Starting To Look Like Home

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Home: Defined by some as where the heart is. Home, for me is where my garden is, with emphasis on the my. Imagined, created, planted and tended by me, that is my home and my heart. Guided by the lessons learned from a lifetime of trial and error, this newest Fairegarden is coming along. It is starting to feel like home. There is still much to do, but quite a lot has been accomplished in the span of one year and a couple of months.

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It began as a blank slate of crabgrass lawn in the summer of 2014. The utilities were called to mark out the cables and lines buried under ground. It was a graffiti of colors once all the spray paint was applied. It’s a good thing I wasn’t going to dig very deeply in the area now referred to as the mailbox bed.

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The grass was cut on the lowest setting, newspaper and mulch was added. Plants that had been dug, potted up and brought from the old garden were planted with love and high hopes. It was a start.

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Among those plants were several grasses and shrubs, including my beloved pink muhly grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris. Most were seedlings extracted from the gravel paths at the old house, not yet blooming size. The three pots were originally planted around the mailbox. In late winter of 2015 those were dug and divided into fifteen smaller pieces, planted at the back of the ever expanding mailbox bed. The reason for this siting is that the muhly tends to fall forward when in full bloom and it would have been out in the street and run over by the mail lady and just not look its best around the mailbox. A gardener has to be quick to reckon with mistakes like that.

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Time passes and July sees that the mailbox bed plantings have grow well, some too well as various additions are swamped by their neighbors. The island of grasses and first rosemary then lavender has become home to grasses, shrubs, asters, salvias and lamb’s ear, among others. The Monarda ‘Raspberry Wine’ front and center was hiding in with some black mondo grass and proved to be a happy surprise.

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There are flowers and butterflies, pollinators and weeds as the months roll by. And then, it begins. The hint of pink feathery inflorescenses peek from the blades. It takes more than a month for this peek to peak.

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This is my view from the chair where most of my sitting is done, inside by the window with the laptop ever at the ready and outside on the porch. Waiting with the camera for just the right back lighting has proven challenging. Everything is different at this new garden from the old north facing slope. The backgrounds are not cooperative as there are other homes all around. But that gleaming pink washes away any bitter feelings. It’s going to be all right here.

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The view from the street is not as wonderful. But that’s okay. The garden is for me, it feeds my soul.

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This keeps me going forward, not looking back, ever onward.

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As does this.


* Here is an older post that contains links to all of the muhly posts over the years if you are interested in learning more about this special grass. Pink Muhly Grass-Muhlenbergia capillaris 2013


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28 Responses to Starting To Look Like Home

  1. Valerie says:

    So glad to see your post today. Your new garden is doing great. I love the pinkness of the Muhly grass. Valerie

    Hi Valerie, thanks so much. The garden surprises and delights me, especially at this time of year.

  2. xericstyle says:

    You have accomplished so much- everything looks incredible, and looks like you 🙂 Happy Home 🙂

    Thanks so much for the encouragement!

  3. Leslie says:

    It has come so far! And is so very lovely.

    Thanks, Leslie. It is getting there, especially nice when the pink muhly is blooming. It will look good for several months. I planted tulips just in front of it recently with hopes of a good spring, too.

  4. terressakay says:

    I wanna live there & sit & look at that view. It feels “homey” to me all the way here where I’m at in N. Texas.

    Thanks! North Texas can easily grow the pink muhly if you have some sun and good drainage somewhere. It is good to have something pleasing to look at from inside, for sure.

  5. Rosie Nixon says:

    I saw a photo of pink muhly grass yesterday and immediately thought of you Frances as you were the first person to introduce me to this beautiful grass … alas it doesn’t grow here in Scotland. I’m sure you are so excited about how well everything is coming together now.

    Hi Rosie, how sweet of you to think of me, thank you! I am sorry you cannot grow the pink muhly where you live, but know that Scotland gardens are among the most beautiful in the world.

  6. Dee says:

    I love your pink muhly grass. Whenever I look at mine, I think of you. So glad it’s starting to feel like home. Love you Faire.~~Dee

    Oh, what a nice thing to say, dear Dee, thank you! Love you, too!

  7. meander1 says:

    I’m so glad your muhly is thriving. I know how much it means to you this time of year to see those pink clouds of luminosity. I love my clumps with a fierceness that is almost unseemly. When the sun lights up the panicles and the light breeze gets them waving about, my heart about bursts.

    Hi Michaele, thanks for those glowing words! You do understand how cheering the pink muhly is when the light hits it just right.

  8. Yes, so glad it’s starting to feel like home. I can’t help but think your garden will be a positive influence on the neighborhood. How can anyone look at all that beauty and not be inspired to create a bit of their own?

    Hi Kathy, thanks for your vote of confidence. There are a few gardeners in the neighborhood that I have met already. It would be lovely to have more!

  9. grammapenny says:

    I love seeing the Muhly again.. wish I could grow it here in Massachusetts..

    Hi Penny, thanks for visiting. I wish everyone could grow the pink muhly, it always brings a smile.

  10. It is so good to see the Pink Muhly raising it’s beautiful head in your new garden. I think it looks good from all angles. You are a true suburban gardener now. I am sure the neighbors are jealous of your beautiful garden. Home is where the garden{er} is.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. Yes, I am now in a subdivision, complete with an HOA! Don’t know about jealous, but the neighbors have figured out that I do like to garden. Most of the homes, but not all, have simple lawn plus the shrubs that the builder put in. But that’s okay, to each her own. 🙂

  11. Oh Frances, It does look wonderful…I knew you would create another lovely garden.xoxo

    Thanks Gail, for believing I could do it. There were moments when it was doubtful, as you know. xoxoxo

  12. Alison says:

    I’m so happy to see this plant that I associate with you doing so well in your new garden. I have troubles with lighting here too, because of all the tall Douglas firs all around. It cuts off that great low angle of late afternoon light that makes everything look special, so it never hits my garden.

    Hi Alison, thank you very much. The front garden looks good in part due to your lovely sharing of plants. The Walker’s Low catnip really took off, so much that it ate the rosemary and lavender! HA But that’s okay, there is room in other beds for those to grow with no neighbors to overpower them. The light angle here is very different than the old lovely slope, but I am still studying it.

  13. Sharon Elaine says:

    I am not a grass person but your Pink Muhly could change all that. We moved from E TN last fall and are back in OH – starting all over again. I also brought my plants with me and they are doing well. I always enjoy your blog – thanks for sharing the journey.

    Hi Sharon, thanks for visiting and the kind words. Not a grass person? I am sorry to hear that, grasses, the right ones for your garden can make for quite a spectacular display. Plus they are very low maintenance, just a chop down in late winter. I do hope your can find room in your new garden for some grasses!

  14. Honestly, I was waiting for the post which will show your signature plant, Frances, and here it is! The grass looks wonderful with all its neighbors! Have a nice October!

    Hi Tatyana, how sweet of you. Thanks! I do love the pink muhly and am gratified that it is happy here in the new garden. You too, enjoy the lovely October skies.

  15. indygardener says:

    I do love your pink muhly grass. Too bad it is not quite hardy enough for my garden. Otherwise I’d plant a nice stand of “Faire Grass”. With a shared love of gardening…

    Hi Carol, thanks for stopping by. I once gave a good sized clump of the muhly to a gardening friend who lived in northeast PA, zone 5. He planted it in a very warm, dry and protected spot and it has been growing there for over 10 years. Maybe another try…

  16. Marty Oczkowski says:

    Your love for Muhly grass got me to try some in my new MI garden (zone 6). All I could find was in a mail order company and so I got very little starts with about 6 blades on each. They’ve grown all summer and are just beginning to become a visual presence. Hope they make it through the winter so I can see them bloom. I love the experiment of new property with the new zone and sandy soil here in Holland MI. Good to know that the Muhly grass bends toward the light. I am sure I will be moving the 10 plants around as I play with the design.

    Hi Marty, thanks for sharing your muhly experience here. I am honored to have played a part in your selection of it and do wish for your small plants to live long and prosper. A word of advice, don’t move them during the growing season.

  17. georgiafromga1 says:

    Frances, the moment I opened your post and saw your pink muhly I thought, “Oh she must be overjoyed about this.” It warms my heart to see it.

    Hi Georgia, thanks for those kind words. I am indeed overjoyed with how the muhly grass is doing here. Last year there were zero blooms and I was sad.

  18. Norine says:

    I learned about muhly from you – and remember the anecdote from a repair person who thought yours were too extravagant. It looks great in its new home – I need some here on NY’s Long Island.
    Best wishes for continued success in re-imagining the tried and true plants that grow (almost) magically for you.

    Hi Norine, thanks for reading my blog long enough to remember the older posts. I believe you might be referring to Mr. Brock who was horrified about the fifty muhly plants along the driveway in Did You Really Think I Bought All These Plants? HA, good times! I hope you get some muhly for your own NY space.

  19. Barbara H. says:

    Frances, your front yard is lovely. Oh my goodness, it has come such a long way since you moved in. I’m so happy you have such a nice view of the muhly grass. I think of you every time I see my large clump, which is also blooming now. Mine is located away from the house so I have to make a special trip. Maybe I can plant one of the new self-seeded clumps where I can see it from my front window and when I sit on my front porch! Thank you for the great idea.

    Hi Barbara, thank you so much. The mailbox garden has grown particularly well. It is very gratifying. Having a nice view from inside the house is very important to me and makes life sweeter. I hope you can bring some muhly seedlings into your own view.

  20. Frances: You’ve made impressive progress! I always enjoy seeing “before” and “after” photos, and it’s great to see your Pink Muhly Grass in your new garden. How nice to have that view out your window–and a beautiful Viceroy butterfly, too!

    Hi Beth, thanks for dropping by. Before and after is a constant here and the befores are especially scary! HA We were very glad to see how well everything has grown in just a year and look forward to the future jungle it may become. As for the butterfly, I was hoping it was a monarch and did check the butterfly book to identify it. Drats!

  21. Kris P says:

    The pink muhly grass seems emblematic of Fairegarden to me so it’s wonderful to see it blazing in its glory in your new garden. I think it was your blog that introduced me to this wonderful grass.

    Hi Kris, thank you for your support. The muhly is blazing in the late afternoon and it tickles my fancy to be able to enjoy it. It is a plant worthy of much advertisement.

  22. Ewa says:

    Hi Frances! Admiring your work. Splendid effect in such a short time 🙂 Proud?

    Hi Ewa dear, thanks for stopping by. Yes, I am a proud mama of the front garden and the mailbox muhly planting in particular. xoxoxo

  23. You have made amazing progress; it does take about three years for your borders and beds to mature and you start to realize your design.

    Hi Charlie, thanks so much. You are spot on about the three years for maturing. I am wondering how large some of these plants are going to get if they look like this after only one year. I might have to move some things, she says with a wink.

  24. VP says:

    My heart leapt when I saw you have muhly grass at last Frances 🙂 Too bad I can’t grow some here, it would be great to have something which connects my garden with my blogging friends across the pond.

    Hi VP, thanks for visiting. I am glad you were happy to see the pink muhly grass even though you can’t grow it. How sweet you are! xoxoxo

  25. Rose says:

    So happy to see the Pink Muhly grass, Frances–this is always what I think of first when I think of your garden! The front bed looks lovely–even from the street. It is evident to anyone passing by that a true gardener lives here.

    Hi Rose, thanks for being so supportive. I am not sure what most of the neighbors think of my front garden, but there haven’t been any death threats so that is a good thing. HA

  26. ginny kruger says:

    Hi Frances, I’m Ginny K. I have followed you somewhere in the area of last yr- 2 yrs . I have loved your gardens, both the former one in all it’s glory, and the current one, showing all the steps in creating it.Thank-you for sharing , i have fallen in love with Muhly grass, and hope to incorporate it into my flower spots, somewhere on our 1 and a half acres, in the lake of the ozarks area of MO. I will keep watching and reading your blogs!

    Hi Ginny, so nice to have you as a faithful reader. I hope you can find the perfect spots for the pink muhly, look for back lighting from the rising or setting sun for the pinkest appearance. Thank you for your support!

  27. We are grass lovers and have several varieties in each of our borders, but sadly your pink beauty wouldn’t survive here. Your new garden is looking good already.

    Hi Green Bench, thanks for visiting. Your grasses are beautiful and a goal here is to have some nice specimens and stands of ornamental grasses, as well.

  28. Now I know you are making your mark at the new home, because the pink muhly grass is seen once more. I understand your difficulty with getting good shots with homes all around you, but little by little, you’ll figure all the best angles.

    Hi Robin, thanks for those words of encouragement. Having the pink muhly look so good is certainly gratifying. Even the mail lady commented on it. The situation in the back yard is much more private so photos of that garden are easier. We just need the plants to grow some more. 🙂

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