Garden Photo of the Day

Some Favorite Plants

Beautiful varieties in a North Carolina garden

Today’s photos come from Kelly Gage in North Carolina.

An unusually heavy December snowfall for North Carolina totaled 15 inches! It wasn’t fun to drive in, but it sure was beautiful to look at.

Early spring in the woods, when the new leaves on the trees are that freshest, almost translucent, bright spring green.

Spanish flag (Mina lobata, annual) is an unusual but easy-to-grow annual vine that blooms all summer with sprays of blossoms that shade from red through orange to yellow.

Roses and clematis are classic combinations, and they look so beautiful here growing together. The two plants like similar conditions, including rich, well-drained soils. The strong stems of a rose can provide support for the vining stems of the clematis, and as you see here, the different colors and shapes of their flowers complement each other beautifully. Just be sure to choose a clematis that isn’t overly vigorous so that it doesn’t smother the rose it is growing through.

As beautiful as clematis flowers are, their seed heads are just as wonderful, developing into these long-lasting tufts of silky threads that provide great interest in the garden long after the flowers have faded.

Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum, Zones 4–9) is a classic woodland wildflower over much of eastern North America. There is a lot of variation in this species, with some populations flushed a darker color, but this form is a particularly beautiful bright, clear green, with very pronounced white veins on the leaves.

A wide view of the garden, a little horticultural paradise surrounded by a tall wall of trees.

I believe this is a species of coral root orchid (Corallorhiza sp.), a genus that is native to much of North America. These are unusual plants because they are myco-heterotrophic, which means that instead of making food by photosynthesizing, they obtain nutrients from the fungus in the soil.


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View Comments


  1. nwphillygardener 02/21/2019

    Your gardens shows us such a diversity of unusual textures, while mostly showcasing just one central element. Thanks for sharing it with us!

    1. LifeintheClay 02/21/2019

      Thank you! I do admit to liking a species plant as a centerpiece!

  2. LifeintheClay 02/21/2019

    The orchid is Tipularia discolor or crane fly orchid.

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 02/21/2019

    Love that wide view. Can you share what you have planted there?

    1. LifeintheClay 02/21/2019

      I had to go look out the window and consult my plant list! I would guess that there are more than 50 plants in that area but here are my favorites. Pinus strobus 'Mini Twist,' Mahonia eurybracheata 'Soft Caress', Cephalanthus occidentalis (Buttonbush) 'Sugar Shack', Japanese Maple 'Crimson Queen' and Red Twig Dogwood.

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 02/21/2019

    Hi, Kelly, your photos for this morning are wonderful examples of the expression from wise experienced gardeners that "green is a color, too". I am particularly drawn in by the one that has the graceful massing of ferns and spring rebirth of foliage on the forest trees. Did you give Mother Nature a helping hand by planting any starter ferns or are they there all on their own? Do you know the name of the variety...they look so fresh and healthy?

    1. LifeintheClay 02/21/2019

      The fern is a native that was growing along the stream on our property. I have only tended the grove, pulling invasive Japanese honeysuckle out of the area along with green briar. It is Polystichum acrostichoides, commonly called Christmas Fern and it is evergreen. We also have Southern Lady Fern (Athyrium asplenioides) and Grape Fern (Sceptridium) growing native in the area.

  5. LifeintheClay 02/21/2019

    The Jack in the Pulpit variety is Starburst.

  6. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 02/22/2019

    Wonderful garden - thanks for sharing!
    We favor conifers and love seeing them incorporated in other people's gardens! Well done.

  7. User avater
    simplesue 02/22/2019

    The ferns along the edge of the woods is fabulous. Love the way the gazebo makes a gorgeous view even in the dead of winter, and the Clematis seed head in have such a good eye for natural beauty in the garden. The plantings near the house are also just perfect! Thanks for sharing your garden photos.

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