Today’s post is from Amy Birdsong, who is sharing with us a trip she took to an amazing private garden in Virginia.
Bill and Linda Pinkham are artists, daylily breeders, horticulturists, and landscape design experts who retired from the nursery business over twenty years ago. Since “retirement,” they created and continue to grow and nurture a collector’s garden on the James River in Virginia. Google them and you will see that they and their garden are quite famous, and with good reason. Over several acres are winding paths of trees and plants interspersed with stones, sculptures, and pots. The Pinkhams open their garden to the public several times a year in spring and summer, but my mother-in-law and I were fortunate to get a tour this week. In the spring and summer when leaves are flushing out and flowers are showing off, we all celebrate our gardens, but fall and winter can be just as magical. With leaves starting to turn and flowers flopping over and dying back, unexpected vignettes develop and a garden’s structural plants stand out in ways that we can fully appreciate. The Pinkhams’ garden is a perfect place to witness fall beauty. The curving paths are punctuated throughout by tropicals (like Bill’s favorite—agaves), evergreens, sculptural conifers, acubas, camellias, flowering shrubs, perennial flowers, and annuals. There are literally thousands of plants. Some of the unusual varieties come from specialty nurseries, but the Pinkhams are equal opportunity customers, buying from local big box stores just as easily as obscure and faraway places. My pictures don’t begin to do their garden justice, but enjoy!
The spiky leaves of Yucca rostrata (Zones 6–9) give interest all year.
Bromeliads are tropical plants with dramatic foliage often grown as houseplants. These will need protection once frost threatens.
Tall cannas (Canna hybrid, Zones 7–10) add late-season color with their flowers.
The beautiful whale’s tongue agave (Agave ovatifolia, Zones 7–11)
A hardy palm (probably Trachycarpus fortunei, Zones 7–10)
An oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Vaughn’s Lillie’, Zones 5–9)
Spotted aucuba (Aucuba japonica, Zones 7–9) has evergreen foliage liberally splashed with gold.
The brilliantly colored fruit of Euonymus americanus (Zones 6–9)
This late-blooming salvia with bright magenta flowers is probably Salvia involucrata or a similar species.
Have a garden you’d like to share?
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