Fantasy Versus Reality


Being away from the Fairegarden at the peak time of spring into summer blooming can be vexing.
(Shown above: Chinese Trumpet Lilium ‘Lady Alice’)


It is daylily season which means there are fresh, new flowers each twenty-four hour cycle, as the blooms only last that length of time. A week away in late June will always result in missing the show for another year of certain cultivars.
(Shown above: Elrod Peach, unknown that came with the property)


Extra watering of the large containers and newly planteds is done in preparation for departure, in hopes that there will be rain in our absence instead of the prolonged drought that has become the norm for this time of year.
(Shown above: Hemerocallis ‘Moon Dazzle’ pointing to the recently inground Echinacea ‘Hot Papaya’ in the orange butterfly garden)


The fun and frivolity of family beach vacation keeps thoughts of the home garden at bay, until the long drive back to reality begins.


In the daydreams about the home garden during traveling, there exists a perfect world of imagined plantings, neatly clipped, artfully arranged, designed for low to no maintenance. There has been more than eleven years of striving towards that goal, surely it has been achieved, right?


Wrong. The return is always shocking, even more so this time. Heavy rains, a blessing, have pounded down tall, blossom laden branches. It is a mass of matted foliage, wet and some tattered from hail and spent lily blooms that need deadheading. Flowers are bravely sticking their heads up above the mess, but the real vision is so very unlike the imagined fantasy of how this garden actually appears.


There is so much that needs doing, it jumps into the field of vision wherever one looks. Where is the pleasing view, the longed for sensations of sight and smell? Sigh.
(Shown above: Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’)


A good night’s sleep in our own bed helps revive and refresh, letting the garden be seen in the early morning light for what it is. A work in progress. Onward.

Frances

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22 Responses to Fantasy Versus Reality

  1. Carol says:

    Is any garden ever finished? Ever static? Done?
    We would like to think so, but they never are.

    No, a garden can never be finished unless it is all concrete and metal. Plants grow, it’s true. But what a difference a week can make in June!
    Frances

  2. Darla says:

    Your gardens look like a fairytale to me. Always a delight to visit.

    Thanks Darla, you are sweet. I did not show the bad parts, but really it was more of an overall vibe of messiness that surprised me.
    Frances

  3. Laurrie says:

    Your garden, untended, may look alarming to you, but you come home to crocosmias and daylilies and other flowering treasures. My garden, tended carefully because I am here every day, disappoints me with no blooms! Not fair.

    I like the surreal think sign.

    Thanks Laurrie. Maybe everything is better in our imagination. We do have blooms and should be thankful for that. It sounds like you need more plants!
    Frances

  4. gittan says:

    A garden is never finished, and I think it’s meant to be that way! I think you’ve come very far during your eleven years at Fairegarden, Frances. What I see is a wonderful garden that I really would love to see as my own =)
    Trippelkram gittan

    Dear Gittan, and are so kind and sweet, thank you. A garden is never finished, but just once we would like ours to look like those photos in the English gardening magazine. Maybe they use mirrors? HA
    Quadruple kram to you!
    Frances

  5. Bridget Foy says:

    Your garden looks beautiful, lovely pics. Love Lilies especially the heavily scented ones. Montbretia Lucifer is another of my faves.

    Thanks Bridget. Lilies and Crocosmias/Montbretias are well represented in the garden here.
    Frances

  6. I hear you Frances! We traveled for 12 (!) days, and I missed some of my flowers blooming! For the whole year, I was waiting to see them. Well, what to do. We had great family time in N.Carolina. Take care and don’t overwork! …Love your crocosmia!

    Hi Tatyana, thanks. The Crocosmia are definitely a high spot of color in the garden right now, that and the daylilies. How fun for you to travel to North Carolina for fun family time. That is the best type of fun.
    Frances

  7. Sheila Read says:

    It’s hard to come home to a Southern garden in summer. It inevitably looks beat up and neglected. Hey, by August, it looks that way even when I’m here to tend it 🙂 But your photos don’t show it. I would be happy to soak in your garden and all its blooms any day!

    Thanks Sheila. I did not show the bad parts, but tried to suggest how it looked with words. My own view is always skewed of the garden anyway, I see only what needs to be done most of the time. July and August are not the prettiest here, for sure!
    Frances

  8. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I am always surprised at how weedy the garden gets when away. It seems that those few minutes I keep at those weeds every day do pay off. I am so rarely away this time of year that I haven’t had to worry about it much. At least you feel needed when you return. 😉 Welcome home.

    Thanks, Lisa. Weeds, overgrown stuff, fallen down stuff, branches, it wasn’t what was expected, but it should have been. You would think I know that by now after these yearly beach trips.
    Frances

  9. I so feel your pain, but you’ll set it to rights soon enough. Whenever I leave, I forget how bad everything will be when I return. Yesterday, I worked on the poor rose bed. It is dismal. Hang in there.~~Dee

    Thanks for the support, dear Dee. I was tired and expecting something perfect to come home to. It will never be perfect, but it already looks better with some major working out there.
    Frances

  10. Onward indeed. It may seem overwhelming, but you will get your garden back in shape. The extra work will be long forgotten, when you share your memories with your grandkids one day about the vaca during the Summer of 2011. H.

    Thanks Helen, Summer of 2011, it has a nice ring to it. I appreciate your confidence!
    Frances

  11. Ginny says:

    I had the same experience after just five days away – and spent the remaining two days of my vacation cleaning up the garden! On reflection, I am so glad it’s a work in progress – just like the gardener 🙂

    Yes, Ginny, too true about the garden and the gardener. There is not end to improvements needed.
    Frances

  12. Karina says:

    Love the cute little stories and flowers!! It is such a joy to read what you post! Love the ‘think’ sign, very cute! Was the wavy effect from the camera? I wasn’t able to tell. I love how the Chinese Trumpet Lilium ‘Lady Alice’ is just hanging there in the first photo, great captures!!

    Thanks Karina. The Think sign was made from a regular photo with the help of my photo program, Image Expert. Lady Alice is a real looker.
    Frances

    • Karina says:

      Great selection on making the image stand out in such a cute and extraordinary way! Thanks for letting me know what program you used as well! If only I can make flowers look that great. May I ask how long did it take for you to grow Lady Alice?

      Thanks Karina. Lady Alice was planted in the spring of 2009. The Trumpet lilies are short the first year in ground, then grow quite tall afterwards. I expect her to fill out and be taller next year.
      Frances

      • Karina says:

        Wow she’s going to turn out to be a tall gem! Wish I had the climate to grow them as well. If I moved the location of the flowers when it gets cold to indoors, will this damage or even kill off the Trumpet lilies? Thanks!

        Hi Karina, Lady Alice should be tall, like the other Trumpet lilies. I do not know about moving them indoors and cold. They go dormant here during winter, but are well past bloom time by then. The stalk must be left standing while still green to produce energy for next year’s bloom, though. They are cut down when fully brown, to the ground.
        Frances

  13. My Kids Mom says:

    Yes, we’re either having rain pass us by or else bring hail. Not really choices I’d make myself.

    I understand completely, Jill. Rain is good, especially this time of year. Hail, not so much.
    Frances

  14. ricki says:

    Our getaway time is along about Feb, when the gloom gets to be too much. Right now home is the best place. Looks to me like your family gathering was well worth it, and the rain and hail would have done the same amount of dirty work even if you had been there.

    That is the perfect time to get away, Ricki, the dead of winter. I don’t really like to travel at all, but there are trips made each summer anyway, including the blogger meet up in Seattle coming up soon. You are right about the damage being done even if I was here, but I would see it happen, rather than live in la la land about how wonderful the garden will be upon my return.
    Frances

  15. Lola says:

    It’s always a pleasure to tour your gardens which look lovely. I too have seen what nature can do to a garden with mine here & I was here. All we can do is try to repair that which does not look appealing.
    Glad you had some special family time. It is so important.

    Thanks Lola. We wouldn’t miss the family time, no matter what happens to the garden in our absence. We do have our priorities!
    Frances

  16. Victoria says:

    I had a moment – just a moment – the other day, when I thought: “The garden looks quite good.” I knew it couldn’t last, and of course, five minutes later I realised I still have lots of things that need to be tidied, trimmed and generally tweaked. (Or, ahem, planted.) Looking at your garden, it looks perfect. Perhaps we should just look at each other’s gardens, then everything will always look good!

    Oh you are dear, Victoria! I would love to gaze upon your garden once again, it was indeed perfection!
    Frances

  17. I know how you feel, it is always difficult to leave a garden. Sometimes I feel I am tied indefinitely to what I have created. At some point I will have to leave it up to family, friends and nature and take off for lands beyond.

    Eileen

    Yes, Eileen, we will all have to take off for lands beyond at some point! What an exciting adventure that will be, I hope there is gardening to be done there and we are up to the task.
    Frances

  18. Phillip says:

    A gardener’s work is never done!

    I don’t think it is, Phillip. And that is probably a good thing.
    Frances

  19. Going away is wonderful, but coming back even better.A quick bit of deadheading and cutting the grass works wonders and soon has everything looking ok again. Hope you enjoyed your trip.

    Thanks Pauline, we did enjoy the trip very much. The garden is being whipped back into submission, day by day, as well.
    Frances

  20. Rose says:

    Frances, your garden always looks lovely to me, and I know you’ll have it back in shape in no time. But I understand–my vision in my mind of my garden is much, much different than reality. I’m learning to look past some of the weeds, too–it’s getting hot here again, and after a little while of weeding in this heat, the garden starts looking to me like your photo of the “Think” sign:)

    Dear Rose, you are too kind, as always, thank you. We must learn to accept some weeds in a larger garden, there are only so many hours in the day and we don’t want to spend all of them weeding. I have found the key to fewer weeds is more plants, they will shade out the unwanteds, with a little help in the beginning.
    Frances

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