Garden Photo of the Day

Spring in Michaele’s garden in Tennessee

I experimented last year with not cutting my Mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima, Zones 7-11) down in the fall. It has stayed decently attractive through the winter so maybe that is one chore I can take off my list. Photo/Illustration: All photos courtesy of Michaele Anderson

Today’s photos are from our very own Meander1, Michaele Anderson! (See previous posts from her garden HERE.)

I love how rich and velvety the moss on rocks gets over the moist winter months. 

She says, “Hi there, Michelle and my fellow winter-weary GPOD-ers. Spring is finally starting to come alive here in my garden in east Tennessee and I wanted share some of what I see when I take a minute to look up from my weeding (and weeding and weeding) efforts. Sigh, along with spring flowers comes a dismayingly robust crop of cool weather weeds! My husband Darwin and I have lived on our farm property for going on 19 years and we are devoted slaves to it.”

This is my sea of daffodils. Most of them are the variety ‘Ice Follies’ which seem to multiply very generously. This bank is also filled with Siberian irises and many varieties of daylilies. Grrr, and the weeds do quite well here, also! 

Man, Michaele, those hellebores–how great! And I am determined to find Mexican feather grass for my garden this year. It’s hard to come by this far north, but I WANT it. Thanks for the visit!

I like the mix of the old fashioned strong yellow daffs with the ‘Ice Follies” since the variegated yucca ‘Color Guard’ also adds some brightness. 

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This delightful swath of lenten roses is an example of Mother Nature being very generous. I probably just started out with a deliberately planted one or two and each year, they get denser and denser. There is a pleasing range of colors in the white, cream, and pink families. 
Here’s a close-up of the volunteer lenten roses. They are planted under an old willow whose days are numbered. I will have a challenge to deal with when the willow says its final goodbye. 
This a different kind of hellebore that also reseeds like crazy. It’s common name is stinking hellebore… doesn’t sound very complimentary, does it? I’ve never noticed a bad odor coming up from it so I don’t know what it did to earn that nickname. 
I’m a big fan of this snaky looking ground cover type euphorbia. It’s often a surprise where it shows up. 
The blue groundcover is Veronica ‘Georgia Blue’. The picture doesn’t do its electric blue color justice. I love this plant. It is an awesome weed suppressor! 

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Comments

  1. gloriaj 04/02/2014

    It is definite the start of Spring in your garden. I am so glad you chose to show your garden as you did, just it coming to life again. I have been wanting to plant some Hellebores and after seeing yours I think I will.

  2. flowerladydi 04/02/2014

    Good morning Michelle!

    It is soooo great to see the spring color!,,, and your is definitely making me think spring! We still have nothing blooming,,so I am so pleased to see how great yours is! I love your bunny with the grass and the driftwood,, with the turtle in the background,, pop of purple pansys! and JUST love your hellebores!! I have one,, and think I will plant more! You have a sea of it and they look awesome!, especially with your wheels against the tree,,, quaint warm look! Also love the euphorbia and phlox,, it is a great plant, I have some as well and it is now somewhat rampant, but I love the color and texture! Your veronica is great too, and I imagine to see it in person is quite a treat. It all looks so fresh and inviting!

  3. greengenes 04/02/2014

    Hi meandar1, Michaele..Nice gardens! I love the hellebores in the mass! They are such a welcome during the end of a cold dark season of winter. I have the Mexican feather grass too and I love the all year color and form. It looks nice with your dead wood. Yes, the weeding has begun! Here in the northwest it can be a year round activity! I like the daffodilies! Do you have anything else in the area that comes up after them? The rabbits here are so hungry that its hard to keep tulips and daffs around. But this year I have a few that are still standing with flower buds ready! Well thanks for sharing with us today. May you and your husband have a great time this year in your gardens!

  4. GardenGrl1 04/02/2014

    Good morning, Meander1! I have not ever seen so many Hellebores in one place! I always thought of them as a solitary display plant. They are beautiful in groups!
    I love the large branch behind the bunny, and the waving grass in front. Your garden looks sophisticated, yet creates a relaxed & carefree feeling in the viewer. Very nice!

  5. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 04/02/2014

    Gorgeous, Michaele! You are so far ahead of those of us further north. all of your photos deserve closer study! Thanks.

  6. kyaker 04/02/2014

    Many thanks for the taste of spring this morning! I love all of your photographs-they really give me a good sense of your gardens!

  7. wGardens 04/02/2014

    Thank you for our touch of spring this morning. Lovely photos! The first snowdrops here opened yesterday. WAY behind you! Your swaths of daffs and hellebores are wonderful. I hadn't seen that variety of euphorbia before- interesting!!

    Happy Gardening! Looking forward to more pics as the Spring progresses.

  8. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/02/2014

    GardenGrl1, I, too, was surprised by how enthusiastically the hellebores colonized in that location. I was thinking that the one or two that I specifically planted would be it. However, every year their "territory" inches a little further in every direction. I understand that some of new hybrid varieties are sterile so the reseeding won't happen with them. I had one ambitious show off throw out a bloom in Dec. this past year but then the deeper cold settled in and that put the brakes on the hellebore party starting early.

  9. JonMoss 04/02/2014

    Hi Michaele, I like the dried grass and weathered roots. Even the rusty wheels have context and satisfy. When a garden has "good bones" it usually means there is an established foundation or structure to work within. You have those good bones but you also have good bones in the sense of skeletal remains. Call it benign neglect or unfussiness, it serves well.

  10. GardenersWK 04/02/2014

    Lovely spring views Michaele! I have never seen so many Hellebores in one place! I love the see of daffodils and the massed grape hyacinths! What is not to like! I noticed some great looking purple pansies in your gardens. Watch out! If I can't find them around here soon, I am coming over to visit. Thanks for giving me a taste of what is still to come in our gardens up north!

  11. tractor1 04/02/2014

    Good Morning, Michaele, spring has certainly sprung in your neck of the woods. Here in the north country the ground is frozen yet and there are still patches of snow hanging on. But I see the very tips of daffodils peeping out in sunny spots and there's a wee tinge of green in the grass at the south side of the house (the deer spotted it first). I love your mossy boulder and that lapis lazuli blue of grape hyacinth is stunning... I also find lichens very interesting... when we begin to see them in the mirror is how we know we're old. lol As to your stinking hellebores, stinking is often used as an intensive, as in "stinkin' awesome". Here's another reference:
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=stinkin%27
    Now I need to search for the meaning of hellebore.

    That's a spectacular sea of daffodils, and after that tease I need to see some wide shots of your massive barn. Thank you for warming my morning, it's only 34 degrees here.

  12. GreenGrammy 04/02/2014

    Thanks so much, Michaele, for the preview of spring. Here in northeast Ohio, snowdrops are still the only thing in bloom. Your daffodils--one of my favorites--are lovely, and once again teach me that planting en masse is the best idea. Also thanks for the tip on veronica--I'll look for that. And your hellebores--simply beautiful. Don't you love the things that multiply themselves?! I have "Ice Follies" too, and love how it spreads itself around.

    Happy Spring! Don't work too hard.

  13. bee1nine 04/02/2014

    A delightful kick-off to Spring taking place in your E. TN
    gardens, Michaele! ...And by far, much further along than my
    cool, coastal region. It's not hard to tell you definitely like Lenten Rose and various Hellebore's. Such a lovely treasure trove growing there!! I'm most fond of them too! My
    next 'dibs' to try, is the double blossom variety.
    Ahh... by the way, I was so impressed by your pink Muhly grass, that I have ordered some to try!

    Thanks for this encouraging feel of Spring today!!!

  14. tractor1 04/02/2014

    Michaele: Seems it's the leaves of stinking hellebore that stink when crushed:
    https://www.finegardening.com/plantguide/helleborus-foetidus-stinking-hellebore.aspx

  15. cwheat000 04/02/2014

    Thank you for your exuberant burst of spring. We are just seeing the first snowdrops and species crocus here in CT. Your hellebore collection is impressive and gorgeous! I have had mine for only a few season and I do see some re-seeding. Your devoted slave labor and patience have paid off big time! I am a big fan also of your euphorbia. It is all very special.

  16. MissKimmy 04/02/2014

    Hello everyone! "Miss Kim" here and boy have we been enjoying all the wonderful pictures lately! The children at my school have been a bit "under the weather" - so I'm thankful to be able to grab a quick minute to post - maybe we are healthier??!! Hope so!!

    Anyway - Michaele (Meander1!) - the children are going to LOVE the bunny and the turtle - and all of the beautiful flowers!! I am just in love with all the pictures - so, so beautiful. (I have GOT to learn more about Hellebores..)

    I am so inspired!! Thank you so much for the pictures and your posts that are always so kind and encouraging!! YOU ROCK!!

  17. Aarchman07030 04/02/2014

    Beautiful gardens--there is an organic, natural quality to the plantings that I find so appealing. "Wild"-looking in the best sense--except that there is no mistaking that a tremendous amount of hard work has gone into making this place.

    And I'm with Tractor1--let's see more of that barn!!

    Thanks for sharing, Michaele.

  18. Aarchman07030 04/02/2014

    Sidebar:

    Is it just on my computer, or does the "more saving, more doing" advertisement from Home Depot stay "on top" of the enlarged GPOD photos for other folks, too?

    I love 'Fine Gardening', and want you all to make tons of money, Michele, but please tell your ad sales team that you can't have a photo blog without photos!!!

  19. perenniallycrazy 04/02/2014

    What a spectacular spring garden Michaele and Darwin! Each of your vignettes featured is picture perfect. Love it and can't wait to see more.

  20. MissKimmy 04/02/2014

    Aarchman07030 - Try clicking on the little "Here" under the small photo - I never am bothered with the ads when I enlarge the picture that way! Hope this helps you! Kim :)

  21. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/02/2014

    Thank you all so very much for your appreciation of my wild and crazy spring garden.

    Aarchman07030, since today is a thoroughly gorgeous day here in E. TN (and, hopefully, everywhere for the rest of you gardeners), I am walking the the walk of being mostly outside and working like crazy. I really enjoy even the grunt chores but just wish I was younger and stronger...sigh, we all the saying about "youth" and how it is wasted, right?!

    cwheat000, "exhuberant' is such a celebratory word and I'm so glad my daffs and other plantings brought it to mind.

  22. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/02/2014

    tractor1, thanks for doing a little research on the stinking hellebores. Heaven knows, I interact with them a lot since I have to pull so many when they show up like an invading army in places I definitely don't want them (ha, I know a little how the Ukraine feels...hmmm, yes, gpod should be a current events free zone so I won't make that joke again.

    In another week or so, I will be having daffodil and crocus envy for all of you further north since you will be in the wonderful beginning of their bloom period and I will be busy deadheading. There are definitely pros and cons to living in a milder gardening zone.

  23. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/02/2014

    Aarchman07030 and tractor1, our barn, at this point, is a giant catch all since we no longer have horses. It is filled with my husband's woodworking equipment and the stalls have practical designations like "hose stall", "bench storage stall", etc. We joke that we are on the verge of being candidates for an episode of Hoarders. It's where I work on my artsy little Birdhousekeepsakes creations.

  24. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/02/2014

    "Miss Kim", I'm so glad my garden pictures brought some smiles your way. You could probably make a fun game of "I spy" with the kids or have a contest for naming my beat-up old standing bunny and tell me what they come with!

  25. Annek 04/02/2014

    Ahhhh, spring in Tennessee. It looks glorious, Michaele and Darwin. Your first photograph looks like the perfect cover for an Alice in Wonderland book. Such whimsical beauty. I love the color, contrast and texture....the grey of the bunny, turtle and silver driftwood provide the perfect backdrop for your bright pink hyacinths and amazing purple pansies (I think that's what those flowers are). The feathery grass gives it the perfect finishing touch.

    The sea of daffodils has my heart. What lovely companions during your afternoon weeding. And I didn't know that hellebores threw seed! I just recently started experimenting with them, but the ones I purchased have kept to themselves, so I'll be on the lookout for the non-sterile type.

    As always, your gardens look as though they've been crafted by Mother Nature, yet have a gentle touch of manners. I don't know how you do it, but you've perfected the design struggle of natural looking yet elegant beds. Thanks for helping my gardening spirit soar!

  26. GrannyMay 04/02/2014

    Love it Michaele! How happy and healthy all your spring blooms are. You must breathe encouragement on all of them as you pick out the intruding weeds for them to do so well! What is your secret?

    No matter how happy my individual plants seem to be, only my grape hyacinths multiply. The hellebores hold their ground in splendid isolation and though I plant hundreds of narcissus (including Ice Follies) all over the place every few years, they fail to thrive and eventually disappear. Luckily, they are quite inexpensive to buy and are definitely worth the effort!

  27. user-7006902 04/02/2014

    Oh thank you I needed that! I LOVE your gardens - they are wildness all tamed and pretty. Love that bunny. I just found out my "spirit animal" is the rabbit and now understand why I attracted and have so many, ha. I sure hope my Hellebores grow up like that stinking or not! I have two and they seem to struggle. Just beautiful - wish I was walking through your gardens on a gorgeous day.

  28. GracePeterson 04/02/2014

    I agree. The "stinking" hellebore doesn't stink at all. And it has really cool foliage all year. Definitely a must-have plant. Beautiful photos. Welcome spring!

  29. sheila_schultz 04/02/2014

    Your spring gardens are as cheerful as you are Michaele. Each and every photo brought a smile to my face. Have fun in your gardens today, I'll be thinking of you as I'm working in mine!

  30. wittyone 04/02/2014

    I love your bunny. I can't see his pocket watch but I bet he keeps you apprised of the time so you don't overdo your weeding. There's nothing like getting the drop on those weeds early on before they take hold.

    Your mossy rocks are beautiful and make such a nice backdrop for small, creepy drapey things.

  31. wildthyme 04/02/2014

    Michaele, your gardens are jut gorgeous, with a promise of things to come! The hellebores in particular are spectacular! I've been meaning to start a patch of them in my one very small spot of shade, and you've inspired me! I also love your sea of daffodils. Now I have to ask, do you have something planted with them to hide their fading foliage or do you just let them do their thing? So far I've not found anything that really does a good job, especially for the tulip foliage, which seems to hang on forever!

    Oh, and your feather reed grass! We had that in our California garden and it was my all-time favorite ornamental grass. Alas, it won't grow here in Montana.

  32. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/02/2014

    Annek, your Alice in Wonderland reference made me look at my gnarly old bunny with even more fondness than usual. He does give off that vibe and, as wittyone observed, he looks as though he has a pocket watch tucked just out of sight.

    Without a doubt, TN and the south have beautiful springs and we haven't even gotten to the best part when the dogwoods are in bloom.

    Many years ago when I still lived in MA, a duo called the Indigo Girls came out with a song called 'Southland in the Springtime'. There was a stretch of it that always seemed to go straight into my heart...and this was before I ever knew that I was going to live in the borderline south. Here are the lines (for anyone who has an extra minute to read them):

    When God made me born a yankee he was teasin'
    There's no place like home and none more pleasin'
    Than the Southland in the springtime
    In Georgia nights are softer than a whisper
    Beneath a quilt somebody's mother made by hand
    With the farmland like a tapestry passed down through generations
    And the peach trees stitched across the land...

  33. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/02/2014

    wildthyme , the area that is so generously covered with daffodils is fairly sloped so to prevent runoff, I have it planted fairly heavily with siberian iris, daylilies and some ornamental grasses (my beloved pink muhly grass as well as a maiden grass called 'Adagio'. Ha, you would think that with all that plant material, the weeds would feel unwelcome but, oh, nooo, they just take it as a challenge to see how many of them can sprout among the nooks and crannies.

  34. Meelianthus 04/02/2014

    Goodmorning Michaele/Meander 1 ~ What a wonderful trip thru your Spring gardens. I looked back thru your past photos to refresh my memory and enjoy them once more. The fragrance from all of those daffodils must be wonderful. And, I don't think I have ever seen such a thick spread of hellebores, beautiful. When I was at the Miller Botanical Gardens in Seattle last Spring they had some BLUE hellebores, and a real, true blue. They were beautiful - I wished I had my shovel with me (not really - well maybe ^_^) Those are great rock in your garden that have the 'Donkey-tail' Spurge cascading down. Are they natural rocks from your area?
    Thanks so much for sharing once again Michaele.
    P.S. That is one enormous barn!

  35. Annek 04/02/2014

    One of the few concerts I ever went to was the Indigo Girls and I enjoyed it so much I always swore I'd go to another. Great lyrics that seem to describe your area perfectly. I soooo hope you send photos of when your dogwoods are in bloom!!

  36. CJgardens 04/02/2014

    Michaele,
    It is so nice to see another glimpse of your garden and real spring blooms are so refreshing. My favorite is the daffodils with the crane "visiting." I took the opportunity to review your other submissions and your yard has so many facets - it must be huge. (You mentioned a shady pine area once and I don't think we've seen pictures of that yet.) You and Darwin are very energetic individuals.
    Thanks again for the pansies, daffodils, hellebores, hyacinths, veronica, and grape hyacinths ....

  37. GrannyCC 04/02/2014

    Beautiful garden Michaele. I am amazed that your Hellebores spread like that. Wonderful to see all the daffodils and the scenes you have created in your garden. It is wonderful that Spring has arrived for some of us.

  38. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/02/2014

    Oh, Annek, how cool that you got to see the Indigo Girls perform in person. Their songs have the most amazingly complex lyrics and their gift in blending their voices is just so unique to them. Another of their songs that was practically an anthem for me was Watershed. It was during the time I was just getting my courage up to learn to ride (a scary undertaking since I was in my mid forties )and I would play it so loud while I was driving to the boarding barn where we kept our daughter's horse. It always made me feel more empowered and courageous about life decisions.
    Here's a youtube link where the song is accompanied by pretty nature pictures if anyone wants to be inspired:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mut_T0GcehI

  39. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/02/2014

    CJgardens, what a good memory you have that I have made mention of a shady pine area. Although many of the original white pines have come down, I had created a pathway through them when they were in their prime and planted many hostas and hydrangeas. I will try to take some pictures of it when I think it is particularly pretty. Thanks for your kind words about my previous sharings as well as today's.

  40. mainer59 04/02/2014

    Wow! Is it ever spring in Tennessee! To see your ground completely coated with flowers is awesome. What gorgeous gardens! Spring is a while away here. I am commenting late in the day because I was skiing today.

  41. User avater
    HelloFromMD 04/02/2014

    Hi Michaele,

    Coming indoors from working outside. Glad I checked my email and decided to relax with some nice photos from GPOD after dinner. So glad I did. Before the interactive map for USDA hardiness zones was available, I tried to figure out my zone based on the little map and debated between zone 6 a and 6 b. Now it's updated and my zip is in 7a, which I might have believed until this winter! Looks like eastern Tennessee is zone 7a too? But you are further south and you are ahead of Maryland too. My crocuses think your daffodils and hellebores look great. Very impressive to have them massed.

    It's nice to see your garden art, too. It would be fun to do a garden art week at GPOD. Your rabbit is both stately and whimsical. I like the movement generated by the 2 wheels. I think art objects can really add so much to a garden; makes the plants stand out even more when it's done well.

  42. grannieannie1 04/02/2014

    Really enjoy your rolling sea of happy daffs. You manage to have much larger groupings of plants than I've ever managed which show them off well, like your carpet of Lenten Roses compared to my one (as in 1) Lenten Rose! Your garden art adds that special touch, too, without being overdone or out-shining the plants.

  43. Annek 04/03/2014

    Ha grannieannie1, I too, have only one Lenten rose. I guess I have to work up to multitudes

    Meander, I so admire your decision to start riding in your 40's. Not only are you talented, you're brave.

    Here's to the Indigo Girls!!

  44. soilsister8 04/05/2014

    I LOVE your bunny!

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