Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Mini Gardens

A dear friend and old neighbor reminded me the other day of a mini garden I created circa 2003.        I had seen some very simple garden pots planted up in this manner, but they were lacking something. I wanted to make a Fairy Garden... a place where a little garden fairy might like to sit and relax, or a gnome might take up residence. Of course, any good garden gnome has his/her garden tools always at the ready!

In my case, I used a "toad" house as the gnome's abode, and miniature dollhouse accessories from Michaels.

There are now many websites devoted to the creation of fairy gardens, and provide some truly amazing props! Check it out!

From www.fairygardenstore.com    EEEEK... how adorable is this??

From www.miniaturegardenshoppe.com     How sweet is this tiny hummingbird and feeder?

And look at this DARLING potting shed!

From the self-proclaimed originator of Fairy Gardens, we have www.fairygardenexpert.net
Apparently they started it all way, way... WAY back in 2001. That's quite a bold statement to make.
Of course, it seems to me that miniature gardens had been created for a long time before that (think bonsai and later, English trough gardens). One of my all-time favorites was in the Moby Dick ride at Disneyland! You'd float past little villages and farms with windmills, tiny streams and waterfalls... who's to say that a fairy didn't take up residence there?

And finally, check out  www.twogreenthumbs.com

A book completely devoted to the subject!  It's due out June 25th, available on Amazon.com.
oooooh.I SO want this!

Oh, and just so I don't get into trouble here, I must add: "Fairy Gardening" is now trademarked by Fairy Gardening Inc.  Seriously??   They sell kits that include a box for planting, soil, pebbles, an arbor and bench, birdbath and wheelbarrow. Conveniently, they also sell a whole line of plants that stay small "with proper pruning and care".

Guess I missed my calling to create a business out of fairy gardening. Never considered there could be money made from creating something so sweet, innocent, and appealing... and that it could become so...so... commercial. But I do love them.  Just too darn cute.

Monday, April 8, 2013

What's Bloomin'

Photo Essay on what is blooming in my garden right now... just because I love spring and I get SO excited to see everything come alive after the winter.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

First Day of Spring

After a stormy night last night, the first morning of spring started off a little gray and overcast but became a truly gorgeous day! What a wonderful excuse to just relax and enjoy the garden awakening from it's winter slumber. Who could stay indoors on a day like today?! 

Garden update:
Hubby and I worked on the backyard a little bit over the last few weeks: adding additional chipped limestone to the path, carting in a ton (literally) of planting soil to plant up the garden bed by the back fence and behind the clubhouse, adding additional garden bed space by the deck steps (why is he always surprised when I bring out the spade and start digging out lawn?), and of course, squeezing in a few extra perennials and annuals where I could. 

We also moved the firepit area from under the oak trees to the end of the gravel path. I like that there is a focal point for your eye now as you look down the path. And luckily for me, that's opened up a whole new garden area to plant up! My kiddo would like to plant it with heat tolerant, desert-looking plants so I will have him work on the design and help me choose the plants! 

At the end of February, we went to Pedernales Falls for a family camping trip. The wind really picked up and was gusting our little tent with 30-40mph blasts. We decided to cut the trip short and come home... 
only to find our fences on both sides of the yard had blown down.

The fence posts were pretty rotten and well overdue to being replaced. We had just discussed replacing the fence with one of our neighbors three days before it blew down. Timing is everything! 

You can see our gorgeous new fence in this picture:

Well, after the fences were replaced, it sure gave us the drive to clean up the back yard... hence all of the garden and gravel work! 

You can see the new garden bed by the back gate in this shot taken from the back deck:

Notice a few things in this over view shot: I had to reserve a doggie "pathway" through the garden bed so they could get to the back gate. They were used to plowing through that area to go bark at people walking on the greenbelt trail.  I had originally placed pavers down on the dirt, then watched as they ran any which way but ON the pavers. I quickly realized that if I edged with rocks it would guide them to run on the soft dirt...
and it works! Always plan your garden with your frisky doggies in mind!  

And speaking of that... notice how they don't want to use the gravel path I built specifically for them last year and would rather wear down their own path on the lawn? 
sheesh... never mind the plan, they'll do what they want to anyway! 

See that bright blue chair at the end of the path? I'm going to be sitting in that in about 5 minutes, enjoying a cold drink, the last bit of sunshine and the absolutely gorgeous weather of this first day of Spring - 2013 here in Austin, TX... hope y'all have a great evening!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Frolicking Fish

For the last month or so, I've been dealing with algae bloom in my pond. It was so bad, I couldn't see more than a few inches down into the water. Things are slowly clearing up and visibility is improving greatly! I think my three goldfish appreciate the clear water, as they have been swimming at or very near the surface for the past few days. I've been adding fish flakes to the pond since I installed it, but this is the first time the fish have swum up to eat it... practically out of my hand!

Oh, and if anyone needs some mosquito fish (gambusia affinis) come on over and help yourself. My initial four have multiplied to, I'm guessing here, approx. 70 or 80. No kidding. Each female is capable of giving birth to 60 live young. There are fish of different sizes so I'm assuming they are of different ages... which leads me to believe at least two females have given birth. Sheesh.

We've been having quite warm temperatures lately... into the mid 90s. My garden is just starting to finish it's crazy bloom. My roses from last year are already suffering from the heat. I might have to pull them out and try something more sturdy in their place. But for now, it looks quite pretty. 

Here are two friendly visitors to the pond. They come back daily and always seem to land on "their" perches.

My iceberg roses and white hollyhock about three weeks ago. The hollyhock has almost finished it's bloom, and is now over 9 feet tall.

 Blue mist flower is still attracting butterflies!

Look at the shape of this amazing fungus!

I love this wonderful color combination that only nature could provide... bright yellow yarrow I planted last year blooms happily amongst  the self-seeded blue mist flower.

Nature is such a marvel!  I have so much to look at and so many things that bring me pleasure and joy... from the butterflies, dragonflies, lizards, snakes, and spiders to flowers I carefully tend and flowers that nature has sent from seed.

Oh, and I can't forget my three frolicking goldfish!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Butterflies Flutter By

What a gorgeous day  for communing with the butterflies! Wow, they are really out in force today. I find it difficult to go inside the house as they are fluttering all around my back garden! It helps that the green belt behind our house is blooming with hundreds of gaillardia (blanket flower) and my own garden is in full manic bloom right now. But I also put out some butterfly bait and they seem to be enjoying it!

How cool is this? Just sliced oranges on a wire and in a bird feeder tray.
Give it a try...

I'm going to set out a plate of sliced watermelon now... I've read they love that also! I'll keep ya'll posted!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Bunny!

Good bunnies have been spotted in my garden!

These lovely bunnies like to sit in quiet corners of my garden, silently enjoying the fluttering of butterfly wings, buzzing of the bees and zipping of the hummingbirds visiting the bright flowers of my garden.

They are thoughtful bunnies and would never dare to snack on my newly planted flowers or rose bushes. They would never stoop so low as to taste the fresh new leaves of a recently sprouted vegetable plant. They respect the garden!

These bunnies are patient bunnies. They have been known to move about the garden as their view gets overgrown and the open space around them gets smaller and smaller. They don't mind the opportunity to get to know their new surroundings and they wait patiently for something exciting to happen close by.

These bunnies are well-behaved bunnies. They don't like to give chase to two crazed border collies. They would never tear through the garden, pop through the fence, and watch the mayhem from the other side.
They are calm and mature bunnies.

Perhaps you have good bunnies in your garden too?

Or do you have naughty bunnies?

Austin Art Yard Tour 2012

Saturday April 14th

Austin has it's own inimitable style, and our yards and gardens are no exception.
Check out Austin Art Yard Tour 2012. More than 30 yards will be showcased in and around Austin. As of today, the official website for the tour takes note of yards that have been invited to participate but not yet confirmed, yards you may stop by and chat with the creator, and yards that are drive-by only.
Here's their info:

Some of the installations, it must be said, look like someone just piled up their beer bottles and bowling balls; one features mannequin heads and crutches; one is truly a "cathedral of junk".

Not your typical garden tour.

1511 Suffolk Drive (photo Google Drive-by)

402 El Paso Street art bridge (photo Google Drive-by)