Garden Photo of the Day

Inspiration from Cindy in North Carolina

A collection of beautiful vignettes

red spider lily

Today we’re off to Raleigh, North Carolina, to visit with Cynthia Strickland.

In the past year I have captured some uncommon or outstanding plants and combinations with my camera while visiting public gardens or playing in my gardening space. I hope you may get some inspiration or enjoyment from these photographs too.

red spider lilyThe most vibrant and unforgettable combination of plants includes this Lycoris radiata (Zones 6–10), or red spider lily. This grouping was at a historic home in Zones 7b and 8a.

pink hellebore with blue cypressA striking pastel pairing of the cypress (Cupressus arizonica var. arizonica, Zones 7–9) with pink ‘Mahogany Snow’ hellebore (Helleborus ‘Mahogany Snow’, Zones 5–8) was in an outdoor container in January at the Botanical Gardens in Asheville, North Carolina.

Christmas cactus close upAt another historic home, I was surprised and delighted to see a healthy Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera, tropical) growing indoors beside a vigorous fern in a classic and substantial urn in a dimly lit room.

bonsai tree on a table on a porchI was drawn to the contemplative bonsai and the reflection of the sky at this home during the winter in Zone 6b.

orange cosmosAs a gardener, sometimes I enjoy seeing an airy mass of a single species. This energetic orange cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus, annual) at the base of an outbuilding looks good even toward the end of summer.

microgreens with a fork knife and spoonAt home, I got creative in several ways. My windowsill-grown spinach “microgreens” were tender and delicious, just not very filling.

sedum buds in seashell fragmentsUsing large shell fragments as a soil topper over sedum buds is a nice reminder of trips to the beach.

Gold pinecones next to a coniferGold pine cones and a metallic-and-teal ceramic pot dress up a Juniperus conferta ‘Blue Pacific’ (Zones 6–9) for a festive vignette.

garden gnome surrounded by potted plantsIt was fun to use this gnome as a focal point in this grouping of mainly shade-loving plants. It was a very good year for begonias, and with frequent watering, generous shade, and some top dressing with well-rotted manure, this pink begonia variety (unknown) flourished during the hot and humid summer and well into fall in Zone 7b. New sedum cuttings are growing in a saucer. I used a little potting mix and a lot of sand.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    simplesue 04/23/2021

    Clever shots! Love the purple oxalis and the little gnome with the mushroom- cute the way you shot it from a low angle making the photo look like we are peaking at him!

    1. User avater
      cynthia2020 04/23/2021

      Hi, Sue - thank you for your thoughtful feedback.

  2. User avater
    bdowen 04/23/2021

    I enjoyed the humor in several of your photos, esp. the spinach table setting and the combination of sedum and shells. Thank you for sharing.

  3. User avater
    cynthia2020 04/23/2021

    BD - I appreciate you mentioning what you liked!

  4. User avater
    treasuresmom 04/23/2021

    The bonsai with sky pic is amazing!

    1. User avater
      cynthia2020 04/23/2021

      Thank you, Treasuresmom!

  5. btucker9675 04/23/2021

    So much fun in these photos!! Love the coral color of the cosmos. I have pebbles and rocks around my sedum/succulent containers and have been inspired to use shells in my next one. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos and your creative artistry!

  6. User avater
    cynthia2020 04/23/2021

    BT - I appreciate your thoughtful comments and also what has worked for you with your succulents. I hope to be seeing some of your photos on here soon!

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