December Gardens of Tryon Palace

People often assume fall and winter in the Tryon Palace gardens are slower compared to spring and summer. The reverse is actually true — in the last three months, we’ve removed summer annuals, installed and removed fall mums, had two Fall Plant Sales (thanks to Hurricane Matthew), given several tours, worked on prepping and staffing special events, created and installed holiday decorations and begun the task of planting spring bulbs and winter annuals. WHEW! In the midst of all of this, the most exciting thing of the last three months is that we’ve now hired two new gardeners — and all the Gardens Branch said “Yay!” Josh and Brandon are great additions to our team and have already jumped right in to the craziness of our busy season. We’re particularly excited since we’ve been short staffed all summer, and this gives us great energy for finishing out 2016 and looking into 2017. 

Winter at Disosway- Ornamental Kale, Snapdragons and Violas (above)

We’re continuing our work on the NC History Center garden renovation and beginning to restructure some of our other gardens for more year-round color and easier care. The remaining winter annuals and spring bulbs are being planted in the gardens around the Palace. As Candlelight nears (Dec. 10 and 17), we’re counting our globes twice, finding our candle lighters and getting ready to place fire baskets. One of our returning features at Candlelight will be wreaths, decorated by gardens staff, at a tent near the Waystation. We’ve also stocked the Museum Store at the North Carolina History Center with colorful winter bowls (that can stay outside year round!) and hanging baskets.

Winter Color Bowl (above)

Happy gardening (with an extra layer)!

Hadley Cheris
Tryon Palace Gardens and Greenhouse Manager


  • Bearsfoot hellebore (Helleborus foetidus), yellowish
  • Carnation (Dianthus sp), various
  • Cape leadwort (Plumbago capensis), blue
  • Copper Canyon marigold (Tagetes lemmonii), yellow
  • Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia numularia), yellow foliage
  • Forsythia sage (Salvia madrensis), yellow
  • Poet’s laurel (Danae racemes), orange berries
  • Ornamental grass (Miscanthus sp), red seed head 


  • Annual phlox (Phlox drummondii), mix
  • Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus), orange, yellow
  • Dusty Miller “Silver Dust,” gray
  • English daisy “Habanera Mix” (Bellis)
  • Forget Me Nots “Mon Amie Blue” (Myosotis)
  • Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) Sonnet Mix, Montego Sunset, Candy Showers Mix  
  • Stock Harmony Mix
  • Sweet William (Dianthus), Telstar Mix 
  • Ornamental kale — Bor Scarlet, Kamome White
  • Violas: Sorbet XP Mix, Admire Mix Maxi, Penny Peach Jump Up 
  • Pansies: Matrix Mixes: Sunrise, Solar Flare, Red Blotch; Cool Wave Spreading Mix; Frizzle Sizzle Mix

Trees & Shrubs 

  • Camellia (Camellia sasanqua sp.), white & pink
  • Camellia (Camellia sasanqua ‘Setsugekka’), white
  • Camellia (Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’), red
  • Chinese Mahonia (Mahonia fortunei), yellow
  • Dahoon holly (Ilex cassine), red berries
  • Dogwood berries (Cornus florida), red
  • Dwarf burford holly (Ilex cornuta), red berries
  • Fatsia (Fatsia japonica), white blooms, black seeds
  • Fragrant wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox), yellow
  • Groundsel tree (Bacharis halimifolia), whitish blooms
  • Holly (Ilex cornuta hybrid), large red berries
  • Leatherleaf viburnum (Viburnum rhytidophyllum), white
  • Laurustinus (Viburnum tinus), white 
  • Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica), cream 
  • Nandina (Nandina domestica), red or yellow berries
  • Pomegranate (Punica granata), fruit
  • Tea plant (Camellia sinenses), white/yellow
  • Winterberry (Ilex verticilliata), red berries
  • Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria), red or yellow berries 

Kitchen Garden
Winter Crops: pumpkins, lettuce, beets, carrots, cardoon, artichoke, collards, onions, Swiss chard, mints, cardinal basil, oregano, thyme, salad burnet, “Munstead” lavender, parsley, arugula, and
cover crops to build up soil