Today we’re paying another visit to Syd Carpenter’s wonderful Philadelphia garden, where she boldly mixes all sorts of plants and garden art to wonderful effect. If you missed previous visits to this wonderful garden, start here.
These photos are from last summer and as always display her incredible ability to combine plants in creative and inspiring ways.
A variegated hosta, variegated lily turf (Liriope muscari, Zones 5–10), and a caladium (probably the variety ‘Miss Muffet’, Zones 9–11 or as a tender bulb) make magic together.
Many of the plants in this photo are best known as house plants, such as the silver-striped silver inch plant (Tradescantia zebrina). But many “house plants” make great annuals for shade. And if you bring them indoors before frost, they can live through the winter on the windowsill before returning to the garden next year.
Syd is an artist, and dramatic garden art, like the large sculpture hanging on the wall here, is a central part of this garden.
New breeding has created elephant ears (Colocasia) in a wide range of sizes and leaf colors, such as this smaller-growing, dark-leaved form in a container. They bring a tropical flair to any garden and thrive in hot summers.
This is, I believe, the annual Ammi major, sometimes called bishop’s flower, and is essentially a more refined version of Queen Anne’s lace (Dacus carota). The lacy white flowers aging to green are beautiful and are beloved by all sorts of pollinators.
Hardy plants and tropicals mix freely in this garden, with a huge oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia, Zones 5–10) in the back, a big mass of purple Mexican spiderwort (Tinantia pringlei, Zones 6–10), and the yellow flower heads of tender Guzmania bromeliads mixed in for a tropical flair.
Foliage is the star in this garden, with vivid purple coming from purple shamrock (Oxalis regnellii var. triangularis, Zones 7–10).
A sculpted face peaks out from behind elephant ears.
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Thanks again, Syd, for sharing your photos of such exciting foliage combinations. We can see how several of those pictures reveal wet leaves after a morning watering. Not only does that add some sparkle to your photos, but I firmly believe that your efforts to keep these plants moist in hot Philadelphia summers allows for the lushness that all your images display.
I am enjoying my winter garden these days, but it only reminds me of last summer and gets me excited about this spring. My tulips and daffodils are already above ground. Yikes!
As usual, all is lovely.
Magnificent was the first word that entered my mind when I saw your photos! I love your interesting plant combinations and your touches of garden art. You are certainly one talented artist and gardener.
Thank you. Making art in a garden is one of the most satisfying things to do.
That wall art is magnificent, as is the entire garden!
Your garden is endlessly enthralling, Syd and always a delight through which to take a cyber stroll. Plus, since it's a rainy dreary day where I am, I treated myself to looking at your previous submissions. Thanks so much for sharing so generously.
I love a virtual visit to the beautiful world you've made!
I found you on Pinterest and followed your garden boards!
You are an inspiration.
I am absolutely in love with your gardens. I went back to previous GPOD photos, then wanting more I looked for you on Instagram to no avail. Finally I found an article with lots of photos connected to the Swarthmore ITS blog by googling Syd Carpenter Gardens. Every vignette is even better than the last; and those pots!! I feel compelled to begin collecting similar gorgeous pots. Your garden talent equals your art. I am smitten.
Here's a tip. While Syd has made some of those garden pots in her pics, a google image search will show you a few of the magnificent sculptures she has made which have been shown in galleries and museum quite widely and held in the permanent collections of many museums, too.
I do have an Instagram page. I am sorry you couldn’t find it. But glad you did some digging and found other images.
How can I say more than the others before me? I, too, went back to review the previous photos of your exquisite garden. I am, needless to say, awestruck! Your combinations are so beautiful, so thoughtful. The pots are fabulous and the wall piece is simply a marvel! My fantasy would be to place a chair on your sidewalk until you couldn't bear to see me there anymore and let me in to your private oasis. Just hope you'll have time to take some spring pics. Would just love to see what you do with spring plantings!
What a fabulous garden. I need me some Bishop’s Flower. Fabulous.
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