A Little Whimsy In The Garden

Our story opens in the maternity ward under the deck at Faire Garden General. Mister and Missus Bongo Congo are beyond excited, for her sand has broken. A little even splashed up onto her cheek. Mister looks a little worried, but she assures him that everything will be okay.
Let’s go back in time a bit to last year. Heathcliff Bongo Congo came to Tennessee from a colder clime. He was a wild and wooly fellow with bark like skin and a hole in his mouth for a future job working with water. He found a spot in the heaths and heathers that felt like home to him.
The demure lady Catherine was from a hot, dry windy place and felt comfortable up in the knot garden among the thyme.
She was happy, but felt something was missing in her life. She would daydream of having adventures with daring and romance.
Chance would have it that these two would meet while working at their summer jobs picking berries in the food patch. They would both sneak the best looking fruit into their mouths while no one was looking. They caught sight of one another and laughed with embarrassment. But there was something else in that nervous laughter.
Chemistry drew them to each other, it was undeniable.

They began traveling around, having found that they both shared the same interests, including mythology.

Finally she took him home to meet her parent, a hypertufa trough rimmed with colored marbles. Bongo Congo was terrified of not being accepted by the civilized pater/mater. The composition of our lady and planter included peat moss and perlite with the sand-cement mix that had formed Bongo Congo. How could he ever convince him/her that he was worthy of the most exquisite creature he had ever known?

He took her to meet his own family, the bowl made from leaf casting material, his brother, Itchy. She was shy and turned away, feeling out of place also. Bongo Congo and Itchy were a pair, the bowl made to catch the water that cascaded from the spout of BC’s mouth. How could she come between them?

True love prevailed once again. They eloped and went to the rocky shore for their honeymoon. They had always been big fans of the movie “From Here To Eternity” with Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster.

More recently they participated in the midsummer night’s festivities with the crowd of fairies that traveled here for that big event. That was a special night and the result surprised them both, for she learned that another was to join the family they had created together.

Serving as midwife, I helped Cathy do what nature had intended. The offspring is still wet behind the ears in this shot right after birth but smiling and happy about the whole thing. What a joy she will be to her doting parents.

She is seen here in the nursery with other new additions to the garden, cotinus leaves and an eight ball squash leaf casting. They all need to set and harden before they can venture out.

The happy family together here for their official portrait. It was rumored that People magazine had offered millions for the rights to this photo. But the Bongo Congos have no need for either riches or notoriety and wish to live a simple, natural life, sans paparazzi. We will honor that wish. May we introduce to you Whimsy Bongo Congo.
We wish to thank Nan Ondra at Gardening Gone Wild for this month’s topic of
Garden Blogger Design Workshop, Whimsy in the garden. It was an honor for her to choose a topic named for our new little resident. Thanks, Nan.


This entry was posted in Musings. Bookmark the permalink.

93 Responses to A Little Whimsy In The Garden

  1. Sylvia (England) says:

    What a chuckle! thank you Frances. I am sure this is a twist that Nan wasn’t expecting but will appreciate.

    I like your leaf castings – can you tell us more about these, please?

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

  2. tina says:

    What a great introduction!

  3. Frances, says:

    Hi Sylvia, thanks. The best link I could find for how to do the leaf castings is here:


    Hi Tina, thanks. This one was lots of fun.

  4. Gail says:


    What a fun post and a good showcase for your great creations. I have often admired your castings and tufa planters. The newest addition is a cutie pie and proof that there is magic going on at Faire Gardens…all the time.


  5. Crafty Gardener says:

    I just love family stories with a happy ending.

  6. Nancy J. Bond says:

    Congrats to the happy couple! ::grinning::

  7. garden girl says:

    What a lovely little family those Bongo Congos are. Young Whimsy seems to favor her mother, but you know how newborns are, changing every day. Perhaps when she’s a bit older she’ll look like a chip off the old rock.

  8. Rose says:

    Frances, You are quite the storyteller! I enjoy your stories as much as seeing all your gorgeous flowers, I think. Congratulations on your new addition!
    (Could you tell us some time how he developed before “birth”?)

  9. Roses and Lilacs says:

    Oh, I love a romantic story with a happy ending.

    The offspring is a handsome lad/lassie indeed.

  10. Robin's Nesting Place says:

    Frances, you have a gift for story telling! Congratulations on the family addition!

  11. Gail says:

    Wanted to drop by again and see if you were having a good time in the garden? We have had marvelously cooler mornings…that have been very attractive to porch sitting. But the work in the garden is pressing! Are you having similar weather…those few hours away can sure make a difference!


  12. Gail says:


    I wrote the best comment earlier and either my computer or blogger disappeared it! ….I loved this post and the offspring that has been produced! This is proof positive of the magic that happens at Faire garden.


  13. Frances, says:

    Hi Gail, I think your brilliant post was the first one. You may have caught me while I was still reading them before publishing. There are three from you total, is that right? Thanks for the best wishes on our little Whimsy. We just love her to bits already. We had some cooler mornings this week and I was out weeding violets from the dianthus at daybreak each day. Talk about tedious, the dianthus has to be parted to find the violet bulb and it must be dug with the cobrahead, the perfect tool to get the whole thing. Backbreaking work, but it is looking good in the dianthus path. But the whole rest of the garden needs weeding too, the violets are staging a takeover. Glad you are getting some good porch time, I am driven to work in the cool morning rather than sit and relax. I do that more in the evening.

  14. Frances, says:

    Hi Crafty, nice to see you. I love family type stories too, hope this one wasn't too racy! Thanks for visiting.

    Hi Nancy J., thanks, glad you enjoyed it.

    Hi Linda, good one. HA We think Whimsy is a good mix of both parents, the sand mix material of her father and the features of her mother.

    Hi Rose, thanks, glad you liked the tale. If you are asking about how to make the leaf casting mix, look here:http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/accout/2002072754010311.html

    If you are asking about the gestation period, that one is unanswerable. ;->

    Hi Marnie, me too, glad you liked it. Little Whimsy is a sassy lassie, but not from Tallahassee.;->

  15. Frances, says:

    Hi Robin, sorry your response is out of order, that is a problem for me sometimes. And your comment was such a nice one too! Thanks so much, it took a little thinking of how to spotlight whimsy in the garden, and I wanted a story for the Bongo Congos and I usually have fun with cement about this time of year. It all fit together.

  16. Yolanda Elizabet says:

    And they say romance is dead! What a lovely story Frances, love is certainly in the air in the blogosphere this week. 😉

  17. Skeeter says:

    This story is great!
    Frances, You should consider writing a series of children’s book on the Family! It could open up little minds to the big world of Gardening, Travels, Fairies, etc…

    You have such a gift…

  18. Plantwoman says:

    I’m sure they will all live “happily ever after” in your lovely garden.

  19. Naturegirl says:

    What a wonderful presented Love story! These characters are a hoot!
    A lover of whimsy particularly secret fairies ..NG Nice to meet the gang in your garden!

  20. Frances, says:

    Hi YE, thanks, yes it must be the alignment of the planets…doctors, bongo congos, Wall E, love is in the air.

    Hi Skeeter, man you are good for my ego, thanks so much for the support.

    Hi Plantwoman, welcome and thanks for stopping by. You never know about happily ever after, there may be something pop up later on to cause a ripple in the happy force. ;->

    Hi Anna, thanks and welcome to our space. I see you are a big lover of fairies also. Nice to see you here.

  21. Titania says:

    Could I stop reading this newest romance…no way…I am so glad it had a happy ending!

  22. DP Nguyen says:

    LOL LOL !!!! HOW FUNNY!!! What a great story.

  23. Frances, says:

    Hi Titania, glad you found it entertaining. Thanks for dropping in.

    Hi DP, thanks, that is what we were going for.

  24. Bonnie says:

    What a great post. And I love all of the pieces.

  25. Eve says:

    I am just so invested in thier lives now. I can’t wait for the next installment.

    You did a fantastic job on those.

  26. Frances, says:

    Hi Bonnie, thanks.

    Hi Eve, that is so funny. I guess there may be more of them someday. Thanks for the support.

  27. Amy says:

    That was so funny Frances. Congratulations to the Bongo Congo family on their new addition. They’re lucky to have such a skilled midwife!

  28. Frances, says:

    Hi Amy, thanks for that, it was fun. It looks like there may be more adventures with the Bongo Congos some day, not too soon though. ;->

  29. Jean says:

    Oh my oh my!!! Does not get much better than this, as always. Congrats to all involved. What a world this would be if we all had a mind like yours!!

  30. Frances, says:

    Gosh Jean, I’m blushing. What a fantastic compliment, thanks so much. I’m glad you enjoyed the story, it was fun putting together.

  31. Philip Bewley says:

    Just delightful! I loved this.

  32. Frances, says:

    Hi Philip, thanks. So glad you enjoyed the story. Do drop by again.

  33. Mr. McGregor's Daughter says:

    Dang! I wish I hadn't read this before starting my whimsy post. You've set a very high standard with this one, which incorporated the theme in the writing & in the ornaments. Just too much fun. (I dread writing my banal "Whimsy in the Garden" post.) Little Whimsy is a great addition to your garden.

  34. Frances, says:

    Hi MMD, you are so funny, with your dangs. Your writing is hardly what could be called banal. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  35. lola says:

    Loved the story. Kept my attention to see what was amiss. Glad it turned out happy. The addition will enhance your garden especially when it gets old enough to go on it’s own way. A great mid-wife, but I really think the fairies had a hand in this adventure.

  36. Skeeter says:

    Frances, the Saint is taking me over the border into South Carolina to the Drive-in movies! Can you guess what movie we are going to see??? Wall-E.. he is indeed a Saint… I will let you know the report from him… LOL…

  37. Frances, says:

    Hi Lola, thanks. You may be right about those fairies, it was midsummer night's eve, the night for lovers. You were the only one to catch that, good detective work!

    Hi Skeeter, great news. He is indeed the saint! Hope you both enjoy it. I will wait for a review. ;->

  38. Pam/Digging says:

    How funny, Frances. I didn’t realize you guys made those faces. They look cute with the daisy chain tiaras.

  39. Frances, says:

    Hi Pam, welcome back from your exciting historical journey. Yes, the Bongo Congo family are one of a kind, birthed right here at the Faire Garden. We like to do some cement crafting in the summer under the deck, the studio. They had quite a night on midsummer night's eve with the fairies, there was a post on it June 24. ;-> Thanks for stopping by, I know you much be super busy after being gone.

  40. herself says:

    Those are wonderful!

  41. Frances, says:

    Hi Linda, thanks so much.

  42. Skeeter says:

    Movie was so cute! Two thumbs up from us! There were soooo many hidden messages within. Now I know why the plant in the boot for your posting! I am a bit slow as I did not figure that out until about half way through the movie! Duh…

    Saint and I enjoyed our little Drive-In date night! Sitting outside was nice too. No humidity and I even felt a chill. That is rare this time of year in the Deep South!

  43. The Garden Faerie says:

    LOL! Thanks for the garden whimsy–it’s certainly appreciated!
    ~ Monica

  44. Frances, says:

    Hi Skeeter, that’s great that you both enjoyed it and sat outside too. I cannot remember the last time I was at the drive in, so glad it was cool too. Sounds like a perfect date.

    Hi Monica, thanks so much. It is always nice to be appreciated.

  45. Lucy says:

    I’ve just put up a post about pictures from other people’s blogs which have especially stuck in my memory.

    Amongst these, I’ve mentioned your one of your grandson sitting thoughtfully by your pond.

    I can’t work out how to make links to photos on blogs in situ so I’m wondering if you would mind if I copied it onto my blog – together with a link to yours.

    I’d be grateful if you would let me know.


  46. Frances, says:

    Hi Lucy, thanks for the heads up on your post. I will go right over for a looksee. I don’t know how to link to photos either, but you are more than welcome to use any photos or text of mine with link and credit. That is one of my favorite photos, blog or non blog, also.

  47. Daisy K says:

    Thank was so much FUN!! What a great post!!
    I hope they all live happily ever after!!


  48. Frances, says:

    Hi Daisy, glad you liked it. There may be more episodes of the Bongo Congos in the future.

  49. WiseAcre says:

    Finally she took him home to meet her parent, a hypertufa trough rimmed with colored marbles.

    That’s where I lost my marbles laughing. I never got past the trough stage. I guess the cement might have been sterile.

    Looks like I missed a fun topic but I did catch that whimsy beat. I couldn’t help photographing some ‘watchers’ the other day. But I was only goofing off and suffering from heat sillies. The real whimsy was deciding I needed a rock or the garden I was working on just wouldn’t be right.

  50. Frances, says:

    Hi Wiseacre, so glad you were losing your marbles, too many marbles can be dangerous to your health. Don’t worry about the sterile cement, fairy magic is needed to cause the wonder of reproduction. We don’t really know how that works, but are happy to have little Whimsy. I will check out your rock.

  51. MrBrownThumb says:

    Great post.


  52. Frances, says:

    Hi Mr. BrownThumb, welcome and thanks.

  53. Robin Wedewer says:

    I can see someone has been having fun playing in the garden! It could be a regular series!

    Gardening Examiner

  54. Kim says:

    I’m sitting her chuckling (and enjoying your creations with envy). Thank you for a lovely love story that is fun, too. My best wishes to the happy family.

  55. Frances, says:

    Hi Kim, thanks for the chuckles, it is gratifying. Glad you enjoyed it and I will pass along your wishes to the family.

  56. Frances, says:

    Hi Robin, I may have forgotten to pass on a hearty well done in your new job. We are so proud of you! The Bongo Congo family is full of stories that may some day be shared. We shall see. Thanks for stopping by.

  57. The Giraffe Head Tree says:

    Ya can’t find a more fun blog than yours, Frances! Thanks for a weekend of whimsy.

  58. brokenbeat says:

    every time i look at bongo congo’s face i smile. his visage suits any scene. i’m glad to know that whimsy has her father’s eyes. while commenting, i’m still laughing. much love.

  59. Frances, says:

    Oh how sweet Deb, thanks so much.

    Hi Brokenbeat, Mr. Bongo Congo has quite the expression on his face, sort of startled. He is supposed to be menacing, but I guess I can’t do menacing. Glad you liked it. love.

  60. Gail says:


    Hello…how was your weekend? Lots of hose dragging around here…and I dream of rain! Rain dancing starts at sundown!


  61. Pam says:

    Great post! I loved it!

  62. Frances, says:

    Hi Gail, let’s all dream of rain, maybe it will bring us some!

    Hi Pam, thanks and welcome. I really enjoyed your lyrical posts.

  63. semi says:

    What a great story! Leaves us wanting more BC adventures. The new addition is so sweet. They will have a wonderful life in the Faire Garden! Lu loved them also. Love semi

  64. Frances, says:

    Hi Semi, yes LTB was entranced with the Bongo Congo family, even wanting to do their portrait in chalk on the driveway. It seems the reading public might enjoy more adventures of this little family. Maybe later. Thanks for joining in. love.

  65. Katarina i Kullavik says:

    That’s a great story, Frances – very amusing! I’ve been sitting here, reading your post, with a great big smile!

  66. Frances, says:

    Hi Katarina, thanks for the support, it is very much appreciated. Glad you liked it.

  67. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Oh you funny creative lady. I sat here smiling through your entire post.

  68. Frances, says:

    Hi Lisa, thanks so much. Smiles are welcome here.

  69. Christopher C. NC says:

    Fabulous story and pictures Frances. I know what it is like to move things around for picture taking and story telling. Indeed this is a high standard for the Whimsy workshop.

    I think my Clematis stans are the Eryngium ‘Miss Wilmot’s Ghost’, they are getting spiny and I have a bunch!

    Loved the metal spider web.

  70. Frances, says:

    Thanks Christopher. Good deal about Miss Wilmott. That is my favorite eryngium, I was able to grow one, one time. Since it is a biennial it died and left no progeny. The flower head is so much larger, I may give it another try. Did you buy a packet of seeds or are they leftovers from bulbarella?

  71. Christopher C. NC says:

    Miss Willmott’s Ghost (correct spelling now from the packet) seeds came from the mystery gardener in San Francisco. The packet says it is a perennial, Eryngium giganteum.

  72. Frances, says:

    Hi again Christopher, you are so funny. I consider Miss Willmott the epitome of eryngiums. Please save me some seeds and I will collect some from my alpinums, also babies. Deal?

  73. lisa says:

    This was a very entertaining and well-written post! Great job!!

  74. Cindy says:

    Congrats to the Bongo Congo family on the latest addition. I thoroughly enjoyed your rendition of their history and the birth!
    Thanks for the smiles.

  75. Frances, says:

    Hi Lisa, nice to see you and thanks.

    Hi Cindy, That is a high compliment, thanks. The pleasure was mine.

  76. heirloomgardener says:

    Wow. I have no faces in the garden and you make me want to go out and get some.

  77. Frances, says:

    Hi Heirloom, thanks for stopping by. There are a lot of fantastic faces available that can withstand the elements. Have fun picking some out!

  78. Nan Ondra says:

    Oh my, oh my. ::Nan falls under her desk:: Frances, I hardly know what to say; this was just *too* funny. You had me from the line “her sand has broken”. I can’t thank you enough for sharing this, even though my stomach hurts now from laughing. That’ll pass and be forgotten, but I sure won’t forget the saga of the Bongo Congos!

  79. Frances, says:

    Hi Nan, thanks, this was really the most fun to put together. It seems the call is for more about the Bongo Congo family, so in a few months, maybe the dead of winter, we will bring people up to date on their doings. Glad you enjoyed it. ;->

  80. Salix Tree says:

    What a sweet story, and such lovely characters! Whimsy is a perfect name for the new arrival. This story had me smiling all the way through.

  81. Frances, says:

    Hi Salix Tree, thanks. It makes me happy to bring a smile, thanks for that.

  82. commonweeder says:

    What a delightful posting! All kinds of birth in the garden. And inspiration. I keep thinking about hypertufa. Maybe now ….

    Hi Pat, thanks. It is one of my favorites. Hypertufa is too fun and so easy to make. Do give it a try!

  83. Ibrahim says:

    Ok ok Frances now I know better. Mr Congo looks better than the Mrs. At least he seems to be smiling.

    Very funny & amusing post. Still I request you please change your profile picture 🙂

    All the best & thanks again Frances.

    Thanks for reading, Ibrahim. I am shocked that you think Mister better looking than Missus, after all, she is modeled on yours truly. My avatar will remain as is, as it has been since the blog began in December 2007. But I respect your opinion. 🙂

  84. Kathy says:

    Gosh, I missed this the first time around. Glad you linked to it.

    Thanks Kathy. It is one of my favorites. 🙂

  85. Pingback: The Midsummer’s Night Conception « Fairegarden

  86. commonweeder says:

    What a wonderful post. And inspiring. I love the idea of whimsey in the garden – and hyper tufa.

  87. Elizabeth McLeod says:

    Here’s to the simple, natural and peaceful life. This story is whimsical and fun. Please send more……let us know what their daughter gets up to? Whimsy..flowers…fairies…..can we all play with you in Fairgarden?

  88. Pingback: How To Make Leaf Castings « Fairegarden

  89. Pingback: Moss, Lichen And Fungi « Fairegarden

  90. Tracy says:

    I loved your garden story i thought right away how wonderful it would be if you turned it into a childrens book, i would buy it in a 2nd for my kiddos! Hope there is a demo/instruction demo story how to make your Mister, Whimsy and Congo Bongo, love to make one.
    Costa Mesa, CA
    Tracy Bantel

    Hi Tracy, thanks so much for those kind words. The Bongo Congo family was done free hand, Mister and Whimsy made from leaf casting mix, the lady of the house made from hypertufa. How to mix these can be found in the sidebar How To category. Think of it like working with modeling clay, start with a flat round, add features and hair, then let it cure well. Good luck!

  91. Jackie says:

    Oh, the treasure I have just found! Thank you for sharing it all with the rest of us…it has stirred my imagination and may just get me through a roller coaster winter in Kansas.

    I, too, would buy it in book form!

    Thanks, Jackie, and welcome! I appreciate your kind words, and understand the crazy winter we are having. Tornado warnings at the end of December!

  92. Pingback: Mother « Fairegarden

  93. Pingback: How To Stop Voles-The Wall Project « Fairegarden

Comments are closed.