The planning of the garden involves me and the garden in equal measure. It is not me deciding what I am going to do with the garden, I get ideas, let them mull around in my mind and eventually the idea either forms or it goes away. The garden speaks to me and either accepts or rejects the ideas. OK – I know that is not what is really going on, but it works for me. One example is related to the lower part of the garden on the far side of the Portal.
It happened when I was building the deer fencing from the Portal along the length of the property. I had already planted a Kennedia nigricans on the Portal, which is a black flowered Australia climber. I had also recently managed to acquire a Leucadendron ‘Ebony’ a black leaved coneflower – also from Australia. I hadn’t necessarily wanted this to be a southern hemisphere garden – that is slated for the bank on the other side of the Portal. Another plant that I had put under the Portal was Impatience tinctorial, a plant that is predominantly white flowered, with a deep red throat, shaped somewhat like an orchid.
We started talking about what other black or white flowered plants we already had, either from their leaves or blossoms, that could be put along the pathway and thus planning for the Tuxedo garden was underway. The pathway is about 20 feet long with a dog leg in it. I already knew what I want to do at the end of fencing, on the protected side away from the deer – that is where I want to put a fairy garden. It is under the shade of some large pine trees and does not get much sun at any time of the year.
So, then the question becomes, how do you transition from a tuxedo garden to a fairy garden. They have to be joined by Whimsy Way! Then it needs a small gate that goes through the fence into the fairy garden. Above the gate, which must have a big knocker, it will be inscribed – “Only children or those with the heart of a child may enter,” or something like that. I am thinking it should be no more than 3′ tall but I am concerned about how many years it will be before I could not get through it! Whimsy Way will be filled with a riot of color, kind of Alice in Wonderland crazy. So, there will be tea pots, pitchers and other gay pottery and silverware filled with plants. We shall see how wild we become, but we have already been poking around in antique stores looking for just the right kind of whimsy.
We had always talked about using the triangles that had been cut out of the stringers for our steps as being a great art project. We could paint them in the colors of the rainbow and make them into a pathway. One idea was to gradient them from pale to intense colors as you go along the path. That would be great for Whimsy Way’s pathway and can start off white at Tuxedo lane and end up in full color as you go through the doorway into the fairy garden.
So while Tuxedo Lane is straight, Whimsy Way will be more flowing in multiple colors and go around a bend to the hobbit gate that leads to the Fairy garden. Whimsy Way will also connect to “The Garden of the Giants” which is the flat area of the bottom end of the garden. We have already planted Romneya coulteri ‘Butterfly’ in there which has just bloomed. The only way to describe those blossoms is large fried eggs. Also planted there is Echium fastuosum ‘Pride of Madeira’, a plant with huge towering blue flowers. Other plants, such as giant Alliums have been ordered and I am sure we will find many others to fill that space. It may even contain a Protea or two. Of course, most of this is just in my mind right now.
This is what Tuxedo Lane looks like today. There is a lot of work to do, but that will keep me busy for a few months and take a few years to even start to look like it should.