Garden Photo of the Day

Lisa’s North Carolina Garden

Gardening in a new zone

poolside garden bed with containers and hydrangeas

Hi! My name is Lisa and I’m new to gardening. I started with a bare yard when we moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, from Toronto in 2017—a whole new world in terms of gardening.

In 2020, during the pandemic, the time on my hands was spent mostly in the garden and an obsession was born. I quickly learned everything I could about plants and became a collector of sorts. Then I had to learn to make that collection look somewhat cohesive. I also had to keep it alive!

large green ornamental grass next to a pool and fire pitOne of my first loves—ornamental grasses. I have always loved their movement and often find they are an unsung hero in the garden. I have the ‘Morning Light’ and ‘Adagio’ varieties of maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis, Zones 5–9). I also have some ‘Karl Foerster’ (Calamagrostis × acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’, Zones 5–9) mixed throughout. They add quick privacy to a new garden.

poolside garden bed with containers and hydrangeasOne of my favorites, ‘Rising Sun’ redbud (Cercis ‘Rising Sun’, Zones 5–9), flanks this garden by the pool. My limelights (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’, Zones 4–8) grow bigger each year. I also added some ‘Silver Mound’ artemisia (Artemisia schmidiana ‘Silver Mound’, Zones 4–8), purple mealy sage (Salvia farinacea, Zones 8–10 or as an annual), and a striking artichoke (Cynara cardunculus, Zones 7–10 or as an annual) to keep things interesting.

foundation garden bed with shrubs and grassesBy my house I have liriope (Liriope muscari ‘Variegata’, Zones 5–10), artemisia (Artemisia stelleriana ‘Silver Brocade’, Zones 2–9 and Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’, Zones 4–9), ‘Miss Molly’ butterfly bushes (Buddleia ‘Miss Molly’, Zones 5–9), and curly parsley (Petroselinum crispum) mixed throughout. It brings a host of swallowtails, hummingbirds, lizards, bees, and praying mantis. There is so much activity here!

limelight hydrangeas with a pool behindI have limelights (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’, Zones 4–8) flanking my screened porch. In the summer it is known as the “hydrangea tree house,” and we love it. It’s a perfect place to nap and watch bees and hummingbirds fly about the flowers. Lizards make resting places in the flower heads.

container kitchen garden on a patioA kitchen garden is outside my screened porch. I have herbs, kale, some Japanese eggplant, strawberries, marigolds, and petunias.

container plantings and vines growing against a wooden privacy panelA trumpet vine (Campsis radicans, Zones 4–9) climbs on the walls. Its flowers always bring hummingbirds and bees.

If you want to see more of Lisa’s garden, check out her instagram: @theconstantdecorator


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View Comments


  1. JaySifford 11/15/2022

    From one Charlottean to another, great job Lisa!

    1. theconstantdecorator 11/15/2022

      Thank you Jay. Such a compliment coming from you. I love your work. You are an inspiration.

  2. User avater
    simplesue 11/15/2022

    I love that scene you created at your back door with the umbrella table, surrounded by pots of plants and greenery- it's so inviting and cozy!
    The area by the house with the Butterfly Bush is wonderful- and I love your observations of all the creatures that come to enjoy it!
    You are a natural at gardening- never would have guessed you are new to it!

    1. theconstantdecorator 11/15/2022

      Thank you simplesue the patio is one of my very favorite places.

      Yes, the garden by the house was made with all the creatures in mind. We are a new build and I wanted to make an apology of sorts for the disruption and invite everything back to the space. It really feels like our own little ecosystem was created. I am so grateful for your kind compliments!

  3. celoni 11/15/2022

    You are clearly an enthusiastic gardener. I invite you to check out the Union County Master Gardeners. Not sure where you are in Charlotte, but we have other members from up there.

    1. theconstantdecorator 11/15/2022

      Thank you! I’m in Waxhaw so I will be sure to check it out.

  4. User avater
    treasuresmom 11/15/2022

    All so very, very lovely!

    1. theconstantdecorator 11/15/2022

      Thank you so very much.

  5. sheila_schultz 11/15/2022

    Your gardens must be a joy, not only to you and your husband, but to all of the neighbors! They are beautiful with lush and varied plantings. I love the vine topped, wooden wall fronted by the containers. The round windows?, mirrors? are perfect! Continue having fun learning and creating beauty for your family and others!!!

    1. theconstantdecorator 11/15/2022

      So kind of you to say Sheila! Thank you so much!!!

  6. btucker9675 11/15/2022

    Wonderful garden - I'm in Waxhaw, too (the Tuscany neighborhood)! Coming here from northern NJ was a big learning curve for me as well even though I've been gardening for many decades. The clay here made me really have to do my homework. Watch any hummingbird feeders you have for large mantises as they will try to capture and kill hummingbirds. I keep a watchful eye on them...

    1. theconstantdecorator 11/15/2022

      Hello neighbor! Small world! Agree-the clay and the heat present such challenges to a garden here. I do keep a watch on the mantises, I’ve only had one get to a feeder and he was promptly relocated to another part of the garden.😱Between that, the grumbling bumbles, and the hummingbird fights—there is always some kind of drama happening around the garden.

  7. jos29803 11/15/2022

    What a great job for a beginner! LISA, you should be proud of your results.

    1. theconstantdecorator 11/15/2022

      Thank you so much! I’ve been grateful that the last few years have given me an opportunity to find my passion and time spent at home to learn and develop it.

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