Garden Photo of the Day

Joy in the Garden

By: Kim Charles

Ellen Kirby from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, finds joy and happy volunteers in her garden.

I have a blog, “How I Love to Garden,” and it reflects my absolute joy in the garden. These photos include the volunteer appearance of two such lovelies, the orange tiger lilies and the white daisies of some kind. Both showed up the first time about three years ago and have flourished annually. The hydrangeas are ‘Limelight’, and the white flowers near the pond are nicotiana. I have many different evergreens, which are dearly loved, but the favorite one is the dwarf dawn redwood in the courtyard garden. Finally, I had to throw in two photos of our food bank garden. The sunflowers in the watermelon field are spread throughout the garden to attract pollinators. And the beautiful salmon gaillardia is a star in our pollinator garden.

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  1. NCYarden 08/14/2017

    Stunning, Ellen. Funny, I too have some volunteer Tiger Lilies that have done quite well...on the prowl in NC, I guess. Really like the look of the Lambs Ear with the lichen covered rock - very complementary. As with all the gardens I see that have it, I am envious of your water feature. Thanks for sharing.

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 08/14/2017

    Love, love, love that big stone! Everything is just so pretty but especially the little walkway to the bench.

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 08/14/2017

    Looks like you are on Mother Nature's good side, Ellen, to have her deliver such desirable volunteers to your garden. Who wouldn't feel a thrill to have the statuesque tiger lilies show up and thrive as well as the happy daisies. Your luminescent dawn redwood is gorgeous and I love the variegated yuccas that echo its color. Your whole property is beautiful and, obviously, well loved and well cared for.

  4. mjensen 08/14/2017

    so beautiful

  5. user-4691082 08/14/2017

    Ellen, what a treat this morning! Your property is gorgeous and like Michaele said, obviously well cared for. I want that lichen covered rock! I never had any fragrance from nicotiana, which is an annual here, so I never planted it again. That is quite the watermelon patch! Tell us more about the food pantry.

    1. user-7008735 08/14/2017

      Hi Rhonda, Many of the shorter Nicotiana's have lost their fragrance in the breeding process of making them more colourful. Try growing the tall white Nicotiana alata or the even taller white Nicotiana sylvestris 'Only the Lonely'. If you have an area where you sit outside in the evening, put them nearby. The scent is heavenly at night; it's not so noticeable during the day. You can start them from seed in the spring, and they may self-seed the next year.

      1. WinstonSalem 08/14/2017

        Mine always self seed. It's also interesting that the fish love the leaves if they bend over into the pond.

      2. user-4691082 08/14/2017

        Thanks Lorraine!

  6. Cenepk10 08/14/2017

    Ellen - What Rhonda said !!! Really meticulous garden. Beautiful

  7. user-5070802 08/14/2017

    Very beautiful! I want to stop by your yard for coffee this morning. You definitely have a skill

  8. fancyflowerfarmer 08/14/2017

    Beautiful!!! I love the first and second photos! Absolutely gorgeous!!!

  9. Maggieat11 08/14/2017

    Picture perfect! Love your woodland areas especially. What a delight to have the tiger lilies appear! And quite an impressive Food Bank Garden. I hope you have some assistance with that!

  10. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 08/14/2017

    Marvelous garden and such beautiful photos. The lighting is incredible. I love all of the stonework as well.

  11. sheila_schultz 08/14/2017

    Your gardens are lovely, Ellen. They have a have a very peaceful feel to them with the quiet colors and soft textures. They must give you a lot of pleasure!

  12. VikkiVA 08/14/2017

    Pictures of your beautiful garden reminded me of a song..."Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morning." Such a stunning landscape. How lucky are you to have those Tiger Lilies come for a visit and decide to stay! Vikki in VA

  13. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 08/14/2017

    Good morning, Ellen. Your gardens look so inviting, especially the bench sitting amongst the trees. Garden volunteers are my favorite, both the plants and the people. I miss seeing 'ditch lilies' as we called them in WI and I also had one of those daisies come up this year in a most unusual spot. It was well hidden under a huge golden arborvitae. Is the food bank garden on your property or a shared venture? As Rhonda said, it would be nice to hear more about that.

    1. WinstonSalem 08/14/2017

      The Food Bank Garden is not on my property but is three acres in a local children's agency which has 220 acres all together. For 20 years, a group of volunteers have managed this little farm/garden to grow vegetables (and melons) for Second Harvest Food Bank. Everything goes to them and they then distribute to 400 agencies in NW North Carolina. We are all volunteers and grew 18,000 lbs in the last two years. Our website is

  14. btucker9675 08/14/2017

    Hi Ellen - I am new to gardening in the clay of NC (I'm south of Charlotte) and am curious to know what kind of soil amendment you do in your lovely garden? So beautiful and it gives me hope that I will eventually be able to do a nice garden here.

    1. WinstonSalem 08/14/2017

      I've used many different types of soil. When I first moved here it was all clay and no sign of earthworms so I used bagged soil from various places including: Black Kow cow manure (and, I just got a bag of Black Kow chicken manure), top soil and scoops of soil mixes from local mulch companies. I amend the soil every year with about 2" of mulch. Gradually over time, it has vastly improved. I also make my own compost but mainly use it in my vegetable garden.

      1. btucker9675 08/14/2017

        Thanks - I've been using bagged garden soil from Pike's Nursery here every time I plant anything (this is a new development) and have added mulch as well. I'll start adding in the manure, too. Had dark good soil with lots of earthworms in my large garden in NJ so was spoiled! : ) . Onward and upward!

  15. user-7008735 08/14/2017

    Ellen, I'm there on the bench in the woodland clearing with my cup of coffee! OK, I guess I'm only there in my imagination since the "teleporter" isn't available yet. GPOD is the next best way to be transported to all the different gardens each morning. I love the close up of your lichen-covered rock surrounded by all the different leaf textures. Thanks for sharing!

    1. WinstonSalem 08/14/2017

      The rocks are all from the Sauertown Mountains near here.

  16. user-7007498 08/14/2017

    Good afternoon, Ellen. Thanks for inviting us into your garden. The lichen covered boulder is fantastic. Great textures. Love the conifers you showed us. Well done.

  17. JoannaAtGinghamGardens 08/14/2017

    Absolutely lovely! Thank you for sharing.

  18. Beadlily 08/14/2017

    Beautiful!!! I love the volunteer tiger lilies

  19. bsavage 08/15/2017


  20. user-6536305 08/21/2017

    Your garden is absolutely beautiful and your post absolutely made my day although I am few days later to read your post. Thanks for sharing!

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