Garden Design

Today we’re off to Durham, North Carolina, to visit with Mary Zesk Thigpen.

Here are several photos of my gardens and yard. They are mostly from the shade gardens and side yard given the time of year.

I take pride in using a push mower and mowing my own lawn, which drives my husband nuts every time the neighbors ask why he isn’t allowed to mow!

I hope you enjoy these photos. I am not a photographer; I just love to play in the yard as a hobby and a de-stressor!

giant snowball viburnum in a spring gardenThis is Mary’s favorite garden photo so far this spring: a truly massive snowball viburnum (Viburnum opulus ‘Sterile’, Zones 3–8) loaded down with flowers, with all sorts of special plants tucked around it.

garden potting stationMary’s husband, Ryan, is an engineer, and he built the potting station as a birthday gift this past February! I’m so jealous. What a fantastic workspace! Maybe every gardener needs an engineer as a partner.

lots of colorful foliage and early spring bloomsVariegated ajuga (Ajuga reptans, Zones 3–10, probably the variety ‘Burgundy Glow’) takes center stage, with blue flowers over the colorful foliage.

ping pong table under a pavilionA pavilion in the garden is beautiful and not that unusual, but look more closely—that looks like ping-pong table. What a terrific idea! There is something for everyone in this garden.

dappled sunlight on a shade gardenDramatic sunlight over the shady garden.

large mowed lawn with garden chairs in the back cornerThere is something so soothing about a stretch of pristine green. I can’t believe that Mary mows all of this with a push mower! That’s a workout, no doubt to be followed up by a well-deserved rest in one of those inviting garden chairs.

light pink rhododendron bloomsThis beautiful rhododendron looks like it might be Rhododendron catawbiense, which is native to the southeastern United States and so a natural choice for a North Carolina garden.

garden bed surrounded by lawn and tall treesThere is something so soothing about a garden surrounded by tall trees.

HelleboresHellebores (Helleborus hybrid, Zones 5–9) with their iconic early spring bloom.

peach climbing roseA stunning climbing rose looks like it might be the classic climbing rose variety ‘Joseph’s Coat’.

Have a garden you’d like to share?

Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

If you want to send photos in separate emails to the GPOD email box that is just fine.

Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

You don’t have to be a professional garden photographer – check out our garden photography tips!

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