Carter and Marcella grow a colorful garden

Published 3:59 pm Monday, August 18, 2014










Good Morning Gardeners! It is always fun visiting lovely gardens, walking and talking with owners about flowers, blooms, how they grow, and the care needed for them. I asked Marcella who was the gardener in the family and she claimed that distinction. She does a great job and her gardens brighten the neighborhood.

Along Carter and Marcella’s front curb in Elizabethton is a picket fence with bright pink mandevilla vines twining throughout the fence; beautiful with matching large zinnias growing at ground level. Careful planning and design made this an outstanding bright spot to welcome folks to the neighborhood.

Mandevilla vines are sometimes referred to as hardy, but generally in the Tri-Cities they are considered a fast growing, tropical, annual vine, unable to withstand cold. A caution: this plant may be poisonous. As to whether it is the milky sap, blooms or leaves, it must be noted and investigated.

Marcella states her gardens were begun in 2000, so there has been plenty of time to design and select special plants she enjoys to brighten the spaces. Hardscape adds to the design, partly consisting of pots, a birdbath, globe, and a big boot with a special red geranium.

An outstanding tall rock dominates the front as a great eye-catcher. Many in Northeast Tennessee love and appreciate the beauty of rocks. The rock was a favorite of Marcella, so she had it delivered and set up to become the focal point of the front garden. The rock, surrounded by a circular garden with a flagpole, marigolds, daylilies and a large pink perennial, is beautiful.

The front porch welcomes with rockers for conversations while enjoying the front gardens. Down the edges of the driveway are cannas with dark, colorfully striped leaves. Marcella explained that while many refer to cannas as canna lilies, this is a misnomer because cannas are not a lily at all, belonging to an entirely different genus of plants than lilies. Calla lilies, a true lily, and other colorful flowers lead the eye to the door.

Bright petunias fill urns to meet the sidewalk. Interesting plants including daylilies line the walk to the door where a birdbath, pink rosebush, and daylilies greet us.

Marcella has a vegetable garden across the back of the house, six- to eight-feet wide, perhaps 40 feet long. She grows tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and squash. She makes pickles, relishes, and cans and preserves others. Marcella’s vegetable garden proves that lovely gardens can easily grow vegetables.

I enjoyed the time spent walking Carter and Marcella’s gardens, and meeting their lovely kitty, Fluffy, who quietly observed through the front door. Certainly, she is a curious cat.

If you would like to invite me to walk and write about your garden, just the hardscape, or a particular special or unusual plant, please send me an email and we will make an appointment. No garden is too large or too small. I look forward to hearing from you. Happy gardening, everyone!

A UT Lifetime Master Gardener, Jeanne Cope is a freelance garden writer whose work appears monthly on TV Channel 11 and Daytime TriCities. Visit her website:; or email