October Ramblings


Every now and then, my brain goes on hiatus. Don’t you love that word? When I was younger and much more into watching the three networks that broadcast programs on television way back then, such a limited selection but we watched so much more of them, the new shows would premier in the fall, run their course through spring then go into reruns during the summer. The show’s cast would be on hiatus during that time, free to pursue other interests. My brain is doing that, pursuing other interests. Above: Japanese anemone, Anemone hupehensis ‘Praecox’


Ideas for posts usually just pop into said brain, uninvited, informal like a dear friend sticking their head inside the kitchen door asking if there is time for tea and a chitchat before beginning the chores of the day. Photos are taken, viewed as a slide show and the words write themselves. Above: fall blooming Crocus speciosus amidst Ajuga reptans


Not today. Images are snapped and free association happens as the slide show is viewed, but the story isn’t forming. There is no cohesive witticism flowing. We got nothing. Above: seed grown Rosa chinensis ‘Angel Wings’


Except I did want to share this variegated ivy that attached itself to the long wall from a nearby container planting. The container is long gone, but the ivy continues to grow on the concrete blocks. Sometimes, the leaves are not variegated at all, but a solid pale buttery yellow. With the cooler temperatures of fall, the stems also turn pinkish. I love those green-free leaves.


And I have been wanting to share with you this little grouping that has finally been placed in the hypertufa bonsai planter outside. A post about it can be seen by clicking here. The first little Chinese figurine fell apart after a couple of years of withstanding the freeze/thaw cycle that is our southeast Tennessee winter. This replacement was purchased, quite inexpensive, but it seemed so delicate and tree branches often fall from the silver maple overhead that it has been safely sitting on a shelf indoors. Until now. Life is for living. We want to see these Chinese men enjoying their tea and telling wise and interesting stories in the hypertufa miniature world out of doors. If something happens to fall on them, it was simply meant to be.


There is a smaller and less well defined piece in a much smaller moss bonsai pot. Wait a minute, I’ll give some perspective…


Cute, eh?


Wrapping it all up and tying it neatly with a bow, for those of you wondering what to do with all those hypertufa balls that have been made after reading this post


…Make a squirrel obstacle course. Fall plantings of the sweet violas are a neon sign to the demon diggers who are looking for soft earth in which to bury the black walnuts. We have tried many obstructions, chickenwire, gravel mulch, large rocks, but the best idea hatched to date has been to use the cement balls to stymy the digging efforts. So far, so good. And so until next time, kiddies, onward!

Frances

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19 Responses to October Ramblings

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your ramblings. It seems that my mind is in hiatus too. I so used to look forward to the fall tv shows starting. I rarely watch tv now. All of the shows are alike. YAWN… It is much more entertaining to look at little chinese men drinking tea in tiny hypertufa pots of bonsai.

    Thanks Lisa. It used to be a big deal, those new fall shows, and maybe still is to some. Yawn here, as well. Glad you like the tea drinking group, I imagine the conversation they are having about life, the universe and everything.
    Frances

  2. Carol says:

    I like the little chinese men, too. Hopefully they aren’t telling the squirrels how to get around the hypertufa balls and get to the pansies. No, they wouldn’t. Would they?

    Hi Carol, thanks for visiting. I am hoping the little Chinese men are on the side of the gardener, but maybe…a few large rocks need to be added to the viola planting. There are already signs of digging there, but the violas are still planted. For now.
    Frances

  3. Racquel says:

    Good way to deter those pesky squirrels from digging up your garden, and it’s pleasing to the eye as well. 🙂

    Hi Racquel, thanks for stopping by. I never know how to place those balls, at least they are being put to work here.
    Frances

  4. Gail says:

    Frances, What a sweet ramble through your lovely photos. The Prinz is gorgeous. I added a new J anemone~’Pink Saucer’ that I hope is as charming. The Chinese men are perfect and so delicate looking. I wonder what the Fairegarden faeries think of their neighbors? xoxogail

    Thanks Gail. The anemones are having the best year ever, it might have been the deluge of rain than came with Irene. Good luck with Pink Saucer, cute name. I assume the fairies will pour the tea for these august fellows.
    Frances

  5. Pat Stephens says:

    I could use some of those balls—squirrels are always digging in my beds.

    I am hoping the squirrels are not strong enough to move these balls. Might have to bring the larger ones over to the viola planting.
    Frances

  6. Very, very cute. Love them drinking their tea. I was thinking that posts sort of pop into my head as I work outside. Today, my brain is mush. Happy October.~~Dee

    Thanks Dee. I fell in love with these little sculptures, each one was different. My brain is still not functioning sharply. Maybe it is fall fever?
    Frances

  7. Lovely images! I especially like your grouping with the moss in the hypertufa pot. You do great work even when your brain needs a hiatus!

    Thanks Sage Butterfly. The mosses are super happy in the hypertufa pots, thank goodness. Green all year is nice to see. Thank goodness the camera works even when my brain does not.
    Frances

  8. Sandy Bridenbaugh says:

    Good morning from Ohio. Love looking forward to your site and it is alot better then the television. Learn so much and the pictures are very calming. After visiting your garden it makes me want to go outside and see whats happening in my own garden. Fall is beautiful here this year with the leaves going to be a bright color with the cool nights and warm afternoons. We finally had about 14 days straight when it rained a little each day so that helped greatly. Put the Fairy garden to sleep yesterday by putting all the little houses and fairies asleep in their boxes for the cold months that will be here before I’m ready. Have a great day. Sandy

    Thank you Sandy, for those kind words. That makes the effort that goes into making the blog posts worthwhile to me. Your fairy garden sounds wonderful, and good to know it is safe and sound until the warmth returns. I do hope the garden fairies have found warm accomadations for winter!
    Frances

  9. Well I know that dilemma of preserving something or using it – and how often I’ve gone for preserving it and regretted it.

    I very much like your ivy . . . and your balls . . .

    Not sure you needed a theme.

    Hi Lucy, thanks for visiting. So true, saving something for special is sort of a waste. Enjoy it while you can instead has been a better philosophy as I have gotten older. The solid pale yellow ivy leaves bring a smile, glad you like them, and the balls. I hope the squirrels are confounded by those.
    Frances

  10. Gwen Ochoa says:

    You need some fairies drinking tea!

    I need a fairy tea set! Thanks for the idea!
    Frances

  11. Lola says:

    Lovely rambling. I do enjoy. Great Hypertufa. Wish I had some concrete balls.

    Thanks Lola. The balls are easy to make, although you might need someone to help. It could be a fun joint project. The instruction post is on my sidebar.
    Frances

  12. Christina says:

    For a brain taking a hiatus this is a pretty well written post, Fances! I love the photo of the light blue Crocus speciosus surrounded by dark purple almost black ajuga. What a stunning combination!
    Christina

    Thanks so much, Christina. The crocus and ajuga is one of my most favorite combos. Totally by accident of course.
    Frances

  13. Rose says:

    My brain often goes on hiatus, Frances:) You made me remember the days when September meant the beginning of a new TV season and long-awaited returns of favorite shows. Not to mention the answers to burning questions, like “who shot J.R.??” Now my favorite shows are on cable channels that start their seasons at such different times, I lose track of them.

    I love your figurine grouping; if you didn’t see the edges of the hypertufa pot, you would think they were life-size sculptures in a Japanese garden!

    Thanks Rose. That was a huge cliffhanger, who shot J.R. I think it was on the cover of Time magazine, even. HA Things have changed a lot since then. We have so many more channels, and watch less tv. I have to decide if the tea party can stay out during the winter. It is unglazed bisque.
    Frances

  14. Lyn says:

    That Bonsai planter is lovely, Frances! And now I want one too, especially if I can get figurines as full of character as yours. I’ve put in on the Garden Wish List that I’ve just started on the blog, and linked to you. Hope this is okay? And those hypertufa balls – what a great idea! My problem is blackbirds and I think something similar might work to protect my seedlings from them. You always have such great ideas.

    Thanks so much Lyn, for visiting and for the link, as well. Legitimate links are always welcome! I found those figurines at Hyam’s in Charleston, SC, BTW. Birds can be a nuisance with seedlings, netting works well but isn’t very attractive. Perhaps hypertufa is your answer.
    Frances

  15. Alison says:

    I so understand the brain-on-hiatus thing. I just wrote my first post after a month off. Ideas come and twinkle around in my head for a while, but never fully form. Love your tiny Chinese men.

    Thanks Alison. Writing, for me, is supposed to be enjoyable if sometimes not easy. I appreciate your support.
    Frances

  16. nellie says:

    Yes, very cute people. Sometimes it is hard to do a post. Sometimes I have good words to write with no photographs; sometimes I have great photographs but no words that fit. You did well today.
    nellie

    Thanks Nellie. I am exactly the same way, sometimes words, sometimes photos. Having them both mesh well with a clever narrative is almost to much to hope for.
    Frances

  17. Tania says:

    The term “Chinaman” or Chinamen” is actually a derogatory remark about Chinese people.

    Thank you Tania, for educating us. I did not use that term in the post, do not use it in everyday conversation either. Something about it did seem derogatory. I don’t normally do this, but it has been changed to Chinese men in all of the comments where it had been used. I appreciate you letting me know.
    Frances

  18. Timothey - Snow Removal and Landscaping Guy says:

    Totally get ya about the ol’ brain checking out. LOL. Great post. I had quite the chuckle. Bonsais are one of my favorites and the planter pic makes me want to get even more now. Cheers.

    Thanks Timothey. I admire true bonsai, this is a mere copy of that style. Glad you liked it.
    Frances

  19. When you present such incredible photography, I don’t mind your rambling one bit.

    I love incorporating rocks within gardens and the cement balls to discourage pesky squirrels sound like something I would want to try. After all, I’ve had an ongoing warfare against squirrels for years and I always seem to be losing. Maybe your idea will finally score a few winning point for me?

    Thanks so much, Hannah. As for the squirrels, I feel your pain. It is the fault of the black walnuts in our neighborhood. They require so much digging for proper hiding. I added some smaller pieces of slate around the concrete balls, for added insurance. That stopped the digging in its tracks!
    Frances

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