Garden Photo of the Day

High Summer in Tennessee

By Kim Charles

Echinops – globe thistle

Jeff Calton is enjoying the ebbs and flows of bloom time in his southern garden.

"It is high summer in Tennessee. Hot, humid and things are growing rampantly.  Some color has gone and new ones take their place with changes everyday. 

I think I have a water hose permanently attached to my hand now."

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Central bed

Tropicana canna

Central bed

Colocasia, hydrangea & ricinus

Hemerocallis 'Hyperion'

Liatris, lavender and muhly grass

Patio bed

Taxodium distichum 'Peve Minaret', agapanthus

View Comments


  1. frankgreenhalgh 07/28/2017

    G'day Jeff - Your watering regime is working a treat by the look of the healthy plants in your amazing garden. Nice colour combinations (e.g. pic. with cv. 'Hyperion') and plant diversity and layering (e.g. pics. of central bed). What is the story behind those interesting white steel structures and chains surrounding the H. canna? Cheers from Oz

    1. jeffgoodearth 07/28/2017

      Frank, those are cast iron fenceposts from an 1830 house we worked and still work to this day. They were in the throwaway pile about 30 years ago and of course I brought them home along with a cast stone fountain base, probably a ton or more of cut limestone and various other things that were considered trash and I consider a treasure

  2. Sunshine111 07/28/2017

    Gorgeous! I love that agapanthus! It is such a deep blue. What cultivar is it Jeff?

    1. jeffgoodearth 07/28/2017

      The tall Aggie that is fully opened is Storm Cloud and the smaller very very dark / almost black budded one is Graskop. Those are the only 2 varieties I have found to be reliable performers here

      1. Sunshine111 07/28/2017

        Thank you Jeff. Do you grow them in the ground? I'm in 5b and the only agapanthus I have are in pots that I drag in and out every year!

        1. jeffgoodearth 07/28/2017

          yes they are in ground. I am right on the line of 6b/7a and they still need protection

  3. NCYarden 07/28/2017

    Pleasantly tidy Summer garden, Jeff. Looking real good. I wish my Summer garden could show such refinement. And I hate that my hoses are some sort of bad yard ornament. Envious of the Echinops...wish I could grow it.

    1. jeffgoodearth 07/28/2017

      There are almost always hoses spread about here unless I am mowing. That and kids toys and I have mowed up and shredded more than a few transformers and balls this year.

  4. VikkiVA 07/28/2017

    Everything looks so lush and I really like the blue accents in the form of containers, etc. that you have placed through out your garden. I was hoping you would give us a close up of what is planted in the re-purposed BBQ pit? Vikki in VA

    1. jeffgoodearth 07/28/2017

      here you go it's a succulent BBQ grill

      1. User avater
        gringopeligroso 07/28/2017

        ¿So, are these "Rare", or "Well Done", or perhaps, BOTH??

        1. jeffgoodearth 07/28/2017

          I would like to think well done!

          1. User avater
            gringopeligroso 07/28/2017

            Indeed!!! But, some of those selected cuts are seldom seen in a Tennessee garden!! Looks like a miniature Huntington!!
            (HBG and Library, Pasadena, Calif, for anyone not understanding the connection!!)

          2. jeffgoodearth 07/28/2017

            I am hopelessly addicted to succulents especially agaves

      2. VikkiVA 07/29/2017

        Thank you Jeff...this is amazing. I am also addicted to succulents. This grouping, with the crushed rock(?), could be a photo from under the sea. It truly is stunning.

        1. jeffgoodearth 07/29/2017

          Vikki, it is crushed granite and I buy it in 25 lb bags at tractor supply,,,,,,,,,,,,chicken grit.

  5. Chris_N 07/28/2017

    Looks great, Jeff. Love the way you mix annuals & tropicals in among the perennials, shrubs and trees. The Tropicanna canna in the blue pot is stunning. I like its placement in the corner bounded by the white chain and antiquee (not sure that's a word) white fence posts.

    1. jeffgoodearth 07/28/2017

      Thanks! That canna is sort of a show off but I like to have a few "in your face" kind of plants spread around . Those are cast iron fenceposts I got from a jobsite from the throwaway pile.

  6. User avater
    treasuresmom 07/28/2017

    Beautiful as always. Love the stone too.

  7. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/28/2017

    Lookiing high-summer awesome, Jeff. That's a great Agapanthus in the last shot.

    1. jeffgoodearth 07/28/2017

      I do loves me some Aggies

  8. User avater
    meander_michaele 07/28/2017

    Your photos today, Jeff, are an extra treat because for some reason, I was convinced it was already Sat. Hence, I was surprised (but delighted) to see the gpod email and extra pleased that it featured your name. You just know that I have serious envy over your pops of strong blue with the agapanthus and echinops...sigh, I'd be so happy to have the High Summer Blues (sounds like a great title for a country western song).
    What is the glossy leaved plant in the 5th picture between the blue spruce and Russian sage?
    You have such an abundance of interesting plants and yet manage to showcase them in such a harmonious way. .

    1. jeffgoodearth 07/28/2017

      Mike, that glossy plant is a redbud,,,,,,,,,,Cercis texensis 'Traveller' it's about 3 ft tall and maybe 6 or 7 feet wide and has been planted maybe 10 years. I like it as well in winter with bare branches as I do the other seasons.

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 07/28/2017

        Thanks so much for the ID...Cercis texensis 'Traveller'...hmmm, I just don't recall ever seeing it offered for sale in a local nursery. It looks like a real treasure.

  9. user-7008735 07/28/2017

    Thanks for sharing your photos, Jeff. I love the many interesting leaf shapes and especially all the blue and silver. That Agapanthus is gorgeous!

    1. jeffgoodearth 07/28/2017

      I love Agapanthus. I know it's a common plant but in this zone and especially in this area it is rarely rarely seen. I have only 2 varieties (Storm Cloud and Graskop) that reliably perform here.

      1. user-7008735 07/28/2017

        I WISH they were common here (Vancouver, BC)! I had some in a pot for a few years, but I had to bring them inside over winter. I saw them growing all over San Francisco along with Ceanothus which is not reliably hardy here either. Blue flowers always seem special.

  10. swindiana 07/28/2017

    Fantastic photos, but Love the globe thistle!

    1. jeffgoodearth 07/28/2017

      I love the globe thistle too and so do the bees

  11. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 07/28/2017

    Hi Jeff, so good to see your garden this morning. Love the combination of the Quickfire hydrangea with the purple of the colocasia and ricinus. Does your echinops like to take over? This year I put a ring around mine to keep it from flopping and taking over the neighborhood. Like you, we spend our days watering, having had no measurable rain since early July. Do you let that beautiful canna flower or just use it for foliage? Thanks for starting the weekend off right.

    1. jeffgoodearth 07/28/2017

      The Echinops always remains upright so it doesn't take up much more than the allotted room, , I always have plants encroaching on other's space but that's ok if not too much. We have had plenty of rain but the extreme heat dries things out so very fast. I've had a few things to scorch and a good many Semps have melted

  12. sheila_schultz 07/28/2017

    Yummy as always, Jeff! The heat and sultry air seem to be working their magic on all of your Southern beds. Your ricinus is perfection, and once the muhly grass turns color, that bed is going to explode with gorgeousness! Have an excellent weekend!

    1. jeffgoodearth 07/28/2017

      I love that Muhly grass, Michaele got me hooked on that plant.

      1. sheila_schultz 07/28/2017

        I first met that grass helping with a job in Wisconsin and I fell head over heals with the local name ... Purple Love Grass! Michaele taught me it's true beauty is in sweeps, but after finding 3 plants the year I initially put in our front garden it was non-existent in our local nurseries.

        1. User avater
          meander_michaele 07/28/2017

          I feel almost guilty sharing this but, for some reason, my muhly grass reseeds like crazy and I find it so hard to tell it "no".

          1. sheila_schultz 07/29/2017

            Actually, mine did try to reseed, but the rocky soil didn't make it happy!

          2. jeffgoodearth 07/29/2017

            and so does your red buckeye! not fair. I have never had a single volunteer from either of mine. you are magic

          3. User avater
            meander_michaele 07/29/2017

            Ha, that's what all the robust weed seedlings think also.

  13. cynthiamccain 07/28/2017

    Once again you've made my day, Jeff. You and your garden are a source of unending inspiration. Thank you.

  14. Jay_Sifford 07/28/2017

    Looking good, Jeff. I have a new-found love for liatris. I wish I could grow Echinops, but it doesn't do so well here. And I like how your Thunderhead pine mimics the shape of the sedum.
    I like your comment about the hose permanently attached to your hand. People ask me how I water. I say "I have a glass of wine in the left hand and a hose in the right. When I've had two glasses, the plants have had enough water!" Cheers.

    1. jeffgoodearth 07/28/2017

      Thanks, Jay, I just wish the Liatris was not so floppy as I am not one to do much staking at all. I water all the pots and some of the beds by hand and use a rainforest sprinkler as needed. This year I have had less to water than in other years but with the heat the containers have needed more.

    2. tennisluv 07/29/2017

      A gardener after my heart.

  15. schatzi 07/28/2017

    Gorgeous as always, Jeff. Love all the blues, and that tulip shaped artifact in the 7th shot. Color and texture combinations are superb. Love it all.

    1. jeffgoodearth 07/28/2017

      That tulip shaped thing is a wind spinner and it drives the 3 y/o g'son crazy

  16. user-4691082 07/28/2017

    You never disappoint, Jeff! Everything is so well cared for and beautiful. Love that canna.

  17. ingehaneke 07/28/2017

    Simply gorgeous, I love the colors ! Thanks for sharing !

  18. swampbacon 07/28/2017

    I really like the use of varied colors, textures and shapes of foliage in your beautiful garden! What a beautiful way to end the week-enjoying these lovely photos!

  19. Meelianthus 07/28/2017

    Greetings Jeff ~ Always look forward to your stunning gardens and many eye-catching displays. I always really enjoy your 'central garden' photos - the colors, textures, arrangements are beautifully arranged and your patio bed is most inviting. Don't think I've ever seen such a robust Canna, probably because we don't get enough sun and I also am wondering about those most interesting white, pointy, old-estate looking garden pieces. You have the most interesting 'finds', thanks for the tour Jeff.

    1. jeffgoodearth 07/28/2017

      The cannas seem to love heat, humidity and a never ending supply of water. The white pointy things are cast iron fenceposts from an 1832 property. I still drag everything home and throw nothing away

      1. Meelianthus 07/28/2017

        Well Jeff, the stuff you "drag home" far out weighs the garden art I buy, or occasionally find, as being very authentically 'special' and makes most interesting garden pieces.

  20. LaurelEm 07/28/2017

    I love your colors and the wide array of textures! I must ask. In the central bed, what is the every green shrub looking plant, just above the variegated yucca in the picture?

    1. jeffgoodearth 07/28/2017

      That is a Thunderhead pine it's like a big ole teddy bear

  21. User avater
    gringopeligroso 07/28/2017

    Beautiful. restful, clean, and deep (in variety!!) Reminds me of a couple of movies or novels I've enjoyed where the stories are delivered, concise and clear from the first review. But, upon subsequent visits, reveals subplots, concepts and characters, and occasionally humour which were not always blatantly apparent upon initial impressions. At these more subtle discoveries, one appreciates the stories even more, and especially at how the artist has tied the elements together into a cohesive whole.
    As artists with dirty fingernails, we can appreciate also the effort, time, trials, (and errors!!) as well as the proverbial and literal payments of pricey tears, super abundant sweat, and just a dab of blood that you've contributed and continue to invest towards this masterpiece. (Not forgetting to mention the colourful language which is sometimes employed...out of necessity ONLY, of course, and hopefully out of range of tender ears!)

    Nicely, nicely done!!

    And, while I've got your ear, I've a question:
    Do you have any magic bullet suggestion or tried and trued methodology which makes Echinops happy? (As in living!!??) I LOVE the presentation, as in your pic above, but my attempts at nurturing this attraction has only resulted in a life span measured in weeks......NOT at ALL what you present above. Any suggestions you could share would be SOOO appreciated!!

    Thanx for the beautiful views from your neck of the woods!!


    1. jeffgoodearth 07/28/2017

      wow, Jesse, that was a beautiful read! and all so true. I don't do anything with the Echinops and I mean nothing. After the flowers die off I will cut it back and it will be a low green clump until mid winter and coming again in spring. They must like it on the dry side because this spot rarely gets watered

    2. frankgreenhalgh 07/29/2017

      G'day Jesse (you 'olde fox') - I haven't thought about it before, but you are correct as usual - gardeners are artists. They start with a blank canvas or a messy one. They sketch out a design (at least in their minds). They use hand and other tools to create a 'landscape' and add colours, texture and structure through plants and ornamental art. They then step back and assess the creation, and continually fine tune/modify the colour and structures etc. in the product. And finally, they display the creation for others to enjoy. Cheers from Oz

      1. User avater
        gringopeligroso 07/31/2017

        G'day, Olde Son!! How's y'all's winter coming so far?? Right now that sounds SOOOOO wonderful as there's just TOOOOOO much to do at this time of year in this hemisphere!! One knows one is busy when the Holidays are looked forward to as a "Slowing Down time!!!"
        Indeed, Frank, and you've outlined the creative process above in your note. I would venture to say that most who come here every morning arrive from the "Right side of the Brain" crowd. Altho we ALL must account for the physical limits we find ourselves in.....e.g. soil types, humidity or aridity, pests, arrival of first frost, etc, as well as the mathematics of division of space we're allotted, it's the un-scientific, un-measurable wilde side of our craniums which decide which colours or textures will be neighbours, and what ornamentation or frames will also be squeezed in.
        Jeff has a beautiful example of this above in his arrangement and view with the Tropicana Canna, which caught more than one eye here and rightfully so. I also grow this variety, but my plantings look nothing like the contained specimen he's created. That hue of blue (sorry...had to....) coupled with the found/rescued wrought iron element is nothing short of stunning. Couple those elements with the peeling bark of the tree in the immediate background, and either by design or by accident, he's got a magazine cover shot. (I also view Photography as an art, altho there's a technical aspect of documentation also associated with that discipline...but we won't be viewing any crime scenes, here!!)
        You, yourself, also exhibited a fine example on these pages with Remington (?) hope I got that name right and the wagon in your garden!

        Whom else but an artist or at least a person with an artistic bent would've imagined putting these elements, colours, textures, heights, and sunshine together would've made a pleasing...well: Picture?

        I will also go one step farther, and say that while I certainly enjoy the material and corporate "gifts" we have in this day and age, be it ever faster electronic gadgets, access to printed libraries like never before, or the ability to physically be in another time zone in a matter of hours, (after a frisky frisking by airporte security!!), I feel we are never closer to Spirit than when we create somethings personal and perhaps unique.

        Whether it's an original sonnet, or "David" by Michelangelo, or prose from Wadsworth, &/or even a hand drawn depiction of life from one of our preschool children, sharing our perspectives with others is not just priceless, but Sacred. To see others creations, combinations and perspectives here every morning can hardly be called a mathematical constant.

        Perhaps I digress and wander into waters a bit deeper than my head, but, in a nutshell, yes, I agree with you and all who take a couple of growing entities, and plug them into fertile ground next to a sparkling stone are artists. And. their/our creations are wonderful and worthy of praise....especially the mantra of "More, more, more, please!"
        Right now, my left side of my Swiss cheese brain is telling me that if I don't get out there into the sweltering 90's and pull them weeds before they go to seed, that I'll be condemned to doing the same next season and for ever more....and MY creations will never look as good as Jeff's or others....

        Take Care, My Friend, and enjoy your down time while you can...your push time is coming!!! Chao!!

        (Photo from the Fayetteville Square in neighbouring Arkansas. Home to the Univ. of Arkansas Razorbacks)

        1. frankgreenhalgh 07/31/2017

          Thanks for your insightful comments, Jesse. Yes there are all sorts of 'artists', we (the royal 'we' in Oz) like them all, with the exception of bs artists.
          The winter here has been very dry and warmer than normal. Sydney had its hottest July day on record the other day. Cheers mate

  22. darylsavage 07/28/2017

    Jeff, do you use rain barrels to store water? My town sold them at a discounted rate to homeowners to encourage sustainability efforts.

    1. jeffgoodearth 07/28/2017

      I do not use rainbarrels it's always straight outta the tap

  23. greengenes 07/28/2017

    hey Jeff! All so beautiful! The colors are so nice and each area shown is so interesting. i do want to ask you in your central garden what the evergreen in the middle right side is...sure is nice! I know what you mean about the sprinkler hose becoming part of your hand! enjoy the rest of your summer!

    1. jeffgoodearth 07/28/2017

      Jeanne, that is a Thunderhead pine and I LOVE it. you need at least 3 :) good thing we are not neighbors or we would be trouble but we would have fun!

  24. user-3565112 07/28/2017

    Good afternoon Jeff,Every scene & photo is perfect. I can't pick a favorite, but the central garden is as good as gets. Your post caps a really nice week on GPOD.
    Good luck, Joe

  25. tennisluv 07/28/2017

    Jeff, thanks for sharing more pictures of your garden. I loved the combo of the globe thistle with the yellow day lilies peeking thru. But since blue is my new favorite color for my garden, I loved all the blue that you have incorporated in your garden, i.e., pots agapanthus, conifers, lavender, Russian sage, globe thistle, et al, as juxtapositions to other colors, foliage, and shapes in your garden. Love your style!

  26. hostamom 07/28/2017

    As per your standards - best photos, best plants, both in ground and in containers. Thank you for sharing!

  27. Maggieat11 07/29/2017

    Looks fabulous, Jeff! I just purchased a couple globe thistles... hope they eventually look as good as yours! great photos, your central bed is wonderful! And love all the pops of blue in just the "right" places!

    1. jeffgoodearth 07/29/2017

      You will love the globe thistles and so will the bees.

  28. Cenepk10 07/29/2017

    Oh Jeff..... I think my heart skipped a beat or 3. No words. So glad my eyes got to see that. Canna in the pot is crazy beauty. The borders are maturing so beautifully- It's glorious!

  29. bsavage 07/29/2017

    So beautiful! I love all of the variety of textures and colors... perfect! I too water with a refreshing beverage, LOL!

  30. Cayugamorning 07/30/2017

    Jeff, I love your garden! I really like how well you have combined perennials with deciduous and evergreen shrubs. Great color and shape combinations.

  31. user-7007498 07/31/2017

    Hi, Jeff. Sorry to be so late to the blog, but I had no internet access since Friday.

    I was really excited to see your garden again. Your photos did not disappoint. The sweep of Echinops is so eye-catching. I keep going back to that photo. Gorgeous.
    The central bed looks better all the time. The design is spot on with beautiful use of textures. The layering is impressive. Well done.

    In the photo with the canna, is that Acer grissom in the background. I couldn't tell on the screen of my phone. Love the bark.

    I will be so jealous of you in the fall with the muhly grass. I have killed it countless time, it just will not overwinter for me. I just have to look at pictures. Make sure to post one when it is in bloom.

    Your Taxodium is looking great. Mine is now about 12 feet tall. I will be curious how much of a "dwarf" it will turn out to be. I love that tree.

    Thanks again. Hope you had a great weekend.

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