Garden Photo of the Day

Working through a tough spring

Jeff Calton gardens through a tough spring season and produces wonderful results.

"So far it has been a challenging spring…rain rain rain and two weeks of late cold with one of those weeks being VERY cold.  They say it will warm up this week to stay.  Despite that things have been growing and some containers are starting to fill out. I am way past ready for that to happen."

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Blue Star Creeper which does not creep, it runs gallops and stampedes

Oddball container

Picea glauca 'Echiniformis' Gaura with standing stones

Picea pungens 'Theum'  Cercis texensis 'Traveler' Abies koreana 'Silberlocke

Sedum slab planter made last week

Sempervivum planter

Tillandsia wall

Tsuga canadensis 'Cole's Prostrate'

West border with Maples 

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  1. grannieannie1 05/31/2016

    Jeff, your mature evergreens and maples are beautiful, and thank you for introducing me to sedum slab planters. We have very little in the way of natural rocks so I am always intrigued by the incorporation of rocks in other people's gardens. Is it difficult to keep the soil between the rocks from washing away in driving rains like we've been having this spring?

    1. jeffgoodearth 05/31/2016

      there isn't a lot of soil in that slab planter and the spaces between the standing stones has been sealed with sphagnum moss until the sedums have rooted well so I haven't had any soil to wash away. this slab planter came into being as a result of Perennially Crazy sending me photos of some she had seen

  2. jeffgoodearth 05/31/2016

    the gnarly thing is an exposed root from an adjacent tree

  3. user-3565112 05/31/2016

    Good morning Jeff, The innovations you guys come up with never ceases to amaze me. The slab planter, to me, looks like a group of rocky canyons rising from a desert out west. If that's the effect you were looking for you absolutely nailed it. Good luck,Joe

    1. jeffgoodearth 05/31/2016

      thanks, Joe! when starting one of those rock/slab planters I never know how it is going to finish. you just have to let the rocks lead the way. I am looking forward to the sedums filling and tumbling over the canyon walls

  4. Jay_Sifford 05/31/2016

    I too think that the slab planter is amazing. Great job! It'll be interesting to see if fill in.

    1. jeffgoodearth 05/31/2016

      the slab planters are fun! it's starting to grow already. this one is maybe 4 ft long , 20" wide and perhaps 20" tall

  5. User avater
    meander_michaele 05/31/2016

    Love your willingness and enthusiasm for trying something new and stretching your creativity muscles. No just hanging around and resting on the laurels of your previous successes. Your tillandisia wall is a fascinating delight and I'm all hubba hubba over the slab's so very cool and is just going to get more and more awesome looking. Is the Picea glauca 'Echiniformis' the evergreen in the background of the picture? How big is it ...I can't quite figure out the scale.
    Once our TN summer really settles in, we'll be thinking fondly of that cooler stretch.

    1. jeffgoodearth 05/31/2016

      Echiniformis is left center of the photo. it's about 30" tall and maybe 5 ft wide. I have had it for 30 years and don't know how long Mr. Bullington had it before me. my willingness has led to some spectacular failures like this weekend's collapse of a 4 ft hanging basket

  6. user-4691082 05/31/2016

    Love the slab planter. They look very heavy. I wish I had a skid loader?!!! Fun!

    1. jeffgoodearth 05/31/2016

      I build them where they will remain. don't even try to move them

  7. NCYarden 05/31/2016

    Still digging that stone slab. I need to do something like this, so I'm gonna borrow the idea, Jeff. I actually love all the stones you display in your garden. In pic 3 of the oddball container, is that Aralia cordata 'Sun King' hanging out in the back?
    Impressive 'Silberlocke' long have you been growing it and how big was it when you planted it? And of course you got me with those sweet mature Japanese maples in the last photo...amazing!

    1. jeffgoodearth 05/31/2016

      yes, that's Sun King and I love that plant. the silberlocke was about 24" when I got it maybe 5 years ago. it's taller than I am now

  8. user-7007960 05/31/2016

    So, what state are you in ? As in USA?? I love the blue star creeper! Wish I had woods, more land. I just picked up a white Star of Bethlehem. At firehouse plant sale. $1. Looking for candytuft, and sales gal sure it was that. Took it anyhow even tho it sure looked like Star of B. Googled, and friends said " not candytuft.". Gave it to a friend with woods...... I am on golf course! So, love all the rock formations too !! I pay to get a tiny slate remnant. Your Spring has Sprung, keep heaving and hoeing. Very. Natural beauty, Thx.

    1. jeffgoodearth 05/31/2016

      born and reared here in the hills of east Tennessee

  9. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 05/31/2016

    Beautiful as always, Jeff. A treat this morning. Today I am totally enthralled by the oddball planter. Odds and ends your threw together? It really works. The arrangement on the barn-red wall is so artfully done. I remember seeing a mansion in the distance in photos of your yard and slices of your house, and I remember this wall, too, but what is it? Do you have a barn or shed? Whatever it is, looks fantastic!

    1. jeffgoodearth 05/31/2016

      that red wall is the back of a "yard barn" . the mansion across the road is a nice view for me. trust my house is NOT a mansion :)

  10. annek 05/31/2016

    Stunning, Jeff. I love that piece of slab artwork and have discovered that the image just won't leave my imagination alone. I don't think I can produce anything quite as grand but the concept is intriguing. The standing stones are another striking addition that keeps surfacing as I survey my garden and consider how to improve it. Ahhh, you are so creative. The blue star creeper looks worth the efforts to contain delicate and cheery. Thanks for keeping my gardening aspirations high

    1. jeffgoodearth 05/31/2016

      I don't even try to contain the blue star I just let it run through the grass in that area. doesn't seem to hurt either one. the standing stones are HEAVY and not that large. I helped a friend erect a LARGE standing stone on a hilltop but for that we had machinery. I depend on strong backs and weak minds to do them at home

  11. GrannyCC 05/31/2016

    Everything is so wonderful and creative. I went to a lecture at the local Garden Club and it was all about crevice planting and your slab planter is very much in that vain. He takes his inspiration from hiking in the mountains.He used a lot of rock plants and very gravelly soil.

    1. jeffgoodearth 05/31/2016

      I use a very gravelly soil as well. choices are limited here as to what I can plant or find to plant in them

      1. GrannyCC 06/01/2016

        The fellow that gave the lecture used a lot of alpines. They do well here in the Victoria area but not sure about your area.

        1. sheila_schultz 06/01/2016

          I bet he trained under Peter Korn. Peter spoke at the Denver Botanic Garden a couple years ago... fascinating guy! He had self published a book I picked up, it's filled with great information. A lot of alpines do really well around here, too! I love them!

    2. sheila_schultz 05/31/2016

      Catherine, who spoke at your garden club? We have a genius crevice garden designer in CO, over the winter we chatted quite a bit over the process since I was thinking about installing one. It takes an artist to create these beauties. They rarely make any money because of all the hours it takes. I love they are gaining popularity, but they are definitely not for everyone.

      1. GrannyCC 06/01/2016

        Hi Sheila
        It was a young fellow who loved climbing in the mountains and fell in love with the wildflowers in the rocks. He trained under a Danish gardener who lived in Victoria for awhile. He belonged to the Alpine Flower Club.

  12. sheila_schultz 05/31/2016

    Jeff... For me, the beauty of your designs is that you have the ability to move from traditional to contemporary to humorous to innovative in the blink of an eye. You are always on top of the trends and often one step ahead. Your creativity seems to have no limits! Thanks for keeping us on our toes ;) Keep challenging the rules!

    1. jeffgoodearth 05/31/2016

      thanks so much Sheila! I think having multiple personalities makes it easier

      1. sheila_schultz 05/31/2016

        You betcha! ;)

  13. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 05/31/2016

    Jeff, as always your garden brings smiles. Let me just echo everyone else here on how great that slab planter looks. I'm guessing that your back is still recovering from that project. Is that Melianthus in your planter? I keep going back to that to see what I've missed. Love the Blue Star creeper as well but it scares me just a little. I've developed a love/hate relationship with ground covers since our previous owners planted many , Sweet Woodruff , Wild Ginger , Hypericum, to name a few, that are great but can really take over. Thanks for sharing your creative garden.

    1. jeffgoodearth 05/31/2016

      that is Melianthus in the pots. I love that leaf but it sure doesn't smell like peanut butter to me. I wish wild ginger could take some lessons from yours. I struggle to get it to live

  14. schatzi 05/31/2016

    Jeff, it's all beautiful, but I absolutely love the slab planters! I am going to have to try one myself. Love rocks, love sedums. You are so creative. Thanks for all the good ideas.

    1. jeffgoodearth 05/31/2016

      I will expect pics of your slab planter! Cherry Ong gave me the idea/inspiration to try them

      1. schatzi 05/31/2016

        I'll have to find the rocks first, but many thanks to you and Cherry - 2 great minds are better than one!

  15. Cenepk10 05/31/2016

    Love it all !!!! Blue star creeper running cra cra over here too. Love it... It can run the grass off as far as I'm concerned... Maples are incredible... More pics, please !!!!

    1. jeffgoodearth 05/31/2016

      I've got thousands of pics :) FB will most likely put me in exile for over posting

      1. Cenepk10 06/01/2016

        Indeed you do !!!!

  16. perenniallycrazy 05/31/2016

    Your garden never ceases to amaze me Jeff! It's hard to believe that you've had a difficult spring given how lovely, manicured and lush everything is. You always make it look so effortless too. Love your work!

    1. jeffgoodearth 05/31/2016

      crazy spring,,,,,,,,,,warm/hot/warm/cool/cold (near freezing) then hot again

  17. diane_lasauce 05/31/2016

    Looking pretty fabulous there! Love the slab garden...rock is my true love and I use it often, but never like that. Awesome!

  18. user-7007498 06/01/2016

    Jeff: I can only echo everyone's amazement with the slab plantar. May back got sore just looking at it, but the results are stunning. You have a great eye for form. Also love the planters on the barn wall. Spectacular against the red color of the barn.

    Don't you just love Silberlocke? It is a stunning plant to look at. I have lusted for one for years, and just acquired one this spring when a declining Thuja occidentalis 'Emerald Green' reached my threshold for change.

    Looking forward to more pictures of your garden. Keep passionate.

  19. greengenes 06/01/2016

    Wow Jeff! Things are looking very nice even with the ruff weather you have been having. I so enjoyed seeing all the rocks in your pictures! Theyre awesome. Your placements of plants are great and inspiring too! I have never grown the blue star creeper but it sure is pretty! Great to see your gardens! Thanks!

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