The Hemlocks, they were so tiny when first planted in 1996 by our semi-adult offspring, from whence daughter Semi took her name, one gallon sized. The nursery only had four of them and the vision needed seven. Others were added later until the entire back of the property behind the main house, behind the knot garden was a wall of green, for privacy and to hide the hideous silver chain link fence. There was no knot garden when those first four were planted, it was a wild jungle that we were trying to tame. We could barely keep the volunteer morning glories off of them, let alone the wild grapevine, honeysuckle and poison ivy. The privets and mimosa trees popped up everywhere, laughing in the face of black plastic sheets held down with rocks, blocks and bricks. It seemed hopeless, the conquering of the hill.
But the use of heavy machinery, a backhoe that cleared and terraced the hill in 2000 during the renovation got rid of the thugs and with a heavy layer of mulch, the Hemlocks started growing fast, reaching for the sky. They are large now, so large that branches must be cut to give the low growers and nearby plantings light and to allow rainwater to penetrate the soil.
The final concrete stepping stones have been installed behind the shed, with only a small pathway left to pave. Standing there, facing the hemlock wall of dark green, seeing the bits of terracotta pots, rotting wood shelving and rusty metal pieces that were stowed under the boughs until their useful time arrived, the lightbulb illuminated in the cartoon bubble over my head.
Nothing seemed to be growing under the hemlocks, it was too dark and dank. That is why it is the spot where the castaways are tossed. Those things that are broken but might be of some use in the future were hidden away under the Hemlocks. It was a blank slate, just the spot for the Fairy Village proposed by offspring of Semi LTB last year when he was shown the new fairy house and garden. The fairies needed their own town, with multiple houses, he exclaimed. After slaving over the single fairy house, working out the problems with hardware cloth and mortar over many weeks, the last thing I wanted to tackle was a whole bunch more of them.
But inspiration comes in many guises. While netting the blueberries in the raised box on the far side of the shed, we used what was at hand, a bunch of little concrete pots that were made when there was leftover concrete from long ago projects. The plastic pots used as forms were still intact. They were broken off and the bottom portion of little huts, just the right size for fairies came into view. All they needed was roofs.
Funnels, bowls, baskets and anything else that could be used to make more fairy buildings have been gathered. Premixed mortar in small bags makes quick and easy construction, just add water and stir. Later on, if we feel the need, stones, marbles or whatever can be added using more mortar as the glue, or they can be painted.
The lowest dead branches have been removed from the hemlocks, put to use to help disguise the chain link fence. The outer stems with greenery form a curtain to hide the special place from casual garden visitors.
Pathways will be laid out, with a main thoroughfare for humans to enter and explore. There will be several villages, grouped around the main trunks of the two Hemlocks, with room for expansion under the rest of the trees along the entire fenceline, phases two, three, four and five. It’s always best to think ahead. There are limitless possibilities. This will be a secret spot, known only to those true believers. You believe, don’t you, dear readers?