Garden Photo of the Day

READER PHOTOS! Ellen’s Garden in North Carolina

Photo/Illustration: courtesy of Ellen Kirby

Today’s photos are from Ellen Kirby in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

My home garden is my respite from my main work as a volunteer. I coordinate the local food bank garden, which covers three acres and where, so far this year, we have harvested over 8000 lbs. of produce. Our garden was featured as a garden of service in American Grown, the new book by Michelle Obama.

Photo/Illustration: courtesy of Ellen Kirby

These photos are from my home garden in Winston-Salem, where I grow mainly flowers and a few vegetables, and have several perennial borders and a fish pond. Winston-Salem is where I was born and raised. I then went to New York City to study and work and stayed for 40 years. When I retired from Brooklyn Botanic Garden in 2007, where I directed the community horticulture program, my husband and I decided to come back here. In Brooklyn I mastered the art of shade gardening, but I longed for the sun. I found it here, and a whole new palette of plants became my passion, though I do have one corner of the yard dedicated to my Brooklyn shade plants.

Photo/Illustration: courtesy of Ellen Kirby

My favorite photo is the one of the cabbages and petunias. I love to mix flowers and vegetables and am a big advocate for planting flowers to attract pollinators and beneficial insects.

I am inspired by you, Ellen. Thanks so much for sharing your life’s work with us. ***Check out Ellen’s blog HERE, and the Winston-Salem Food Bank Garden’s blog HERE.***

Photo/Illustration: courtesy of Ellen Kirby
Photo/Illustration: courtesy of Ellen Kirby
Photo/Illustration: courtesy of Ellen Kirby
Photo/Illustration: courtesy of Ellen Kirby
Photo/Illustration: courtesy of Ellen Kirby
Photo/Illustration: courtesy of Ellen Kirby
Photo/Illustration: courtesy of Ellen Kirby
Photo/Illustration: courtesy of Ellen Kirby
Photo/Illustration: courtesy of Ellen Kirby

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  1. bethnbijoux 09/04/2012

    Ellen, what an inspiration you are, both in your life's work and your home garden! Food Bank gardens are wonderful for both the delicious fresh produce they provide (such a nice contrast to all the canned goods) as well as for the lessons that only tending a plot of plowed earth can teach. Love your use of flowers and veggies in the same beds together! I will need to try that myself!

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/04/2012

    Who says "You Can't Go Home Again"...looks like you have done it very successfully. It must be very satisfying to create beauty to enjoy in your personal environment and also have a part of your life where your efforts improve the lives of others.
    I agree that the cabbage leaves are a delightful foil with the petunias...I would never have suspected that would make such a fun visual pairing.

  3. 04flowers 09/04/2012

    Please remove the "fine Gardening" PR at the bottom of the page that protrudes into the written description of the garden of the day. I understand that you want the strip across the bottom of the screen for advertising, but to have the magazine cut into the script also is too, way too much! It is already a pain to have to continue raising and lowering the page to read about the pictures each time and this makes it worse, to the point that at times I just leave the site.

    I do enjoy your site. I have found that I find myself gardening more to include my young grand daughters into the love of it. Each has a stone garden cottage by Mary Braswell that we work on each time they visit. Hopefully one day soon I will get my pictures to you.

  4. wittyone 09/04/2012

    The petunia/cabbage combination is delightful. I love the way the pink and purple of the petunias pull out those same colors in the cabbage leaves.

  5. pattyspencer 09/04/2012

    Beautiful garden! Everything seems so happy there.

    04flowers - thank you for speaking up - I too hate that bar at the bottom and have left the page because it became annoying. For this particular page (blog) I don't feel it's necessary as we all probably joined through the main page where this should be anyway.

  6. tractor1 09/04/2012

    Ahh, a tree does grows in Brooklyn, and a lot more... I was born and grew up in Brooklyn. I spent many a day at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden where as a young lad I volunteered to plant bulbs, pull weeds, rake leaves, etc., and that's where I purchased vegetable seeds for my mom to plant in her tiny city lot garden. My favorite feature were those magnicent greenhouses, now I wonder if they still exist... I haven't been back for some fifty years. Very nice cabbages, I love cole slaw. Ellen, thanks for a peek into your garden and for the memories.

    Mom in her garden.

  7. user-7006916 09/04/2012

    Hi pattyspencer and 04flowers,

    If you're finding the Fine Gardening bar at the bottom of the page problematic, simply click the 'Close' option all the way on the right. This will hide the bar from view.

    And nice garden Ellen, I especially love your row of cabbages.

  8. tractor1 09/04/2012

    Antonio_Reis: I'm befuddled about what exactly is bothersome about the Fine Gardening bar at the bottom of the page, I never noticed it until now... all one needs to do in order to read is scroll. duh This makes me wonder how some manage to read a book since they need to turn pages. And when the pictures are enlarged the bar disappears.

    The only thing that irks me is that the software doesn't keep me Logged On for very long even though I check that little box... I get annoyed having to constantly type my email and password... and it's not consistant as sometimes when I power down and boot up the next day it will hold over night, other times it won't hold for even an hour even though I'm still on line, just not at this site. No one else uses my computer so I'd rather stay logged on.

    Another feature that I think can be improved is when one clicks on the user name the the little thumbnail comes up a little larger on the new page, I think it would be nice were it to come up a lot larger so that more detail can be viewed... and then it wouldn't chop the top of your head off. lol

  9. user-7006916 09/04/2012

    Tractor1, I agree: the site logs users out pretty often. I log in constantly throughout the work day. I'll bear this and the photo scroll feature in mind going forward.

  10. AnnBrownlee 09/04/2012

    Gorgeous garden, Ellen! I'm so impressed that you are able to create such beauty around your home while putting in all the time necessary for the Food Bank Garden! I, too, love the idea of mixing flowers and vegetables. I'm going to try that this spring - maybe cucumbers on my tobacco-stick fence along with my favorite black-eyed-Susan vine!

  11. Josefly 09/04/2012

    Antonio Reis, I'm not seeing a "Close" option anywhere on the Fine Gardening bar at the bottom. I've tried two browsers, since in the past I've noticed a difference with Taunton sites, on what buttons appear, and where, according to browser. No luck either on Safari or Firefox. Was that a joke?

  12. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/04/2012

    Hmm, since I usually do my commenting somewhat bright and early in the morning, I almost always run into the side bar intrusion. However, as I just scrolled down after reading Antonio's helpful hint about clicking the "close" option, I'm noticing that now that there are some comments already in place, the intrusion of the sidebar is non-existent. Maybe something got tweaked to eliminate the problem for all or maybe it only affects those of us who comment early in the day?

  13. user-7006916 09/04/2012

    Josefly, I wasn't joking. If you look at the Fine Gardening ad bar at the bottom of the page, there is a carrot icon with the word 'Close' right next to it. Both the icon and word are golden-yellow. If you click that, it should hide the bar. You can email me directly if you still need help.

  14. tractor1 09/04/2012

    Josefly, that close button is not really all that noticeable until you know it's there... it's in a much smaller font than the Shop Our Store right next to it, and that yellow "<" looks like a decoration/garnish. I think the Close would be more noticeable were it in a rectangle like the Subscribe rectangle at the other side along with the direction arrow in the rectangle (it really should say Hide bar). However I never found anything about that bar annoying, I never paid it any mind until today... I'll likely never hide it. I just scrolled all the way to teh bottom of the page, the fine Gardening banner at the left does cover a few words but nothing I need to know about. Antonio_Reis: thank you for looking into the log on and photo features.

  15. pattyspencer 09/04/2012

    Antonio_Reis - that isn't a permant fix - I've done it but then when I go to this email the next day it's there again. I would like a permanent fix.

  16. pattyspencer 09/04/2012

    Tractor1 - I agree with you about the logging in/off issues as well. I was already looked in this morning when leaving my post (from yesterday) and then to respond to you and Antionio I had to log in again.

  17. GardenWhimsy 09/04/2012

    Ellen: Your flower & veggie mixes are lovely....Could you kindly tell us the name of the large tree with the red blooms in the background of photo #3? Thanks...

  18. sunterra7 09/04/2012

    OK, to continue the comments about technology on this site I have one more comment. I know I have seen this mentioned at least once before, and maybe someone addressed it but it would be so wonderful to be able to enlarge one photo and then click thru all the rest of the photos in enlarged form without having to close each photo and then enlarge the next one. Most slide shows have an arrow on the photo that will advance you to the next photo. Is that possible on this site? Is it already possible and I just haven't figured it out?

  19. greengrowler 09/04/2012

    Ellen, simply lovely garden - love the hydrangea photo! tractor1, beautiful tale of your boyhood and Mom's garden; I love to hear about all the cherished memories we keep in our hearts and so generously share with others.... The technology banter was entertaining as well!

  20. kershawgirl 09/04/2012

    The watermelon colored tree is our beloved southern "crape myrtle" tree which comes in white, light pink, this pink, and a darker pink-red, and lavender, so far. Each is beautiful in its own way. the bark is especially pretty too. They need to be pruned to keep blooming because the new growth blooms, but the old growth does not. I'm more interested in how she was able to grow the beautiful peonys. I am about 2 1/2 hours south of Winston-Salem, just inside S.C., but the peonys don't seem to like our humidity. I wish they did, as I am in love with that faintly lemony scent, and the fringy blooms. Reminds me of an old-fashioned net petticoat! Any help with peonys would be helpful.

  21. ppinnc 09/04/2012

    Ellen has been my friend since college days and I was fortunate to retire to Winston-Salem about 6 months after she did. She and her husband have done a wonderful job creating their garden. I quarantee it is traffic stopping !! I've seen it happen more than once. Since she had a 6 month head start on me, I have been the recipient of many gift plants from her garden. She is a generous gardener and a wonderful friend as well.

  22. MizScarlet 09/04/2012

    Ellen, I've often wondered how you spend all that spare time between gardens. I'm amazed that you have any time left after all you do. Everything is absolutely lovely as one who knows you would expect. Thank you for sharing your garden with us. I am going to try cabbage in the flower bed next season. Thanks also for your help in the community gardens of Forsyth County and for sharing your vast knowledge with us (MGV's) as Patsy (ppinnc) prevously stated.

  23. WinstonSalem 09/05/2012

    Thanks for all your comments and a few questions about my garden yesterday.

    The hot pink tree, as mentioned yesterday is a crape myrtle. I don't prune it except to trim off the small twigs that grow on the trunk. When we moved to our home, we wanted the trees to grow as tall as possible to hide an "in your face" white side of the house. Thus, I do not prune the tree out of the top which assures a healthier tree as well. There are a group of three trees so I added a perennial border to the middle of the triangle. The other question related to the peonies. I have had good luck with peonies both here and in Brooklyn. I really don't do anything with them, just stake them up when they first come out of the ground.

    I have been doing the same thing as the "Garden Photo of the Day" today by adding and enlarging borders, thus cutting into the lawn. I do like the contrast of the grass but wish to limit it as much as possible.

    Thanks Michelle for this wonderful blog and for encouraging participation of so many. Not only do I enjoy this every day, I learn so much from other gardeners.

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