Scrappy* Blogaversary


Today, the second birthday of Fairegarden the blog, we invite you, dear readers to join us in a stroll down memory lane. (Yes, we had a little snow recently. More to come about that later.)

Anniversaries and birthdays always bring about feelings of nostalgia and thoughts of the past. Let us travel in the time machine back to 1976 northeast Pennsylvania, when we bought our very first home. Renters for many years, the above house was really ours, all ours, and our first patch of earth to have and to hold and to plant. The photo shows our oldest child, Chickenpoet on her tricycle at the age of three and one half in the spring on 1978. There was a vegetable garden out back along with a couple of apple trees. A rose garden was also back there, tilled up from the sod at the same time as the veggie bed by a fellow who charged five dollars to do both. The photo quality is poor on all of these shots as they were scanned from old snapshots, but perhaps you can make out the soldier straight row of gladioli in front of the metal railings between the bun shaped yews that came with the property. Originally there were three buns along the railing, but in a bold move we dug one out to make room for flowers.


We lived in the Pennsylvania house for eleven happy years, birthing a total of four children while living in the three bedroom one bath home. In 1985 The Financier’s job transfer took us to southern California. While waiting for the closing on the home there, we traveled to visit friends who lived in the San Francisco area. We went to an overlook of the Golden Gate Bridge as part of the tour. The two children of our friends are flanking turquoise sweatshirted Semi while Gardoctor and Brokenbeat, the youngest, are to the side. Chickenpoet refused to be in the photo, she still is somewhat ornery about having her picture taken. We lived in California for three years. While scanning these old photos, two were sometimes scanned at once to save time. The lower half of this duo is from our garden in northeast Tennessee. We lived there for nine years. After Brokenbeat entered first grade I was suddenly home alone with time on my hands. As I told a friend, I could now read a magazine from cover to cover in one go. Gardening was attacked with gusto, learning all that could be gleaned from books and magazines. We had one acre of wooded land, it was paradise.


While still living in the northeast Tennessee home, we purchased a small house in southeast Tennessee, the same one where we now live. Daughters Chickenpoet and Semi were to live in the new house while attending college and we would have a place to stay when we visited them, about two and one half hours from our home. The arbor was built for the newly planted rose that later came to be known as Killer, Rosa ‘Alberic Barbier’.


Planting was done at the smaller house after several dying trees were removed from the property. There was a steep slope behind the house, very steep. When we had the back fenced, to offer some privacy for the bikini clad, we hope, sunbathing girls, we were quite surprised to find that the hill was also part of our land, a total shock. Here is the view from the top looking down on the back of the house with the new fence.


This is the scary view of the slope, after it had been mowed as far up as we were able to push the mower. Men with chainsaws had been hired to clear the hill, but they had left the site before finishing when stung by wasps who were living in some old fruit trees. Chickenpoet gave them the check I had left for her to pay them the agreed upon price and they never returned. The fact that a photo was even taken of the hill is astonishing, it was neighbor Mae who suggested it as a before picture. The wooden fence was on the flat area, chain link was used to go up and around the slope.


A year after buying the second house, yet another job transfer took us to southwest Texas. We lived there for three years in our first brand new construction house. The back yard, which was laughingly called *oversize* was a blank slate. Or as blank as a slate can be with hundreds of pine trees on it. The homes were built with sensitivity to the trees in the development, it was up to the homeowners to clean it up or hire it done. We had a watering system installed and the whole thing mulched. Paths were laid out and beds created. A foray into furniture and garden structure building took up much of our gardening activity, thanks to the knowledge of Gardoctor, who was in high school along with Brokenbeat. The girls remained in Tennessee. The photo shows the last thing we built before moving back to Tennessee, an orchid tea house. The bottom shot is of the newly cleared, terraced and planted hill after the final move back to Tennessee, three years after leaving to go to Texas. The shed was moved to the top of the slope and the steps were installed. If you look closely at the poor photo, you can see that the long block wall at the bottom has yet to be built. But the plants were in, always a priority.


A couple of years later, and many dollars lighter in the bank account, the renovation of the main house is complete. The rose Killer has regrown after being cut to the ground when the house was resided, a new metal roof put on covering the front stoop and painted.

Regular readers, (a big kiss and hug for you all!) have heard mention of the house next door that was purchased, knocked down and the garage built. We did move into the little house while the renovation was being completed. Seen above is the demolition and new garage. The driveway paving came later as our finances had to be rebuilt, once again. I am standing on the steps, all in denim talking to the contractor. Never to wear that ensemble again after seeing the photo. Neighbor Mae took this series of pictures. Her son built the garage and the addition that combined the main house to the garage a few years later, when finances regrew.

~~~

*Ricki of Sprig To Twig tagged me for the Honest Scrap Award.
I do appreciate this honor, although we never follow the rules of these awards. While I have provided a link to Ricki, there will be no praising of the award nor will it be passed on in the normal sense. If anyone reading this would like to be awarded and write a post about themselves, consider it yours and have at it. The award will go into our trophy case on the awards page which can be clicked on our sidebar listing of pages. As if the above life story that has been illustrated is not enough, here are a couple more things that might interest you, or not.


While we still were living in Texas, we became grandparents. When Chickenpoet told us she was with child, I literally fainted, falling down to the floor with the telephone still being grasped. I was present for the birth of MA, a happy day indeed. The Financier was informed that we had to move back to Tennessee. Period. He made it happen, for which I am eternally grateful. Upon becoming a grandmother, it seemed like a good idea to get a tattoo. Don’t ask how this reasoning occurred, but suffice it to say that on a visit back to Tennessee, there were many many trips made in the gas guzzler from Texas, by myself, driving all in one day, fourteen hours to the small house where Semi now lived with various roommates, sixteen hours to Chickenpoet’s house in northeast Tennessee, could this sentence get any longer? yes it can, Semi talked me into going to a Tattoo parlor in Chattanooga. You see, she had a coupon. The look on my face says it all. And yes, it hurt like crap, excuse my language.

One more little item before we close.


I am from Oklahoma, Tulsa to be exact. Near my parents house was a wonderful city park full of plantings, paths and rock structures, including this grotto over a fish pond. I would spend many an hour climbing and playing at this park, even after growing older. I was fourteen at the time of this snapshot, taken by my girlfriend and partner in crime, Amy. We were in middle school and the teacher of Social Studies, do they still have that class? was a young fellow, just out of college. We used to hang around after school and beg him for rides in his fancy car, I believe it was a new GTO but could be mistaken. Added: the car was a Chevy Supersport, with little fancy criss cross flags on the back. It was a nice car and he was willing to give us a ride, on one condition. He had a large wooden paddle, used daily on rowdy students, always boys, giving them swats at the front of the class. It had holes drilled in it, for extra pain. He told Amy and me, or maybe it was our idea, that if he swatted each of us he would then give us a ride home in his car. And don’t tell anyone. Well I am now telling. He did not hold back with that paddle either and it hurt. Worth the car ride? No way. We never did anything like that again, but his class was the only F that I ever received. Of course it was turned into an A with a couple of artistic pen marks before my parents saw it. There are lots of paths that can be taken from this confession. I suggest we not follow them but will leave you with one little tidbit more. When this teacher would call on me in class, he would say “Lolita, er Frances”. At the time I had not read that bit of prose, or seen the movie if it had even been made yet, but knew the gist of it. Don’t ask.

Just a little scrap.

Frances

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77 Responses to Scrappy* Blogaversary

  1. James A-S says:

    What a fabulous post, thank you.
    Lots of gardens, plenty of story and a touch of flummery:perfect.
    Nice tattoo: I have a bumblebee where you have a butterfly.

    Thank you for those kind words, James. Isn’t there also a snake on your leg? What other secret works of art does your gallery hold? Flummery, must look that up. Oatmeal pudding? HA πŸ™‚
    Frances

  2. Sylvia (England) says:

    Frances, so kind of you to scan the old photos. It is lovely to see your gardens past and present. Great to see the old house you knocked down, after reading about it so often. The snow looks pretty – hope it doesn’t last long!

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

    Thank you Sylvia. You have been a loyal reader and friend, very much appreciated. I have been wanting to show the before pictures for a while now but they are all on hard copies and scanning is a giant pain. I should have taken photos of them with the digital camera instead. Now she thinks of that. The snow was gorgeous and gone in the same day. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  3. lynn says:

    First of all, Frances, I want to thank you for taking the time and energy to put this post together…hope you put those wonderful pics back in the correct order in the photo album πŸ˜‰
    2nd…Happy Two-Year Blogaversary to you! I so enjoy reading your posts…this one, definitely a favorite πŸ˜‰

    All the moves, driving back and forth (what a trooper!), your ‘first’ garden…etc..fun to read!

    Third…and now you are my hero…a tattoo!!! I’ve been wanting a tatt for a while now (daylily, of course!) but haven’t worked up the courage…worth it? Maybe I should wait ’til I become a grandma too…lol!

    4th..love the ‘honest scraps’ tidbit! Next report card, I’m gonna look REAL close at those straight A’s my daughter gets…lol! Sweet and innocent we were at age 14 but I gotta say that pose on the rock…you look like a lotita *wink*!!

    Fifth…I could go on and on but you’re probably nodding off now…..

    Lynn πŸ˜‰

    Thank you Lynn, no nodding with those kind words! You are funny about putting the photos back! Knowing full well that the albums were laid out open to the correct spot to immediately replace them. All of that driving, by myself, but the motivation of the first grandbaby was very powerful. I could have climbed the highest mountain, and I am afraid of heights! The tattoo was worth it. I love it, it makes me feel….daring, do it. As for the old stories, good thing my parents were oblivious, or at least I think hope they were. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  4. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I have always wanted a tatoo but when I heard it was painful I never followed through. Ha… You have been busy in your life Frances.

    Hi Lisa, thanks for your loyal readership, you have been with me since the beginning and I do appreciate you. Get the tattoo! If you are good at focusing on something else, I was told to read a magazine and all they had of interest was Psychology Today!, you will be fine. As soon as they are done, it does not hurt. I would do it again, and may someday get another one, on my foot I think. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  5. Frances, Happy Blogaversary, I hope that there is many, many in your future.
    So excited to see all the old photos, I love seeing before and afters. I have been wanting to post mine, but I did not get a digital camera until May of this year and have been asking my friends to see who has a scanner. Great idea taking them with a camera. Of course, now I have no excuse not to do it. lol
    And by the way, you have great legs!!!

    Thank you so much Deborah, you have been very kind and supportive and I do appreciate you. It is a thousand times easier to take a photo of the old pictures rather than scan them. I don’t know why that fact escaped my cerebrum when doing this post. Thank you about the legs too. They were always my best asset. I think they got me my first promotion, in the era of micro mini skirts. HA πŸ™‚
    Frances

  6. Joy says:

    Frances .. I am still laughing about the paddle plot ? LOL
    I love before and after pictures … and the story lines were great. Happy blogiversary girl !

    Hi Joy, thanks so much. The paddle incident, how stupid were we! Glad you got a laugh from it, and glad too for your support. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  7. Daphne says:

    Happy blogoversary. I loved your history lesson.

    Thanks for that, Daphne. I appreciate getting to know you better through blogging. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  8. Happy blogoversary Frances. I have always took inspiration from your cute cute blog. keep blogging.

    How sweet, Muhammad, thanks so much. I do plan to continue blogging, I love doing it and the comments are a huge part of what I love. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  9. Happy blogoverary Frances. I, too, got a tattoo when I became a grandmother – Tinkerbell on my right hip. Somehow doing something so youthful helped with the transition. Loved your retrospective

    Thanks Heather. Tinkerbell is too cool! Your rationale makes perfect sense too. We are still young, even though we are grandmothers. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  10. mothernaturesgarden says:

    I love to read of your adventuresome ways, Frances. My ears aren’t even pierced. We do however share a gardener’s heart and I feel fortunate indeed that you share yours. Happy Blogiversary.

    Thanks Donna. We do share that love of gardening, something that can bring even the most diverse people together in a communal endeavor. I don’t know what I would do without the four holes in my ears, three on one side, one on the other, they make me feel young. HA πŸ™‚
    Frances

  11. Nicole says:

    What a fab post-so great that you had all those photos, albeit blurry, to tell the tale, That last photo (what great long legs!) and last story was a blast.

    Thanks Nicole. I had to search to find the photos in the albums but should have taken photos of them rather than scanned them. Duh. Glad you enjoyed the last tale, we were really not smart in our youth. I am fairly short in stature, but my legs do look long in that shot. What was I thinking? HA πŸ™‚
    Frances

  12. Rose says:

    Happy Blogaversary, Frances! I feel as though I’ve spent the morning sitting at your kitchen table with a cup of coffee, just chatting away. No, I’m not referring to the length of this post, but to all the information you have packed here. It was great to see your gardening journey from those early days to now, and I appreciate all the time it must have taken to find and scan all these old photos. I enjoyed seeing the little house next door that is no longer there–I always wondered about it. (I couldn’t enlarge the photo of the one, so the denim outfit looks fine.)

    I appreciate your willingness to bare all here, including your tatoo. Your openness is one of the things that makes this blog such a delight to read. I have to admit I briefly considered a tatoo one time–a rose, of course. But I’m glad I didn’t; I am not the skinny thing I once was, and that rose would now be the size of a dinner-plate dahlia:)

    I do hope the teacher described in your final paragraph moved on to another occupation. He’s the type that give the rest of us a bad name; I think you might be lucky that you escaped with nothing more than a hard swat. But it does remind me of some of the escapades Beckie and I had back in middle and high school–not sure I would ever want to be that young and naive again:)

    The snow is starting to fall here…hope you have a great week, Frances!

    Thanks dear Rose. This post began with trying to find the pictures taken by my neighbor Mae when the house next door was torn down. I am so grateful she thought to take them when it didn’t even occur to me. I had other things on my mind. The photos do not enlarge, but would look better if they had been photographed instead of scanned. Choosing the right spot for a tattoo is very important. Feet are good. That teacher was a jerk, I too hope he found another calling. I bet you and Beckie had some interesting times, middle schoolers are somewhat lacking in judgment. HA πŸ™‚
    Frances

  13. It was neat to see all the photos of your house’s transformation and your previous homes. Where was it in Northeast TN you used to live? I was in Johnson City during high school. Congrats on your blogaversary!

    Thanks Dave. I don’t like to reveal the exact locations of where we live now or even used to live. It was in the Tri Cities however. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  14. Can’t believe it’s already been two years, Frances! That’s just awesome, and every post is as fresh and interesting as the previous one. I hope you never lose your enthusiasm, and I look forward to many more entertaining and informative and heartfelt posts from you.

    Are you still pleased with your move to WordPress? I’m trying to decide whether to move, stay put, overhaul the blog, or shut it down–after four years, I’m feeling like there are just so many out there, do I have anything useful left to say. We’ll see.

    I have a tattoo also–got it last year in Kansas City, on my ankle, as a souvenir of several things that are important to me. I didn’t find it hurt, but I really liked the artist, who was in his late 50s-early 60s, and an interesting person who explained everything. I don’t need any more, mind you, but I like the one I have. πŸ™‚

    Dear Jodi, thank you. You were a great help and inspiration to me, now and when I first began blogging. Please don’t stop, you have so much to offer with your great voice and style and garden and cats….the list is endless. I would love to hear more about your tattoo. I have heard that the farther it is from your brain, the less it hurts, or possible away from areas of high nerve ending numbers, with fat. I liked the artist who did mine too, we were about the same age. I asked him if I was the oldest person he had ever tattooed. He said he had recently done a seventy year old woman who got praying hands on her upper arm. So there you go. I am very pleased with WordPress. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  15. Teresa O says:

    I am a janie-come-lately, in the blog world, but since discovering your well-turned phrases and fabulous photos, I just keep comin’ back. After reading your post the first thing that came out of my mouth was, “Holy grail of blogging confessions!” I really enjoyed it and found your moves difficult to understand as my tap roots ran long and deep in the same spot for over 20 years. It’s a pioneer spirit you have Frances, from crawling into a hot car to moving so many times.

    Congratualtions on your second blog anniversary and I look forward to following along in the coming years.

    PS Needles terrify me, so no tatoo on this body

    Thanks so much, Teresa. When I first began blogging, there was no way I would have revealed this much about myself. My readers are my friends, and I have met many of them in person, so feel much more comfortable even showing my face, and legs. HA As for the moving, it was not our choice, it was my husband’s job, but we loved the adventure of the moves and have met so many more people and learned so many new things, worth it. I used to be afraid of needles too. It helps to have a tatt where you can’t watch it being done. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  16. Frances! Happy Anniversary! May you have many many years more of entertaining, interesting, heartfelt and beautiful blog postings. I so enjoyed this post and the metamorphosis of your life and gardens. Having lived thru construction projects I admire your resourcefulness in surviving all that. It would seem you have found your pot of gold at the end of your rainbow . . . unless you plan to move again! You have created a magical lush garden and now inspire hundreds of other gardeners the world over (I count myself in that number). Your blog is stellar! Though I could never have the courage for it . . . I do so love your butterfly tattoo. Sigh . . . a little flutterby would be my choice too. Quite the way to celebrate being a grandmother . . . shows a youthful plucky spirit! Then I recall your handling of the snake! Enjoy your day . . . Now I will go back and find your very first post! Carol

    Thanks Carol. Your kind words and support mean so much to me. The Financier often talks of moving, it is somewhat addictive. I told him he can move into a little condo and I will visit him. HA You need to find a partner in the tattoo adventure, strength in numbers. I would never have done it by myself. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  17. Janet says:

    Ah dear Frances, you are a riot…and apparently a bit of a wild child! πŸ™‚ Love it! Nice seeing all the old photos of the houses and gardens….what a transformation in the house you are in now.
    I had to laugh about your daughter not wanting to be in the picture. My younger daughter was the same…we were in Nuremburg Germany, relatives visiting, and wanted a nice picture in the gasthaus…Becca hid under the table. She was a stinker. Oh and happy blogaversary to you too! Twins! (a year apart!)

    Thanks dear Janet. I did take care of that little extra comment. Stinker is the perfect word for an uncooperative photo subject. There have been many such occasions, and even now she makes a face or does something silly, like giving me rabbit ears in the Thanksgiving photo. Gotta love ’em. Twins, yes. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  18. Kiki says:

    Yay! Fantastic post! Many Congrats and Happy Anniversary!! I enjoyed yrou story and photos..very lovely..thanks for sharing yoru delightful journey!

    Thanks Kiki. Glad you enjoyed the trip down memory lane. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  19. Gail says:

    Happiest of Blogging Anniversaries my friend! Can you believe it’s been two years~~time flies when you’re having a wonderful adventure! It has been a great adventure filled with friendships and garden changes. I so loved this post~~the transformation of the college dorm/party house to fairegarden was magical~~and a great deal of difficult work and planning. Seeing the photos that your dear friend Mae took have helped me see the changes. Now I know exactly what you mean when you refer to the old driveway. Have a great day and I hope the sunshine returns to Tennessee soon; but, it is winter. gail

    Thanks so much dear Gail. Meeting you can all be traced back to blogging too, and so many other wonderful friends. What a gift it has been to my life. One of the former roommates of Semi’s came back to visit us one time, an English soccer player that we liked alot. He said, “This is always what I imagined for the back yard, just didn’t have time to do it myself.” How funny is that. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  20. Lzyjo says:

    Oh, my Frances. That’s why I never so me-mes. Happy blogiversary. The tattoo really takes the cake.

    Thanks Lzyjo. Glad you think my tattoo is so sweet! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  21. Jean says:

    Dear Frances, happy blogaversary! I’m in awe of all the transitions in your life. Truly in awe. Isn’t it interesting to think of how your gardening skills have grown too? Love the tat. And I didn’t know that you were an Oklahoma girl. Must be why you’re so “scrappy”. πŸ™‚

    Hi Jean, thanks. Are you from Oklahoma? If so, yeeeeeeehaaaa! I am a little scrappy, but have calmed down in my dotage. My gardening skills continue to grow, we know so little except that the only thing constant is change. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  22. Anna says:

    Best wishes on your blogaversary and here’s too many more of them Frances. Have often wondered whether having a tatoo hurts and much to wimpish to try πŸ™‚ Enjoyed your retrospective post.

    Hi Anna, thanks so much. The tat didn’t hurt enough to keep me from doing it again. This time I will bring my own reading material. I am also better at finding my happy place, after having a root canal at the dentist. The tat was nothing like that pain. Grab a friend and get one, garden related of course. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  23. Rosey says:

    Hi Frances,
    Happy Blogoversary. I always knew there was a wild side to you. πŸ˜‰ I thoroughly enjoyed this post, it was extremely enjoyable to read more about you and to see that demolition! You’ve come a long way, baby!
    Rosey

    Hi Rosey, thanks. I did used to be somewhat wild in my younger days, the younger the wilder. I am quite sedate now. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  24. VP says:

    Happy Blogaversary Frances – doesn’t time fly?

    What lovely tales you’ve given us in that time, particularly this one πŸ™‚

    Thanks VP, so true. It does seem like we just began this wonderful journey. I do appreciate your kind words and support from across the pond. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  25. TC says:

    A little scrap like yours would be cause for major legal action against a teacher in today’s world.

    And did that little tattoo really hurt all that much?? Wimp. ;~P)

    (I”m sorry about the comment trouble you’re havin on my site. Maybe I should get rid of Disqus.)

    So right, TC. This guy would have been in jail. I don’t know if they still do the paddling like that either, he was a sadist! About the tattoo, it hurt more than I thought it was going to, and I found it hard to relax, making it hurt more. Next time I will be better prepared. Also, some people are just more sensitive to pain than others, those we call The Numb. Disqus is not my friend, for some reason. I don’t know how others feel about it, but it does keep me from leaving a comment sometimes.

    Frances

  26. Sweet Bay says:

    A very ambitious post Frances! πŸ™‚ Very interesting to hear your history, both in family and gardening terms. You’ve done a wonderful job with the garden.

    I’m beginning to think that I’m the only person who hasn’t been inked. lol We watch Food Network a lot and so many of the chefs are literally covered in tatoos.

    Hi Sweet Bay, thanks. It did take a little more time than most of my posts, but it was special. I should have just taken photos of the old photos, so much easier and faster than scanning. Those chefs are a tattooed group, so are football players. The Financier is the only one in our family without tatts. We think he needs a Penn State one. HA πŸ™‚
    Frances

  27. Balisha says:

    I’m a fairly new reader and now I know what I’ve missed. Thanks for taking the time to scan those pictures. You have had a very interesting life..so far. Balisha

    Thanks Balisha. One nice thing is that the old posts will always be available for anyone to read, long after I am gone, so WordPress has told me. I asked. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  28. Phillip says:

    Congratulations on two years blogging! It was fun reading about your history and to learn that you are from Tulsa (hometown to my favorite actress, Jennifer Jones!). I was exhausted after reading about your numerous moves – I bet you were happy to learn that you were returning to TN for good. Love the nicknames of your children!

    Hi Phillip, thanks so much. How funny about J. Jones! We had to move back to TN. I did not want to leave for Texas anyway and told him, The Financier, when we had grandkids that we had to live close to them. He agreed. The kids chose their own names, aren’t they funny? πŸ™‚
    Frances

  29. That was fun! I didn’t recognize the house or the property from that first picture of it. It’s so neat to see the evolution.

    Thanks MMD. Glad you enjoyed the time travel. The house had potential. When we bought it, I had daydreams of living in it as a little old lady with it being all garden, but never really thought it would happen. Funny how that worked out too. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  30. Willow says:

    A beautiful post. Thank you for sharing the pictures and your life with us.

    Willow

    Hi Willow, my thanks to you for visiting. I am glad you enjoyed the history. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  31. Darla says:

    Oh my Dear Ms. Frances, you are cracking me up today! I love very bit of scrap in this post!! ( I linked to you today)

    Thank you Darla, you are a sweetheart. I have tried and tried to leave the code for linking so that the url is hidden but it keeps wanting a real link. Maybe in an email. Glad you liked thee scrap, and good deal on that blue fescue! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  32. Happy Blogoversary Frances. What an interesting history of the gardens and the gardener. Congratulations! Sometimes, I wish you and Gail lived in Oklahoma nearby so we could swap plants and stories face-to-face, but alas, it is not to be. However, I love being your virtual friend, and we’ve been lucky enough to see each other twice too.~~Dee

    Thanks so much Dee. I wish we could hang out too, it would be so fun, we wouldn’t get any blogging done though! Meeting you in person, twice!, has been a distinct honor. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  33. nancybond says:

    Happy 2nd Anniversary, Frances…and lovely post. πŸ™‚ My second Blotanical anniversary passed on the 3rd and I didn’t even notice. πŸ™‚ I also have a butterfly tattoo, with flower.

    Happy Anniversary to you as well then, Nancy! A butterfly and a flower have been discussed here, figuring out which flower is the hard part though. Thanks for your support and friendship. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  34. Alice Joyce says:

    Frances,
    Revelatory…. and not just a bit intriguing!
    Happy wishes and hugs on your blogaversary.
    You’re the tops!
    btw, Lolita was recently on public t.v. one Saturday night – the entire uncut version. I was too young to see it – legally, when it was released. Rated X, as I recall. My bff and I dressed as maturely as possible: excitedly, we stepped up to the ticket window, and wowsa! were allowed inside.
    Much of the story was lost on me at the time, but the experience has morphed into one of the more feisty acts of my young life.
    No tattoos, yet! Ouch.
    xo
    Alice

    Hi Alice, thanks. Glad you found it amusing and intriguing! Sneaking into an x rated movie with a girlfriend sounds pretty exciting. I remember when it was released too, it was a big deal, of course the media loved it. I looked it up, Lolita was released in 1962. I did not see it until much later, when I was older. I see Lolita was said to be 14 at the time of the story in the film, and it was not as explicit as Kubrik wanted to make it. Quite tame compared to the book, which I did go on to read, later. Better stop there. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  35. TC says:

    “Better stop there.”

    There is much eroticism in the garden. Take the aroma of the rose garden for example, stopping there often leads to….okay, “better stop there.”

    Oh you are naughty, TC!! HA

  36. michelle says:

    Wonderful stroll indeed.

    Hi Michelle, thanks, glad you enjoyed it. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  37. Benjamin says:

    I enjoyed learning all this about you very much! Who knew you had a tat! I’m waaay to much of a weenie to ever get one. I’ve been thinking of doing a retrospective post of my 2.5 years of gardening, so maybe I should get on that seeing yours a bit….

    Hi Benjamin, thanks. I may have forgotten to mention the tat, or it never came up. I know I have said it in comments to others. You need one, pronto!!! A monarch butterfly would be appropriate, I think. Not too big, if you are worried about it being too girly, have it resting on a shovel. Keeping records of before and after is great, I would love to see you do a retro look at your own garden. And hear the narrative as well. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  38. Elephant's Eye says:

    There has to be a collection of earrings, waiting to be blogged about?

    You would not believe the collections of all sorts of things hanging around here that could be blogged about, and yes I have some very nice earrings. Really, the next group is the baskets I have made, or was it the brooms? No I may have done those already. I used to have a shopping problem, a bad thing really. But because of it I have vast amounts of stuff. I have gotten rid of most of it with this last move, except the really special things. Someday they might get written about, but so far I haven’t even scratched the surface just writing about the garden. Never a problem with running out of something to say. Even in the comments! HA πŸ™‚
    Frances

  39. Congratulations on your Blogaversary Frances.

    Well that’s one of the more open and frank honest scraps.

    Isn’t it amazing retracing life and digesting the changes and progression.

    I’m always in awe how you folk in the states take distance in your stride. 14 hours to here, 16 to there. I’ve been wingeing about my pending 13 hour drive back to the UK for Xmas, but most of it is in a nation where tale gating and blind over taking is the national sport.

    Thanks so much, Rob, glad you liked hearing a little scrap about me. I have plenty more, believe it! Our long drives are on the fine interstate highway system in the US, not that heavy a traffic except in the larger cities. it is still a long time in the car and muscles kink up in the same position for so long. Do have a safe trip and watch out for those bad drivers. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  40. Catherine says:

    Happy Blogaversary! It was fun to see how Faire Garden came to be and your history of your gardening. You really moved around quite a bit. I love the picture with the Foxgloves at one of your earlier houses.
    I knew there was something extra cool about you, your tattoo πŸ™‚

    Thanks so much, Catherine. I appreciate your loyal readership. That stand of foxgloves at our first TN house, have never been duplicated since that one time, and believe me when I say I have tried. They were moved as found seedlings around the one purchased in bloom plant that was allowed to set seed. Glad you like the tattoo, it does make me feel special. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  41. ourfriendben says:

    Mercy, Frances, and happy blogiversary!!!! Given how fine your blog is, how outstanding, how perfect in every way, it’s pretty much impossible for me to even think that it’s just two years old. Kudos darlin’!!!!! You done a damn good job. And of course I loved the photo on the rocks. I have one of me, circa age 12, lying enticingly on a boulder on one of my birthday outings to the Smokies. but fortunately it was taken by my parents and I didn’t have to deal with randy teachers, at least until college.—Silence

    Gosh Silence, I am overwhelmed by your effusive praise! Thank you so much. What is it about rocks and boulders that causes those provocative poses in young girls, I wonder? HA We dealt with randiness for many years, but it seems to have let up in the last few for some reason. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  42. Two years Frances, congratulations. You have had such a meteoric rise. How could you not when you are such a wonderful generous gardening fanatic.

    Seeing some of the old pictures to go with the stories was nice. Such a modest house you demolished to expand your gardens. A bit like the tiny house my great aunt lived in for many years on her three acres of gardens.

    Thank you Christopher. You were one of my very first visitors and I have so enjoyed getting to know you for real. That is what blogging has done for us, letting us meet others who are garden fanatics. The little house was made of cinderblocks and had two rooms, a bedroom and a living/kitchen room with one very small bath. It did have two lots rather than a dreamy three acres though. We have lived in a few large homes, but for this stage of our life, this one is the perfect size. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  43. Teresa says:

    Hey Frances, Fun post to read. Wow you have been a busy girl over the years. It is nice to see it when you look back over it don’t you think? Snazzy Tattoo. I am surprised it is not a flower though. My son just got one on his 18th birthday. It’s a flower chosen by each of the women in our family. Needless to say it covers his arm~ elbow to shoulder. It is a nice tribute to his grandmothers, myself, aunts, cousins and sister in law but I would hve preffered a nice painting on the wall. I guess he hears about flowers waaaay to much. At least I have influenced him somehow. go figure. Anyway, your house and garden history is great and busy. You certainly have come a long way garden wise and your garden now is awesome…even more so now that I saw the before pics. Nice work!

    Thanks so much, Teresa, I appreciate your visits. How cool that your son got input from the women in the family, quite special indeed! The garden continues to evolve, just like humans do. Glad you liked seeing the befores. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  44. Lola says:

    Congratulations Frances, I really enjoyed following you in you adventures. I do understand about traveling all by yourself. I did it for many yrs. My love of the mtns, you know.
    Never would have taken you for being from Oklahoma. You seem like a Tn. girl from head to toe.
    Funny, I’ve been called Lolita also. Even my old doctor.

    Hi Lola, isn’t Lolita really little Lola? It is funny how much I love TN, but my grandmother was born here before coming to Oklahoma as a child in the big land rush and spoke about this state is tones of the highest love and respect. That must have soaked into my brain, or else it is in my genes. While I am proud to be from Oklahoma, my love of the mountains trumps all. You know what I am talking about, Mountain Girl. Thanks for your loyal readership, my friend. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  45. Semi says:

    Happy blogaversary can’t believe it’s only been 2 years. I guess I just remember years of gardening and stories. Your blog is awesome! I am a bad daughter for not reading it all the time! What a picture of you!! Amazing! U are a knockout! I will always remember your trip to get tatted in Chattanooga!! I am so lucky to have u so close. Lots of love!! Semi

    Dear Semi, thank you sweetheart. We have had some escapades together, haven’t we? The apple tree swinging in the street? HA We always want to be close to family, no matter what.
    Love,
    Frances

  46. Les says:

    Happy cotton anniversary! I will celebrate mine next month. I appreciate the peek into your life, but that last bit about the paddle was a little creepy. My first grade teacher’s name was Miss Leather (no lie) and she was not afraid to paddle either. I got it bent over her lap in front of the whole class for putting a pencil down the dress of the girl who sat in front of me. Can you imagine what would happen to a teacher in this day for doing what yours did to you and mine to me?

    Thanks Les. There were many things we endured as children, paddling in first grade??? Sadistic woman!!! that would not happen today for sure. At least we survived and the rules have changed, thank goodness. I have so enjoyed your blog, an early congrats to you for two wonderful years! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  47. Hello Frances,

    What a lovely post. I love the trip down memory lane and seeing the different homes you lived in and the beginnings of Fairiegarden. I have toyed with the idea of getting a tattoo. My oldest daughter is 23 and married….so I think I will wait for them to tell me they are pregnant and then maybe I will get the guts to go ahead and get one. You have inspired me :0)

    Hi Noelle, thanks so much. It sounds like your tattoo time might be coming up. You have plenty of time to choose your mark! Glad you liked the retrospective. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  48. Beckie says:

    Frances, loved seeing all the houses and gardens in your past. And how your present one came about. Such a lot of love (and work!) have gone into all of your gardens.

    My 2 cents anout that teacher-a dangerous person! I would bet he went on to abuse lots of children and may have done much more than paddle. We were way too naive to question authority figures back then. I hope kids today are getting the message that this kind of behavior is not acceptable. Okay-I’ll get down from my soap box.

    Happy Blogverary and here’s hoping you have many more!

    Dear Beckie, thank you so much. You are right about that teacher, and others we have endured. His age was a factor in his poor judgment, and my friend and I were very much to blame as well. We were lucky that nothing more than a paddling happened.
    Frances

  49. Tatyana says:

    You have so many gardening/blogging friends Frances! I think this is one of the most important achievements for you as a blogger. Happy 2nd blogaversary and many more to come! I am impressed with all the moves you made and gardens you had. But most of all, four kids -I take off my hat to you! I appreciate the time you took to scan and organize the old pictures. It’s interesting to see what you had before your magical recent garden. Stay healthy and continue to enrich our lives with your light spirit and sunny personality. Have a happy Holiday Season!

    Thank you Tatyana. I consider the kids my highest achievement and reason for living. The blogging friends are something I had no clue about when I began writing Fairegarden, but their importance to me cannot be underestimated. I appreciate your kind thoughts, and happy holidays to you as well. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  50. I enjoyed seeing the different places you’ve lived and reading about them. Happy blogaversary!

    Thanks Sue, glad you enjoyed the memory trip! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  51. Robin says:

    I remember when you first started blogging! It’s hard to believe that it was two years ago! Happy blog anniversary to you, Frances!

    Dear Robin, thank you for your long time support. I will never forget how you helped me with the silly spacing problem on blogger, I am eternally grateful for your helping hand. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  52. Pam/Digging says:

    Only two years? As Christopher commented, you’ve moved so quickly to the top of the heap and become to well-known in garden-blogland that it seems you’ve been around much longer, Frances. Congrats on 2 years of excellent posts and lovely pictures and lots of humor. I look forward to many more!

    Dear Pam, I owe it all to you. Without your mentoring, I would never have had the nerve to jump into the blogdom. Thank you for that and so many things. You always have been my role model. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  53. Lynne says:

    As a fairly new reader of your blog, I have been piecing your story together and working out who is who in your family. To have it all explained (and even illustrated!) is wonderful. Thank you. And it makes what you have achieved even more terrific. You certainly inspire me to make more of the little patch of land I live on πŸ™‚

    Thank you Lynne. I appreciate your taking the time to even think about the story that continues here instead of just speed reading the photo captions. If there has been any inspiration to others, it is considered the highest compliment. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  54. catmint says:

    Hi Frances, what a wonderful two years of blogging and inspiration you have provided. I appreciate your enthusiasm and your warmth. And especially I adore the last photo of you at the edge of the pond. Reminds me of Alice (from Wonderland not blotanical) Cheers, catmint

    Hi Catmint, thank you so much for those kind words. Glad you liked the last fuzzy photo, sort of like the Cheshire Cat! HA πŸ™‚
    Frances

  55. Liz says:

    Hi Frances, what a fascinating post – and, goodness me, but what a lot you have packed into your life!(gosh, that last sentence sounds so terribly English doesn’t it? Ah well, can’t be helped!)

    Congratulations on your two year blogaversary and may you long continue to inspire us all!

    *hugs*, Nutty

    Thanks for the hugs, Liz! Glad you were entertained by the history of our gardening career. We have experienced some interesting things, thank goodness for photos to help us remember them. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  56. Janie says:

    They have said it all, Frances. Happy, happy blogaversary! Thanks for sharing your old pics.
    I think the paddle episodes that we may/may not have experienced should count as credit for parenting class, so our kids could say with amazement, “How did you know we were doin’ that?” LOL
    No tattoo on me, but my DD has one.

    Thanks Janie. The F to A is such a simple fix, or was back then with pre computerized report cards. I assume that is what you are referencing. Our kids would never have guessed us capable of such things. As it should be. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  57. Cheryl says:

    Happy Birthday. I love your tattoo and the photo of the cedar waxwings! You sure have moved around a lot!

    Thanks so much Cheryl. Glad you like both of those special things. We have moved a lot, not as much as many who work for the same company, luckily. Moving can be hard on the kids sometimes. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  58. I love those pink lawn chairs!! And, you had a snowfall already?!?!?! We haven’t though one is predicted overnight. I hope so

    HA Monica, thanks, they used to be darker, more like a raspberry color and looked nice with the grey and maroon color scheme of our first TN patio decor before being recycled to the girls house. Do you mean we had measureable snowfall before you did? Weird weather indeed. Thanks for visiting.
    Frances

  59. Town Mouse says:

    Happy Blogaversery! Oh, those many houses and gardens just make me dizzy! I really don’t like to move, or go through a remodel, so admire you for treating it all as a big adventure…

    Thanks Town Mouse. Moving in not for the faint of heart, nor is remodeling. It can be looked at now with a rose colored lens. At the time, not so much. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  60. I forgot to tell you I like your tattoo. I have a scar on my back from sleeping on a heating pad when I was in my 20s. I have been thinking about getting a butterfly tattooed over the scar, but in my research, found it usually hurts more to tattoo over scar tissue. That makes me not so sure about it. I would have to do it in a June, because you have to wait a number of weeks before getting into a swimming pool. I get into the pool every day at the school I work at, assisting a special education student. Also, I haven’t decided what kind of butterfly I would want there, maybe a monarch.

    Thanks, Sue. A monarch would be lovely. I think deciding which image to have imprinted upon one’s body is the hardest part of the process. Good luck with yours. I didn’t know that about the pool, but was told not to expose it to sunlight for a few weeks. Mine has faded over the years, but that is okay. As for more pain from scar tissue, I doubt you would notice since it hurts no matter what. Practice going to your happy place, or bring really engrossing reading material. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  61. Jen says:

    Do you ever think about what a wonderful thing you are doing for your children by keeping this blog, Frances?

    It’s funny how we divide up our lives according to where we lived when a certain thing occurred. Future occupants would probably be so grateful to know about all the happiness that went into raising your children and gardens in those places- good karma.

    oh, and before I forget – Happy Blogoversary!

    Thank you for those kind words, Jen, you have really hit a nerve here, a good one! Having the blog is something my grown children seem to enjoy, even though they are now too busy to comment much. It is there for them whenever they want it. That is so gratifying to me. There were lots of happy times in those previous houses. I was always happy with the people who bought them from us too, giving them the tour myself that made the final sale. It is funny, I stayed clear from the houses when they were being shown by the realtors most of the time, until something told me to stay and hide out in the garden. When they would find me back there, they were always the buyers of the houses. The ones that bought our Texas house were very special, they kept our cats, Tiny and Cher so they wouldn’t have to be kept in a kennel while we remodeled the house in TN. When they, the new owners moved, they took the cats with them too. And she made me a necklace that hangs on my car mirror still. Very good karma indeed. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  62. Kate says:

    What a fabulous trip down memory lane! Thanks for this one. I enjoyed every picture and every word.

    Thanks Kate, I am so glad you liked it. Sort of different than our usual posts. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  63. easygardener says:

    Happy Anniversary – and a wonderful post too. I thought it funny that you were shocked to discover you now owned a steep hill as part of your garden. I’m glad you made the effort to scan the old pictures – it makes your story seem much more real.

    Thanks EG, I am glad you enjoyed hearing about our past. Shocked, happy and not so happy at what the slope meant for us. Of course I had to tame it, even when we did not live here. It was quite a battle and the slope kept winning until we finally brought in the heavy machinery. I thought there was a photo of the backhoe on the hill, but could not find it. This is the kind of story that cannot be made up, no one would believe it! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  64. Kanak says:

    The most enjoyable Honest Scrap ever! Happy blogiversary, Frances! I’ve always loved seeing photos of your garden and it was good to see the start of something so beautiful.

    I like your tattoo…lovely butterfly there.

    Thank you so much, Kanak, I do appreciate your readership. Glad you saw the beginnings here, those photos still surprise me at how bare it all was compared to now. Glad too you like the butterfly. Too bad I can’t see it except with two mirrors. Or in photos. HA πŸ™‚
    Frances

  65. chuck b. says:

    By the end of your post I am quite speechless and I will have to leave it at that!

    Thanks for stopping by and reading about the history here, Chuck, speechless or no πŸ™‚
    Frances

  66. Joanne says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary and an interesting and amusing post. Quite the rebble.
    I have been away seeing Dad and so behind but glad I stopped by to read this one. The garden in the snow looks a wonderland.

    So nice to see you back, Joanne, and thanks for taking the time to visit this post. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  67. Hi Frances, I’m back again. First, thank you for your words of encouragement and support; you warmed my heart, as always, and as you can see, I decided to hang it down for a while longer. Actually I feel rejuvenated.
    My tattoo is of a Celtic cat since I’m a Celt and we all know my favourite people are cats! The same time as I was having mine done, a friend was having a tribal-art butterfly done on her shoulder, (she already had two, one on her ankle, one on her wrist) and it didn’t bother her at all. Now, the tattoo artist told me that the less flesh there is under an area, the more it’s apt to hurt, but also that people have different thresholds of pain–and that some even get a buzz from the sensation of being tattoed. I was so interested in what he was doing, I never moved even, just watched him. No problems with it either.
    I chose my ankle so it wouldn’t have far to fall as I aged… might end up on sole of my foot by the time I’m 90 πŸ˜‰

    Oh Jodi, I am so glad to see you again, and so glad you are still going to blog for our, all of us, enjoyment! A Celtic cat sounds way cool, I will google it to see the gist. I have heard that about having some fat under the skin to help ease the pain. But more important is the sensitivity to pain, from which I suffer. Still thinking about something on my foot, although that is probably the least fatty part of my body! How funny about the fall, but something to consider! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  68. Happy Blogiversary, Frances – and thanks for a most engrossing, enlightening and entertaining post!
    I remember when you started out as a commenter a couple of years ago – it wasn’t a surprise when you made the jump to blogger … you have so much experience and love of gardening to share. Your kids must be popping buttons with pride.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    Thanks sweet Annie. You have been so supportive and what a pleasure to have met you in person in Austin too. Blogging does seem a good fit for me, and I so love it. The kids don’t comment like they did in the beginning, sadly, for their lives are too busy. I guess they think I have enough visitors and it is not necessary for them to prop me up anymore. You know better though.
    Frances

    Gosh, that sounds like I am trying to guilt them into leaving comments. We’ll see if it works! πŸ™‚

  69. james says:

    Happy Blogaversary Frances! 1976! It must be 33 years of history to share here. Indeed its a moment to reflect & treasure. Thanks for sharing.

    Hi James, no math allowed! HA Just kidding. Thanks for visiting and welcome. We have been banging around on this earth for awhile, loving every minute. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  70. Blossom says:

    Happy Blogaversary. Thanks for the walk. Enjoy it!

    Hi Blossom, thanks. Glad you enjoyed it. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  71. commonweeder says:

    Wait up Frances – I’m a little late but I had to add my Congratulations. We are almost the same age – in Blog Years – but you are way ahead of me in skill – and have provided inspiration almost from the very first.

    Thank you Pat. You have been a faithful reader and I so appreciate you. Ahead in skill? I don’t agree, but thank you for the kind words. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  72. Autumn Belle says:

    Oh dear, nowadays I am really really late in commenting. Frances, Happy Blogaversary and may you have many many more. I look up to you as my mentor, a fine good example of a great blogger. Actually, when I was new in Blotanical, I didn’t even dare to make any comments during my visits to your blog. There are so very many comments, I wonder how you could reply each one. But you did and that was what impressed me most. Boy, am I glad that Ricki tagged you, so now I get to know more about the ‘other side’ of you. You are hot and sassy. Seeing your tattoo makes me want to get one too. Now, I’m thinking what picture to use and how to sound it to my ‘Dear’. Perhaps I can convince him to join in the fun.

    Thanks, Autumn Belle, and there is no such thing as late to the blogs, they will be up for a very long time, so wordpress tells me. You are so kind with your compliments, I appreciate that. I do read every comment, getting an email whenever there is a new one, no matter how old the post is either. WordPress makes it easy to answer them, having them all on a page together, not by post, but listed with the most recently received at the top. There is an edit button that allows us to answer each comment while viewing it above, much easier than blogger. I did answer the comments when I used blogger, but it was much more difficult to keep up with them. I used to be hot and sassy, at 14! Much more sedate now. Dual tattoos is quite romantic! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  73. Frances, Many, many happy returns of the Blogaversary! What a lot of friends have come to your party — glad I didn’t miss it. We all obviously like coming here, and you make us feel so welcome. That was a fun visit; genuine, engaging, surprising. Thanks for being so scrappy. (However, if Leon Russell’s “Home Sweet Oklahoma” remains stuck in my head all evening, I’ll also have you to thank. Mind you, worse things could happen!)

    Dear Helen, thanks for reminding me of a favorite Leo song! Goin’ back to Tulsa one more time…… oh it is one all the offspring will sing along with as well. Leo lived very close to my parents after he hit it big. Seeing him drive by in an old Rolls Royce with that silver long hair flowing in the breeze….what fun. Glad you enjoyed the little trip down memory lane. The turnout for the party was extremely gratifyiing, and surprising! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  74. Charlotte says:

    Haven’t posted a comment for a while Frances, but your blog continues to fill me with inspiration. Hope you have a great Christmas and I look forward to many more wonderful pictures and posts here in 2010.

    Welcome back, Charlotte. Thank you for those kind words. I look forward to seeing the sights from your recent trip to India. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  75. nice article, from the nice blog. I hope u still keep the good job. Your story is very interesting, your house, your tatoo etc. I have always took inspiration from you. keep blogging.
    thanks for sharing

  76. Wow. Now I am glad I gave you the award so I could be directed to this post! I obviously need to spend time in people’s archives, but I feel lucky if I am able to drop by once in a while to just keep up.

    Imagine what would happen to that teacher nowadays, had you shared your experience with your parents! In spite of the rather electrifying story, I love the grotto picture.

    And your travels through time and space are fascinating. How many gardens we have both created over the years. Sometimes it boggles my mind how much we can get done. I don’t know if this happens to you, but sometimes I look back and wonder how in the world I did it all.

    I am glad you went back to read the post, Hands, it is one that I really put a lot of time and effort into. The teacher story is really scary to me now, it could have gone very wrong. My friend and I were lucky that nothing happened to us any worse that a swat with a paddle. It is amazing all the gardening we have done, and neither of us are done gardening either. πŸ™‚
    Frances

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