In a fit of warm weather madness, the trusty felcos were grabbed for some random acts of pruning. There are always stray branches growing where they oughtn’t that need a snipping. Many of those are growing on the out of control Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Gold Mops’. (Gratuitous flower shot above of Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’ backed by Calluna vulgaris ‘Firefly’ just opening in the knot garden). Five feet high by five feet wide the tag read. Okay, that means allow two and one half feet from center for spacing from the beloved deciduous azaleas and Hamamelis ‘Diane’ in front of the evergreen hedge. Diane is nearly finished with her bloom period. We’ll see you next year, my dear.And two and one half feet to the path edge of the veggie bed behind. Now it’s true that the privet hedge was still in place behind the Gold Mops when they were planted as tiny one gallon sized shrubs, and the veggie garden was not even a twinkle in the gardener’s eye. Last year, the first for the veggie bed, the back side of the golden hedge had to be pruned severely just to be able to walk along the landscape fabric that keeps delicate tootsies dry. It will be maintained with regular clipping. Question: what to do with all those trimmings? While perusing one of the catalogs that come uninvited into our mailbox last year, we noticed some attractive shower furniture, stools and the like, made out of hinoki wood which was water resistant. The light bulb went off for we recognized hinoki as a type of Chamaecyparis. A wide variety of these are grown here, for they love our soil and climate, and we love the colorful evergreen foliage and interesting forms. It was decided that we would use the prunings from these shrubs to build a nice hang out for the fairies that live here. Many stories have been written about the fairies. Click on these links if you are interested in more background about the gazebo. Fairy Gazebo and/or Furniture Building. Checking the sturdiness of the gazebo this year, we discovered some design flaws that needed to be rectified. Most important was that the non hinoki materials used, honeysuckle vine in particular, had rotted, leaving holes that threatened the integrity of the gazebo. In addition, the leaving on of some of the ferny foliage, while attractive for about ten minutes, made the structure look more substantial than it actual was. Straight away, we took some long prunings, cut from the trunk or a thicker branch to use as repair weavers and stakes. You can sort of see the different color of the fresh cuttings in the previous photo, they are a little more red rather than the weathered gray of last year’s branches. Also glaringly apparent are the holes in the roof. In the original building the roof was all fluffy with the foliage still attached to the stems. This time we stripped off the foliage to better fill the gaps in the walls and domed top. Squirrels and rabbits have been entering this gazebo and digging holes inside and eating the crocus blooms from the tiny pots at the doorway. More weavers and stakes will help to keep them out, but still let our little folk in.Project completed. Large rocks were used to pave the entryway. The smaller river stones that originally lined the entrance path kept being dislodged by the critters and covered with dirt when it rained hard. Now little slippered fairy feet will stay clean and dry as they enter for the various festivities this year. The blue swimming pool made from the leaf casting mix is clean and partially filled with water. The garden has been redesigned to the left of the entrance and planted with Primula veris, Heuchera ‘Tiny Marbles’ and English bluebells, Hyacinthoides non-scripta to join the small sedums there. A post was written about what to plant for a fairy garden.
Here is the link.Here is the gazebo and fairy area in situ. The arbor is along the path to the right out of the shot. This is the far southeast corner of our property and was the extra lot purchased along with the house next door that got torn down to build the garage. You can see the ramp to the deck and the taller building that houses the cars with a loft space above. The main house is the farther away one story building. The property that came with the house next door did not have as steep a slope as the yard behind the main house. The soil is good in this area, which used to be home to the very large maple tree, Ferngully. Click here to read its story. The blue tall shrubs are Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Boulevard’.There are still some issues to be dealt with to make this a better hang out for our wee folk. A set of swinging doors to keep out the squirrel riff raff needs to be woven from the hinoki or other suitable material. That will take some cogitation. Also the moss needs refurbished and smoothed. Mad critter digging has made a mess of it even though I have tried to pat it down repeatedly. The twig bench that was made last year disintegrated and a nice flat stone has been placed for seating. More furnishings will be added after the moss regrows.
This has been a fun project to work on. Basket weaving techniques came in handy for the construction, but anyone could make something similar in their own gardens. Cedar could be used, or redwood if you have access to it. Push the stout stems into the ground in a circle and weave the tops together for the roof. They could also be tied with wire or twine for more of a teepee affair. Weave the sides with a basic over under pattern, overlapping the ends when new pieces are added. It would be easier to do this before tying the top together. Freshly cut branches will bend enough to weave if you do it very carefully and slowly. You will see how far they can be bent before breaking, try to avoid that, for it weakens the finished project. This is very similar to basic basket weaving, using stakes that are stationary and weavers that hold the stakes in place. Long supple branches that are not too thick make the best weavers while thicker ones should be the stakes. I made a covered entryway, sort of like an igloo, but it would not be necessary. You are limited only by your imagination for there is no right or wrong. If you build one, you might get some surprise visitors!
Other stories about the fairies at Fairegarden can be seen by clicking on these links. Fairies Part One, Fairies Part Two, Fairies Part Three, Check That, A Fairy Preview, Faire Garden’s Midsummers’ Night.
My name is Frances and I am a lifelong gardener, having lived in various parts of the USA over many years. Since 2000 I have been gardening on a slope in a small town in Tennessee. I have been blogging about this USDA Zone 7a garden since December of 2007. Thank you for visiting!
The slope in spring
The slope in fall
The slope in winter
Older Posts Of Interest:
An assortment of winter beauties growing in the Fairegarden. (2011)
Color in the winter garden can be achieved by using plants that come to life during the cold season. (2011)
Look around your world for the things that appeal to you and make it happen in your garden. (2011)
A rant about the mistaken thoughts of non-gardeners. (2009)
There was something hidden in the forest and we were lucky enough to be able to see it. (2011)
Dreams turn into reality, in a way. The Green Man/Leaf Man faces live well in my garden now. (2011)
Now, fall, is the time to harvest those brown iris leaves and make something useful out of them. (2010)
A yard without a lawn. (2010)
Very difficult to only pick your six favorite plants, some of us bent the rules a bit. (2009)
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