All gardens benefit from movement. The pond offers the movement of water as it spurts from the frog’s mouth into the rock lined vessel. The water ripples amid the oxygen supplying bubbles. There are two very shy fish, Fido and Casey, thanks Gardoctor for the gift of Casey, orange goldfish and white koi, who are residents of this small body of water. They are not to be seen in this photo, for they like to hide deep down in crevices between the large stones at the bottom. Especially when they see a camera.

Can you tell that the wind is blowing these maidenhair ferns in the trough planter? The blurry image is the result of breezes moving the thin, black wiry stems of this delicate looking but tough perennial fern. They are like miniature trees in a primeval forest.

At the corner of the deck is a planting of stipa tenuissima, Mexican feather grass. Underplanting the grass is sedum acre and houttunyia, both aggressive ground covers. The poor little heucheras also living here are being swallowed alive by the sedum. Japanese maple ‘Crimson Queen’ holds the slope in place and gives a good color contrast. Behind the tree are the daylilies, lilies and various other plants that will give color to this mid summer garden. All of the plants sway in the wind, but the stipa is the true weather man here, billowing with its frothy seed heads just now, as the wind picks up.

A Mother’s Day present from the Financier, this is a large specimen of false red yucca, hesperaloe parviflora. Thanks, hon. It’s tall stalks move slightly in the breezes. The boxwood hedge of the knot garden and the ever present penstemon ‘Husker Red’ are in the background.

The wind has picked up even more and the sky is darkening. The view from the knot garden at the top of the hill shows us that a storm is likely. Better get inside, pdq!

Earlier in the day, as the sun was just peeking over the horizon, a gardener with a camera is drawn to the sweetest scent imaginable that is wafting through the atmosphere. Her shadowy figure is apparent as a shot of the white tree peony in front of the split rail fence is snapped. A row of osmanthus fragrans hides the chain link fence and behind that fence is the source of the perfumed air.

Japanese privet, the bane of the garden and Japanese honeysuckle, bane in waiting are in full bloom. These flowers fill the air in the entire neighborhood, as these two exotic invasives have taken over any unused piece of earth here. It is a constant struggle to keep them both out of this garden. Other homeowners don’t even bother, and the empty lots that dot this area are overrun with them. But the smell is heavenly. We will admire that aspect as we continue to do battle.

In the vegetable garden, the sugar snap peas have grown way higher than the fence and are being photographed while I stand under their towering presence. I have given up trying to pick the pea pods before they reach three inches, as recommended by Chuck B. of
My Back 40(feet). We will harvest the peas for shelling when the plants are pulled later in the season. There is movement here too, as the wind blows the pea plants over on top of the tomato cages and bean teepees. The reaching tendrils of the peas are now climbing the arborvitae hedge.

More swaying plants, this time penstemon ‘Rondo’, with the blue and white flowers, blue fescue in flower, some sweet williams scattered about, nepeta mussinii, daylily foliage, and the whole scene backed by a wall of feather reed grass, calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’. Every one of these plants offers wonderful action when the breezes blow, in addition to the structure they add to the landscape.

When we did the post on the front garden, there were so many plantings surrounding this weeping Blue Atlas Cedar, that it was forgotten, it was not even mentioned. Since then, the front garden has been ruthlessly edited, weeded and mulched. We are feeling much better now about how it looks, and thank all of you readers who left nice comments about the front, the inspiration to get to work. It just needed some tender, loving care, and some mulch. When the winds are strong this rebar staked tree lets its hanging limbs ride the air currents.

We will end as we began, with water in the garden. This copper bowl with a nice rock for bird perching shows a clear reflection of the unknown wildflower behind it. No wind, morning light, blue fescue and gaillardia ‘Goblin’ complete the scene. The garden is alive in more ways than just the growing plants. The movement of the grasses, taller flower stalks and sweet dreamy scent add other dimensions to the pleasure our little piece of earth offers to us everyday.
“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”
Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues

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36 Responses to Movement

  1. gintoino says:

    Great post, beautifull pictures. And you have a Heperaloe parviflora!! Wow, I’ve been looking for one for ages!

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I just love the trough planter Frances. Those Maidenhair Ferns are my new nemesis plant for the garden. I have tried to start them several times without luck. Maybe if I have a good whine about them on my blog they will show me and grow here. Ha..

    That weeping cedar is a beauty. It looks like it is growing where it can be appreciated too.

    That nasty honeysuckle is everywhere. It is too bad it is so invasive becasue it does smell heavenly. Just like the Autumn Olive bushes we took out. They smell great and the birds like them for many reasons…a little too well becasue you see these bushes growing along forest edges crowding out native species.

    Your water features are great too. I wish I could have fish. The racoons come and eat them from my little water feature. I hope you don’t have the same trouble. Do you have to bring your fish inside for winter? Probably not your water feature looks deep enough to support the fish during winter.

  3. Gail says:

    Very good morning to you Frances. Your post was a very fun read and I chuckled several times thinking about how photographing anything in late spring means dealing with the wind. So many blurry photos…just delete! But, when the wind is absent in the summer, I sure miss it.

    I do love your photo of the Mexican Feather Read Grass…I just planted some and hope it does as well at C&L as it does at Faire Garden. And I do want to hear more about the False Red Yucca; very intriguing looking.

    Hope you got rain.


  4. Dave says:

    It all looks great! I’d love to see it actually moving. Did you all get rain over there? I’ve done too much watering too early in the season. I don’t think we’ve had a drop in a week.

  5. Frances, says:

    Gintoino, thanks. This big hesperaloe is new, but the Financier didn’t know that I had mail ordered one last year. It is so small you can’t even see it, but it did winter over. These are located in the driest, sunniest spots we have, so we are hoping they thrive. The big plant could easily be divided now, but I will wait until the bloom is finished.

    Hi Lisa, have a good whine, go ahead, it helps sometimes. I have spread the one clump of that fern around, and the one in the trough does the best for some reason. Try one in a container planted with the bagged cactus mix from the big box store. That is what is in the troughs. Then cover the dirt around it with moss to hold the moisture in. Everything in the pond has to be able to winter over. Last year the pond was redone and I bought some new plants for it. They had some slimy fertilizer pellets in the pots but I put them in anyway. We had eleven fish and they all died, either from cats or those pellets, or the walnut leaves that fell into the pond in the fall. When the pond was emptied and cleaned out, one fish was in the mud at the bottom. The orange one, so I named him Fido, tough as a bulldog to live through all that. This year we will put neting over the pond to catch the leaves. This response is as long as a post! HA

  6. Frances, says:

    Hi Gail, glad to bring a smile to you this lovely morning. Did you get the mexican feather grass, stipa, or the feather reed grass, calamagrostis? Both are great, but the cala. grows much much taller than the stipa. I am excited to grow the hesperaloe. We had it in Houston and it was fantastic, I should have brought some here with me, I brought nearly everything else. HA

    Hi Dave, we did have rain the day that photo was taken, a quick but hard rain a couple of days ago. I have been watering the newly planted stuff nearly every day, whether they call for rain or not, after the disastrous drought of last year when I wasn’t paying attention. We are forecast for rain tomorrow, hope you get some too.

  7. Pam/Digging says:

    I like the color contrast of your blue fescue and Gaillardia ‘Goblin.’ And the color echo of the Mexican feathergrass with the yellow-flowering sedum.

    I’m sure the battle against the Japanese honeysuckle gets old, but it’s surely worth having a stand of it in or near your garden just for that heavenly fragrance. There’s nothing better.

  8. Frances, says:

    Hi Pam, there is no danger of running out of the honeysuckle, it surrounds us on three sides. ;-> Thanks, the blue fescue, gaillaria mix is one of my favorites. Accidental, of course. That stipa looks good with everything, the movement of a large grouping of it is mesmerizing.

  9. tina says:

    I will post about our visit tomorrow. Today we are trying to fit in that spa. How does one do that?:) I love your movement depiction. I can feel the wind here in middle Tennessee too!

  10. Frances, says:

    Hi Tina, glad you made it home safe and sound. Good luck with that spa! HA It is a wonderful breeze that blows here, isn’t it? Can’t wait to read your post.

  11. Mr. McGregor's Daughter says:

    How could you forget that weeping Blue Cedar! I’d love to have one of those (if I had a place for it). Your trough planters are mini gardens of delight.

  12. Frances, says:

    Hi MMD, my sentiments exactly. It was fairly expensive too, and has been in the ground seven years. I stood on a tall ladder to drive a long piece of rebar into the ground so it would grow taller before bending over, and twisted it around the metal over the years. Now it is free to hang down however it pleases, and without interference from lesser plants. Thanks for the nice words about the troughs. They are so fun, today I pulled up and chair to pull some out of control sedum away from baby heucheras, what an enjoyable task. I am hoping to make more this summer, if the blogging allows for such a time consuming project. HA

  13. Gardener of La Mancha says:

    Your garden looks amazing. The trough is a great way to display the Adiantum. And the grasses among the sedum really add punch. Thanks for keeping us posted.

  14. Frances, says:

    Hi G of LM, I really enjoyed your forest walk! Thanks for visiting, glad you like the trough. They are fun to make and plant up and so easy to care for. The adiantum is a perfect fit for it. The stipa is one of the favorites here also, very adaptable.

  15. Annie in Austin says:

    This was such an enjoyable post, Frances, even though, like Gail, I thought there was a little too much movement from wind when I tried to take photos of blooming flowers earlier today.

    The birds cause movement here, too – making the shepherd hooks and chairbacks bounce as they land and take off, while they wait for a turn in the fountain.

    Too bad you live so far away… I could help you eat those sugar snaps ;-]

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  16. mss @ Zanthan Gardens says:

    Oooh. I love your pond, but I really love your trough planters. It is nice to visit in your garden, which seems so filled with interesting corners and crannies. Just so pleasant all around. And I need the break. I need a little inspiration. My garden and I are having words right now. Chalk it up to normal beginning of summer crankiness, I guess.

  17. Amy says:

    So many lovely photos that it’s hard to know what to comment on first. Your pond and waterfall are just wonderful – well, everything is wonderful! So glad you’re feeling happier with the front garden. I’m constantly amazed at what a difference mulch makes. I just started using it last year and LOVE it.

  18. Frances, says:

    Hi Annie, thanks for reminding me of the bird movement, why didn’t I mention that? Maybe another post down the line. I would love for you to come and help munch on the sugar snap peas. I go out at first light, sometimes before that and pick a few choice ones to crunch on as the garden is perused. I love that sweet crunch, so refreshing. Thanks for visiting.

    Hi MSS, sorry about your crankiness with the onset of hotter weather. I remember well living in Houston how oppressive it can be. One good thing about that is that since one sweats as though in a sauna, one had extremely clean pores. ;->

    Hi Amy, thanks. The front does make me smile now, and the scan for weeds is easier with the clean up and mulch. Just wish it wasn’t so expensive and labor intensive. We have to drag the bags up the hill, I cannot do it anymore, so help is needed from the mens around here. At least in the front the car was backed up to the area and a short toss of the bag got them into place. Worth it, like you say. Thanks for visiting.

  19. Helen says:

    Hi – lovely photos. I like the idea of putting your troughs on legs – I might pinch it.

  20. Frances, says:

    Hi Helen, thanks. Pinch away! ;->

  21. Lisa in CA says:

    Lovely pictures.

  22. Piondröm says:

    Hi Frances!
    First, thanks for your invetation,
    If we some time will go to USA and around our hometown, we be glad to visit you.
    If you shall go to scandinavia you must lett us now, you are wormth welcome.
    I like your Cedar and you watherpound.
    Wather is a big tribiute in a garden.
    Just now we need it in rain.
    Have a realy nice weekend Frances.

  23. walk2write says:

    I love that Gaillardia! I have grown it in Illinois with great success, and I know it does well in Florida. We lived on Anastasia Island near St. Augustine a few years ago (in a beach rental), and that flower was everywhere. Some people let it naturalize and cover their front yards. The finches love the seed heads too. I had planted a couple of the Fanfare variety here (in Pensacola) last year, but for some reason they both died. I’ll have to try some of the Goblins.

  24. Frances, says:

    Lisa, thanks.

    Hi Ken, thanks for those kind words. I have never been to Europe but would so love to go someday. May you and Carina have a wonderful weekend also. This is a holiday weekend for us, Monday is memorial day, a day we honor soldiers who have given their lives for our country, and most people also honor any loved ones they have lost. It used to be called decoration day, for people would put flowers on the graves, and flags on the soldier’s graves.

    Hi Walk2write, that sounds pretty wonderful to live in a beach house. Where we go to the beach in South Carolina, the gaillardia grows wild, right in the sand. We grow goblin, a shorter one, and burgundy, a taller variety here. They both bloom all summer and are very drought resistant. They seed about some so we always have more to share. Thanks for dropping by.

  25. heirloomgardener says:


    I love your photograph with those maiden hair ferns–wonderful!

    -Heirloom Gardener

  26. Frances, says:

    Hi Heirloom, Thanks for stopping by. I just checked out your post on stone in the garden and was blown away by your stone steps. How I wish we had done that instead of the concrete steps we made ourselves. Thanks for the nice words about the trough photo. We have had a lot of fun with the troughs, and the maidenhair ferns love it in there, a happy combo.

  27. Rose says:

    A delightful post, Frances. Every time I come here I see something else I want to plant! But I really got a chuckle out of the camerawoman’s shadow–I didn’t even notice it at first. You’re even talented at camouflaging your shadow:)

  28. Frances, says:

    Hi sweet Rose, you are the only one who remarked about that. Usually I try and pay attention to where my shadow is. HA Thanks for being a regular reader!

  29. Robin's Nesting Place says:

    Hi, Frances, I’m playing catch-up on some of my favorite blogs. Wow! You’ve had some great posts and I enjoyed my visit to your blog tonight.

  30. nanacandoit says:

    You have such a lovely yard. I’m glad I came across your blog tongight…oops, this morning. Looking at all your beautiful plants reminds me of my place in TN. I sure do miss it up there…Gods Country 🙂

  31. Frances, says:

    Hi Robin, thanks for visiting. I am behind too on reading since Blotanical is still having feed problems. Hope Stuart gets them fixed soon. Thanks for the kind words.

    Welcome nanacandoit, clever name, thanks for stopping by. Where did you live in TN, and where are you now?

  32. Cinj says:

    Wow, I guess it’s been a while since I visited you. I love seeing movement in my garden as well. I like the different textures and colors you have. I’d like to do water in my garden, but party pooper Cheesehead has put the kabash on that plan. SIGH.

    Your gardens are so gorgeous!

  33. Frances, says:

    Hi Cinj, glad you found us. Blotanical has not listed any of our five posts since May 15, we just found out. You may want to go back to catch up. I am not sure if I will post anymore until the problem is fixed. About your water garden, how about a trough water garden, like Pam at Digging has? Just set it up and plant! Thanks for stopping by.

  34. jodi says:

    Lovely post, and I especially loved the quote at the end, having been to see Bob Dylan on Wednesday night (and he sang, or rather rasped SHB).

    I think a lot of people must be away this weekend–hope it’s a great one for you, or if you’re home in the garden, having a joyous time there!

  35. Zoë says:

    Fabulous as always Frances, I love those Penstemons, and think the trough at the bottom with the Festuca glauca and the Gardillia looks wonderful, a great colour combinations.

    I have tagged you for a Meme, feel free to join in and play, or not as you wish, there is no obligation. Details on my blog if you want the rules.

    Best Wishes,


  36. Frances, says:

    Hi Jodi, so glad to see you. I was thinking of you watching Bob Dylan when I put that in. It is the quote that was put on brokenbeat’s high school yearbook on the parent page, since he is a huge Dylan fan also. We have been working like mad in the garden, the financier with chain saw and me mulching and weeding before the hot weather hits. Thanks for visiting.

    Hi Zoe, thanks for tagging me, maybe later. Thanks for the kind words, the festuca and gaillardia are actually in the ground, it is a combination that loves the heat of summer and gives good color all year.

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