Blogdom Reality Show

Things have been rather busy around the Faire Garden and beyond lately, as in the last seven days or so. There have been miles added to the odometers of vehicles and suitcases not to mention plants lugged hither and yon. There have been face to face, not just virtual hugs and garden hikes that required physical stamina, not to mention so much talking that throats become dry and parched, like the soil of said gardens. From the above photo can you guess where this traveling reality show went first? The plant is Angelica gigas, one of several self sown wonders in the mountainside garden of
Christopher C. of Outside Clyde .

While this shot does not qualify for my search for the Holy Grail of nature photography, the clear and focused hummingbird picture, this feeder on the porch of the resident gardeners outside Clyde, North Carolina, was drawing more of the little birds than I have ever seen at one time. We were talking and quite close, but these were some hungry feathered friends and were not bashful.

The terrifying Uncle Ernie was much larger than this photo shows, he towers over the veggie bed by the scenic roadside and strikes fear in the hearts of raccoons, it is hoped.

Onward to Asheville for the paper signing to finalize the ownership of the best ice cream shop ever, The Hop. Located at 640 Merrimon, suite 103 in beautiful Asheville, as mentioned in our one and only ad on the sidebar of this blog, we are joint owners with offspring Brokenbeat and his wife. Do stop by if you are in the area and partake to your stomach’s delight.

Can you tell where our next stop has taken this traveling blog show? Does the pig with sunglasses stir any memories of whimsical posts? Do notice the two pairs of gardening shoes, one belonging to the guest garden worker. Can you guess which ones are whose?

Located on a cedar glade, (that should be a giveaway), in an older neighborhood with mature trees and lots of character in a city that is a state capital as well as a center of music of a certain twangy flavor, the perfect hostess
Gail of Clay and Limestone took very good care of a weary vagabond.

Her garden was a shady oasis on hot summery days with lots of wildlife abounding, including squirrels taking target practice with half eaten Shagbark hickory nuts on the unsuspecting weed pulling plant movers below. Where was that hardhat?

A diner on the parsley was even discovered chomping happily.

There was art galore, inside and out to admire and inquire about. Our hostess confessed to making this striking stained glass herself. A light behind it illuminates the reds and blues at night and lends an air of the divine as tea was sipped on the breezy front porch. Ahhhh.

Every room was adorned with wonderful and special one of a kind pieces. This neon Saturn helped one see to brush their teeth in the guest bathroom.

Of course plants were given and received at each stop with a wary thanks expressed by all parties. This Echinacea tennesseensis ‘Rocky Top’ will be given a good home in the Faire Garden along with many other wonderful gifts from both Christopher and Gail. We will do our best to give them loving and appropriate care for optimum growth and vitality.

A final blog themed event, in addition to an offspring of offspring’s birthday party in between the East West travelogue was a meet up with several Tennessee bloggers for a first time meeting for some, and revisit for others. The rare faces photo shown above includes Tina from
In The Garden , Dave from The Home Garden , Donna from
Mother Nature’s Garden and DP from
Square Foot Gardening In Nashville in addition to Gail and the cutest little almost three year old blogger in training ever. Many thanks to Tina and her friend Geri for this nice photo.

We do hope to get back into our own garden to plant our new purchases and gifts soon. The bed will feel comfortable and familiar tonight as we nestle into the imprint our body has diligently carved into the mattress, giving us a good rest for the getting back to normal routine that always accompanies a trip away. Many thanks to all and we do hope to see you again soon!
(The pink shoes are ours.)

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30 Responses to Blogdom Reality Show

  1. Pam/Digging says:

    A Summer Fling! What fun that must have been. It’s so nice to see all those Tennessee bloggers in that last photo. Thanks for the peek into Christopher’s and Gail’s beautiful gardens—and homes.

  2. Piondröm says:

    It is so fun to meat other bloggers,we have thise summer here in Sweden have some meating who has been a great success.
    Now we can relax and look back to a wonderfoul summer whith a lot of new friends.
    Best regards Ken

  3. Yolanda Elizabet says:

    This looks and reads as a lot of fun Frances! Isn’t it wonderful that through the internet we find and sometimes get to meet for real more (garden)friends?

    Love that pic of the hummingbirds; I have hummingbird envy now. 😉

    That stained glass looks really great, well done Gail! And of course those pink shoes were yours Frances, I’d have been very surprised if they hadn’t been. 😉

    It’s good to see the smiling faces of quite a few fellow garden bloggers! Are you going to make an annual event of this Tennessee Summer Fling?

  4. Frances, says:

    Hi Pam, Gail said that you almost stopped by her place, next time you are going that way insist on visiting for it is a real treat. And Christopher's spot is pure heaven. Thanks for dropping by, I know I have not posted in a while, but there is a good excuse. ;->

    Hi Ken, what a wonderful way to meet new friends, it is so true. You already know that you have so much in common, they are not strangers!

    Hi YE, thanks for the encouraging words. I haven't written in a while and felt a little rusty. ;-> We have discovered some more TN bloggers and will have to plan something. Gail will be coming to my place this fall too. We are trying to give Austin a run for its blogger numbers, even if we have to use the whole state!

  5. Meems says:

    Frances, I have blogger-meet-up envy. It sounds so adventurous and exciting to have face to face time with folks we only know by photos and text. Kind of like meeting a longtime pen pal of sorts… only a garden tour included. I’m determined to make it to Gail’s lovely garden someday when I visit my sister who lives nearby… I knew it was hers as soon as I saw the front door greeter.

    Congrats on your new ownership. Sounds like a great venture. I wish you the best. Is it a start up business or did you buy an existing store?

    Why is it that in N.C. the hummingbirds are never afraid of the feeders or people? I’ve never been around a feeder there that they weren’t all over it. They are just so fun to watch.

    Very fun post, Frances.

  6. tina says:

    Very nicely done! It was fun meeting up with everyone and I think that picture came out great! I’ll tell Geri you said thanks. I am doing my post tomorrow as today is a birthday day. Gail’s garden looks so nice! I hope to tour it next month and congrats on your new icecream store.

  7. Rose says:

    What a fun trip, Frances! Your own mini-Summer Fling!How wonderful it must have been to meet up with some good blogging friends and visit their gardens in person. And I am so envious you got one of Gail’s echinacea tennesseenis:)

    Frances, You have indeed found the Holy Grail in my opinion. Three hummingbirds in one picture?–That’s an Olympic accomplishment!
    By the way, I’ve been using that term to describe the elusive hummingbird photo ever since you coined it in a comment one day:)

  8. ourfriendben says:

    Fantastic, Frances! We have passed The Hop many times during our trips to Asheville. Next time we’re there, we will definitely make a point of stopping in!

  9. Dave says:


    We enjoyed meeting you face to face! It good to put a person behind the computer screen. Congratulations on the ice cream shop, I wish we lived closer to Asheville so we might partake. I do hope to head out that way sometime in the next couple of years or so for a vacation. Let us know next time you’re coming to Mid TN and maybe the TN garden bloggers can have a cook out or something.

  10. Gail says:

    Frances, what can I say…you did our visit proud! I had the best time talking, laughing and working with you! The plants are all doing fine…and it looks like rain…maybe the wish helped.

    Wasn’t it fun to surprise the TN bloggers!

    The photo of Christopher’s flowering Angelica covered with bees is fantastic! You know Uncle Ernie or one of his close relatives could be quite at home here at Clay and Limestone! But Frances, the photo of all photos, the Holy Grail of photos is the hummingbird shot! Enlarged it is truly awesome!

    I had icecream (mint chocolate chip) for dinner Wednesday!


  11. Perennial Garden Lover says:

    How nice that you all were able to get together & catch up. It's nice that the Tennessee Bloggers have these meetings. I have never met anyone else in my area. 🙂 Great post Frances. Gail has a beautiful garden!

  12. Roses and Lilacs says:

    It’s great you have several bloggers concentrated there in TN. Frances, thank your for sharing that photo with us.

  13. Frances, says:

    Hi Meems, thanks so much. After Austin, meeting other bloggers is always anticipated with eagerness, they are all wonderful. I would love to meet you too, if you come to Gail's I think you go by my place on the way, do stop in! The hummers are getting more friendly here in TN. After seeing Christopher's feeder I bought a cheapo one and put in on the deck. We have two regulars now, I hope for more but am happy with the two. As I changed the sugar water today he tried to eat while I was carrying the feeder! The Hop was an established business that our daughter in law had been managing for a couple of years. When we learned it was for sale, we went to work on making the deal that was finally sealed last week.

    Hi Tina, thanks. Wasn't that great? We do need to get together more often, but the drive was tiring going home, I was exhausted and worthless for the rest of the day. (More with that tired thing!)

    Hi Rose, thanks. The echinacea was one Gail had purchased, we didn't dare dig one with the ground so dry. The hummer picture doesn't count because it wasn't from my garden, and not quite as focused as the vision. My camera may not be capable of what I want. Maybe I need a new camera! LOL

    Hi Ellen, thanks and hooray, a customer! Do stop in, you know they moved up the street from the original location, don't you?

    Hi Dave, you are so right, it was wonderful. And a cookout sounds great. Thanks for bringing your lovely family, they were the hit of the meeting!

    Dear Gail, thanks again for such a fun filled visit. Staying with you was the best and we did have lots to talk about, didn't we? ;-> See my reply to Rose about the hummer pic, I think I can get a better close up here now that I put a feeder up. Feel free to eat my ice cream!

    Hi PG, thanks, it was so fun and Gail's place was so full of art, you hardly knew where to look. She has a story for each piece and tells it in a compelling manner. I would think you have some bloggers around you, have you tried the Blotanical search using the map? Not everyone is on Blotanical, but lots are.

  14. Gail says:

    ps Frances, I wanted to thank you again for visiting! I loved having you here and the garden loved having you here!


  15. marmee says:

    love the fact you and fellow bloggers have met and shared your gardens.
    it looks as if it was a good time had by all.

  16. Skeeter says:

    I am starting to see double and triple now. Wonder if my cats put something in the water bottle this morning? I think I have seen these faces already somewhere else today… lol… I do wish I had been there with you all as it sounded like so much fun meeting up….

    I really do like the picture of so many bees busy at work! And I do think you have the Holy Grail there Frances! I never get that many hummers on the feeders together as they all seem to fight it out at our feeders. We have a total of 3 feeders with one away from the other two but they still duke it out with so much liquid around! We are thinking of adding an additional feeder to the front of the house then maybe we could have a bit more peace amongst our little flying jewels…

    We plan to get up to Biltmore at some point so we will stop by for a dip of creamy delight while there! Yum…

    Great pictures and great story of wonderful bloggers….

  17. Christopher C. NC says:

    Frances I am still in awe of how this blogging stuff leads to the reality of meeting so many truly wonderful people. Your traveling ways give you an advantage.

    I will be sure to stop in at the Hop when I go to Asheville sometime. Reems Creek Nursery is in that direction and I haven’t been there yet.

    Nice pig Gail! I loved her stained glass and her garden looked scrumptious. I was like ooohh, I could use that stained glass. Of course stained glass did enter my mind for a window in the cozy cabin somewhere, but it seemed to much work to find the perfect piece that had good thermal properties.

  18. DP Nguyen says:

    It was so wonderful and fun to meet you! Our picture did come out nice, and I loved that our gardener-in-training was holding my hand.

    Your trip sounded fun and relaxing. I am sure the fairies missed you! I love the picture of the hummingbird!

  19. Jean says:

    I am so green with envy but am so happy you all had such a great time. What a life this cyber world has given us all, even us that do not get to meet in person!!

  20. Frances, says:

    Hi Marnie, thanks, we have even more TN bloggers showing up in comments too, it is contagious!

    Hi Marmee, thanks and welcome. Next time there is a get together we will make sure you know about it!

    Hi Skeeter, you would have enjoyed our little meet up. I would love to meet you and know that will happen someday. The hummer photo was taken by me but was not in my garden. I am getting regular customers to my feeder now and need to set up the tripod one of these days. Christopher had abour twenty birds at his feeder, they did fight some, but there were always several that were partaking of the sugary water. Very easy to snap them that way. Hope you enjoy your ice cream and be sure to mention Faire Garden for that free cone!

    Hi Christopher, first off, congrats on the successful lift up and placement of your roofs. Wish I could have seen it, the photos and your narrative made it seem surreal. The friends we have made and met in person, and the many more waiting out there in the blogdom boggles the mind. For a bunch of introverts, we sure are meeting people with no qualms about or worries. Everyone is so nice! Do stop in for that free cone and have fun at Rheems Creek. Their prices are good and so is the selection. I was thinking about how I need another piece of stained glass too. When we moved to Houston I had three large windows made for privacy by a lady in Kingsport that I knew and brought them to Texas with us. They were placed inside the thermal windows so they didn’t need to be thermal. They were held in place with quarter round. I sold them with that house since they were custom for it. I had one made for the current house by the same lady, an octagonal window in the bathroom. There was a paper with the outline of the window on it that came with the window. Gail’s window is incredible. Your Uncle Ernie is to her taste too. Gail, do you do commissions?

  21. Mr. McGregor's Daughter says:

    I'm guessing the red clogs are yours. It sounds like you & Gail had a great time, despite the bratty squirrels. My childhood dream was having my own icecream parlor (where I could eat as much as I wanted), congrats on owning part of one. How fun to get together with the TN garden bloggers!

  22. Siria says:

    Hi Frances! I had been checking yours site for a new post and beginning to think you posted once a week. 🙂 Now I know you were out having fun in others gardens! Your trip sounded like a lot of fun and I am sure that it was very interesting to see OutsideClyde in a different season than on your last visit. It is an amazing place! I love Gail’s garden photos, but especially the pig with those sunglasses. And…somehow I knew yours were the pink gardening shoes. I noticed your ad for The Hop on your blog, and now I know the background of it…I will have to get there on my next trip to Asheville. Good luck on this new venture! I really enjoy reading your blog!

  23. Frances, says:

    Hi DP, Tina’s photo was much better than the ones on my camera and I especially liked little Grace holding your hand also. It was so sweet. Wasn’t that so much fun? We will have to get together more often.

    Hi Jean, hope you are having a happy birthday. Meeting people in person that we have so much in common with is so easy and natural. We always hit it off immediately and have so much to chatter on about the time passes way too quickly.

    Hi MMD, thanks we did have a wonderful few days. We are going back to Asheville for the grand opening under new ownership and celebrating The Hop’s thirtieth year in business. I haven’t had any of the ice cream there in a while, we were always too busy with other things. Now I think a hot fudge sundae is in order, don’t you? Whenever you come to Asheville, you can eat as much as you want!

    Hi Siria, your comments warm my heart. Thanks so much. I am behind on my posting due to so much traveling, which takes its toll on my time to work in the garden too. Christopher’s place is another world on that mountain, as you know. I am so happy his roof went on without a hitch, wasn’t he happy today? Hope you enjoy some great homemade ice cream on your next visit. Thanks for your support, it means a lot to me.

  24. Barbee' says:

    Delightful post! I played like I was traveling right along with you. Good fun!

  25. Annie in Austin says:

    I shouldn’t be too green with envy but I am! You go on the best darned trips, Frances – if I ever get to travel some day your trip would make a good template, right down to the Ice Cream Shoppe. Thank you for the great photos of a super vacation.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  26. Frances, says:

    Hi again, Gail. You were the best hostess ever. I will thank YOU more.

    Hi Barbee, thanks so much for traveling along and glad you enjoyed the trip.

    Hi Annie, thanks for making me smile. I would love to have you as a traveling companion, never a dull moment or word. Ice cream is always a good stop while traveling.

  27. garden girl says:

    Hi Frances, it sounds like a wonderful kind of busy. Congratulations on the new business venture. How exciting, and how fun to share ownership with your offspring in an ice cream shop.

    I’m pea green with envy over your meet up. It sounds like a wonderful, memorable time was had by all.

  28. Frances, says:

    Hi Linda, thanks for stopping by. I have been super busy and while I ascribe to the school of busy is best am feeling very behind at home. Things are going to slow down in the travel department so the house and garden can get some much needed attention. And there are more pickles to make!!!

  29. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    What fun! Thanks for sharing your Mini-Fling with us.

  30. Frances, says:

    Hi Lisa, thanks and a big welcome back!

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