Garden Photo of the Day

Jay’s garden in North Carolina, revisited

New acquisition: Chinese doors, leading to the hosta garden by upper pond.
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford

We’ve visited Jay Sifford’s garden in Charlotte, North Carolina, a couple of times (refresh your memory HERE and HERE.) Today he’s sharing the latest. 

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford

He says, “I’ve been putting a lot of effort into my garden over the past year, desiring to introduce more structure and year-round interest. To me this means more conifers and Japanese maples.

Front yard garden path. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford

“Conifers don’t always do so well in zone 8a, but it’s amazing which “full sun” plants will grow in a southern garden in part shade. I’m also introducing more hardscape and objects that captivate me. I found two sets of Chinese doors in a CT warehouse… one for a client and of course one for me. I have more plans for this upper area of my water garden which I’ll be working on in the next several weeks.”

Beautiful, Jay, as always. Thanks!

Front yard garden path. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford
Sitting area in the front garden. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford
Acer palmatum ‘Shirazz’. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford
Acer palmatum ‘Geisha Gone Wild’. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford
Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’ (the slugs love this one), with Hosta ‘Feather Boa’ and Heuchera ‘Frosted Violet’. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford
Conifers, Japanese maples, and ‘Orange Rocket’ barberry. The ‘Skylands’ oriental spruce is a favorite of mine. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford
Smokebush, Sargeant’s weeping hemlock, Peve Minaret bald cypress and formosa azaleas. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford
A section of my serpentine blue atlas cedar “fence” where it adjoins a Crimson Queen Japanese maple. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford

Want us to feature YOUR garden, or a garden you’ve recently visited, in the Garden Photo of the Day? CLICK HERE!
Want to see every post ever published? CLICK HERE!
Want to search the GPOD by STATE? CLICK HERE!
And last but not least,
Check out the GPOD Pinterest page, where you can browse all the post in categories…fun! CLICK HERE!

View Comments


  1. user-1020932 05/01/2013

    jay, i love your garden. i check your past features from time to time and i enjoy it each visit. i have a Skylands spruce about 12 ft tall and it's my favorite as well, new growth coming out and it looks like lime green christmas lights . those doors are amazing , sure when you found them it was like striking oil. all beautiful. i think i now need Geisha Gone Wild too, thank you for enabling my addiction :)

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 05/01/2013

    Oh, my, those doors are gorgeous! Frankly, your client is very fortunate that you were honorable and didn't keep both sets for yourself. Have you given them any sort of outdoor protective treatment to help them maintain that particularly warm wood tone? And, I love the lion head majestic. Thanks for identifying the Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty'. It had caught my eye in the photo where it is somewhat in the distance and set off my ???? bells. Interesting plant...I know nothing about it so a google search will ensue after I finish commenting. Your featured selections of Japanese Maple are beautiful. The subtlety of color variations of Geisha Gone Wild is quite alluring...ha, "she" is well named!

  3. tractor1 05/01/2013

    Oh gosh, the "click HERE" to enlarge button for the Chinese doors had to be the one that's out of order, darn... and no email again today. :,-(

    Those doors look like they've already received several coats of wood preservative w/stain... and the iron hardware looks like it's met with flat black Rustoleum... really neat doors!

    I love all those conifers and Japanese maples... I love it all except for that cheapo gravel... why do people think pea gravel that belongs in concrete enhances garden paths, NOT! Stones work well for paths but use some lovely chipped stone, available in many colors too. One of my neighbors used burgandy chips from a local stone quarry, they look rich, are very walkable as with traffic they compress, and most importantly they don't migrate.

    I'd like to see more photos of Jay's garden, wide angle views that include sky. Thank you, Jay.

  4. phase2682 05/01/2013

    Really nice work Jay, I like the way you integrate the conifers with the other plant types. And thanks for focusing on plants in the photos so you can see the details; too wide of an angle and a bunch of sky can use up much of the valuable space in a photo. The gravel in the front sitting area looks wonderful at the base of the beautiful retaining wall. Well Done!

  5. cwheat000 05/01/2013

    Jay, your garden is really special. The plant collector in me has me lusting after some of your really different cultivars. I have seen Spotty Dotty in the Plant Delights catalog and I adore it. I would get it, but it is a big investment for something that may not survive my winters. Your evergreen and Japanese maple collection is so impressive. Equally important, you have put them all together in such a pleasing way, with really rich accents. Simply put, your garden rocks!

  6. Jay_Sifford 05/01/2013

    Thanks everyone, for the nice comments. The doors have a lot of polyurethane on them.
    I don't know if anyone is close to me (Charlotte) but if you are, or are looking for an excuse for a little road trip, I'm having an open garden event this Sunday, May 5, from 12:30-4:30. It would be nice to meet you.
    Geisha Gone Wild is a stronger grower than Geisha. Not so easy to find, but you can mail order it. Shirazz is awesome as well. And then there's the Ghost series. I guess I should stop.... haha.

  7. WinstonSalem 05/01/2013

    Great photos....where are you located? Can you describe how you made your path. I would like to try it.

  8. Jay_Sifford 05/01/2013

    WinstonSalem, I'm in south Charlotte near SouthPark Mall. If you email me at [email protected] I'll give you directions.
    To answer your question, all my paths are either mulched with cypress or gravel. For the gravel paths, I use metal landscape edging to hold it in. On my hill I terraced it with railroad ties (since my garden is mainly rustic woodland) and leaned it slightly to the right where I dug a trench and put it a french drain system. I've had very little issue with gravel movement and love the feel and sound of crunching gravel underfoot.

  9. Canthelpmyself 05/01/2013

    I'd submit pictures but I'm concerned that Tractor1 would then tell me everything I'm doing wrong and how he would do it differently. Just because you don't like gravel doesn't mean other people can't use it. I'm waiting for the day we see some of your pictures so we can disparage them to the same extent you disparage everyone elses.

  10. hummergirl 05/01/2013

    Wow! Love that door!!! And the pile of rocks with the ferns...and the paths, well, just all of it!! Great!!

  11. user-1020932 05/01/2013

    jay, i came back to look at your photos again and looks like you could have an auction for those doors and make mucho mucho money! the entire property is beautiful and i enjoy all your photos and interactions with the commenters. the gravel pathways are perfect but you already know that! i'm one hour from asheville and wish i could do your open house on sunday but this time of year i have absolutely no free time please notify thru gpod if you have another one in the fall or anytime.

  12. Zinnia1 05/01/2013

    What an incredible garden ,it shows you the difference between an amateur home gardener and what a professional can accomplish..its just magnificent and so artistic. Those doors are exquisite. Loved it.

  13. SweetPeaGardens 05/02/2013

    You are an artist Jay! I love the ferns nestled into the stacked rocks. Way cool, I'm stealing that idea, thanks! I too love the crunch of gravel beneath my feet. For us, it's our early warning system that someone is approaching. Gives us time to put our clothes back on.

  14. skevanston 05/02/2013

    As I have mentioned before, I absolutely love the pictures of your garden. If school weren't still in session, I would drive from Chicago to enjoy your open house this weekend!! :-) Please, could you send in a few more pictures of that sitting area, maybe backing away a few steps for an overview? Among many other things, I am admiring all the textures and shades of green that enliven that stone wall! Thanks for keeping us connected with your garden.

  15. Jay_Sifford 05/02/2013

    Thanks again everyone.
    Sweetpeagardens, you made me laugh re the putting the clothes back on. RE the ferns and rock outcropping, I did that several years ago in about half an hour. It's a sculpture of my soul... lots of hard sharp surfaces with occasional inner turmoil, but covered with a thin exterior layer of peace, like the moss and ferns!
    skevanston, will do! Thanks.

  16. pattyspencer 05/02/2013

    Beautiful garden! My favorite pics are the front garden - really really pretty!

    Had to go through yesterday's email which came today - haven't gotten this email yet. Hope they get this issue fixed - yes - very frustrating!

  17. hummergirl 05/02/2013

    I too, had to go through yesterday's email to get today's posting - I am on board with pattyspencer, hoping they get this glintz fixed soon!! I miss my taste of green in the morning!!! Now it comes in the afternoon and it's just not a good time for me, the world has awoken and attacking my peace!
    Thanks for everything Michelle, and do not stop this daily dose - I love it!!!
    I also checked out Jay's past pictures that I missed somehow, and just love his gardens, they are intriguing!

  18. arthurb3 05/02/2013

    Very nice! Our North Carolina gardens are so beautiful here in the South.

  19. MizScarlet 05/03/2013

    As usual, Jay, your garden is exceptinal in every way. Thanks for sharing.

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest