An Invitation for Whimsy!
When your garden makes you smile ...
... What does your garden say about you?
... What inspires you in other people’s gardens?
... What do you want to create from other gardens inspiration?
It’s time to play!
I imagine all of us, yes me too, have been caught up in a “Spring Fling” - tidy, tidy, get that list done, and plant the veggies in as quick as the loopy weather makes it possible. Oh yes, and get the right plant in the right place with right companions and ambience. Whew!
Then there are those picture perfect gardens in THE books, or in our heads, that have a tendency to overwhelm us, depreciate our own creations or at the very least make us envious and no longer satisfied with our little piece of heaven that we worked on soooo hard.
... What makes you smile about any gardens?
... What supports you to carry on in yours?
It can be that moment of joy as you harvest your first bulb Fennel and Radishes from this years seeding. It can be a cherry red bench in your dark green leafy corner where you actually sit and have a coffee as you quit for the day or maybe begin. A pot of paint can definitely lead you down a colourful garden path! Grow pole beans over your dead lawn mower. Plant a silly clay pot with a face that has Angelina sedum growing out the top like Methuselah’s hair. Or plant an old painted trunk as a treasure chest of plants. Cherish these moments, they revive your enthusiasm, your soul and your sanity ~ they are feather light moments of Whimsy.
On the farm over the years, it has always been a struggle to strive for a feeling of balance between the seriousness of accomplishing a major project or any seasonal task like the endless weeding, stocking the nursery or prepping for the annual Lavender Harvest. Then to take time for a project for laughs and even silliness?! Where does it fit in on the schedule as the days march on? It doesn’t; you steal the moment!
There was the year Michael gathered all my grandfather’s old sprinklers, whether they actually fully functioned or not, to create a fountain in the fish pond. The family name for it is The Dribbler ~ need I say more, junk became art!
Another year, a severe wind storm crashed a dozen fir trees to spawn a forest reminiscent of The Hobbit, full of magical wooden mushrooms fashioned authentically by Michael and a chainsaw, from a local ID mushroom guide! I got the scraps to feed the home fire all that winter.
When our son and daughter were small, our projects ran from a Zip line that had a special bolt to stop you just before you smashed into a fir tree George of the Jungle style to funky tree forts that the raccoons loved best! Box beds with with endless themes. They changed each year, from my daughter’s collections of mini-roses from the Colwood Garden Works’ orphan pile ~ guess they recognized a green fingered kid could speed up their clean up (thank you Chris), to towering sunflowers and strawberries Mummy could not touch.
For my son it was every size and colour of pumpkin possible (very successful) to hot peppers (not very successful). It didn’t matter ~ it was a one season adventure. Eighteen years later I still babysit my daughter’s Myers Lemon and Bearrs Lime trees and faithfully drag them in/out depending on the season. What is their moment of whimsy? Fresh Lemons and Limes I handpick in my backyard!
Yesterday I put out my signature bed in the Lavender fields. No, not a bed for squash or beans or flowers but sheets and pillows! The Lavender season begins its count up.
We have had springtime Japanese Geisha girl scarecrows in the Lavender fields and spooky ghost scarecrows in the woods in October. Pumpkin hunts for elementary students in those same woods where you and I know pumpkins don’t grow in the woods! Donuts strung from tree branches supposedly grown from donut seeds aka Cherrios. CBC even came out one year for an interview and we served them cappuccino and hand-picked Lavender Biscotti from another tree!
This year I made a purple tin man from my recycling bin tin cans named George that all the children say is a robot, regardless of his red-painted heart!
Recently a 5 year indignantly told me that I did not have orange nasturtium flowers in a box bed, I had “Fish Lips”! Try putting one between your lips and making bubble motions: yup ~ Fish Lips! Now that is whimsy and imagination! (Tasty, too.)
My leaf-veined veggie garden for 2012 is “fishy” too! Turns out the diagonals worked out so well, I dropped the curly bits at the ends of the vein pathways. It wasn’t practical; I had to back out each lane instead of continuing on through, so, my Veggie garden for 2012 is a herringbone pattern and works great! Come check it out.
Celebrate whimsy in style, too. Every August we celebrate Michael’s birthday dinner al fresco with friends gathered around dining tables with linen tablecloths, candles and flowers, all under my grandfather’s knurled century old apple tree outside in the yard. It feels like its old weathered arms embrace us as we celebrate life.
Eccentrically yours, Lynda
Also see our Garden Whimsy Photo Gallery
Originally published in the July 2012 edition of the Metchosin Muse