Honey’s Garden

Picture yourself enjoying a pleasant stroll through the old-fashioned garden of the Duer Family Lodge in fictional Kiptohanock.

Hear the chirping of the birds. Feel the gentle sea breeze on your skin. Stop and smell the gardenias. Savor the heady aroma of the lilacs.

This moment is brought to you, courtesy of Coast Guard Sweetheart.


For more behind the scene photos from Coast Guard Sweetheart, visit https://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/coast-guard-sweetheart/.

Ditch Lilies and Brown-eyed Susans

I’m aware that these particular tiger lilies—aka ditch lilies because they often grow roadside—are considered common and invasive by professional gardeners.Roadside-Tiger-LilliesBut to me, ditch lilies represent carefree summer childhood. And though during the rest of the year, except for October, I’m not a big fan of orange—I can’t begin to tell you how exquisite these tiger lilies look next to blue hydrangeas. Yes, they may be old-fashioned. But then again, so am I. At least when it comes to the garden.

Yet it’s hard to find these exact species in garden catalogs—because so many “experts” turn up their noses at the lily’s ditchwater roots. The lilies grow wild along the ditchbanks of many country roads throughout the United States.

It’s always bittersweet for me after a visit to the Eastern Shore of Virginia to return home. But one summer day, Mr. Billy and my husband dug up a patch of wild ditch lilies for me to take home. And now every summer when they bloom, I can imagine that once again I’m there on the Shore with dear friends and a hint of sea air on the breeze.

daisy2I like ditch flowers—which probably says a lot about my plebian tastes. When I think of autumn I think of another flower I love for which Honey develops a fondness per Sawyer’s ever-so-romantic gestures in Coast Guard Sweetheart—brown-eyed Susans.

Here’s to beautiful flowers—like the wonderful people also—who grace our lives.

For more behind the scene photos from Coast Guard Sweetheart, visit https://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/coast-guard-sweetheart/.

Roses in the #Southern #Garden from #VinesofEntanglement

Laura Mabry’s favorite roses in her Raleigh garden—

Mr. Lincoln

The classic Mr. Lincoln


The sublime Peace rose

What is your favorite rose?

Hydrids or old-fashioneds?

For more photos from Vines of Entanglement, visit http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/vines-of-entanglement/.

#Southern Night Blossoms in a #WhiteGarden

During a Southern evening, the temperatures cool and garden fragrances become heady.

In planning your Southern garden, think about the almost glow-in-the-dark visual beauty of a white garden.

Here’s are some photos which inspired Laura’s Raleigh garden in Vines of Entanglement.


Cooling Effect of a White Garden


Enjoy a Southern evening


The splendor of a white garden









No Southern white garden is complete without the perfume of  gardenias.

For more photos, visit http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/vines-of-entanglement/.


The intoxicating fragrance of the night-blooming jasmine


Blossoms open only at night—my favorite—the old-fashioned moon vine.

The Entangling #Southern Vines of #VinesofEntanglement

Vines which drape the Southern landscape—


Ivy—Beloved in the Old South








My personal favorite



Wisteria blooms all too briefly




A scent with great meaning to the main characters of Vines of Entanglement





Kudzu—Creepy and Parasitic—There’s a house buried under its leaves here

Southerners regard this as one of two imported curses in the South

What are your favorite blooming vines?

For more photos, visit http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/vines-of-entanglement/.

The Yearlong #SouthernGarden from #VinesofEntanglement


On my porch summer through frost in autumn—red geraniums

Enjoy the lushness of a Southern garden—inspiration for Laura’s North Carolina garden in Vines of Entanglement.


Winter Color—Camellia



Spring Color—Azaleas


Guaranteed Summer Color—Crape Myrtle


Summer Crape Myrtle Beauty


Crape Myrtles—The Glory of a Southern Summer

For more photos, visit http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/vines-of-entanglement/.



Preparing the Garden for Winter

Pests and plant diseases can overwinter in the soil. Be proactive and nurture an environment that will produce an optimum spring growing climate.
winter2Clean up Time
1. Cut back perennials—eliminating dead and spent foliage a few inches above the ground in the fall actually prevents disease from surviving on dead plant tissue. Think how much healthier and able to grow your hair is after a trim.
2. Remove annuals. Pull up annuals and the summer vegetable garden, roots and all. Feed them to the compost pile.
3. Rake leaf debris and weed garden.
4. Do not add compromised plant debris to the compost pile, but destroy infected leaves. Pathogens will overwinter in composts that doesn’t get hot enough.
winter3Dream Time—The Fun Part
1. Document with photos and diagram what plants are growing in particular locations. This is especially helpful for Southern gardeners who find their memories fading with either age or information overload. And prevents an overzealous gardener come spring from planting over and injuring dormant perennials. Also a great way to reflect on what worked and what didn’t work.
2. Winterize container gardening. Bring containers indoor or to protected area like a garage or basement. Don’t add fertilizer. Keep water to a minimum. You don’t want to encourage growth during the dormant season.
3. Test the soil to ascertain pH level and nutrient analysis.
4. Enrich the quality of the soil as needed with compost, blood meal, bone meal, etc . . . This addition to the garden in the fall will allow the compounds to break down into a plant usable form come spring.
5. Add a layer of mulch as a protective layer over the garden’s root system.
winter1Design Time—Autumn is the best time to plant certain trees, shrubs, bulbs and perennials.
Plan for color in the winter months with pansies, Lenten roses, camellias and daphnes.

For more gardening tips and ideas from Carolina Reckoning, visit http://pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/carolina-reckoning/.


Bulbs in the Southern Garden

Fall—time to plant bulbs for next year’s spring color

Here are some of my favorite bulbs and Alison Monaghan’s (fictional heroine of Carolina Reckoning), too.

irisIris species—Iris danfordiae—Zone 5-9
Late winter blooms. Full sun. Large colony.

daffodilDaffodils—Narcissus spp.—Zone 6-9
Try to find species daffodils (not hybrids) which will return year after year and increase.

squillSiberian squill—Scilla siberica—Zone 2-8
Early spring. Full sun to part shade. Naturalize for mass effect.

tulipTulips—Tulipa spp.—Zone 2-8
Full sun. Hybrids short lived in South so find species bulbs for returning blooms each year. Elegant and formal.

For more gardening photos, visit http://pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/carolina-reckoning/.

Start Planning Next Year’s Southern Garden

My favorite garden books—and Alison Monaghan’s (fictional heroine/landscape designer of Carolina Reckoning), too.

These recommended reads for a Southern garden are a visual treat when summer fades away and the days become gray and dreary.

Peter Loewer Gardens of North Carolina—for the reader/traveler Loewer

Susan A. Roth The Weekend Garden Guide—my first and still garden go-to book.
gardenhomeP. Allen Smith Garden Home

southerngardenElizabeth Lawrence A Southern Garden—a classic


For more gardening photos, visit http://pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/carolina-reckoning/.