Garden Photo of the Day

Lessons Learned Through Trial and Error

Laura Sheets is proof that experience is the best teacher. Well done, Laura!

"My garden is in South Carolina on the warm side of zone 7B, with partial sun and sandy soil.  I work in an office, on a computer, for many hours a week, and I spend as much of my free time as possible in the garden.  My (teenage) children's friends find it odd that I'm never inside.  They are always questioning and making remarks to my children – "How can your mom find so much joy in the back yard?" and "I see your mom is out in her natural habitat!" I was once asked to give a class on shrubs, and the organizer asked for a biography.  I felt a little inadequate when I saw the horticultural credentials of the other presenters – from being a Master Gardener to a doctorate degree.  Mine was along the lines of, "I've killed a lot of plants over the years…"  I have finally figured out what grows well for me, but I'm not done experimenting!  I love japanese maples, conifers, hellebores, daylilies, hydrangeas, lantana, coleus, and the list goes on and on."

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View Comments


  1. diane_lasauce 05/25/2016

    Lovely vistas Laura. I have considered leaving my gardens in central VA for SC, near the coast. Glad to see so many familiar plants growing in your gardens. Are you near the coast? Gardening is special therapy for those who step out and sanctuary from our chaotic world.

  2. frankgreenhalgh 05/25/2016

    Hi Laura - Congratulations on a lovely garden in such a pleasant woody setting. No wonder you spend so much of your free time in the garden. Killing plants is part of the gardener's journey!

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    user-7007816 05/25/2016

    Love the use of bright colors in foliage and flowers. Nice job.

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    meander_michaele 05/25/2016

    I definitely identify with your "credentials" and agree that hands on trial and error is a great teacher. I love the dark leafed canna as the backdrop for that grouping of daylilies and I bet the timing is perfect that, as the daylilies end their bloom stretch, the canna begins. You can't go wrong with that. Is that an aloe in the ground in the 4th picture? in the ground all year round? If so, that certainly shows how mild the warm side of zone 7b must be. Everything looks beautiful and your commitment to your outside is a great example for those teenagers.

  5. NCYarden 05/25/2016

    First, Laura, amazing property and setting. Zone 7B is a pretty sweet spot for growing variety. Our collections are fairly similar. I love Japanese maples too (obsessed really). I love how you framed that first photo with the branches of one. Second, I so completely share and understand your situation. I too am in an office, windowless in fact, on a computer all day. The moment I'm done it's freedom and I am embedded in the garden, often till after nightfall. No better place to be or better way to let the day go, and your garden certainly is a place that commands some time well spent. And finally, after a recent tour I was asked too if I had ever considered speaking, and I thought "I am only a garden enthusiasts, not an industry professional," but I think what is being noticed, and thus requested, is years of experience with your hands in the dirt and the overwhelming sense of enthusiasm for definitely have both! Thank you for sharing.

  6. arthurb3 05/25/2016

    Lovely! I could not have a day where I was not in the garden.

  7. user-7008037 05/25/2016

    Love this garden, Laura!

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    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 05/25/2016

    Wow, Laura. Great garden, great plants. I spy Agave ovatifolia in the ground! My jealousy runneth over. Your setting is so picturesque and it looks like you have a great combination of sun and shade. Like you and David, I sit in front of a computer all day in a windowless office, so into the garden I go as soon as I get home (and before I go to work, too!). We share a common bio. Mine starts with 'I've killed more plants than I care to tally....."

  9. hontell 05/25/2016

    wow, Laura, if my garden looked like yours, i would never go inside!

  10. user-4691082 05/25/2016

    Laura, my compliments on a job well done! What is it about gardening that makes us feel as if it's never good enough? Do interior decorators feel that way? I guess it's different because furniture doesn't grow and take over or fail to thrive! Lol! I would give good money not to have to dig up and store cannas. I have them stuck in the garden anywhere there is an empty spot. I didn't even label them so who knows what will bloom where! Thanks for sharing your lovely property.

  11. VikkiVA 05/25/2016

    No wonder you want to be outside all the time. Your garden is beautiful. Good to hear you continue to experiment, I do the same. That is one of the joys of gardening. Vikki in VA

  12. annek 05/25/2016

    Fabulous garden, Laura. All your photos beg for a visit to walk along your pathways. Your maple trees are gorgeous and your color combinations are delicious. Through trial and error you have produced a wonderful outdoor sanctuary! (PS: love that fence too)

  13. sheila_schultz 05/25/2016

    There's something about having the background of beautifully textured trees that creates such a peaceful setting for gardens. I can certainly understand why your gardens bring you such pleasure. They are wonderful, Laura!

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    LindaonWhidbey 05/25/2016

    Laura, I love your story in that to me you are the best type of gardener, learning from years of mistakes and successes and still enjoying it. Your colors against the beautiful woodsy background are striking. I especially like the cannas and day lilies. Great job and keep sharing your wonderful results!

    1. ashley1414 05/26/2016

      just as Robert replied I am stunned that some one able to get paid $7888 in 4 weeks on the computer . try this web-site


  15. Cenepk10 05/25/2016

    Magnificent, Laura. Experience + Google = to degrees. ( imho ) Really beautiful garden.

  16. user-4297063 05/25/2016

    What a beautiful garden Laura, your story is like mine, the kids think we are crazy spending time out in the yard and loving OUR time there. One day they will soon realize
    the thrill of gardening. I love your maples, wishing I had more shade. Thank you for sharing your beautiful garden. Kay from the Okanagan.

  17. schatzi 05/25/2016

    Hello Laura and everyone. We have all killed more plants than we care to remember. You are all great self-taught gardeners, not an "only" anything! I love a woodland garden and yours is tropical besides. Beautiful. And there is no place better to be than in our gardens.

  18. user-7007498 05/26/2016

    Laura: your gardens are lovely and restive. What a great place to relax and unwind from the stresses at work. Without gardening , I don't know what I would do.

    The woods make such a great backdrop to your garden. You have made wonderful choices in plant material. Your "qualifications" are obvious.

    As we all have come to realize, gardening is about a lifetime of change. Plants grow, thrive, struggle, and sometimes die. Our gardens change from sun to shade, and sometimes back to sun if a tree dies. The best gardeners become astute observers, and do not fear the change but take advantage of the opportunity You have done that. Well done.

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