Garden Photo of the Day

READER PHOTOS! Phillip’s garden in Alabama

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Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Phillip Oliver

Today’s photos are from Phillip Oliver in Florence, Alabama. Phillip says, “We moved into our house in 1992 and the property was pretty much a blank slate. There were some old fruit trees and a few nice dogwoods but otherwise it was all grass and took forever to mow. I had already been bitten by the gardening bug when we lived in a small apartment with a postage stamp sized garden. We set out immediately, not really knowing that much but learning as we went along.

‘Lady Banks’ rose on the wall and ‘Maureen’ tulips in the foreground.
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Phillip Oliver

“We made the mistake of trying to do everything at once. If I could start over today, there would be several things I would do differently. I wanted antique roses and at the time, there was a lot of sunshine since there were no mature trees. Now, almost 20 years later, the trees are mature and we have more shade than sun. This has affected the roses and perennials but I can’t bring myself to cut down a perfectly healthy tree. We also have a large collection of hydrangeas and camellias. My problem is that I love everything and can’t resist a new plant. I’ve just crammed everything together and I’m always moving things around to make space for new plants.

These photos are from the garden wall area. I built this wall five years ago from cement blocks and stucco. The plants in the foreground include Cornus kousa ‘Wolf Eyes’ (USDA Hardiness Zones 5-8), Japanese roof iris (Iris tectorum, Zones 5-9), ‘Snowflake’ oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snowflake’, Zones 5-9), and the rose ‘Mrs. B.R. Cant’ (Zones 5-9).”

That wall is so great, Phillip! Thanks so much for sending these photos in.

Lots of old roses, which are some of the major plants in the garden.
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Phillip Oliver

We’ll feature another part of Phillip’s garden tomorrow, and if we ask nicely, maybe he’ll send in even more photos? In the meantime, Phillip has a website and a blog! But don’t ruin your appetite for tomorrow’s photos…

Just one more thing….Happy Valentine’s Day!!

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  1. lijda 02/14/2012

    The wall is incredible, is that moss growing on it? And what are the 'tiles'? And I don't think your garden looks like things are 'crammed ... together', I find it beckoning. I want to enter your garden. And then I want to sit on the bench and stay there.

  2. Steepdrive 02/14/2012

    It is a very peaceful setting. Lovely plant combinations and complimentary garden art.

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 02/14/2012

    Hmmm, I don't know if this is just a coincidence but Phillip's garden gives off an Italian vibe to me and then, I noticed the name of his town is Florence. So, Phillip, were you inspired by the beautiful gardens of Italy?
    I admire his willingness to do such a bold thing as the wall, the large statuary, and the other artistic ornamentation. The generous plant material makes the inanimate objects look timeless and right at home.

  4. pattyspencer 02/14/2012

    Is that wall purple?? Wow - how cool is that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love your plantings and also your layered stone wall. And I agree with Lijda - I find your garden beckoning.

  5. snollygaster 02/14/2012

    Yes,I want to dive right in! I agree with meander1, the bold moves have really paid off. I was trying to imagine the impact without the statue - pretty and well thought out but no 'wow' factor. I have been reluctant to add toys to my garden but after seeing this.....

  6. humbleearthgarden 02/14/2012

    Absolutely spectacular!

  7. j1mmyt 02/14/2012

    The various shades of purple and lavender really do it for me. About as good as it could get really. Very well done.

  8. tractor1 02/14/2012

    The first thing I thought upon seeing that wall was where's the fountain for tossing coins... that wall cries out for one of those gargoyle fountains.

  9. greengrowler 02/14/2012

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the purple wall!!! I heartily concur with others; definitely an Italian vibe that pulls one into a serene place - never to leave! No matter how you got there, Phillip, your garden is sublime! With my Italian heritage and love of purple, your garden really speaks to me!

  10. Wife_Mother_Gardener 02/14/2012

    The blue irises in front of the wall are captivating. Beautifully done!

  11. terieLR 02/14/2012

    Ahhh, my favorite color in the garden! A smile broadened my face as soon as I viewed the page. Is this the view from a window? Goodness!!! My eye was immediately drawn to the arbor that was beautifully implemented into the design. It all works together harmoniously.

  12. Formandfoliage 02/14/2012

    Agree that there is an Italian vibe, but that particular blue hue and the r. banksia-topped arbor, resembling a shade pavilion, are reminiscent of Moorish gardens, as well, which of course are just across the sea from Italy. Looks like you have a pan-Mediterranean thing going on! Lovely.

  13. RosedaleGarden 02/15/2012

    Great photo Phillip. Phillips has a great garden. I'm close enough to visit.

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