Gardendate: January 2015

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Captain’s Log, January 2015:

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First a rehash; 2014 saw the Fairegarden enterprise make a tumultuous relocation of its home base in August, selling and turning over the helm after a fourteen year stint as its captain on a steep slope in southeast Tennessee. The new ship, located an hours drive north to simply east Tennessee received our goods and equipment in a jumbled and chaotic transfer executed in one very long day.

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Upon exploration of the new assignment, we found the front foundation plantings to be sadly overgrown and unpruned with weed tree seedlings that had been allowed to grow into  large and overbearing alien beings. The first order was to cut down the offending trees growing in the flower beds with a chainsaw.  The better to walk to the front door unobstructed, my dear.

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The shrubs were hard pruned with hopes that they would survive, live long and prosper.  Coreopsis was revealed as edging.  Weeds were pulled, the beds were mulched, containers and rocks were set in the empty spaces. With so many tree roots in the ground, pots were a good solution. Besides, we seem to have a kajillion large containers, accumulated over the years as gifts from loving family members. Maybe a few might have been purchased by me during markdown periods at favorite nurseries.

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The back yard was attacked with gusto with soil deliveries, shed and fence building. Those stories can be viewed by clicking here and here if you missed these posts and are interested. The front entryway was to be the next project after the winter holidays were fully celebrated and enjoyed in the new house by the Fairegarden clan. Grandsons LTB and the newest member, little Finny helped make the season bright.

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Among the gifts bestowed during those holidays was a big surprise from my spouse, The Financier. Shortly before Christmas he called to alert me that a delivery was coming and to be ready for it. When I asked what I was supposed to do with the mysterious item, he said that I would know when it came. He was correct.

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These two boulders were to be the cornerstone of a new gravel garden just below the walkway from the driveway to the front door. The drainpipe from the roof gutters goes under the sidewalk and ends in a popup device, the odd green circle right behind the rocks,  that causes serious erosion of the sloping front yard during heavy rains. Bits of roofing material were scattered among the crabgrass roots causing us to scratch our heads as to what in tarnation that green plastic thing in the middle of the lawn’s purpose could be. We finally saw it in action, with the center part sticking up several inches and water pouring out of it in a river going down to the driveway and on its way to the storm sewers in the street. Nothing would grow there and the rocks were to be the solution.

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Strong backed family members wrangled the boulders to the desired spots for optimum cul de sac playground viewing while seated on the flat topped surfaces. More rocks of various sizes were added to anchor the vignette. The old rusty wheelbarrow, some small metal birdbaths, the concrete cat named for our dear departed cat, Freedom and a couple more containers were added.

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In the bed along the walkway, a cobalt blue glass mushroom made by Barbara Sanderson of Glass Gardens Northwest, a Christmas gift from my dear sister in law, Lynn graces one of the yucca filled blue glazed containers. The cobalt blue Horn of the Unicorn, a previous birthday gift from The Financier and also made by Barbara Sanderson has joined in the parade of blue.

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The golden Chamaecyparis was finally taken down at the corner of the garage.  The metal sculpture Let it Rain, purchased in Asheville, North Carolina in the River Arts District  has made a fine replacement.  Slowly, ever so slowly the Fairegarden vessel moves ever onward toward gardendom and beyond, where no plant has ever grown before. Except crabgrass.

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Winter is still breathing icy gusts down our necks in between brief periods of welcome sunshine but there are promises of spring sprouting in the soil on this uncharted plant-et.


Please accept our apologies for the Star Trek-speak. It just popped into my head that the recording of the evolution of this newest Fairegarden was like Captain Kirk’s weekly journal entry into his log on the 1960s television program. Some things swirl around in our consciousness forever, just waiting to rise like cream to the top. HA


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32 Responses to Gardendate: January 2015

  1. Valerie says:

    Loving all the cobalt blue pots and other ornaments that are making your new home gardens. Valerie

    Thanks, Valerie. Cobalt blue goes with everything, inside and out. I have been collecting it for many years.

  2. grammapenny says:

    I love the gravel garden.. We have used rock in similar ways. Your entryway is sooooooo much better now

    Thanks Penny. Rocks are such good additions to a garden, in all sizes and shapes. The small leaf holly foundation plantings regrew nicely, even with the severe summer cutting back. The gold Chamaecyparis did not, but the metal Let it Rain makes a fine replacement. Onward!

  3. Everything seems just right, Frances. And I’m a blue gal, too.

    Hi Helen, thanks. It is getting better. Still a long way to go, and hooray for blue!

  4. Everyone knows fine literature makes use of metaphor, and you are venturing into unknown frontiers, just like the Enterprise. Seems fitting to me.

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, Kathy. HA Fine literature it ain’t, but being silly is fun sometimes on the blog. We can’t take ourselves too seriously, life is too short for that.

  5. Good Morning! It has been awhile since I last got a visit in my e-mail from Fairegarden. I am going to enjoy seeing your post again. I see you are enjoying a new adventure with the move. I am looking forward to watching your progress with your new garden. I myself am also on a new adventure because I too just moved to a new place in the Fall. I don’t know if you will remember me, but I had the garden at Country Flower Bin which was an Herb shop that I had ran since 1983. If you want to visit the garden I still have my page on Facebook. I lost my husband in 2013 and the home we had shared for many years was just to much for me to take care of myself. So I decided to move to a smaller place with an acre of ground instead of five acres. So I will also be planning a new garden this Spring. Looking forward to seeing your progress. Sandy Bridenbaugh

    Dear Sandy, I am so sorry for your loss. Hugs to you. Of course I remember you and am very glad to hear you are starting a new phase with a somewhat smaller property. Good luck to you and your adventure. Onward as we go boldly into the future. xo

  6. michaele anderson says:

    Nothing puts a bigger smile on my own face than “permission” (granted either by me to me or by my hubby) to indulge in some rock/boulder buying. I totally understand why that truck, loaded down by those two beauties, was so welcome! They were the key ingredient in making the proverbial lemonade out of lemons and now that spot looks great. Love all your rich blue accent pieces and I thoroughly enjoyed the Star-Trek speak…it was very apropos and made for a fun read.

    Thanks Michaele. I am glad to hear you share the love of rocks, (and Star Trek). We are so fortunate to live where there are many rock yards to chose from. Exploring we shall go!

  7. Jane Gladden says:

    Lovely as always!

    Thanks, Jane. I appreciate your readership!

  8. Barbara H. says:

    What a wonderful beginning to the viewing of the new Fairegarden. I especially love the rocks and stones.

    Thanks,Barbara. The rock and gravel have really transformed the front of the house. New ideas have sprung up about how to proceed now.

  9. What a wonderful start to your landscaping (I assume continuing) saga! Make a photo book (from an online source) as you go! :-).

    Hi Shady, thanks. The blog is my record of this garden from start to continuing, there is no end until I am gone from this mortal coil. It will help me remember how far we have traveled in years to come.

  10. Cyndi says:

    I’ll bet your new neighbors love you with all of your interesting collections! I love seeing your posting again and your broom collection inside is awesome too! I’ll have to go check out the post’s I missed, I always love your talk, so keep it up!
    I can;t afford to buy boulders so I keep digging till they come up!
    Smiles, Cyndi

    Smiles back to you, Cyndi, and thanks for visiting. So far the neighbors have been quite supportive, to my face anyway. When the plantings grow a bit more, it will look better. I hope to inspire others to perhaps have less lawn grass, but even if that doesn’t happen, the pollinators will be happier. Keep digging!

  11. Rose says:

    I’m always excited to see a new entry in the Fairegarden’s log book! The new walkway area and the gravel garden look so much more appealing with the transformations you have made. And of course, I love, love the blue!

    Hi Rose, thanks so much. Anything is better than what was here before. There will be constant changing of the plantings, but those large boulders are there to stay. Oh, wait a minute dear, that lower rock needs to be moved a little to the right! HA

  12. Sue Dawson says:

    Hi Frances, I have not been blogging or reading blogs much this fall and winter. I’m glad I spotted Gail’s link to this fun post in Facebook, where I’m spending lots of time these days. It was fun to see the transformation of the front. I’ll have to go check on the other links. I have also been enjoying our 3 grandchildren. Hey, I love your broom collection!

    Hi Sue, nice to see you again. Hooray for those grandchildren! Thanks for stopping by.

  13. Sue Dawson says:

    I went back and looked at the previous 3 posts, but did not see a place to leave a comment on them. Wow, you really started from scratch there! What a transformation already! I love that shed and all the garden decor. Be sure to plant some milkweed for the monarchs somewhere.

    Thanks for going back, Sue. Sadly, I had to stop comments on the older posts due to overwhelming spam comments. It was the only way to not have to be constantly checking for it. I have sown milkweed seeds and hope to buy some plants in the spring. This garden is much wetter than the old one so the milkweed should grow better here. I hope!

  14. Vicki says:

    Hi Francis. I was so glad to see your first post last fall giving a glimpse of your new space. It looks so good already and I enjoy reading your posts – they always bring a smile. My adventure began almost 8 years ago when I remarried and moved a hundred miles to NW Ohio to my husband’s home that had for a number of years been a playing field for baseball, gocarts and such leaving behind a small house and lot that was just beginning to become my dream garden (but not finished -never finished). Many challenges but so much joy. I am wishing you minimal challenges and much joy in you new place. Vicki

    Hi Vicki, thanks for stopping by and sharing your own explorations of garden space! Lots of challenges ahead and never finished, as long as we can still lift a spade.

  15. thequeenofseaford says:

    Love the large rocks and gravel bed. I think we all love that pop of bold blue glass and planters. Did you have to bring the glass in this winter?
    As we maneuver our hill I question the wisdom of not looking for a more level lot. I do love it here though. (There is a town near here called Level Land)

    HA, Level Land, good one, Janet! There is no actual level land here in east Tennessee, but our back yard is almost level and so much easier on my feet and ankles. The glass stays out all winter, it is quite thick and the artist, Barbara Sanderson assured me it was okay to leave it out. It is not impervious to falling gardeners, however, but epoxy is the cure for that.

  16. Gittan says:

    I love the gravel garden – it looks great! And the face at the stump, wow!!! I´m sure that the Fairegarden will be a beautiful place pretty fast / Trippelkram from a snowy Sweden / Gittan

    Thank you, dear Gittan. Certain bits of garden art and now being given a more prominent place at this new garden. They were hardly noticed at the old place. Slowly, slowly it is becoming a representation of my vision. Triplequadruple kram to you!

  17. Cindy, MCOK says:

    That’s our Fairegardener, boldly going where no gardener has gone before!

    HA, Cindy! Well, boldly going, anyway.

  18. tineke says:

    beautiful story and great writing! i really felt engaged in your story! and the pictures add!

    Thanks so much for those kind words. I am glad you enjoyed this post.

  19. Kris P says:

    Although I’m sure winter puts a damper on your efforts (no pun intended), it’s clear that you’re well on your way in making this new garden your own. I’m envious of the boulders!

    Hi Kris, thanks for visiting and the encouraging words. I am lucky that my husband realizes what I want, what I really, really want….rocks! The garden is starting to reveal itself after waiting in hiding for several months. Onward!

  20. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I can see that you and your Crew have been working their little tails off since the big move. It is looking more and more like a Fairegarden should. Fairegarden II will be the best yet. Don’t you just love that winter sunshine.!!

    Oh man, Lisa, there is nothing more welcome that that sunshine, especially after so many dreary and sub freezing days. The cold will return, but lots has been accomplished during the warm spells. Thanks for the kind words. I try and not think about the old garden, with all its bulbs and flowers and…no, stop that!

    • Lisa at Greenbow says:

      Poor girl. You did leave a bit of your soul on that mountain side. I hope for your gardening sake that you won’t have to leave this garden and you are able to love it as you have your past gardens.

      Thank you, Lisa. Since you saw the old garden in person, you know how entwined I was in its existence. I plan to never leave this garden…alive or aware.

  21. Jenny says:

    There is nothing quite so exciting as a rock delivery.

    Hi Jenny, thanks for stopping by. I agree completely, rock deliveries, along with planting soil deliveries really rev my engine.

  22. When I saw that first picture of your front entry, I thought that is horrible. I bet it won’t last long. Then Bam! You have already made it beautiful. Just give me a holler when you want to come plant shopping in the wild cultivated gardens. I may be able to replace some things you left behind.

    You are the sweetest thing, dear Christopher, thank you, thank you! Someday I will take you up on your kind offer. The front was horrendous, it pained me every time I saw it before we closed on the house. It was the first thing tackled, getting those trees out of the flowerbeds. There were some very large hackberries growing in a couple of raised beds that I had to hire someone to cut out and grind down the stumps. Neglect can be a bad thing.

  23. Alison says:

    What a delight to see another post from you in my reader today! I love the way you transformed your entry, the rusty screen and the blue pots and accents are very striking. And as an old Trekkie from way back, I enjoyed the Trek-inspired writing. Like many other garden blogger friends, I too have plants to share. It won’t be long now till I am digging and moving and dividing stuff.

    How kind of you, Alison, thank you! I have so much garden decor brought from the old house, finding the right places for it has been a challenge. It is coming together now. I look forward to more planting once the weather is a bit warmer.

  24. Lynn Hunt says:

    Moving is tough. I had to leave my entire rose garden and all the companion plants behind in Maryland when we moved to the NC mountains. Still, a blank page gives us a chance to try something different or improve on past efforts. Looks like you are progressing at warp speed!

    Hi Lynn, thanks for sharing your own garden leaving experience. You must miss it, as I do mine…all those plants! But the only thing constant is change, they say, so we will both use our gardening knowledge to forge new and beautiful spots to enjoy. Warp speed, yes!!!

  25. Lola says:

    It”s looking good. I love the blue also.

    Thanks, Lola. We are getting there.

  26. Janice Stepp says:

    Apologize…no way. Star Trek speak perfectly fits the new project. It’s looking lovely already as I knew it would. Rock on Number 1 !!!

    Hi Janice, thanks so much for the support. It was fun to pretend to be Kirk, leading this enterprise. HA

  27. Always great pleasure of many kinds to be had from your blog, Frances! 🙂

    Hi Jack, thanks, so nice to see you here.

  28. My Kids Mom says:

    No one in my family takes me seriously when I say I want rocks as a gift. I suggested bringing some home from Yellowstone Nat’l Park once but no one was willing to give up his seat. Plus laws and all that. But I did get a new cobalt blue pot for my birthday!

    Hi Jill, thanks for sharing here. Congratulations on the new cobalt pot, but watch out for gathering rocks in national parks, that could land you in the pokey! Rock yards are the place to get nice boulders. Take your loved ones on a sightseeing tour of such a yard and maybe they will get the hint that you are serious. It worked for me.

  29. Les says:

    I wish someone would give me boulders.

    Hi Les, maybe someday they will. See my comment to Jill above!

  30. It’s looking good, Frances. I really like the rock garden with the large boulders. We need to something similar to that here, for similar reasons.

    Hi Beth, thanks so much. Boulders make such a statement and they never go out of style, the perfect gift.

  31. georgiafromga1 says:

    Oh Frances, I am filled with rock envy. 🙂 Everything is already bursting with your personality. Oh, and you agree that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? After seeing those lovely blue pots filled with Spanish bayonet ( they have earned their name-ouch) in your last garden I now have one of my own in the corner of my little patch. What a spark it adds, especially this time of year. Thanks for all your inspiration. May you live long and prosper.

    Hi Georgia, thanks for visiting. I have so much decor, both inside and out, it does help make the new place feel more *mine*. It is slow going finding the right spot for everything, but we keep chipping away at it. The plantings are so much easier. I am honored that you found inspiration for your blue pots, too. Living long and prospering, a good goal for us all!

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