Garden Inspiration: Farmland to Flowers

What do you do when your land is devoid of trees, but covered with wild Bermuda grass? Shari Britt's land had probably been farmed in a previous life and had been taken over by the grass. Shari says, "I cannot just kill, smother or till the grass to create new planting space."

Shari has to manually remove the sod to clean out all the roots and runners of the stoloniferous Bermuda. "My precious planting space has been hard won and has slowly increased over the years. If I am not vigilant the Bermuda will creep in and take over quickly."

Shari's efforts are shown in the above photo with a large grouping of Miscanthus 'Cabaret', Chrysanthemum 'Single Apricot Korean', Mexican Bush Sage, Buddleaia lindleyana on the far left. Not easily seen in the photo is a Viburnum bracteum 'Emerald Luster' on the far right. The scale of the plantings fit with the scale of Shari's yard.

The success of Shari's gardening is well known to those of us who participate on the Garden Web Carolina Gardening Forum. Shari gardens in zone 7b of North Carolina. Like many of the forum participants, Shari attends the plant swaps to trade her own plants with other gardeners.

According to Shari "I don't think I have to tell you how much Garden Web has meant to my gardening. The plant swaps have given me so many plants to grow and experiment with and my garden just evolves with the general goal of privacy in my back yard and less grass to mow."

Another example of Shari's gardening is her vignette of Canna 'Musafolia' with Powis Castle atremisia, Mexican Bush Sage, Eupatorium coelestinum (hardy ageratum) and Salvia 'Indigo Spires'.

Shari is not only winning the battle with the Bermuda, but creating interesting designs with her plants. Shari has a way of combining ornamental grasses, shrubs and perennials for year-round appeal. Just mention a yucca to most gardeners and they are unsure of how to successfully combine the perennial in the garden.

Using a yucca filamentosa 'Bright Edge’ as a focal point, Shari adds orange daylily 'Trial By Fire', white Rose Campion, Salvia transylvanica and the ornamental grass, Kalamagrostis 'Avalanche' for a stunning combination in her full sun garden. Shari's daylily photos always draw accolades from her fellow Carolina gardeners.

Like many gardeners, Shari spends a lot of time photographing her gardens. She says "I'm just a byproduct of the digital age that discovered another facet to the hobby of gardening. I spent on average 30 minutes a day taking pictures through most of the growing season this year- making myself late for work more often than not because I would lose track of time."

Fascinated by the idea of using her garden photos on a calender, Shari started browsing her photos. She ended up with 400 potential pictures in the first round!

Since Shari loves to create CafePress® items for herself, she hopes others will like the items, too. CafePress® makes it easy to set up shop. Shari says "I am just beginning to explore what I can create and offer for sale there. I have no doubt that my products offered for sale will be a progression of new and different items- hopefully improving along the way."

Shari has two stores on Cafepress. Her SDB Garden Photography includes calendars, mugs, shirts, totes, pillows and other items featuring photos from her garden. For those who love daylilies, Shari features the perennial on the items in her Daylilies4U online shop.

Browsing Shari's online stores, I must say that her flowers look fabulous as wearable art and on other items!

Story by Freda Cameron. Photos provided by Shari Britt. Click photos to view larger images.



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