Garden Photo of the Day

READER PHOTOS! Bill’s garden in Virginia

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Bill Hewitt

Today’s photos are from Bill Hewitt in Suffolk, Virginia. Bill says, “Not a lot of people think of palms growing in Virginia, but they are my passion and of course my favorite tree. My favorite vacation destination is Florida (or anywhere tropical), so I had to make my backyard my own little piece of paradise. All of my palms are from 2 years old to close to 20 years old. They have survived winter after winter and are thriving as you can see.”

I thought I was looking at Florida when I opened Bill’s email! Very cool, Bill. Thanks for showing us that zone denial is sometimes fruitful.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Bill Hewitt
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Bill Hewitt
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Bill Hewitt

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  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/22/2012

    Hmmm, after looking at these pictures, I suddenly felt a hankering for a margarita and some Jimmy Buffet instead of my usual morning coffee and news...I wonder why? What a fun surprise it must be for folks when they see your palm oasis, Bill.
    And I gotta' ask, what is pink in the final picture? My initial impression was that you were pulling a tease with a flock of (plastic) pink flamingos and I gave a giggle at your sense of playfulness. But then I looked more closely and couldn't figure out what I was seeing?

  2. tractor1 03/22/2012

    I was going to say I liked that bridge but then realized it spans some dry white stones, what's with that? And there is definitely something wrong with that camera that all the photos are so blurry. I'm not sure about how those palms are arranged on that property/landscape, they look very unnatural and stunted. Those pink flowers look like a version of tiger lilies, maybe flamingo lilies. It looks like a very interesting property but I wish a better photographer shoots the next round.

  3. wwross 03/22/2012

    This is very nice. I have a question, though. Whenever I have put rocks in a bedding garden or as a border to a lawn area, the weeds end up being a problem after a while--and its much more difficult to weed between rocks. I have found that weed blocker fabric is useless after a year or so.

    Anybody have other solutions?

  4. pattyspencer 03/22/2012

    I like the bridge - however with it's stark white color it sticks out like a sore thumb. I do love the palms and gives me thought to also try something not in my zone and I too would love to know what that pink plant/flower is - my first thought was a lip stick plant (but I think those are house plants)

  5. Palmmanbill 03/22/2012

    To all above. The red flowers are a " Red Yucca " plant ! Very cold hardy. The palms ( the ones that have very little fronds )the picture was taken when they were first planted, it is called " Hurricane Cut " and they must be trimmed this way to establish a root system. Once established they grow a much larger and natural head. The other palms are Windmill Palms and will survive down to zero deg. F and lower at times. To understand the " the white " bridge - look at the picture of the porch. I have a white farm house. All the best, Bill

  6. terieLR 03/22/2012

    Thanks for sharing Bill. I have the same concern as wwross ~ do you use something as a barrier between the ground and rock collection to prevent weeds? We are just now creating a similar look at the edge of our pond and would love helpful hints. Thanks.

  7. pattyspencer 03/22/2012

    You know my first thought was that Yucca as I had just been looking at purchasing it and wondering if it would do well in my central ohio are but went with my second guess. Now that I've seen the close up - I think I'll be purchasing.

  8. Palmmanbill 03/22/2012

    Patty - Terie / Not a fan of barriers, they never work. Save your money. Just Roundup then rocks on top. Every now and then I spray Roundup on whatever weeds pop up. Easy to take care of and no mowing there !

  9. sheilaschultz 03/22/2012

    Your red yucca is great, Bill. It's such a beautiful plant when in bloom... and your palms are such an unexpected treat! You definitely have the tropical touch.

  10. GreenGrowler 03/22/2012

    Bill, your Texas Red Yucca is gorgeous! FYI to all, this yucca, and a new, brighter-red-flowered variety (along with the standard yellow form) can be found online at High Country Gardens, if not available at your local sources. RE: weeds in rocks...I've come to accept this as a fact of life. Yes, wwross, landscape fabric is mostly useless; it always "creeps up" after a year or so. The best deterrent I've found is a REALLY deep layer of rocks; doesn't prevent weeds, but lessens them and makes them easy to pull. A glass of wine (or three) on a summer's eve and the weed-pulling is almost zen-like......

  11. tractor1 03/22/2012

    For those who are interested there's commercial grade weed barrier cloth such as used along Interstates, it's nearly an inch thick and is available in rolls of more than ten foot widths... it's very expensive. Some landscapers use heavy gauge plastic sheeting but even if one perforates it with slits it still collects standing water and breeds mosquitoes. And none of those barriers are permanent so may need periodic replacement, but mostly they are meant as a temporary weed barrier and are intended to decompose once the new plantings mature (mostly they are intended for erosion control until new plant roots mature). Personally I would never use gravel as a ground cover, I find it very unattractive plus all those stones tend to migrate. And I would never expect anyone to believe that gravel simulates flowing water, that's an affront to ones sensibilities. I know of several people who decided to use gravel as a landscape feature and were very sorry they did. I have a real creek on my property that a few years ago during heavy rain it overflowed and its banks eroded. I had to have an excavating company come during a dry spell and reconfigure the creek so it would hold a greater volume (it was made deeper and wider). It was lined with commercial weed barrier and surfaced over with large crushed rock (riprap the size of footballs) to prevent future erosion. That was five years ago and it has held up well through several storms, the plants are back (they rooted in the weed barrier, which is probably decomposing). My creek always contains flowing water, it's level depending on conditions... it has overflowed twice already since the repair but no erosion occured, the rocks held... you wouldn't want to fall into that creek when there's flooding. The same creek flows through my neighbor's property, he had a bridge built similar to the one in today's contribution, it washed away five years ago during the flooding.

  12. Palmmanbill 03/22/2012

    Thanks for all the comments - love landscaping and have been able to do quite a few other yards for neighbors and friends as a side hobby more than a job. You can see more of thoses pictures here along with a few other shots of my yard.

    http://www.webstarts.com/PalmManBill

  13. terieLR 03/22/2012

    GreenGrowler, thank you for that helpful suggestion. Our little flow of water comes into a woods pond so I wouldn't want to use chemicals. Well, I'm off to gather LOTS more rocks.....

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