017

      Cenepk10: How nice of you to take the time to comment. Feels like I've made new gardening friends from this blog; it's a pleasure to know others like yourself have found a connection with my garden. Thank you.

  21. eddireid 01/06/2017

    Hello Sue - yesterday's post wowed us in a similar way to viewing an amazing painting. Today I revisit to pick out the beautiful details and composition, which will continue to fascinate and inform.
    I love those glass hanging gardens - glass in the garden is a favorite of mine and if you have time, please can you let me know where they can be purchased?
    Once more your photographs have made my day. The shot with the lit candles is just gorgeous.
    My own garden just sort of evolved around us over the years and I love it, but at some point we probably have to leave and one of the compensations is the dream of designing and then implementing a new garden. This time the work will have to be done by a "crew of burly contractors" whom I will oversee! I will think of you and your garden. Many, many thanks for all the pictures and your kindness in answering all the questions.

    1. sue_chamberlain 01/07/2017

      Eddi: The tear-drop hanging glass globes were bought at The Barn Nursery, Chattanooga. TN. So glad you like them...I use them year-round. At Christmas time, I hang them from my kitchen island chandeliers with "itty bitty" santa claus and moss.

      1. eddireid 01/07/2017

        Thank you Sue- a girl after my own heart!

        Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device
        -------- Original message --------From: Disqus Date: 1/7/17 7:26 AM (GMT-05:00) To: [email protected] Subject: Re: Comment on Garden Eye Candy from Lookout Mountain
        "Eddi: The tear-drop hanging glass globes were bought at The Barn Nursery, Chattanooga. TN. So glad you like them...I use them year-round. At Christmas time, I hang them from my kitchen island chandeliers with "itty bitty" santa claus and moss. "


        A new comment was posted on Fine Gardening

        sue chamberlain

        Eddi: The tear-drop hanging glass globes were bought at The Barn Nursery, Chattanooga. TN. So glad you like them...I use them year-round. At Christmas time, I hang them from my kitchen island chandeliers with "itty bitty" santa claus and moss.

        7:26 a.m., Saturday Jan. 7


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        Eddi Reid:

        Hello Sue - yesterday's post wowed us in a similar way to viewing an amazing painting. Today I revisit to pick out the beautiful details ... Read more

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  22. albion10 01/07/2017

    Oh to dream of making our back yard so very lovely. Our slope is steep and has gravel applied 6 to 16"over clay and tilting terraces . You have inspired me so. Puttering for years to come. Thanks.

    1. sue_chamberlain 01/08/2017

      Give us an update...always challenges!

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