Garden Photo of the Day

READER PHOTOS! Jay’s garden in North Carolina, Day 1

Front steps.
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford

Today’s photos are from Jay Sifford in Charlotte, North Carolina. Jay is a garden designer in Charlotte, and he wrote a regional page for Fine Gardening a couple of years ago. I know he knows his stuff, but the photos he sent in a few days ago of his own garden sure confirm it! We’ll spend today and tomorrow touring his beautiful garden. Today we explore his water feature.

Front steps
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Evelyn J. Hadden

Jay says, “My garden is primarily a woodland garden. When I moved here 13 years ago there was nothing but liriope, mud, and rotten railroad ties finding their homes underneath the high tree canopy. There were not even steps to the front door, which opens to the side garden, overlooking the water feature.

Side garden with koi pond.
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Evelyn J. Hadden

“The water feature is a series of three pools connected by waterfalls. My large koi live in the bottom pond. People ask me about those ostrich ferns. They are now almost 5 feet tall. They are in very wet soil and receive some afternoon sun.”

This garden looks so cool and inviting, Jay, and it must sound so wonderful! **We’ll feature more areas of Jay’s garden tomorrow morning. Stay tuned!

Lower waterfall into koi pond.
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford
Upper falls.
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jay Sifford

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View Comments


  1. Annedean 07/05/2012

    Wonderful garden photos to browse on a 100 degree day-- thanks! Cool in every way.

  2. Deanneart 07/05/2012

    Very nice!

  3. accidentalgardener 07/05/2012

    Are the waterfalls fed naturally or by pump?

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 07/05/2012

    There is something magical and timeless about the combination of moss covered rocks, water cascading down and bountifully airy fern fronds gracing about. I can almost imagine a friendly dinosaur popping his head up in the distance. As Annedean said these are the perfect pictures to get lost in on a sweltering hot day.
    Jay, you're obviously a master in your profession and I can't wait to enjoy tomorrow's installment!

  5. annek 07/05/2012


  6. wGardens 07/05/2012

    Ah, Paradise! A Masterpiece. Congratulations on achieving a fabulous environment with a challenging beginning! Looking forward to tomorrows' presentation! Thank you!

  7. tractor1 07/05/2012

    Very professional, reminecent of Jurassic Park. I agree with meander1:

  8. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/05/2012

    Wonderful and restful. Great combination of various textures and various greens that really work!

  9. ncgardener 07/05/2012

    Beautiful garden Jay, Wonderful to look at with all of the 100 degree heat we have been having here in North Carolina lately. the bio states that you are a garden designer, are you involved with any of the Community gardens in Charlotte?

  10. olympic_mtn_gardener 07/05/2012

    Wonderful garden to browse, even for those of us who aren't experiencing 100 degree weather (we are having our first sunny day in WEEKS, and are hoping to make it up into the 60's today).

    Does anyone know what the plant in the lower left corner of the second photo is? I love the textural contrast with the ferns.

  11. phase2682 07/05/2012

    really beautiful garden, I long for a garden like that but difficult to do in arid and hot northern CA.

  12. addingtongarden 07/05/2012

    Lovely woodland garden. Your waterfalls and combination of foliage plants with all their different colors, sizes and textures makes for a beautiful luxurious retreat. Looking forward to tomorrows photos!

  13. Jay_Sifford 07/05/2012

    Thanks to everyone for their nice comments. I appreciate it.
    With regard to the questions: To accidentalgardener, the water feature is pushed by a pump. To ncgardener, I am involved at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden to some extent. They hired me as a consultant last winter to redo the orchid conservatory, formulate some display standards, and develop a long range plan for their orchid collection. To olympic mtn gardener, the plant in question is a giant ligularia, really a farfugium. To be more specific, it is Farfugium japonicum 'Giganteum'. It's one of my favorite plants. It needs really moist soil and lots of shade. Mine gets a little afternoon sun... it wilts a bit but rehydrates at night.

  14. kimberlyfawn 07/05/2012

    Insanely Talented! Just like Mother Nature, only better!

  15. olympic_mtn_gardener 07/05/2012

    To Jay, thank you for taking the time to respond with the name of the Farfugium and the conditions it likes. I have the perfect location for this plant, with lots of moisture, moss and ferns, so will definitely get one. I can't wait to see more of your garden tomorrow!

  16. shirleyjean 07/09/2012

    I would marry a precious man who would build something beautiful like this for me. Your yard is just marvelous.

  17. Jay_Sifford 07/09/2012

    Shirleyjean..... thank you for the kind words.

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