Garden Photo of the Day

READER PHOTOS! Another design by Jay in North Carolina

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Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford

Last Monday, we featured a garden Jay Sifford designed in North Carolina, and things got just a little bit heated (nothing major, but a brief drama.) It left Jay a little nervous to submit another garden, but one of his clients talked him into it!

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford

Jay says this client is fearless, so here goes… Jay says, “I finished installing the initial elements of this lakeside garden earlier this spring. The homeowners, Art and Kim McCulloch of Cornelius, North Carolina, enjoy a lifestyle of informal elegance. Kim is quite artistic and whimsical in her approach to life, which made this garden all the more fun to design.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford

“The space is filled with a contrast of bright sunlight and dark shadows, which inspired me to use a plant palate of bright chartreuse, dark burgundy, and beautiful blues to balance it all. The stonework is by Ponders, a local company. I came in after the installation of the stone to tie it all together. My strategy revolved around mass plantings and deliberate repetition in order to make an impact in such a large space.”

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford

***See the captions for more info***

Very nice, Jay!! Thanks for not giving up on us…

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford

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View Comments


  1. wGardens 07/17/2012

    Jay, this is wonderful, too! Love your work. (Great stonework also!) In fact, I would love to see your work- and discussion/comments- in book form. Thank you for sharing. More! More!

  2. joycedaffodilhill 07/17/2012

    Sorry I missed the "heated up" issues because this is a great project. Live on the East coast and love rocks and ponds, but this summer for the first time in 30 years we are having a garter snake festival and with our 16 mo grandson around this is unacceptable. Your stonework is inspiring. My husband made copies and maybe this will work. We both love the plantings. Keep up the excellent work.

  3. ncgardener 07/17/2012

    I love it, North Carolina is such a temperamental mistress when it comes to gardening. I relocated here 4 years ago and I have one soil type (sand) in the front and (clay) in the back. The hardscapes are awesome. I love your ideas for garden rooms!

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 07/17/2012

    Absolutely stunning,Jay....shouldn't be any controversy today!
    One of the things that is most striking is how settled in and naturalized all the plant material looks already. The inclusion of artwork that has an aged patina is also very effective in eliminating that just created sense to this garden. I'm sure your clients had a lot of input and they should be totally thrilled with the wonderful collaboration that is the finished result. From an artistic point of view, the composition of the picture with the blue grass, antique-y looking pot and smidge of burgundy foliage is perfection.

  5. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/17/2012

    Looks to me like you did a great job of complimenting instead of overwhelming the beautiful stone work; great plant choices. I would love to see it in a year or two. Enjoyed all of your designs on your website, Jay, as well as your collection of inspirational photos. Thanks for sharing and inspiring.

  6. bethnbijoux 07/17/2012

    Wow...just wow! I want to kick off my shoes, grab a book and go sit in this garden this very second! Love it! I think it is the sense of whimsy that adds that special zing :)

  7. GardenerGM 07/17/2012

    Very pretty! I love your rocks and your hostas!

  8. soilgoil 07/17/2012

    I love, love, LOVE everything about this garden, Jay! It certainly doesn't look as though it's just been plopped into place by a designer. Your plantings are naturalistic, and keep the awe-inspiring stonework from being overwhelming. You've added just enough color to keep things interesting, and the garden art is whimsical without being "cute". Please keep submitting your work to GPOD.

    P.S. Can someone tell me how to get a photo of my choice onto my comments? I'm tired of the generic head silhouette! Thanks.

  9. olympic_mtn_gardener 07/17/2012

    Thanks for overcoming your nervousness about submitting another garden! Each one of your submissions has been outstanding. Meanness in comments on this blog makes me give up on the GPOD for a while, but eventually I come back because seeing gardens like the ones you create is fun and a source of great inspiration. I'm glad I came back in time to see this stunning garden. Please do not let the minority opinion deprive the rest of us of seeing more of your great work!

  10. olympic_mtn_gardener 07/17/2012

    soilgoil--To add a photo of your choice to your profile: Sign in, then look at the green "Fine Gardening" banner across the top of the page. In small print it says "Welcome . . ." and to the right is a link for "Update Account". Click on this link, and it will take you to a page which will allow you to upload a photo.

  11. Jay_Sifford 07/17/2012

    Thanks so much to everyone for the comments. Gardeners are such great people!
    Olympic_mtn_gardener, did you find your farfugium? I was at Lowe's the other day, saw some, and thought of you. I don't recommend Lowe's as a plant source, but there they were...

  12. Tsnonny 07/17/2012

    This is lovely. Missed all the bruhaha but can't imagine anyone not liking your beautiful creations. We have lots of huge trees in our yard, so this approach would be nice for us. Thank you for submitting your work, and please don't stop.

  13. user-29260 07/17/2012

    Absolutely beautiful. Looks like you created exactly what the client wanted, and created some beautiful spaces!

  14. LynnSB 07/17/2012

    Hi - this looks so cool and refreshing in this hot, dry summer - the combination of green and white makes me think of minted iced tea! lovely work - good job!

  15. olympic_mtn_gardener 07/18/2012

    Jay--I have not found the farfugium yet, but I will not give up until I find one! I love the one in the photograph of your garden, so it is at the top of my plant "wish list". We do not have a Lowe's out here, but I haven't completed an exhaustive search of the small nurseries in the area. Warm weather has finally arrived in our mountains, so I'm spending more time working in the garden than shopping for the garden right now--but hope to have one to plant before fall. Thanks again for providing the plant name!!

  16. cwheat000 07/18/2012

    Art and Kim, if you were the ones to urge Jay to submit more of his work, thank you. You guys are a good team . Your garden turned out very special. Looks like you have a nice water view, ocean? Your garden looks so relaxing . Well done.

  17. cwheat000 07/18/2012

    Olympic mtn gardener- Thank you for the info on how to upload a photo. I couldn't get it to work on my tablet, but as you can see I had success on my husband's computer. Yeah! I have a photo. This picture is Salvia nemorosa 'MayNight', Cotinus coggygria 'RoyalPurple', and Weigela Florida ' My Monet', and an Abelia in the background.

  18. cwheat000 07/18/2012

    Whoops, edit that. The Weigela is just below the Salvia in my garden, but it didn't make it into the picture, just the picture in my head.

  19. pattyspencer 07/18/2012

    Now this is a garden I could totally fall in love with! Totally different look from the other. Lush - green - inviting!! Love it - love it - love it!!!!!

  20. sheila_schultz 07/18/2012

    I opened this post with a bit of trepidation I must admit... Whew!!! Jay, you do shade really well. These gardens are so comfortable and welcoming. Delightful textures and leaf shape. What more can a homeowner ask for?

  21. joycedaffodilhill 07/20/2012

    I did not realize all of the "heated attitude" was going on until the hint of trouble caused me to return to the scene of abuse. Folks, we all garden, landscape, build, rebuild to suit the internal "me". 70 years of living and working as a nurse, has taught me to appreciate the incredible value of each and every person one meets. This house is lush. A castle to be sure, but the castle of the owner and this family. While it might not suit everyone, it is pleasing to the eye and senses. The color palate alone is fabulous. I don't know tractor1 and will pass on that at this time, but I would hesitate to show my English cottage garden for fear of being called grotesque or an eyesore. To this landscape architect, I salute you for hanging in there. Personally, if I had a lot of cash, I would love you to design a major garden for my family.

  22. Formandfoliage 07/20/2012

    It is one thing to voice a constructive criticism and another to use insulting words. We do value honesty, but taste is a big part of design, and gardening is not an exact science, so there is a lot of latitude there, too! Maybe we all learned something about tolerance and latitude from this exchange. The GPOD is a daily treat for me, and even the gardens that are not to my taste often have components that I enjoy and can learn from. If we all agreed on everything, most of us would not be necessary. Jay, you have done a great job here!

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