Garden Photo of the Day

Gardening Through the Floods

Finding plants that don't mind the occasional hurricane

Today’s photos come from Robin Sams.

My garden is blessed with a dozen tall pine trees and waterfront views, but it is challenged with flooding from hurricanes. I have good soil and a Zone 8 climate. The front yard is mostly a spring garden of azaleas and camellias with wide pine straw beds we designed to camouflage falling pine cones. 

Behind the bench I planted a coral bark Japanese maple (Acer palmatum, Zones 5–9). The red foliage is another new Japanese maple tree.

I love planting blue and white pansies (Viola × wittrockiana, annual ) in early fall and enjoy their blooms throughout the winter until late spring. The pink blooms are the Encore azaleas. My husband built me this tall bird feeder with a copper roof.

Here are two unusual peonies that came from Terra Ceia, a nursery in Plymouth, North Carolina.

My favorite peony, the very fragrant Festiva Maxima (Zones 4–8). The peonies don’t mind floods at all. Hear more about some of the Fine Gardening editors’ favorite peonies in the Let’s Argue About Plants podcast.

Here in the backyard I have Clematis ‘Henryi’ (Zones 4–11) with large white blooms beside roses and burgundy foliage loropetalum (Loropetalum chinense, Zones 7–10), another clematis with lavender blooms and lettuce plants.

Knockout roses line my front staircase, underlined with blue and white pansies and blue bedding plants.

I love tall blue Verbena bonariensis (Zones 7–10 or as annual), a garden gift from a friend. It is nice in front looking through it at the daisies. I’ve been transplanting it all through my garden.

A better look at my daisies (Leucanthemum × superbum, Zones 5–9). I deadhead them to keep them looking fresh and to promote more flowers. These plants are several years old.

I wanted to plant water lilies in the canal beside our property, but turtles devoured them. So I planted a water lily and a lotus in a 100-gallon horse trough I bought at Tractor Supply. I also added koi fish to eat mosquitos. This has been so much fun in my backyard! I can bend over and easily see the water lilies and the koi. I’ve done this for two years now. I just leave it be in the winter, and the fish hibernate. It didn’t seem practical to dig a pond that would get flooded and wash out the fish.

I really enjoy my shade garden on the hottest days. I love white flowers. The variegated foliage plant is a lovely blue lacecap hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla, Zones 6–9) that I grew from a cutting from a relative’s plant. I have many shade lovers growing here under a bay tree and a large pine tree. You can see Pembroke Creek in the background. See more about propagating plants like hydrangea with softwood cuttings.

This is my first year growing this tall Japanese iris (Iris ensata, Zones 4–9) in my front garden. It is spectacular. Thank you for viewing my garden! See more of our favorite irises.


More about gardening in areas that flood

Podcast: Our Favorite Plants for Wet Areas

Gardening in a Changing Climate

Rehabilitating a Flooded Garden: Southeast Regional Report


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 10/08/2019

    What a wonderful way to have a pond without digging. Love that idea and those peonies are absolutely smashing!

  2. avongardener 10/08/2019

    What a beautiful garden! I love your Knockout roses, daisies and Iris. It must be challenging and frustrating to have a garden in a hurricane zone. But you have done an amazing job! Thanks for sharing.

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/08/2019

    Those long views of your filtered shade garden beds are just beautiful. The beds have such gracious and elegant curves...they really give off a very serene and welcoming ambiance. Hope your Japanese Iris love where you've planted them and thrive...they are spectacular.

    1. user-6829021 10/08/2019

      Hi meander_michaele
      I haven't seen any posts from you in some time. I was concerned. I really look forward to your beautiful responses to the wonderful gardens people send in. You are truly a gifted writer and your responses conjure up images that people can almost reach out and touch.

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 10/08/2019

        How sweet and thoughtful of you to make mention of my "pause" in commenting. To be honest, because of the darned combination of heat and no rain in my area, I have been out and about early in the morning setting up sprinklers and getting in gardening time before the heat wilts me. When it comes to enjoying the photos on GPOD and doing some writing, I'm usually a creature of habit who like to comment while I'm having my first cup of morning coffee. Thank you for your kind remarks.

  4. cheryl_c 10/08/2019

    I love it that your description starts with how your garden is blessed! And I'm sure it blesses you and your neighbors every day. Beautiful, gracious, welcoming garden. I love seeing your variegated hydrangea - I just purchased one of those in a 3 1/2 inch pot, and my husband thought it was a hosta! It's already drawing attention! How long did it take yours to get to that size?

  5. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 10/08/2019

    Great post, thanks for sharing your garden!
    I really liked the handmade birdhouse too. Having structures throughout the garden really add to the overall scheme.
    Happy gardening!

  6. goranpavlov 10/08/2019

    Actually this is really necessary info for biology students. For other assistance search out

  7. btucker9675 10/08/2019

    Thank you for sharing your very lovely garden - your daisies clearly show the origin of the phrase "fresh as a daisy!"

  8. User avater
    simplesue 10/08/2019

    Wow, so spacious and a great garden to take a stroll through. Super nice!

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