Check That, A Fairy Preview

We subscribe to the
Old Farmer’s Almanac newsletter online. This week’s edition had some eye opening information. Here is what they wrote:

“Although Midsummer Day (June 24) occurs near the summer solstice, or what we think of as the beginning of summer, to the farmer it is the midpoint of the growing season, halfway between planting and harvesting, and an occasion for celebration.
Midsummer Eve bonfires and dancing around the Midsummer pole are old customs still observed around the world today. Certainly, it’s a time of magic and soothsaying as well, for as Washington Irving said, “This is a time when it is well known that all kinds of ghosts, goblins, and fairies become visible and walk abroad.”
After the solstice and Midsummer Day, the days start to shorten.”
Hmmm. Annie at
The Transplantable Rose had mentioned that date in a comment on one of the fairy posts. Wrongly I had assumed that the solstice was the same as midsummer. The difference in dates it was thought had been the result of the changing of calenders over the centuries, not doing any research like should have been done. Luckily this information came in time to prevent some embarrassing shenanigans over by the fairy gazebo on the wrong date. Very lucky, indeed. But we still have our rock with the hole in it to view the fae folk. There is a wealth of ox eye daisies, a favorite flower of the wee ones blooming profusely in the area. But the serious business of fairy watching, dew collecting and moonlight mirth will be put on hold until June twenty third evening.
In the meantime, lots of things are going on in the non fairy parts of the garden, although we really believe the entire garden is home to magical creatures of all sorts. In the veggie garden we are starting off with some harvest already. I have mentioned the sugar snap peas. They are finally finished after supplying us with many meals and some were even taken to the beach. We froze several packets for use during the off season too. Pole beans were planted in the place of the peas. Shown above is a tomato purchased on Mother’s Day in Asheville called Black Krim. It was in a small pot but the space shown in the photo is the site of the former compost pile. That is some turbo charged soil it seems for the tomato and the zuchinni Eight Ball planted seeds just to the right are doing very well. There are several balls nearly ready to pick.
Here is a photo of the newly constructed compost bin by dear Gardoctor with assistance from the Financier for mother’s day. The compost was transferred to the new bin from the old set up to the right made from old cinder blocks found on the property. The bit of compost still left in the old pile was added to the veggie bed to help keep the weeds at bay and feed the already nice loam. Landscape fabric lines the paths to keep feet dry and weeds deterred.
The golden raspberries have been giving us nuggets of yumminess as we go about our morning chores, popping them into the mouth on the run.
Still trying to get a clearer shot of the crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ planted in the black garden, the red flowers are just not cooperating. But the look of this group of three plants brings joy everytime we pass this way. Physocarpus opulifolious ‘Summer Wine’ gives a dark background to the reds. A cutting grown butterfly bush is just to the left at the stake. I think this is a b. ‘Potter’s Purple’. All of the butterfly bushes here are grown as standards, staked and pruned as trees in order to be able to grow things underneath and keep them pruned for more flowers. Behind Summer Wine is a lavender ‘Provence’ that refuses to die. The black garden was previously a lavender bed, with ajuga as groundcover. The lavenders kept dying out and replacing them was getting boring so black foliage, black in the name or red flowered plants have been put in as the lavenders declined. The few left have stubbornly prospered.

Even though the calender says it is still spring, we have fireflies now. That has always been the harbinger of summer to me, bringing back the memories of hot evenings in Tulsa catching the insects as they arose from the grass at dusk. I’m not sure that this is a lightening bug, but it looks cool anyway. ;->

We are still on the lookout for all things fairy, however. This plant had a tag that read Fairy Wand. It is a cimicifuga of some sort it is believed, or has the name been changed to actaea? The flower must be the wandish part of this for the leaf does not suggest wand to me.

Sagina procumbens , pearlwort, is said to be a protective herb in case the fairies decided to carry away a member of the family in days of yore. We were delighted to discover that this plant grows naturally here among the mosses that are so abundant. We carefully dug some to put around the fairy gazebo, just in case any fairies with mal intent crash the party.

We also have a good selection of thymes since it is so drought tolerant, evergreen, fragrant and easy to grow in our well drained hilly gardens. It was grown before we knew anything about the way it enhances the viewing of fairy dancing when one is napping in its softness. Look out for bees though, they love the flowers!

The green man plaque on this planter is giddy with excitement at the thought of a visit from his fellow mythical creatures. His thyme has grown well and is named thymus ‘Hi Ho Silver’.

We admit that we are getting slightly tired of the whole fairy thing, you probably are as well. But there has been a lot of prep work and it has been great fun learning so many new things about the big night coming up. It will be interesting to see how this whole affair turns out. Stay tuned for the day after midsummer night’s eve report.

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30 Responses to Check That, A Fairy Preview

  1. Frances, says:

    Hi all, I will be out of town for the day and won’t be able to publish your comments until this evening. Please leave a note anyway and don’t get discouraged that blogger is acting up. Although it might actually be acting up. One never knows. ;->

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Funny that you wrote about your fairies again today Frances. As I let Luna out this morning her name sake was nearly full and the world looked very fairy like with a heavy fog shrouding the garden. I felt that there were fairies dancing all around but I couldn’t see them.

  3. Zoë says:

    It is all looking fabulous! I am glad someone else has problems taking pictures of some reds, my camera just flares when ever I try to too. I dont feel quite so inept now.

    Last night not far from here(30 miles or so) at Stonehenge, tens of thousands of people gathered to welcome Dawn and celebrate the Summer Solstice.

    I expect the fairies approved too.

    Best Wishes,


  4. Crafty Gardener says:

    The gardens look lovely and I’m sure the fairies will come.

  5. Nancy J. Bond says:

    Fireflies and golden raspberries — it doesn’t get much more magical than that. 🙂

  6. Sherry at the Zoo says:

    I can’t wait to see what the little ones do in your garden this week!

    Great pictures! Looks like the fairies will have lots of places to play.

  7. Rose says:

    I am looking forward to Midsummer Day’s Eve; I do hope the fairies arrive!

    That is an interesting looking zucchini–are the zucchini actually in the shape of balls? I didn’t plant any zucchini this year; I still have so much left in the freezer from an abundant harvest last year. Wish I had planted just one plant for some fresh zucchini, though.

  8. garden girl says:

    Such a delightful and informative post on fairies and midsummer’s eve. I’m not tired of reading about it all Frances. I hope your trip today is safe and enjoyable.

  9. Mr. McGregor's Daughter says:

    Thank you for disabusing me of the notion that the solstice & Midsummer’s Day were the same thing. Your new compost bin is very attractive. I’m too embarrassed to show mine. The foliage of your “Fairy Wand” doesn’t look like the foliage of any of my Actaeas/Cimicifugas. It’ll be interesting to see what the flower looks like.

  10. Blackswamp_Girl says:

    Frances, you will love that Black Krim tomato I think… it’s never been very prolific for me, but the fruits are smoky and delicious! It’s of Russian heritage, I think–an Eastern European lady who visited our garden center a couple of weeks ago said that its name means that it comes from Crimea.

    And yes, the fairy wands are the flowerstalks! Mine add a delicious grape-y scent to the early fall garden. 🙂

    Great job on that compost bin. The Gardoctor and Financier both do fine work!

  11. chuck b. says:

    Sounds like there could be trouble, what with the possibility of a family member being kidnapped and all that.

    Maybe you should stay out of town until this whole thing blows over. Just to be safe.

  12. Annie in Austin says:

    Sure hope you’re having fun wherever you are, Frances- now we’ll see if this comment will post!

    The fairy garden idea is something I hadn’t heard of until this year, and my bet is that any fairies in Austin were wise enough to hitch rides to cooler climes with the Spring Flingers. Few fairy plants want to grow here, and there isn’t even enough thyme for dancing. The sparrows and wrens keep clipping it – I’m not sure if it’s to line nests or to rub on their feathers in an attempt to discourage mites or other insects.

    Your new compost bin looks excellent and I hope your Black Krim tomatoes do well. We’ve had 3 tomatoes from our plant and like them a lot.

    Thanks for the link – I learned about June 23rd Eve and June 24th Day long ago – I’m a big fan of the various versions of Midsummer Nights Dream…guess watching one of them will be what I’ll do on Monday night!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  13. Frances, says:

    Hi Lisa, back home now, hope your fairies had fun and Luna probably could see them, as she has magic as well. Give her an ear scratch from me.

    Hi Zoe, wow, I didn’t realize you lived so close to Stonehenge, that is so cool. Maybe you don’t care for that many people coming through all at one time though the purpose is noble. I would love to see it someday.

    Hi Crafty, thanks. I have a feeling there will be some kind of fairy activity here. ;->

    Oh Nancy J., you are so right. Those golden raspberries are pure taste sensation, the feel of them warm from the sun in one’s mouth is magic.

    Hi Sherry, thanks. We will see what kind of mischief they might get into around the garden. I look forward to it!

  14. Frances, says:

    HI Rose, thanks, we are counting on some fairy happenings. The eight ball zuccini are truly round green balls, absolutely delicious. I didn’t realize you could freeze zucchini and squash, but never have any left over, we love them so.

    Hi Linda, thanks for your continued support. It is very much appreciaited.

    Hi MMD, thanks for the seeds, arrived today. It is now okay to say thanks, according to the new by laws of the society, right, Carol? What do those leaves look like to you? The nursery called it some type of cimi, she wasn’t sure though. Glad I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know the right date for midsummer.

    Hi Kim, great news about Black Krim. I thought I had read something about it being good, and when one was offered for sale, grabbed it into the basket. I assume it is an heirloom, so the seeds can be saved for future generations. It sounds delicious. Thanks. Good news on the grape scent of the fairy wand plant too. Gardoctor does excellent woodwork, I agree.

  15. Frances, says:

    Oh Chuck, do you think we may be in danger? I have pearlwort and also rue, another protective herb. We are awash in all types of herbs actually, so we should be covered in all cases. Maybe I will wear my lucky locket that night though, to be safe.

    Hi Annie, you were the first to suggest the 24th date, thanks for that. Another testimonial for the Black Krim. I can’t wait, there are several golf ball size tomatoes on there now, kind of rippled, not smooth. It is hot here also, although not in the 100’s yet, and so very dry, the saddest part for the garden and farmers. Austin fairies are especially welcome here though, we will try and show them a good time. Enjoy your viewing on the special night. I’ll be thinking of you.

  16. Brenda Kula says:

    You have such an inspirational garden. Daisies are absolutely my favorite. I think they’ve seen their heyday here for the season, unless they make a comeback later.

  17. Frances, says:

    Hi Brenda, me too. Thanks for stopping by and the kind words. Our native ox eye daisies will bloom until winter, the shasta daisy ‘Becky’ has not opened yet, but has a larger flower. We let the ox eyes blooms where they may, in paths and beds, pulling them when done, there are always seedlings to bloom afterwards, a wonderful wildling weed, really.

  18. tina says:

    I had no idea about midsummer’s eve and the difference in dates! Good thing you researched it so you are ready for the party:)

  19. Gail says:


    Hello! We danced at the beach in celebration of Summer Solstice…some of us are Celtic and had a great need to!

    The garden looks lovely. A new compost bin! The Financier and Gardoctor are wonderfully handy!

    I completely forgot to plant the Crocosmia corms I bought earlier! Is it too late?

    You must go to Folly next year…it is such an easy drive to our favorite restaurants in Charleston.


  20. DP Nguyen says:

    Raspberries look delicious. How do you keep the birds from eating them? My bosenberries were all eaten by the birds, I’m afraid.

  21. Skeeter says:

    I enjoyed the picture of the clay pots, pinecones and nuts! Real earthy!

  22. Frances, says:

    Hi Tina, you have no idea what a close call that was. I would have been mortified. ;->

    Hi Gail, that sounds like great fun, dancing for the solstice, some of us are celts as well. Nothing to do but go ahead and plant those crocosmia corms and see what comes up. The compost bin is so well constructed, I love it. Glad to have you back.

    Hi DP, thanks. I don’t know why the birds have not bothered the golden raspberries. Maybe the color doesn’t draw their eye. I have the blueberries covered in netting.

    Hi Skeeter, that photo was a view of the side of the fairy gazebo, decked out in all things natural like that. Thanks for stopping by.

  23. Amy says:

    Just don’t plant a rowan tree (mountain ash) as they keep the fairies away!

  24. Frances, says:

    Hi Amy, thanks for that heads up! The rowans do not grow here, too hot I guess. But I do know that the rowan was considered sacred by the druids and was believed to have great healing powers.

  25. Diana says:

    How fun – I didn’t know the difference, either. Love that Almanac, don’t you? The crocosmia are lovely – I’ve not had any luck with them here — too hot, I guess. Your new compost bin looks great – that’s a very nice gift for a gardener!

  26. Anonymous says:

    The picture of the golden raspberries looked delicious! Michael even said he wanted to eat them, and he doesn’t eat anything like that. They just look so tempting.

    I have been extremely busy working on my own garden; expanding and moving things.

    Much Love,

  27. Frances, says:

    Hi Diana, thanks for stopping by. I’m not sure it really matters, stories have said that the solstice is celebrated from the twentieth to the twenty sixth across the globe. The compost bin is so well built, it is great.

    Hi CP, tell Michael I will save him some and send them with Grandpa when they stop by on the way to golf. I know what you mean about busy, the vacation is to blame! love. ;->

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  30. So much! And the insect picture is delightful.

    Thanks Lucy. I was updating some posts with a new category, fairies, and they seem to have all republished. This one, written in 2008 was one of my favorites, too. I think the insect was actually a firefly. How are you?

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