Garden Stroll With Kitty

Oh, hello there. So nice to see you here on the middle terrace of the sloping Fairegarden. What’s that you say? You are here for a tour? Well alrighty then. My name is Kitty and I will be your guide. Please feel free to ask any questions you might have. Remember, there are no stupid questions, only stupid humans. Oops, Frances says that is neither nice nor correct, it should be only stupid answers. I promise that my answers to your queries will be highly intelligent. Shall we begin?

Most garden tours here begin with the gravel entrance path at the side of the garage. Just past the row of Arborvitae you can see the flat garden that used to be the driveway of the house next door that was torn down to build the garage. The drying seed heads of Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ will be seen hither and yon as we traipse around, it is a very fine grass. Do I see a hand raised in question? The common name? Feather reed grass is the answer, but we prefer the botanical latin to make sure we all are speaking of the same exact plant. Just beyond the swaying grass is the Black Garden. The star of the show there is the Lilium ‘Black Beauty’, seen just to the left of the purple leaf peach foliage. The piece of driftwood that is wired to a metal pole was brought back by Frances from a family beach trip in 2009. She wrote a post about it that can be viewed here-In Need Of A Focal Point. Question? Yes, the driftwood did poke a hole in the upholstery of The Financier’s fancy shmancy car. We are not to speak of it, however, so please forget I mentioned it. Onward.

Please watch your step as we follow the path upwards. This is a relatively modest slope, nothing like the steep pitch of the slope behind the main house. We are still on the property that came with the aforementioned house that got knocked down. A working clothesline came with that house but the wires were removed and the rusted metal poles are now used as trellises for roses and vines. Frances would like for me to point out her new Astilbe chinensis ‘Purpurkenze’ that she brought home on the plane from her recent Buffalo trip, seen to the right. I would like to point out the copper topped birdhouse hanging on the metal clothesline pole to the left, a gift from sister of The Financier, Lynn. Often I will sit just under the scattered birdhouses here and hope for a baby bird to fall into my waiting mouth. So far it has not happened. Oops, Frances says it had better not ever happen, either. She is so rigid sometimes. Let us proceed.

We are now at the bottom of the old concrete steps that used to lead to the backdoor of the house that was torn down. The Financier built half round planters on each side of the steps from concrete blocks. Frances planted Astilbe ‘Peach Blossom’ at the base on each side. The planter seen in the photo holds Yucca filamentosa ‘Color Guard’ and Nasturtium ‘Yeti’, among others. The round balls on the old wall are made of hypertufa mix, instructions can be found by clicking here-How To Make Hypertufa-Concrete Balls. The small planter on the step is also hypertufa, made using plastic flower pots as the forms.

As we climb the steps, please note the yellow/white garden just to the left. Last year Frances added this Rudbeckia subtomentosa ‘Henry Eilers’ for some late season flowering. Last year this same plant was two feet tall in flower when planted. This year it is six feet tall, something of a surprise, but a pleasant one. The photo was taken looking across from the garage deck using the zoom. Those spider webs are somewhat disturbing to me. I do not share the love of spiders and their webs to which some humans around here profess. The webs make me sneeze.

There are two Hydrangea paniculata grandifloras here, both trained as standards. One is in the yellow/white garden, the other joins a standard butterfly bush in the Azalea Walk that runs parallel to the back of the garage. More of the Karl grass can be seen dancing in the welcome breeze as the PeeGees come into flower.

Pardon me whilst I nibble a bit on this Japanese blood grass, Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubrum’. Must keep my tummy in tip top shape and you might have noticed how sleek my fur is. A feline must keep up appearances you know. I believe Frances has whipped up something for you to savor after the tour, in case my eating in front of you has aroused your appetite. You will need all of your faculties as we approach the steeper slope, no distractions like eating or drinking will be allowed. Also, I may have forgotten to remind everyone to please silence their electronic devices during the tour. It is in everyone’s best interest to be able to hear what I am saying. We appreciate your cooperation. And now please watch your step as we proceed, for some of the stepping stones are at different levels. This can only be considered a design flaw on the part of the contruction team of The Financier and Frances. Or perhaps the ground settled under some of them. Either way, it can be jarring to step lower, then higher, as we stroll along, even if one knows of the problem. The garden will draw your attention when you perhaps should be watching your footing.

Allow me to direct your gaze downward to the pond. Standing above it on the middle terrace, the glass baubles do look festive. Let us take the wide steps down to have a better look. Do be careful, these steps are erratically spaced and the lower one has become wobbly. Again. Heavy rains have a way of washing the soil out from under the four foot by sixteen inch by four inch thick treads. It was wise of The Financier to insist on rebar being pounded into the wet concrete for added stablility. Who knows what state the steps would be in without that reinforcement.

Ah, here is my favorite playmate, Casey the Koi. Well, he is not really my mate, but I would like him to be. Here, fishy fishy fishy. Casey was a gift from the Gardoctor to Frances. He used a net and captured him at a friend’s pond, with permission of course. Gardoctor is the one who brought me to live at the Fairegarden, and he is still my favorite human.

It may seem that this is an ornamentals only type of garden. It is true that the majority of plants fall into that category. Do follow me to the hidden from view veggie strip, between the Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Gold Mops’ that backs the Azalea Walk and the row of Arborvitae, Thuja occidentalis ‘Emerald Green’ at the back property line. Frances decided to leave the heavy lifting veggie growing to the local farmer’s market folks this year, but she did plant some smaller salad type tomatoes like this Yellow Pear and one called Black Cherry. She has a few plants of catnip for Hazel, my indoor sister cat and me to nosh. We both love to eat those pungent leaves, hop around a bit then take a well deserved nap on top of the stems.

A food crop that is being grown for ornamentation is this red okra, Abelmoschus esculentus ‘Bowling Red’. Frances thinks the flowers are beautiful and wishes to make a wreath from the dried pods. The pods from last year are in the shed awaiting reinforcements to make a nice display for the front door with a harvest theme for fall. Her seed source, Baker Creek, advised to allow the pods to remain on the plants until they become leathery, but not crispy dry. She followed their instructions and was pleased with the results. The same thing will be done this year and a possible wreath of okra will be displayed around Hallowe’en.

The mention of Hallowe’en allows for a segue to the last item on the tour today before refreshments are served on the lower deck, or inside the air conditioned addition if some of you are sweltering on this hot, humid summer day. This ripe pumpkin was thought to be squash, growing in the raised bed by the flat garden. That is the type of seed recorded as being sown there, the variety Eightball. Not so. Oh well, there are squash aplenty at the farmer’s market. A good thing since the food being offered to you today is squash casserole and some cold iced tea on this hot July day. I will be having the usual Iams Hairball Care ProActive Health crunchies. Yummy!

Thanks to all of you for being alert and attentive visitors during this brief tippytoe through the delights of Fairegarden. Join us again soon, for the garden is a living organism, in constant flux. It will be different each time you visit. I look forward to seeing your smiling faces. You’ve been a great audience. Meow, meow, meow, purrrrrrrrr!

Kitty (transcribed by Frances)

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29 Responses to Garden Stroll With Kitty

  1. Edith Hope says:

    Dear Frances, What a most aristocratic looking cat. Could one wish for a more well connected tour guide?

    I have enjoyed savouring the virtual delights of your garden which always impresses me with its lush plantings, surprising artistic elements and arresting flower combinations. Thank you.

    Hi Edith, thanks for visiting and those kind words. Kitty probably knows more about the garden than I do. He can squeeze into some hidden spots and often surprises me as I am weeding or walking along. Kitty is a handsome fellow and says purrr to you for the compliment! πŸ™‚

  2. Patsi says:

    That was fun walking with kitty.
    Saved your post on hypertufa concrete balls…want to do it soon.
    Your yellow pear tomatoes look good…DH has few ripe ones at the moment,can’t wait for more.

    Hi Patsi, thanks. I look forward to seeing how your ball project turns out. Be sure to tamp the mixture down into the bottom of the ball. A comment mentioned something about the bottom being wavy and I had a couple turn out the same way. Those yellow pears are nearly indestructible. Drought, storms, disease and pestilence don’t seem to bother them at all. We finally had to hard prune them back to remove all the rotting extras that weren’t picked while we were out of town. I love the color in a salad and they are tasty, too. πŸ™‚

  3. Valerie says:

    Thanks Kitty for that very enjoyable tour.

    You are most welcome, Valerie. Thanks for being such a polite guest. Puuurrrr.

  4. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Nice tour Kitty. I might add that in some Japanese gardens they offset the stepping stones so that you have to slow down as you stroll through the garden and you can savor the experience. So maybe your humans want the stepping stones to be a little askew to slow us down. I like the way you have shown us through the garden. Your koi mate is gorgeous. The tasty bloodgrass is too. I can’t seem to get it to grow here. Maybe because I don’t have a kitty to nibble at it. Have a wonderful weekend.

    Thanks Lisa and say hi to Luna for me! Thanks for trying to bail Frances and The Financier out from their mistake. Sure, they met to do that! HA-meow! And I am a pure blood Russian Blue, NOT! So sorry about the bloodgrass, don’t know how to advise about that. It grows so easily here and is on invasive lists in some states. Maybe too wet? You too have a great weekend. πŸ™‚

  5. Teresa O says:

    Oh my, you are indeed a witty Kitty! Thank you for showing us about Frances’ garden and sharing your knowledge of what’s growing there. It’s such a lovely place to spend time.

    Why thank you Teresa, I appreciate those sweet words, almost as good as an ear scratch! Prrr.

  6. Rose says:

    Thank you for this interesting tour, Miss Kitty. As the head garden guide here at the Prairie (when Sophie stays inside–she tends to knock everything over), Rose invited me along; I hope you don’t mind. The steps were not hard to navigate at all, but it’s good you gave some words of caution–Rose tends to gawk at plants and not watch where she is going. While the humans are enjoying their squash casserole, could we visit that birdhouse and the pond again?


    Hey Tarzan, my friend, that is MISTER Kitty!!! You were very welcome to accompany Rose on the tour anyway, it happens all the time with that sad naming problem the humans had about me. They couldn’t come to an agreement and had been calling me Kitty and it just sorta stuck. It sounds like you know a thing or three about giving garden tours as well. Cool. We certainly can slip off to the birdhouses and pond, the smells around there are to die for! πŸ™‚
    Mr. Kitty

  7. Turling says:

    That is very well done. I certainly hope that MISTER Kitty and the koi continue to live in perfect harmony.

    Thank you Turling. Kitty’s fur is still sticking out in places over the smear to his masculinity, even though it was an innocent mistake. Males can be like that, you know. I do believe Casey and Fido, the fish, are clever enough to elude Kitty’s claw handshake. We hope. πŸ™‚

  8. Barbarapc says:

    Kitty, I’ve been following your person’s blog for some time and wondering when I might learn more about you and your impressions of your garden. Sadly, my view of our garden is strictly from the window – although given that my name is Hercules, I sort of belong up and above it all. Wish I could join you for a rumble, roll and grass nibble – looks like you’ve got some interesting greens and sushi there.
    Yours truly,
    Hercules of Oakville

    Hi Hercules, thanks for your loyal readership of my human’s blog! My cat sister, Hazel also only views the garden from indoors but doesn’t seem to mind it at all. Since I was a farm cat for a while, I just have to be outside, whether Frances thinks so or not. Sushi, HA-meow, good one! Casey is large enough to supply many a meal. Oops, don’t let anyone know about that! We could have a great game of chase up and down the paths and through the beds on the hillsides. You should see how many places there are to hide! Glad to know you, my friend. πŸ™‚

  9. Every time I see that astilbe, I feel proud of myself for talking you into it. πŸ™‚

    And everytime I see that astilbe, Joseph, I am glad you did! πŸ™‚

  10. gittan says:

    Hello Kitty, thanks for the tour. I really appreciated (spells like that?) it. Frances garden looks so nice through your eyes / kram gittan

    Hello Gittan, thanks for coming on the tour with me. Your spelling is spot on!

  11. Cats make the best garden companions!

    I agree.

  12. What a wonderful garden tour… I often wonder how a garden appears when seeing it from a shorter perspective. We have cats, baby deer, foxes, many birds, lots of butterflies fluttering about, as well as a nesting pair of red tail hawks (watch out squirrels!) regularly. That is a lot of different perspectives to think about isn’t it…
    Thanks for sharing yours!

    Hi Marsha, thanks. It would look quite different, more like a huge jungle from their perspective. How fun. I envy you those hawks, our squirrels are quite impertinent! πŸ™‚

  13. ellada says:

    I love the tour with the cat and is so lucky because he live in a lovely garden.

    Hi Elllada, thanks. Kitty is lucky to be here, and he knows it. πŸ™‚

  14. Catherine says:

    Kitty that was a wonderful tour, you are quite the host in your, I’m mean Frances’ garden. Tell her it’s just beautiful!

    Thank you very much, Catherine, puurrrr. I do try my best to explain what is going on in the garden here. I will pass your kind words along to Frances. πŸ™‚

  15. Gardoctor says:

    Kitty needs to give tours at the Biltmore!
    Your posts amaze me everytime!
    Love you,
    “favorite human”

    Hi Gardoctor, you would have been so proud of your Kitty! He is an excellent tour guide. The Biltmore gig sounds great. He could ride on the segue! I actually want to take on of those tours and ride. Maybe someday. With Kitty leading the way, of course. Glad you enjoy the posts.
    Much love to the favorite human,
    Frances and Kitty

  16. gardeningasylum says:

    Love touring your garden as always, this time with Kitty. I can’t get that blood grass to do anything here, so it’s nice to see your success. A volunteer pumpkin is very nice indeed, and such a cute one!

    Hi Cyndy, thanks. I am wondering about the blood grass, it does like excellent drainage even though it likes some moisture. That same ole moist but well drained song and dance. The pumpkin was such a surprise. There is another one in the same bed that is larger and bumpy. They must have been in the compost bin, but I usually don’t put pumpkins in there, too many seeds. Who knows what happened, but I am glad for them both. πŸ™‚

  17. Jen says:

    I had such a great time on this tour with you kitty. Looking forward to another one soon. Lovely garden that you are in charge of.


    Hi Jen, thanks and purr. Anytime you stop by, I will gladly give you a tour of the garden, showing some special hidden haunts never seen before! πŸ™‚

  18. Frances — are the animals taking over the garden in this heat? I loved your kitty’s tour of the garden. Charm takes her tour (she calls it a “promenade”) at 6:30 am these days. I’ve been unable to take photos for the lens fog from the humidity. I am so tired of this and it’s to be 103 F tomorrow.

    Hi Cameron, it might seems that way. I don’t know why Kitty prefers to be outside over the cooler house, but he does. Charm has the right idea, but it is already hot and humid then as well. It helps my camera to set in the sun for a few moments to get warmed up, but not too long, it would probably melt! Stay cool! πŸ™‚

  19. Kitty is great at giving tours. Sleek fur bright eyes and all.~~Dee

    Hi Dee, thanks so much. Kitty is a handsome fellow, we all agree. πŸ™‚

  20. Beautiful tour, that was fun! What a lovely Koi pond and amazing garden!

    Hi Priscilla, thanks and welcome. Glad you enjoyed the tour by our Kitty. The pond is a favorite spot for all visitors and inhabitants. πŸ™‚

  21. Hi, Frances;
    Wonderful to take a lush garden tour this morning (as I hide out, indoors, from the sweltering heat.) Your cute kitty has a very sweet jungle to play in, that’s for sure. Hope you’re having a marvelous weekend.

    Hi Kate, thanks. Same here with the sweltering part, though the weekend was indeed marvelous. Kitty loves being in the garden, and even more so if I am out working in it so he can help! πŸ™‚

  22. Kathy says:

    What a wonderful tour guide Kitty surprise there, as cats are superior creatures in every way . I know that Ted and Doobie would love to give visitors tours of the garden here, but unfortunately they are too busy sleeping. The feline day can be quite exhausting.

    Hi Kathy, thanks and welcome and Kitty says purr, of course cats are superior beings. Kitty does his share of sleeping, but rouses himself when humans are about. He is a social animal. πŸ™‚

  23. debsgarden says:

    Thank you, Kitty. I loved the tour! I’m not sure you should be nibbling on the bloodgrass, however pretty it is!

    Hi Deb, thanks for coming along and purr. Frances also had doubts about the safety of the bloodgrass, but I am in excellent health so there you go! πŸ™‚

  24. james says:

    Interesting tour by your kitty – especially noting their point of view.
    Nice glass balls by the pond – very interesting idea.

    Hi James, thanks. Kitty rules the garden here and is all seeing, all knowing. Glad you liked the pond area, it is one of his, and my favorites. πŸ™‚

  25. Give kitty a stroke. I have three, Harold, Hector and Horace, all the ‘H’s’.

    Calamagrostis x acutiflora β€˜Karl Foerster’ is on my list to buy in September.

    Hi Rob, thanks. I seem to recall your three H’s. Kitty says Bon jour to them all and invites them over anytime they can catch a ride on a passing jet! Karl will add to your lovely gardens, he is so well behaved and looks marvelous! πŸ™‚

  26. easygardener says:

    Say thanks to Kitty for the garden tour – he is a very considerate and knowledgeable guide. My cats also have the ability to materialise alongside the gardener in complete silence. Slightly unnerving at times!

    Hi EG and Kitty says thanks and purr, come along anytime! The most unnerving here is when Kitty pops out of the shrubbery whilst I am on bended knee weeding nearby. He is a silent stalker. πŸ™‚

  27. noel says:


    this was a very nice demo, what an education, i’ve never thought to do this…we have pandanus leaves here in hawaii that we do the same to make, thatching, leis, hats, etc…haven’t taken the effort to do this yet, but your post is very encouraging. thanks for sharing this frances.

    help me decide on a photo from my plant fanatic blog, if you don’t mind?

    Aloha, Noel, thanks. How wonderful to have those leaves from which to make useful things, especially thatching! I loved all the photos for your contest, but chose the last one, it spoke to me. Good luck! πŸ™‚

  28. Denise says:

    Kitty, that was a fabulous tour. You are a delightful and informative guide. Our kitties are busying themselves in attempted bird-icide of young fledglings, so it’s nice to see a kitty in a more constructive mode.

    Thank you very much Denise. I am glad you enjoyed my tour. Your kitties should be ashamed of themselves, doing that where you can see them! πŸ™‚

  29. Melanie says:

    Dear Kitty,
    Here I thought the only occupation available to us had to do with chasing things from the garden, not leading humans through! Splendid idea! Fairegarden is beautiful, we are so lucky… us kitties that are allowed into the garden aren’t we?
    Basil of Baconseed

    Hi there Basil, thanks for dropping by! It sometimes is best not to let the humans know how much we actually are capable of, for obvious reasons! Meow back at ya. And a big purrr. πŸ™‚

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