Starting To Look Like a Garden

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Welcome to the latest of the few and far between updates of the gardening adventures as a brand new Fairegarden comes to fruition. It has been one year since we pulled up stakes and moved house from southeast Tennessee to east Tennessee. Saying that there has been a lot of work done is an understatement. Most of that work has been in the gardens, front and back. There are still unpacked boxes in the house, but all of the gardening equipment and decor has been sorted and accounted for since day one. Naturally. There has been some success with the plantings. Shown above: Echinacea purpurea backed by Yucca filamentosa ‘Color Guard’ in a blue pot and Veronica ‘Royal Candles’.

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The last post was published in January. Nothing much was happening outside in the garden until May. Only a few bulbs had been planted the fall before because the beds had not yet revealed themselves to me. Among those initial bulbs were fifty Allium albopilosum syn. A. christophii planted in 5 quickly dug holes.

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The Alliums front the bed created that runs along the property line with our next door neighbors. The row of lavenders can be seen at the left. As is painfully obvious, this bed was still a work in progress.

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One of the plus points of these Alliums is how attractive and long lasting the seed heads are. The dried flowerheads are now gracing the front porch in a large container. When they are no longer pleasing, they will be composted. Seeds that drop out can be sown and will readily germinate, growing to flowering size in a few years.

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Some of the lawn at the very back has been allowed to grow on unmown to be a lawn/meadow of sorts. It is hoped that we can have something similar to what we had at the old house, which can be seen by clicking here. It was interesting to see the plants that were contained in the weedy lawn, ready to spring up if allowed. A pleasant surprise was the large stand of fleabane, Erigeron ssp. I wish that this plant was more highly regarded and not thought of as a weed by so many. It is beautiful, easy to grow and a pollinator magnet. The spring blooming lawn grasses were also quite attractive. They were cut down with the hedge shears when they became unsightly. Ornamental grasses and daylilies have been added to this meadow to be. More things will be added as we see what can withstand the competition of the myriad grasses and weeds over time.

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As May gave way to June the back gardens, which had been the initial home to an assortment of plants that were brought from the old garden last summer, written about here,  started to shine. The plan was to  consider height above all else in placement. Most, but not all were spot on. The Monarda ‘Raspberry Wine’ has been a highlight and is still blooming in August. The hummingbirds adore it. Mountain mint, Pycnanthemum muticum, Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ , Asclepias incarnata and Eryngium yuccifolium are also in the tall section and have performed well.

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Only a handful of the over one hundred cultivars of daylilies which we grew were brought to the new house. Of those, one standout was this unnamed Hazel Dougherty seedling. What a beauty!

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Three of the fifteen seedlings from my own crosses were deemed worthy to be brought to the new place. #4, #15 and #12 all made the cut. This is #4.  It was a good year for daylilies.

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July shows some progress in the front entrance area that was written about last January. That story can be seen by clicking here. Heavy rains have proven the boulder and rock assortment to be up to the task of resisting washouts.

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Planting continues in the back gardens. There was too much reliance on annuals for this to be considered a low maintenance garden, but the African blue basil was certainly pretty and a pollinator favorite. Perhaps next year one or two will be added rather than the six that took up so much space this year. Trial and error, baby steps, a garden is never done, all those cliches apply here.

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If we squint just right, it almost looks like a real garden already. The featured plant above is Agastache ‘Rosie Posie’. I hope it turns out to be perennial, even if a short lived one.

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Pollinator visitations have been plentiful, including hummingbirds and butterflies like this little skipper supping on Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Becky’. There are several large milkweed plants ready for monarch caterpillar dining pleasure, but so far there are no takers. We are not on the migratory flight path, but hope to see some stragglers this fall.

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There have been lots of seed sowing attempts to help fill up the new garden more cheaply if not more quickly. Rudbeckia triloba has been stellar, as has the Eryngium yuccifolium, both very easy to grow from seed. Saving and sowing seeds is something I love to do but alas, no greenhouse means outdoor sowing will have to do. So far, it has.

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Thank you for following along in this ongoing saga of the reestablishment of the Fairegarden. One year into it, the payoffs are being harvested. May there be more to come. Onward.


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32 Responses to Starting To Look Like a Garden

  1. rciancio says:

    So happy to see all is well. Enjoy the glimpses i get into a real garden

    Thanks! All is indeed well and getting better every day. Someday this will be a real garden, I hope.

  2. Sharon Parker says:

    Was just thinking of you the other day and wondering if you had quit blogging. Delighted to receive your post today and know that you are progressing well with the new incarnation of Fairegarden!

    Hi Sharon, thanks for visiting and the kind thoughts. I have been very busy and had gotten out of the blogging habit. It took forever for me to get this post out. I hope to write more often now that the garden has more things worth sharing. I am still working on the best times of day to take photos. It shows!

  3. Sebestiana says:

    It is so wonderful to hear what you are now doing at the new homestead!!! I have really missed seeing all of your wonderful posts. Don’t make it so long to grace my inbox with all the wonderful garden delights you accomplish. I wish I was so talented. You do give me inspiration to get my garden in better shape. Thanks for the up-date.

    Thanks so much for those kind words. I hope to do more posting now that there are things happening in the garden to photograph. May your own garden give you much pleasure!

  4. Beth Jimenez says:

    So happy to see you posting again. Have always loved hearing from you and seeing the magic that is your garden. …both in text and photos

    Hi Beth, thanks so much. The new garden does not have the magic that the old garden possessed. Yet. But I’m working on it!

  5. gail says:

    So glad you posted, it sure looks like a beautiful and real garden to me! I am loving the boulder and rock planting area and daylily #4 is fantastic! xoxogail

    Hi Gail, thanks. The boulder and rock area is a good focal point. I see it from inside the house while sitting in my favorite chair. #4, 12 and 15 are all splendid. They are the best of the lot and I won’t think about those left behind. Not…thinking…about…the…old…garden…Nope.

  6. indygardener says:

    What wonderful progress you’ve made in just one year! I admire your “onward” and “get to it” approach to gardening. By the way, I once read an article about fleabane in a British gardening magazine. Since it is not a native to them, they noted it’s admirable quality of being a smaller bloom that just shows up amongst the other flowers, helping weave the whole flower border together. They also noted, as you know, it can become a rampant self-sower when allowed to set seed. That’s a good thing in a lovely meadow garden.

    Hi Carol, thanks for stopping by. I so appreciate you and your blog, they have inspired me to blog again, actually.

  7. Pauline says:

    You have made a wonderful start on your new garden, I’m sure you will soon have it just as you want it. You have been busy with your seed sowing, the results are amazing!

    Hi Pauline, thanks for that vote of confidence. I do love seeds, so much potential in such a small package.

  8. meander1 says:

    I loved reading Carol’s ode to Frances…beautifully written and so sincerely from the heart. There have certainly been on multiple occasions where I have searched in my mind (or googled) to pull back up some advice or info shared on your blog from years gone by.
    Things are looking great and your front rock/river stone project is a huge success. It already looks like it was meant to be there.

    Thanks, Michaele, for those sweet sentiments. Carol’s post means so much to me, she is such a good writer and a good friend. I google my blog name with whatever plant I need information on myself. It’s the quickest way! HA The boulder/rock area is nice, four season interest.

  9. Marguerite says:

    Dear Frances, a huge smile shimmied all over my face when I saw the word Fairegarden in my inbox. I have missed your posts a great deal. The garden is certainly shaping up and I love the spareness of the boulder area but I think it’s important for you to know that it would not have mattered how much progress had been made or if there had been pictures at all. What I missed (and I’m sure I am not alone ) were your thoughts and observations on gardening and life , descriptive writing and sense of humor . Change is inevitable but it can be difficult to accept and to carry out and your process and philoso…(2nd comment added: Wow that thing just posted itself! Your philosophy of accepting change and continuing to embrace it with creativity and good spirits. So, welcome back and thank you for sharing your gardening adventures with all of us . Now I’m done, you rascal iPhone!)

    Dear Marguerite, you smiling makes me smile! Thank you for such a heart warming comment. It makes the trouble of taking the photos, choosing the right ones, editing,loading and then trying to write something coherent all the while figuring out how to work with the changes wordpress keeps coming up with during my posting hiatus so worth the effort. I forget how much I enjoy the blog, especially the comments from delightful and faithful readers like you. Now that there is more of a garden to write about, I hope to post more often.

  10. Marie Brown says:

    So happy to find your post today, and amazed at the gorgeousness you have already achieved! Missed you so much.

    I am glad you are happy, Marie, thanks so much, I missed you too!

  11. Hi Frances. It is so good to see that Fairegarden is coming together for you. I think it would be so much fun to be able to start from scratch like this. I am sure you are working your tail off. The results look delicious. Have the fairies moved into your garden yet? Cheers…

    Hi Lisa, thanks for the encouragement. I have been working very hard, it’s true. The hardest part is not physical, but rather getting the inspiration of how this garden wants to be. I do a lot of sitting and contemplating from the few shady areas and wait for ideas. I have placed the fairy hovel a couple of places, but so far it doesn’t seem right. Poor fairies! But there are nice places in and around the shed that they can hang out in temporarily, so don’t worry about them too much. 🙂

  12. Alice says:

    I love seeing what miracles you are working in East Tennessee. I was just thinking about you and Fairegarden on Saturday and even googled Fairegarden to see if I had somehow fallen off the e-mail list….and this is post appeared in my in-box today. Timely.

    HA Alice, fear not, for I have been remiss in the blog posting. Thank you for your concern. I promise to try to post more now that the garden is taking shape.

  13. Oh, how many garden souls you made happy with your post, dear Frances! We’ve been waiting for it more eagerly than a young lad awaiting his secret girlfriend! Seriously!
    Yes, your garden is off to a good start! I especially like your calling attention to Erigeron. I fell in love with it travelling in Europe where it grows cheerfully in the wild. I planted several of these plants in my cottage garden and love their unpretentious blooms. Good luck and thank you so much!

    Dear Tatyana, your kind words turn a girl’s head! You are very sweet, thank you, thank you, thank you. I am glad you are intentionally growing the Erigeron. It plays so well with others in the garden and gives that white cloud of billowing blooms, asking nothing in return. I just cut it down when it starts to go over, but always leave some seed heads to insure its return.

  14. So lovely to see your garden Faire. I’ve missed your missives. Much love to you and your garden.~~Dee

    Thank you, my friend. I do hope to write more frequently now that the garden seems to be offering more photo ops. I still can’t figure out the best lighting/time of day to go out with the camera. Nothing will ever compare to the back lighting that the slope of the old garden offered mature plantings. But I will keep trying. xoxoxo

  15. Barbara H. says:

    Oh so happy to see your post today, Frances. I was wondering how you were doing. I seem to be in the August doldrums, as is my garden, waiting for rain, blessed rain, to fall. The area with rocks and boulders in the front has really turned out well. Your other garden glimpses are also very rewarding. Hurry back – we all miss you when you are gone so long.

    Thank you, Barbara, for being such a loyal and sweet reader. I do hope you get some blessed rain very soon. I promise to write more frequently now that the garden is becoming worthy of photos.

  16. Mary Anne Rudolph says:

    Sure have missed your posts. I am in Cosby TN, in Cocke County. Not sure where you are exactly, but assume Knoxville area? I have had no Monarchs for 2 years now. Have lots of milkweed for them, perhaps this will be the fall they return. There is a native plant sale at Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville each year, in May I think. The monkshood I bought this year is stunning. Love getting my hands dirty! Best to you.

    Hi Mary Anne, thanks for stopping by. I am so glad to hear you have the preferred milkweed for the monarchs and do hope you get some visitors this year. I have read that a good companion for the milkweed is the bright orange Tithonia for nectaring. I will be adding some of that next year in hopes of seeing some monarchs. I have been to the Ijams Nature Center and bought nice plants there for the old garden. Thanks for reminding me. I have never tried monkshood before, thanks for sharing your success. All the best back to you!

  17. Vicki says:

    What a great surprise and delight to find your post this evening. I have missed you and can echo all the comments above. I am vacationing in northern Michigan and am missing my garden; great to see yours looking so wonderful.

    Hi Vicki, thanks for visiting and the kind words. Enjoy your vacation and may your garden be as happy to see you return as you will be to return to it.

  18. The Hazel Dougherty seedling is stunning, just stunning. I had forgotten the boulder and stone area was to prevent washouts. Taking a disadvantage and turning it to an advantage is the mark of a good designer. I’ll never forget what you told me when I was beginning to create my own new garden: “I have left many gardens. I decided long ago I AM the garden, I make it wherever I happen to be living. As long as I have dirt, that is the Fairegarden.” It encouraged me to think that the most important part of any garden is the heart and mind of the one who creates it.

    Hi Kathy, thanks for those kind words. I remember well when you left your beloved garden to begin anew. Your new garden is already looking wonderful and is such a personal expression. You are the garden. We all are.

  19. lola says:

    Was so thrilled to see your post this evening. I have missed them. So much has happened in that almost yr. It looks grand.

    Hi Lola, thanks for your support. The garden has made great strides in a year. The degree of change might slow down a bit now as it is fine tuned. It almost feels like home now.

  20. You are doing a wonderful job and I think you deserve to be outdoors instead of sitting in front of a computer! 🙂 Continue, continue!! 🙂

    Oh Shady, thank you for that. I long for the outdoors at all times!

  21. Kris P says:

    You’ve made tremendous progress! Starting over with a new garden isn’t for the faint of heart – I know, having left behind a small garden I built from scratch over almost 20 years for a much larger one more than 4 years ago now. The new garden emerges, often in small changes but occasionally in huge leaps. I look forward to watching the emergence of yours.

    Hi Kris, thanks for sharing your experience and those kind words. The gardens reveal themselves to us in increments, sometimes they are a little shy about doing so, sometimes they shout it at us.

  22. VP says:

    Oh it has come on Frances! It’s great to see the results of all your hard work 🙂

    Hi VP, thanks for the cheer leading! xoxoxo

  23. Valerie says:

    I was happy to get your latest posting and to know that your new garden is coming along. I see many plants I grow in my own garden. Looking forward to hearing from you again. Valerie

    Hi Valerie, thanks for visiting, nice to see you here. I am going with stalwarts that are tough and easy to grow right now, lots of grasses and long lived perennials. There will be time for more rare things once the gardens are all laid out. Trees and shrubs are the focus for fall.

  24. Rose says:

    I was so happy when I saw there was an update from Faire Garden! It’s great to see how your garden is coming along, Frances. I love the way you’re creating a little meadow, and the front entry boulder garden is so striking. I read Carol’s tribute to you, too, and I nodded my head yes all the way through. Your posts have always inspired me–today I’m thinking ” I need more allium!”

    You are always so sweet, dear Rose, and have been a staunch supporter and good friend from the beginning. Thank you for that. Carol’s post was so wonderful, as were the comments you and others made about it. As for the Alliums, get that A. christophii. It was by far the best at returning each year and I have grown many from saved seeds, too.

  25. grammapenny says:

    Dear Frances.. Your garden is coming along splendidly. Leaving old gardens behind is difficult. I look at the one I am creating and sometimes I wonder who will look after it when I am not gardening here. Moving would be so difficult … how to choose what to take and what to leave behind??? I brought only a few plants with me when we moved here 14 years ago. I also wanted to say again that your garden blogging was what inspired me to start. I am only in my second year. I am so happy to see your posts again.

    Dear Penny, how kind you are, thank you. I hope you never have to leave your garden, but if you do, it is fun to start again. We learn so much about the plants every day, it makes a new garden easier to build. Congratulations on your garden blogging, too!

  26. My Kids Mom says:

    Welcome back! In these hot, dog-days of summer, my garden is lucky that I pause from walking to the mailbox to pull a few weeds. I’ve gone from bare yard to overflowing and probably overgrown in the past ten years here. How to manage over-full with my planting habit (addiction?) is the new challenge.

    Hi Jill, thanks. Yes, that plant collecting habit can get us into trouble. We turn our backs on the garden and it becomes a jungle very quickly in the summertime. Editing is needed, but it’s hard to do.

  27. Oh Frances, the sight of Fairegarden in my inbox brought tears to my eyes today. I share the sentiments of the others here in how much I enjoy not only the lovely photos of your new garden but the personality behind it. You really have a gift. Just share your thoughts if few photo ops are available. And I’m already looking for room for those alliums in my overstuffed little plot.

    Wow, Georgia, thanks for those strong emotions! I am glad you and others are happy when they see that new post from Fairegarden in the inbox. I do hope to write more often now that the garden is becoming more photogenic. The long shots are still not up to snuff, but we are working on it.

    • The tears were relief in knowing you were just busy rather than away because of something more serious. It is amazing how attached one can get to a person one has never met. See how endearing you are? 🙂

      Thank you, Georgia. That means a lot to me.

  28. You have made so really great progress for a first year. My experience is that your really see the rewards in your efforts about year 3. So what you see now, the best is yet to come.

    Thanks, Charlie. I look forward to year 3!

  29. Phillip says:

    I wondered where you were. A new garden – how exciting! It looks fantastic. I love the stone work in front of your house. Beautiful!

    Hi Phillip, thanks for visiting, so nice to see you here. Yes, a new house and garden. It has been something of an ordeal, but is finally starting to feel like home a little bit. I was very entrenched at the old house and garden. It is going to take more time to feel like that here. But I’m working on it.

  30. Les says:

    I am so glad you had to time to post and let us know what’s been going on. I know if I had a whole yard of new garden beds to create and tend to, I too would not be spending my time on the computer.

    Hi Les, thanks for stopping by. You are so right about that, and especially if you are leaving only small bits of lawn. Once the beds are made and planted they will take less work than all that mowing, but right now, planting and mulching is the priority. Bit by bit.

  31. I’ve been curious about your progress there in the new Fairegarden. We’ve talked about African blue basil on FB, and while you want less of it next year, I want more! I just love the way it intermingled with the black eyed susans without really taking up too much space. I think I planted them too closely, but boy did it work! It ended up a little like verbena bonariensis, just airy and mixed with other perennials.

    Hi Robin, nice to see you here! That blue basil has been superb this year, it just got way larger than I expected. It will be used every year as long as I can find it at the nursery, given much more room. With the Rudbeckias would be delightful. Thanks for the idea!

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