Back To Regular Programming-Mishmash Style*


Yo, look up! Manny Mantid here. I sure hope you all had the most wonderful Christmas ever. I know I did. We have had a change of address, you see. (There’s that royal we again, it is contagious or something). While we have been hanging around the Fairegarden in three different locations, northeast Tennessee, Texas and now southeast Tennessee, it is only this year that we were anointed as Guardian Of The Garden by the ruling monarch, we all know who Her Weness is. We always were on guard against…. well anything bad that might happen, but being placed on this perch atop the blue bottle tree made it official. I even got my own guest post, feel free to read it by clicking here-Guessing Game-A Guest Post.


Enough history. The important thing is that our copper piping poles were uprooted, glass bottles removed first of course and the whole shebang reassembled at the corner of the shed, the highest point in the entire garden! Good thing I have no fear of heights, as opposed to others around here who will not be named. There were several reasons for this move, besides a better vantage point for constant scanning.


Here is my old home, at the end of the veggie bed between the Gold Mops Chamaecyparis and the Arborvitae hedges. I liked it there, but there was a small, teensy tinsy problem with that spot. A small fig tree had originally been planted in the rock walled circle. The tree was given up for dead when it did not leaf out this spring and my bottle tree outpost was planted right in the same spot as the deceased tree. I guess it was just resting because soon after my copper home went in the fig decided to come back to life. I would have been glad to share the space and even give extra protection from frosty winds and chewing critters to the little tree. That would have worked out well for all concerned. But there was another issue with that piece of land. It was on a slope and the weight of the poles and bottles wanted to move my home forward and sideways. The winds would blow me towards the west and Her Weness had tried many ways to keep me straight, to no avail. I am now secured to the shed and even get to have my feet resting on the roof for better stability. It was hard to be on the lookout while swinging in the air. The above image is my attempt at artsy endeavors to show the wire cage filled with leaves surrounding the fig tree in hopes of helping him last through the winter weather. I really think that my skill with the computer pen thingey is far superior to the copycatter Jackson Pollack work of Her. And taking into consideration that my hands are forever in the praying position, well, I am proud of the work, blue to match my bottles with some decorative touches. The pink arrows show the path to my new home, in case any of you wish to visit. The welcome mat is out, 24/7.


Here is the long view. I am pleased to see the copper rain chain we won from Dee’s at Red Dirt Ramblings on the other end of the shed, a good tie in with my own coppery self and the copper poles, screen and wires. Now someone needs to paint the rest of that window frame blue on the inside. Ahem. Someone needs to get off the lazyboy and stop fooling around on the laptop. Someone….


Thank you very much, Manny. That will be all for now. Your suggestions will be taken under advisement. Besides moving the bottle tree, the state of the knot garden has been given some extra study. The tripods in each quadrant put in for some vertical interest and to support the tall Chinese trumpet lilies planted in each center will be getting more permanent metal rebar poles with terracotta toppers that are on order. More will be written about them when that project is completed. In addition, while perusing books, magazines and blogs for inspiration, it has been decided that more Asian influences need to be added to the zen garden at the end of the knot garden. Evergreens cloud pruned, bonsai, mossy rock paths, serenity now are on the agenda for the coming year. The small zen garden was made last summer, read that story here-Rock My World-A Zen Garden. It needs some more work. Do you see the foo dog smiling at us from between the boxwood hedge? Maybe he will strike up a friendship with Manny, for he too is a guardian, of the white tree peony. The water in the granite koi bowl is frozen solid right now, not so good for the meditative experience. The bonsai blue container with the Goldcrest Cypress might need to be moved to warmer quarters, for the coldest days are still ahead. But the dream of a more zenful zen garden will keep the brain waves warm with a smile of what could be.


While the countdown to spring continues, thoughts about gardening turn indoors, to the greenhouse/sunroom where another of the beloved Paph orchids has opened. This is Paphiopedilum Holdenii x P. Almenii.


There were three buds on this plant, the most at the same time to ever develop. Many of the orchids were left outside to suffer a near cryogenic suspension of life when the weather turned cold. The Paphs and Catts were the only lucky ones to come inside the greenhouse. Room inside the greenhouse is at a premium and only the favorite orchids are allowed. The addiction to orchids has been lessening over the years as our attention turns to yet another type of gardening, at present it is seed starting under grow lights. The paphs are small plants with attractive leaves and very easy to rebloom. Those blooms are other wordly and long lasting, several months in the rarefied conditions of the greenhouse. Three more plants are sporting flower buds while two plants are blooming outright. That should keep us happy until the first bulbs bloom outdoors.


When the sun shines, the siren call of the garden brings us out of doors. There are tasks that need doing before those bulbs are up enough to be damaged by muck booted tootsies tromping around the beds while cutting down grasses and spent perennial stalks. The muhly grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris is still standing though it is more champagne than pink now. Soon it will be buzzed to the ground to allow the bulbs interplanted there to see the sun. A new beginning for a new year.
~~~
We thank Santa Monica, the garden faerie for the idea of Mish Mash Mondays.

Frances

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24 Responses to Back To Regular Programming-Mishmash Style*

  1. gittan says:

    Good morning Frances!
    Wow! He’s really got a nice spot there Manny. Being abel to look you over ther whole Fairegarden, he’s a lucky fellow! And you’re making planes for the garden sounds like music in my ears. And (of course) I’m doing the same thing =) Ordering seeds and making new projects inside my head makes the cold, wet weather outside our window disappear. How lucky you must bee considering that the fig tree still’s alive. Mine didn’t make it, but I was quick and came home with a new one at once. Have a wonderful day / kram gittan (today I’m oredering some more seeds =) )

    Hi Gittan, thank you from Manny. He is indeed a lucky fellow, and in a much better spot now, attached to the shed. We are still in the midst of company, traveling, Christmas then more company coming. But the garden still calls my thoughts. I know what a great planner you are for your own space, with many wonderful changes over the years. I did want to let you know that there are a couple of Astrantia babies in the little pot where the seeds were planted. At least I believe that is what has germinated. It could always be weeds, but something is in there under the lights in the greenhouse. There is always hope.
    Double kram,
    Frances

  2. Love your new home Manny. And I agree, the window frame would look lovely in blue. Could you stop by my garden? I’ve got all the blue bottles (not the flies), just need something to put them all on. Enjoy your view of the garden.

    Hi Crafty, thanks for backing me up on that. Making or buying some kind of metal contraption is a great way to display those blue bottles. You will also need a nice copper mantid to stand guard of course. There is not much happening in the garden at the moment so I am on a little vacation, but soon the bulbs will be showing and buds will be popping. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  3. Layanee says:

    Manny’s new perch is a keeper. Winter is for planning and you sure have much on your drawing board. I am looking forward to seeing those new rebar tuteurs. The muhly grass still looks great. Peace and joy!

    Hi Layanee, thanks. We do appreciate the down time in the garden to review, plan and renew. The holidays are still in full swing here, another week of visitors and fun. Then the gardening will begin in earnest. I look forward to your travelogues, the next best thing to being there! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  4. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Wonderful Mish Mash being cooked up here. The mantis has the perfect perch now. Your artsy endeavors is great with the pen. I don’t even know how to do it. When I first glanced at the photo I thought you had some Christmas lights in the garden. Ha… Thank you for the link love. That orchid is a knock out. I always think orchid blooms look other worldly. This one does not disappoint. Cheers.

    Thanks Lisa. How funny about the computer pen, it is so hard to even make a straight line, Manny is much better at it than I am, even with clasped hands. You need a paph, they are very easy to rebloom and can take household conditions better than many orchids. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  5. Gail says:

    Frances, I do like seeing Manny up by the shed~~It’s a perfect place for him. His commentary from that perch will surely be lively and informative! I do hope he will be reporting regularly….He has found his voice, too! The metal rebar poles with terracotta toppers sounds like a great marriage of materials. Rebar has got to be one of the best materials for gardens~~I remember seeing a rebar bender someplace (I meant to get one) and had dreams of Watts Tower like structures here at C&L! LOL You can laugh now, too! xxgail Wow on the orchid photo…I can see the small hairs at the very back of it!

    Hi Gail, thanks. It is a good place for Manny, attached to the shed. He was leaning so badly, with those high winds I thought the whole thing might come crashing down, or a limb from the maple fall on him. Rebar is in the air! πŸ˜‰
    Frances

  6. I am jealous of your spry mantis with a mind of his own! Always good to find the perfect home for such a garden treasure. I am drooling over your Paphs too! I confess I have killed three or four in my time. Yours are rewarding your good care. Lovely photos! Hope you are enjoying the continuing holidays! Carol

    Hi Carol, thanks, that Manny is quite a character! I have killed many an orchid myself too, but never the paphs, even with terrible treatment during the move from Texas to TN and during the renovation. It took a couple of them ten years to rebloom, I had bought them in bloom, but now they are more dependable. I finally figured out their needs. The holidays are continuing here were with more company coming tomorrow. Busy bee here! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  7. Janet says:

    Hi Frances, I love the bottle tree…have been collecting some bottles to perhaps have one of my own. So far I have not had too much grief about saving bottles………time will tell.
    Your orchid is absolutely erotic…I love it!

    Hi Janet, thanks. Finding the perfect bottle tree proved impossible for me, so I had to make one, but still have many bottles leftover. Maybe someday a new design will be dreamed, one that uses more bottles. The orchids are nearly x rated, aren’t they? HA πŸ™‚
    Frances

  8. Rose says:

    Manny, Congratulations on your new home! I think this looks like the perfect place to supervise the head Gardener as she works, and I’m certainly glad you won’t be swaying in the breezes anymore–that must have made you dizzy. Please tell any family members that I hope they will visit the Prairie this spring. I had the welcome mat out for them again this past year, but didn’t have a lot of visitors. It must have had something to do with the bad economy–hopefully, they will do more traveling this year.

    Frances, No wonder your garden is so beautiful–the wheels are always turning in your head about how to improve your garden! Unfortunately, all I can do right now is think about, not work in, the garden–mine is buried under two feet of snow at the moment.

    Wow, Rose, two feet of snow must cover the whole garden except maybe for trees and shrubs. I hope you have plenty of photos to help you remember what your garden looks like. Manny says thank you and he plans on keeping an eagle eye on the gardens and the gardener here. We have found one mantis egg case in the front yard, maybe you can check out your place, when the snow melts, that is. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  9. Hi Frances your Paphiopedilum Holdenii x P. Almenii plant is fantastic, it has this scary almost alien look… and I must say your macro photography is pure art.

    Hi Tyra, thanks so much. That is what I love about the paphs, there is nothing else like them. Thank you for those sweet words, the orchids are quite photogenic. Many shots were taken to get those. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  10. Came to say Happy Christmas. Well, I know Christmas is gone but it was wished but not expressed at the time. Perhaps you could save a bit of it till next year? Hope 2010 is wonderful I too think your Paph Orchid should be given alien status. A bit frightening close up like this. Very dramatic! Best wishes for everything. Esther

    Hi Esther, thanks for stopping by. We can certainly hold good wishes of all sorts over for next season, and in between, we appreciate any and all, anytime and send them right back to you. May your 2010 be the best year ever. The Paphs are amazing, warts with hairs and all. πŸ˜‰
    Frances

  11. leavesnbloom says:

    I love your slipper orchid (paph) and especially the lovely pinkish burgundy colour with green. I have not been successful at getting a good close up yet of the one I’ve been looking after – it does not have the good colours that yours has. That one of yours is a real beauty.

    Hi Leaves, thanks so much. This paphs colorations are especially nice and it has rebloomed every year since we bought it, in Texas over ten years ago. It is the most reliable of all the ones we grow. There were a whole lot of photos taken, and even these are not really satisfactory. It is hard to get the light right to show the colors as they truly appear to the human eye.

  12. Susie says:

    Great post, I hope Manny likes his new location, I think it looks great, but do agree the window frame would look fab painted blue. That orchid is something else, what a cause to celebrate!

    Hi Susie, thanks. Manny is very happy with his feet on the shed roof instead of hanging in the air. We will paint the window, when the weather is warmer and there is more time available for such things. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  13. Anna says:

    It’s always exciting to be making new plans and especially enjoyable at this time of year when there’s time for reflection and dreaming πŸ™‚ Manny is a fine fellow Frances – those blues certainly have zing.

    Hi Anna, thanks. I agree, now is the time to plan and review what has gone before for successes and failures. That color of blue is so eye catching, it goes with everything. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  14. Hi Frances,

    I love Manny’s new location. I would love some blue like that in my garden…

    Hi Noelle, thanks. Start saving those wine and fancy water bottles for the future. They are wonderful light catchers, no matter how they are displayed. πŸ˜‰
    Frances

  15. I tried to leave a comment this morning, but my internet service started acting up. I like the copper bottle tree with the copper rain chain. And the Orchids – wow!

    Hi MMD, so sorry you had trouble, it happens sometimes and is always annoying. The copper thing going on around the shed is fun. I love copper anything. The paphs are giving us a lot of smiles just now, thanks for your sweet words. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  16. Lola says:

    Oh Frances, I’m sure glad that Manny moved to his present place. He looks so much happier there. It did make him nervous with the wind tossing him around. Not to mention he sure can see what is taking place with the rest of the garden. I’m sure he’ll let you know.
    Love that Muhly grass–ever so pretty. But it does need to walk soon as the sleeping bulbs beneath will be showing their little heads before long. My bulbs are up about 2″ already. That’s the buttercups, snow bells. i really need to move them both to a better place.
    Orchids are lovely. I can’t do anything with them.
    Wishing you the best ever New Year.

    Thanks Lola, that is a weight off my mind as well. Manny was having quite a joy ride in these recent high winds. After the holidays and guests are past, the muhly will be tackled, along with a zillion other jobs. Our bulbs are coming up too, and we won’t even talk about the hellebores. I like to move the bulbs when they are just peeking up so I can see where they need to go. It doesn’t affect the blooms if you do it early enough. A very happy new year to you and yours, my friend. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  17. Catherine says:

    Well Manny looks like he got the perfect spot. It would’ve been a shame if his perch was blown over. This is a fun time of year to move around the “garden art”, feels almost as good as moving plants!

    Thanks Catherine. The bottle tree looks good there, but it is always possible it could be moved again, as with everything else in the garden, plant or inanimate. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  18. TC Conner says:

    A priest retired from our parish and gave me a “holy” orchid that won’t bloom, for heaven’s sake! I think it needs some of that premium space inside your greenhouse along with your TLC. I can’t do nothin with it. I love yours!

    Hi TC, thanks. I tried to get some info on your Orchis sancta, but found little that was helpful. It does seem that it is a ground orchid rather than an epiphyte, that will affect the potting medium. I mainly stick with the paphs, they are easy. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  19. Frances,
    Manny looks happy with his new location. I do love your bottle tree so much… and the rain chain is so perfect.
    Have a great day!
    Cameron
    PS I’ve got a bad case of cabin fever. My dear son, Chris, gave me Felco pruners for Christmas and I can’t wait to use them! Work isn’t work when you’re having fun! LOL

    Hi Cameron, thanks. Hooray for relatives that give felcos!!!! Pruning is so much fun, it is nearly time to really get going on the clean up before the bulbs are peeking up any farther and will get smooshed by stomping feets. I can’t wait either, but still have guests and holiday fun before the garden can get my full attention. Soon enough. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  20. Sweet Bay says:

    Manny has a great new location. I love that string of copper pails. I remember seeing those on Dee’s blog.

    Your orchids are gorgeous. They almost look as though they’ve been lacquered.

    Hi Sweet Bay, thanks. The copper really dresses the humble shed up well. Now it just needs some painting around that window, when it is warm enough to paint, that is. The orchid petals are so thick and shiny, with spots, warts and hair, amazing. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  21. Manny, it’s nice to have a new location. I’ve been moved out of Piney while she’s decorated for Xmas. In fact, I’m not sure where I am right now because it’s dark. But I know I’ll be back outside again in spring. Happy New Year! ~Iron Ant

    Hi I. Ant, glad to hear from you, wherever you are hiding out! The ants around these parts go deep underground in the colder months, so that seems appropriate for you while Piney performs his winter job. We look forward to reading another post from you come spring. πŸ™‚
    Manny

  22. Jake says:

    I hope you had a Merry Christmas and will have a Happy New Year. My new blog is: Nelson Park Gardens, http://nelsonpg.wordpress.com/

    Jake

    Thanks Jake and the same back to you. I will dash over to your new place when time permits. Can’t wait to see what you’re up to! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  23. You know, Frances, I really REALLY need to buy a few bottles of some wine in blue bottles, because I’ve wanted a sculpture like that since I first saw it on Pam’s blog, I think? several years ago. Love the mantis too, and how wonderful everything looks still. Best of all, so glad to see the paph has opened, and isn’t it glorious!

    Hi Jodi, thanks. You do need a blue bottle sculpture of some kind, I am sure you will think up something glorious for your lovely garden. Even though it is quite cold at the moment, there are many stirrings in the garden with bulbs and buds.The gardens never really go to sleep here, just napping. Those paphs, they are warmth for the soul. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  24. dirtynailz says:

    Frances, I am glad to hear that paphs are easy to re-bloom. I am a relative neophyte when it comes to orchids, but the plants I have are doing well and blooming reliably. However, I recently bought two paphs and I was wondering whether I would be as successful with those.

    Happy New Year!

    Cynthia

    Hi Cynthia, thanks and the same back to you for the coming year. How exciting about your new paphs and good luck with them. The rebloom does seem to happen with little work. One tip is to spray the newly emerging growth, which will be right next to the blooming stalk, with a diluted fertilizer during the winter weekly at least. That will help the formation of the next bud the following year. πŸ˜‰
    Frances

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