My name is Lydia Grupinski, and I garden with my husband, Ray, on the shores of Lake Norman in Mooresville, North Carolina, just outside of Charlotte. Being located right on the water in a protected cove, we are in Zone 7b/8a. I am an avid gardener, plant collector, and former landscape designer. I started my Pura Vida Gardens in 2013. Today I am submitting photos of my woodland garden. In 2013, all that existed was a stand of mature shortleaf pines (Pinus echinata, Zones 6–9) and one lone baby yucca. I envisioned this area as my future woodland garden. I started by installing a functioning dry river bed to move rainwater from the front of the property through the pines and away from the lawn. I installed two flat stone bridges over the dry river bed to allow access to various areas of the woodland garden. I then began to install plants.
I now have a collection of approximately 26 Japanese maples throughout the property as well as many unusual and hard-to-find woody and herbaceous specimens. I use only organic fertilizers and do all the weeding by hand. I employ an IPM approach, using synthetic pesticides and herbicides only as a last resort. If a plant is too prone to diseases or pests, or if it struggles in our climate, I don’t grow it. My passion for plants and love of all my gardens runs deep and has certainly been underscored during the past year of quarantine! Ray and I feel very blessed having this property to take care of as well as being a beautiful, tranquil and safe space to spend time outdoors. I am happy to share a peek into one part of Pura Vida Gardens and hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
By the house, a southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora, Zones 6–10) shows off its glossy evergreen foliage and huge white, fragrant flowers.
The woodland garden’s paved path guides visitors under the canopy of mature shortleaf pines.
The tall pines in the woodland garden provide bright shade that allows many plants to thrive.
Farfugium japonica (Zones 7–10) has sprays of yellow foliage over big, bold, glossy green leaves.
The trunks of the pines provide a beautiful vertical accent throughout the garden.
Flower spikes of a pineapple lily (Eucomis comosa, Zones 7–10) make an unusual and long-lasting statement.
Have a garden you’d like to share?
Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!
To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.
If you want to send photos in separate emails to the GPOD email box that is just fine.
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