Near And Far Views


It is time for some close ups in the Fairegarden, those fun macros that allow for details to be viewed that are not possible to see with the naked eye. Or even with the reading glasses on. Hiding from the dazzling light of morning sunshine under a long leaf, a Pholcidae, daddy long legs is hoping for a buggy meal to alight on the topside. This type of spider is quite common and highly poisonous, but do not fear them if you are a human, their fangs are incapable of biting us. If found inside the house, I grab them by a leg and gently place them out of doors.


Looking somewhat spider-webbish as a segue to the next image, Daucus carota, Queen anne’s lace is an introduced wildflower found over most of the United States. It can be seen growing along roadsides and in open fields forming beautiful bouquets with the also introduced blue flowering chicory. Considered invasive on official sites, it is treasured in the garden here, with seeds saved and scattered from the one plant that popped up behind the knot garden bench. A biennial, the lacy foliage will show up the first year after germination with the tall bloom stalk sporting white delicate flowers the next. It has been added to the gravel garden in hopes of having it waving gaily with the Karl Foerster grass that resides in the back portion. Now if we could add some chicory…


The fancy named cultivars of Echinacea have proven difficult to get going here, those with the unnatural colors added by fervent plant breeders. An exception is the diminutive Echincea ‘Harvest Moon’. The yellow-orange petals are a result of the work of Matthew Saul, owner of the patent for the Big Sky series of purple coneflowers. Crossing the yellow E. paradoxa, (we have managed to grow one plant from seed to blooming size), with the species E. purpurea has resulted in a vigorous grower that is a blooming machine. Granted it is planted in what could be considered the best soil in the best position here, the Fairelurie, click here to find out about that special bed and its creation, there will be no questioning of how or why this particular cultivar does so well. It simply does.


While the close up macro shots are fun to fool around with, the garden is actually about the long view, as seen from human eyes as the paths are followed many, many times each day. There is much to see, hear and smell, with changes daily, even hourly on occasion. The Fairelurie as seen from the entrance path that leads from the driveway in front to the garden granduer of the back yard greets guests and homeowners with a welcome sight.


Rudbeckia hirta ‘Prairie Sun’ is an annual. Repeat, an annual. It does not return, except by seeding. But on occasion, there will be a seedling that sows itself in the exact same place as the store bought plant grew the year before. A lucky coincidence, perhaps. Or perhaps there was a smaller, younger plant in the same pot that has survived to bloom the next year. Whatever the case, it is welcome. Now if only the other seven would have done the same…


There is one daylily that excels above all the nearly one hundred named varieties we grow here. It is Hemerocallis ‘Pardon Me’. The lone daylily brought with the Noah’s Ark of plants in the move from Texas to Tennessee in 2000, it has been divided and spread about all over this property. Opening in late May and continuing to bloom until August with brief naps to recharge, the dark red flower with the neon green throat is a must have plant. The only caveat is the stature, somewhat shorter than most other daylilies, so placement is critical for it to shine brightly.


The long, or farther view reveals a cluster of blooms among the tall also blooming and aforementioned Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’, using the whole Latin name this time. The splotches of red are just what is needed to decorate the sea of grey/green at the back of the gravel garden. Poor soil, what used to be a gravel driveway, compacted and rocky red clay is no obstacle for H. ‘Pardon Me’. It has also been spread to the front island forest of grasses and weedy bits, this red garden warrior.


At the lower level of the gravel garden described above is the mass planting of Japanese blood grass, Imperata cylindra ‘Rubra’, a plant also on the bad guy list as being invasive in some parts of the US. Maybe we need the invasives to be able to survive the wildly fluctuating conditions of hot-cold, wet-dry that is the new norm for us. Aster tataricus ‘Jindai’ has no problemo amidst the red tipped grass. Really, we have not seen any other plant have one bit of trouble growing amongst it. The morning light is like an x-ray for the large serrated edged leaves of the fall bloomer. What any kind of light does to the blood grass is the stuff of legend, that reason alone is enough to grow it.


To wind up this story, may we present a very wide shot of the Gravel Garden. As in most planting areas here, there are more different things growing than I can even name. Each square foot is home to many, the result of manic collecting of anything and everything in the way of plants. We wish to try each newly discovered species and cultivar, to us, or we used to, and would stick the purchase, passalong or seedling wherever there was a blank spot. The blank spots have all been filled and now something must be removed to make way for the new, so more care and thought is given, sometimes, when shopping. Sometimes there is even a conscious design at play. Sometimes not.

Frances

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24 Responses to Near And Far Views

  1. Rifqi says:

    I like the spider, looks like he’ll put a knot on his legs if he’s not careful :p

    Hi Rifqi, thanks for visiting and welcome! Those legs are so long and skinny, I always wonder if they grow a new one if one gets stuck or broken. Knots would be a problem! HA
    Frances

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    It is fun to see the near and far shots of your garden Frances. Isn’t it odd that I haven’t had luck with that Jap. Blood Grass since it is supposed to be so invasive. I like planting things so close. I think one does that when one has such limited gardening space. Have a great weekend.

    Thanks Lisa. I don’t know what to say about your blood grass efforts. It does need lots of water when transplanted, and can die out in a wet winter. Good drainage. You too have a lovely weekend, my friend.
    Frances

  3. Absolutely beautiful Faire. I would love to grow one of the yellow echinaceas, but haven’t been able to so far. Lots of those rudbeckias seem to be annuals here too. Have a beautiful day both far and near.~~Dee

    Hi Dee, thanks so much. I also have Sunrise, but it is not nearly as vigorous as Harvest Moon. Something is to the Moon’s liking here. I like the annual Rudbeckias, especially when one comes back or self sows, but that is not at all dependable. May your day be lovely, as well, dear.
    Frances

  4. catmint says:

    Dear Frances, wonderful photography, i really must change the lens more often. queen anne’s lace is one of my favourite wildflowers. Rifqi, thanks for the laugh about the spider putting a knot on his legs.

    Hi Catmint, thanks. I am lucky in that the switch from macro to normal is just a click of a button, no lens changing here. I am glad you like the Queen Anne’s Lace, it is such a beauty. Rifqi made a good joke!
    Frances

  5. commonweeder says:

    Your photography is always so gorgeous. I love that backlit daddy longlegs. I have children and grandchildren who go crazy when they see spiders, but I don’t mind them and just try to keep them out of my way. That ‘Pardon Me’ daylily is pretty spectacular, too.

    Hi Pat, thanks so much for those kind words, I do appreciate you. We have tried to teach the kids and grands to respect all creatures, not scream or yell at any of them. Except maybe snakes. Pardon Me is a good one.
    Frances

  6. Ginger Goolsby says:

    Frances,
    I always enjoy your posts; your garden is gorgeous. I, too, live in Tennessee – East Tennessee (Morristown) and the weather is very changeable here also and, alas, lots of red clay! Your lovely garden gives me hope though. I’ve gardened for several years but only within the last few years have I been trying to “organize” it a little better, add more variety and replace more lawn with flowers.
    Thanks for the inspiration you provide.
    Ginger Goolsby

    Hi Ginger, thanks so much, my fellow Tennessean! Keep adding compost to your clay, it will turn into much better soil for growing stuff. I do believe that once we have filled up the garden, we look at it with a more critical eye towards design. Trial and error, all the way. Good luck with your garden!
    Frances

  7. dirtynailz says:

    Love the macros, Frances.
    I totally agree with you about those endless new echinaceas. Do you remember that infamous red coreopsis “Limerock Ruby” a few years ago? What a dud!
    I also concur re rudbeckia Prairie Sun. It’s a delightful cultivar, but most definitely an annual, and none of mine ever self seeded.

    Hi Cynthia, thanks so much. I also fell for the hype for that Coreopsis, and many others. Now I walk right by the coreopsis groups. I do have a good narrow leaf one, Zagreb, that does very well here. That is enough. I like Prairie Sun and Cherry Brandy and have saved seeds from some of those with the dark rings. But seed must be saved and planted to keep them going.
    Frances

  8. Rose says:

    Now I’m going to have to look for ‘Harvest Moon’–what a beauty! I’ve shied away from the new cultivars because of their difficult reputations, besides the fact that the original purple coneflowers seem to have a stranglehold on parts of my garden. But I’m sure I could find a blank spot, too, for ‘Harvest Moon.’

    Hi Rose, thanks for visiting. Do look for Harvest Moon, and put it near the front, it is a shorty! How nice to have the Echinaceas strangling in the garden, they are not that strong here. Maybe need some prairie soil instead of our red clay?
    Frances

  9. Sticking to a plan looks good, but takes some of the fun out of gardening. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of seeing a new plant bloom for the first time. I love the red of ‘Pardon Me’ with the glaucous foliage of the grass.

    Right you are, MMD. We can try to have the plan, it has helped my garden look slightly less jungle-like. Pardon Me is a winner, no matter what anyone says! HA
    Frances

  10. Kim says:

    I love your phtos! I am very jealous! It makes me want to keep practicing! Thanks for the inspiration.

    Thanks Kim, you are too kind. I take so very many shots to get one or two useable ones. It is all about practice and determination.
    Frances

  11. Molly says:

    Beautiful! Your title reminded me of Grover’s “Near and Far” skit on Sesame Street. I might have to youtube it. I was hoping some Queen Anne’s would pop up somewhere in our garden this year (it is my first year at this location), but it hasn’t. I might have to commandeer some from the roadside for next year.

    Thanks Molly. I remember that bit on Sesame Street, where he ran back and forth. Wonderful! Good luck with your roadside seed harvesting. I need to try for some chicory in the same way.
    Frances

  12. Hi Frances,

    Lovely ‘Harvest moon’ flowers and photo! Really like that one.
    Your photography is so beautiful

    Have a great weekend

    glimpsesofglory-karen.blogspot.com/

    Hi Karen, thanks for those kind words. Harvest Moon is a good plant, long blooming and very pretty, here anyway. You too have the most fantastic weekend!
    Frances

  13. Leslie says:

    I always enjoy the visit to your garden…there is always something new to see and your photos always amaze me.

    Thanks for coming along, Leslie, you are always welcome! I appreciate those kind words, too.
    Frances

  14. Gail says:

    Frances, My dear, the garden is a scrumptious buffet~ The long shots tease us with deliciousness and draw us to the flowers for a closer look. It’s yummy~Love the rudbeckia. Love ‘Pardon Me’. Love the JB grass ; light never fails it! Fairelurie is also looking good. Now that I’ve made myself hungry from all the buffet talk I must find a snack! xxoogail

    Thanks sweet Gail. I get sustenance from the garden, like a full course meal for my soul.
    xxxooo
    Frances

  15. I’d like to be near, so I could appreciate both near and far. Lovely images as always, Frances. Happy Friday!

    I would like you to be near as well, dear Helen! We could have some serious fun.
    Frances

  16. Elizabeth McLeod says:

    I love the hemorocallis “Pardon Me”…it IS outstanding. What a blossom! Thanks for the great garden views.

    Hi Elizabeth, thanks for visiting. Pardon Me deserves to be more widely used.
    Frances

  17. Nell Jean says:

    Summertime… and the pictures are pleasing.

    Fish are jumpin’…

  18. Les says:

    I have killed more than my fair share of the new Echinaceas, including some of Saul’s, but have fantastic luck with the species. I spoke with the owner of a wholesale perennial nursery, and she said they have better chances of coming back if you only plant them in the spring and cut all the flowers off the first summer. My retail-oriented brain said you want us to ask nearly $20 for a perennial and then tell the customer to cut the flowers off?

    Cut all the flowers off? Maybe I will try that next year. I don’t have the heart to do it right now to Hot Papaya. It is like cutting off the strawberries or blueberries, like is recommended. I can’t do it.
    Frances

  19. Lola says:

    Gorgeous, just beautiful. I love taking a stroll through your gardens.
    I have one Echinacea. It’s not blooming yet. Was hoping it would reproduce. Guess I’ll have to wait.

    Hi Lola, thanks for strolling with me. Keep hope alive with the Echinacea, let the seed mature fully then sprinkle around the mother so you will know what the heck those babies are when they emerge. Good luck!
    Frances

  20. Alistair says:

    Hi Frances, I like your garden shots but I equally enjoy the macros. The one which we call daddy long legs is not quite so grotesque as that spider. The Japanese blood grass is seen in the garden centres here but it performs poorly in our garden, I think the Summer is too cool for it.

    Thanks Alistair. Some people like one or the other of the garden shots, it is probably best to include both, something for everyone. Poor daddy long legs, grotesque? We think him cute with those wiry legs. Your summers are lovely, so unlike what we are experiencing here at the present time with mid nineties for weeks on end and no rain. Yuck. Drainage is probably your issue, since the blood grass is highly invasive in the misty, cool environs of the Pacific Northwest here in the States.?
    Frances

  21. debsgarden says:

    I love the mixture of plants, the colors and textures, in your gravel garden, especially the blood grass. I also see why you like ‘Pardon Me’. It’s a dramatic color, and it’s great that you have been able to spread it around.

    Thanks Deb. The Gravel Garden has gotten a lot of my attention the last year, and is looking better all the time. It still needs some work in getting the plantings just so, but the red Pardon Me is a good accent. My husband, however just said yesterday that the daylily was shorter than the grass. Like I didn’t know that. HA I guess he doesn’t see the *Vision*.
    Frances

  22. Michelle says:

    We have a Daylily Farm nearby, and we make our once a year pilgrimage to buy new plants. We both look forward to it! They have over eight-HUNDRED varieties! So beautiful!

    Hi Michelle, how wonderful! The yearly pilgramage happened here, many times more often than yearly. I am trying not to buy any new ones this year, but, it is impossible if we go to one of the farms to resist.
    Frances

  23. You said the daylily traveled with you from Texas……do you remember where you got it? I’d love to try it! Enjoyed the tour of your garden. c:

    Hi Cherie, thanks for visiting. I do remember very well where Pardon Me was purchased, the Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham, Texas. They had many more plants besides roses for sale on site and was only an hour or so from where we lived. We went to that wonderful place many times. Good luck!
    Frances

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