Garden Photo of the Day

Let’s Play Name That Plant!

A big thanks to Herb Ritter from Cary, NC (Zone 7b) for not only sharing his favorite spot in his garden, but telling us what is planted there!

While I have many areas in my Cary, NC (Zone 7b) garden that I love, this particular spot is one of my favorites."

(1) Knock-out roses (Rosa x in the back and the (2) Ham and Eggs Lantana (Lantana camara 'Ham and Eggs') on the right nothing else is blooming yet the area has so much color.

The centerpiece is the (3) Japanese maple (Acer Palmatum "skeeters broom'). I love this Japanese maple because it keeps its eye popping red color spring through fall. It will also not over power the space as it should only grow to 6' tall by 4' wide.

The blue foreground is provided by a mass of (4) blue fescue (Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue').

Behind the Japanese maple is a mass of (5) hosta (Hosta 'Francee'). The combination of the fescue, maple, and hosta provide a ton of color and texture.

The second tier behind the Japanese maple brings in an additional color with another favorite of mine, (6) Kaleidoscope abelia (Abelia x grandiflora 'Kaleidoscope'). This abelia is great because it's compact, has gold, cream, green, and red foliage, and is evergreen.

To the left of the abelia is just a small touch of purple provided by a (7) purple heart (Tradescantia pallida 'Variegata').

Keep sending in photos, everyone! Whether you've never shared before or you've been featured multiple times, we want to see your garden! Email a few photos and the story behind your garden to [email protected].


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  1. Nurserynotnordstroms 06/05/2015

    Hi Herb,I just looked up 'Skeerers Broom' I love it,and how interesting it was a witches broom on my favorite red Japanese maple'Bloodgood'I like that the leaves are deeply divided and it holds its color well. This maple may be perfect in our gardens, great color and small size. I just may start looking for this one. Had you not sent in your great photo I most likely wouldn't have known about this lovely tree. Happy gardening to you and I love you favorite garden spot.

    1. Hritter007 06/06/2015

      Thanks! I just discovered this maple in the spring. Local garden center was unloading them off a truck while I was there and immediately had to get one!

  2. NCYarden 06/05/2015

    Good morning, Herb. Greetings from not too far down the road. Loving the rain we're finally was getting a little dry. I'm digging your favorite garden spot as well. Of course I admire your "Skeeter's Broom". That's one I have yet to add to my collection. It really has a nice shape - you've maintained it nicely. I'm amazed how tidy your Elijah Blues are - looks great. I really like the elevation variations you have with the stonework too. Thanks for sharing. How about sharing a little more.

    1. Hritter007 06/06/2015

      Yes this rain has been most welcomed! Thanks for the feedback!

  3. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 06/05/2015

    Really nice combinations and that's a great specimen tree!

    1. Hritter007 06/06/2015

      Thanks Tim!

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 06/05/2015

    Include me as captivated by the vibrant coloration of your 'Skeeter's Broom' maple. I had to go do some reading about it... I'm always on the alert for japanese maples that truly hold their red throughout the summer. So far, for me, the best has been 'Fireglow'...a big box purchase that has consistently kept me enthralled. Your walls are great looking and must provide such happy planting conditions (yay, good drainage) for everything you have there.

    1. NCYarden 06/05/2015

      Fireglow is so wonderful, isn't it? Especially when the sun hits it and filters through the leaves. They truly do glow then. A fantastic cultivar.

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 06/05/2015

        'Fireglow' is so aptly named. I had read that a variety named Emperor One is also an improvement on 'Bloodgood' for holding on to its red color so I have bought several of them the past couple of years. However, I just don't think they have the luminosity of my one 'Fireglow'. Any other reds you would recommend, David?

        1. NCYarden 06/05/2015

          Emperor One is good. I agree it lacks the brilliant glowing quality of Fireglow. What is nice though it that it holds it red even in shade, which was one of the draws to it as I planted mine in the woodland garden, where it only gets little moments of sun. Can't complain about that. Another reliable one is Shaina, which is fairly dwarf. And so far I have found Aratama to be pretty good too, also dwarf. It is a little similar to Skeeter's in that it is a broom as well and so periodically it needs a little thinning out on the interior to promote good airflow, especially in the humid South. I could also recommend Kandy Kitchen. I am looking into picking up Adrian's Compact from a local grower soon, which is supposed to stay red, is not a broom, and even more dwarf than Aratama. And certainly one of our newest favorites is Rhode Island Red. This tree is amazing from its color to its sturdy reliable bushy form. Pretty trouble free. You can see it in one of the photos I submitted to GPOD. Happy shopping.

          1. User avater
            meander_michaele 06/05/2015

            Having the woodland garden must be so nice to have as a destination for many of the Japanese maples you fall in love with. It gives them a more natural habitat since it provides some shade. My "Fireglow' is in more shade than the 'EmperorOne' and yet has the happiest looking color...hmmm, I guess I should connect the dots. Thanks for the names of others. You really are quite the collector!

          2. Nurserynotnordstroms 06/06/2015

            You are an amazing wealth of information. Do you have a favorite book on Japanese maples. We just purchased a great book the other day,but I would live to know your favorites.

        2. NCYarden 06/05/2015

          I forgot to mention also that Garnet is great for a weeping cut leaf form, but it can get some size. The Red Pygmy has remained true red so far as well. I love Villa Taranto, but it has more of brick reddish orange, rather than a bright or deep red during the summer, but awesome nonetheless.

    2. Hritter007 06/06/2015

      This will be the first season for my Skeeters Broom so I am curious as to how it will eventually perform. Thanks for the positive comments!

  5. User avater
    gringopeligroso 06/05/2015

    Very nice creation!! I'm envious of your elevation changes....a situation I would enjoy and strive for, but difficult to achieve in my relatively flat setting. And, the effort put into the hardscape co-ordinates and frames this view perfectly! I see why it's one of your favourite views!
    I LOVE Abelias, and also have 'Kaleidoscope' in my garden. However, in my Zone 6 plantings, it's not evergreen. I'll wager between it and the Lantana, you've a few butterflies dancing through the 'beams most all summer?

    Also, NICE photography! I love how you've captured the rays firing off the blooms of the 'Elija Blues' and accenting the colous of the Tradescantia, Maple, roses! Really brings the scene to life for us remote viewers!!

    1. Hritter007 06/06/2015

      Thanks Jesse! The elevation changes allow another point of view of the garden as you go up or come down breaking it into smaller gardens as well as the whole view when seen from below. It was just a pretty steep hill with turf that my 2 dogs wore a path through so about 10 years ago I put in the terraces with left over material from past installs. I have been constantly tweaking the plantings in this area and think I finally will stick with this. The lower portion I just put in this past spring.

  6. GrannyMay 06/05/2015

    With a Knock-out rose, that gorgeous 'Skeeter's Broom' Japanese Maple and a great supporting cast of hosta, Abelia and blue Fescue, this has to be an eye-catching spot for most of the year. Well done!

    1. Hritter007 06/06/2015


  7. GrannyCC 06/05/2015

    Thank you for sharing your favourite spot in your garden Herb, that maple is so vibrant. Love the different levels and your rock work.

  8. florencewendell 06/05/2015

    Loved the way you labeled everything for us.

    1. Hritter007 06/06/2015

      It's a habit as a horticulturist or as they referred to us at NCSU "plant geeks"!

  9. ILfarmersdaughter 06/05/2015

    Hi Herb, I'm trying to figure out which plant I like the best as I think they are all beautiful. I really like the blue fescue plants. Do they get very tall? Your placement of plants showcase each of their beautiful qualities. I would love to see the rest of your garden. Thank you for sharing your garden.

    1. Hritter007 06/06/2015

      The Elijah Blue only grow to about 12" tall and thats with the plum included. They tend to stay pretty tidy which I love as well

      1. ILfarmersdaughter 06/06/2015

        Thanks Herb. I will definitely add the Elijah Blue to my garden. Also love all the other plants.

  10. user-7007638 06/06/2015

    I have a friend who has a Japanese Maple that looks exactly like the one you have shown here, but it's aleast 30 feet tall. Her Mother gave it to her . It's absolutely gorgeous especially when it's sunny the leaves look like their ablaze.

  11. thomaswilliambannister 06/07/2015

    The skeeters broom looks wonderful. We have a couple in our nursery that are at least 4 metres. Wonderful specimen.

  12. Cenepk10 06/17/2015

    Beautiful !!! Going through my old emails & can't believe I almost missed this !!!! Love it all ! Elijah Blue is so gorgeous in person & photos just don't do it justice - I can not believe how much I adore knock out roses. The color of the red ones are other worldly. And it keeps on coming. Very beautiful composition ! Love it !

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