We are Facebook friends.  Your name is familiar to me, but I know not from where.  It must be art.  We have so many common friends; I looked.

It can be this way or not, but with some people being the aforementioned FB friends, you can get to know a lot about a person.  Especially if they talk about passions and interests.  Artists, of course are self-revealing.  It is their business to sort and create.

Glenn is having a hard time with the immediacy of Facebook, and I get that.  Only looking at it once in a while through me, even that much information is too much.  This week in South Carolina after the massacre in Charleston, I took to Facebook, hard.  We do not use television, so it provided some information.

There are some people who I have met briefly who have become my kindred souls on Facebook.  Lucy, Pat:  I know your faces, but I know what is going on under the visage much better.  Choose the right words for a passionate issue, and there you are in your true self for almost all to know.

So.  One of my favorite places is the Goodwill Clearance Center on Hwy 1 in Columbia.  It is the last place inventory from all the Goodwill stores in the area fluffs itself up to try be sold. The inventory sells by the pound there, and on Sunday, it is half price for a pound.  Books and things made of glass are cheaper per pound because they are heavy.  But don’t get me wrong, this stuff is not the worst of the worst from all the Goodwill stores.  It is stuff that just happened not to sell.  I bought a paint by number from the 50s/60s, framed and under glass for about a quarter.  Any collector of these would be proud to have it.  No flaws, perfect.

Two Sundays ago, the pickings were not so good for the special waste that is used in my sculptures.  But the book selection was fantastic.  Bought 8 heavy books, histories, biographies, my old algebra book from the 60s which I gave to my daughter.  They cost me in total $1.95.  Couldn’t even get to the car without dropping them, so bountiful.


Above is one of the books.  Copyrighted in 1957, I thought the compositions would be good to look at in thinking about sculpture, and they are mid-century interesting, but too vertical for me.  I am a square composer, maybe a little bit horizontal, but mostly square.  It is a great book, with hundreds of photos.

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I need to sort and place things in the correct places.  Through FB, I know that Betsy is interested in this stuff.  Have to get this book in the right hands.  Hope she does not already own it.


The garden sits and works on its own as we paint the new gallery, hike the AT, and nurse knees.  The Knockout roses are producing like well-oiled little machines, providing they are dead headed periodically.  Love to help them with that.


Ginger lilies, transferred from other places on the acreage, are thriving here.  This area is full-sun and then some.  They were not moved until September, but many are blooming now.  Did not expect that.  And behind the ginger lilies is one of the five knockouts acquired at the “dead plant” section at Lowe’s.  One of the five is a double bloom!


The heads are heavier and look down.  They are as disease resistant and have the same blooming power as the original Knockout.  They were developed by the same people as the original, some years later.


Above is a detail of a single Knockout rose.  Behind that, you can see sod yet to be removed from the garden.


Then finish off the line of bricks bordering the garden against that creeping centipede grass.


“Finally, atop foliage that is rather midway between a grass and a siberian iris, Crocosmia is related to gladiolus and provides yet another bright torch (most popular color is red, but also in orange or yellow) for the garden.   Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ is one of the most intensely red perennials for the border, and reliably deer resistant as well.  It can take time to establish a mature clump and you might have to try more than one location to find its “happy spot” in a Spokane garden, but it is worth it.  Of course, if  you visit the Oregon coast, you’ll find that gardeners there consider this flower one of the staples.  It certainly enjoys regional popularity.  But I get out and about in Spokane and I see these thriving in many gardens.  The owner is often proud of the achievement since they may have had to try a couple of times to get it established, but once really settled, it has been reliable.  When yours is a gorgeous display, you’ll carry a torch for this plant as well.”

The description above is from the “Tower Perennial Gardens” blog, and what is stated here is right on.  The only “happy spot” found here for the perennial is within one of my round line of gardens which gets lots of sun.  I have taken for this use Crocosmia given many years ago out of the shade around the pool where it is just a lovely leaf, and dotted it all around this new garden in a pattern.  It sits under the pine straw now, only to prove merit or folly next spring.


Aha, so with gardening, we are making a composition that we cannot see and react to during creation.  We try to make an interesting statement with plants that have similar sun and water requirements.  We have to consider deer, and varmints under the soil.  An exercise only for the very wise or very ignorant, choose one!


We made blue bird houses for some people for Christmas.  And three for ourselves.  In our old example, the squirrels had with great talent and energy enlarged the entrance hole to suit themselves.  Blue birds are picky, they like a tight fit.

1-male bluebirds

Maybe three months ago, we started seeing the scouts.  They traveled in a beautiful herd, all those males.  Their coloring is so dramatic.  You cannot beat complementary colors used together. The rusty red orange enhances the blue and vice versa. The group enjoyed our satellite dish filled with water, which is close to one of the houses.  They drank, they washed, en masse.  We had a new cake of  meal worm hanging with a little tin roof over it to save it from rain.  They hung around for maybe one day and then were off.  We hoped they liked what they saw.

The three blue bird houses are in good sites, the one out the back deck is perfect.  They want to be on the edge of the woods, with the hole opening towards a clearing, and with other trees for flying lessons in range.  They need a water source, and of course their preferred food.

It seemed to me that the interval between the scouts looking around and an actual couple moving in was huge.  Not until now, the end of March, today, did we see a pair off the bedroom.  This morning they were sitting on the house, but we saw no entrance into it.  Perhaps they were in negotiation with some unknown force.

blue bird pair

It is not fair that we love them so much because of their beauty.  Like our cardinal pair,  Stanley and Mama. The cardinals are such amazing colors, even Mama, that it is easy to create a relationship.  One can easily see them in contrast with all the green, and note their movement.  Their brilliant color is how we know where they live, in the line of elaeagnus at the edge of the front woods.  Their morning movements to the feeder are easily seen from our outward facing bed.


Giving others a chance however, it is difficult to pick a favorite.


We have many Carolina wrens in our acreage.  The detail is outstanding on this bird.  His markings are like my late cat, Mouse.  Birds always remind me of cats.



Mistakes were made.  By me.  Planting two little red bud seedlings together stupidly thinking they would merge into one made our biggest red bud vulnerable in the last ice storm.  And we lost it.  It was in an area of the acreage that I had not paid enough attention to, so it is way past time a little creativity is applied.

And as I look at the space, all next summer is defined for me.  Hate that.

The universe contributed to the project by leading me to Lowe’s and eight red barberry bushes, a little less than dormant, ready to burst, for one buck each.  First thought about starting a garden area for my daughter who has horses; with the stickers on the barberry bushes I was pretty sure they wouldn’t eat them.

But evidently the bushes can create some kind of environment for mold or something that is not good for horses, so why invite trouble?  I took them myself and started the “garden” repair (this area never has been a garden, just three trees spanning the back of the pool).  Above, you can barely see the little bushes within the straw looking centipede grass which most of us use around here.  It crawls along sand “real nice”.


We have both red and white barberry here, and the deer leave it alone.  It is all stickers during the winter.


That is a huge consideration.  The deer take over at night.  Barberry shapes itself nicely and puts out a branch where the natural “sphere” it is making needs one.  The new growth is a ruddy pink as you can see on the tag.  It will work well with the trees.  There will be a lot of pink in the spring as the red buds offer a pink flower.


Look at this grotesque wall!  It simply must have tile and my whole summer was played out for inside the wall on the deck.  Momentum is happening there after two years of work.  And look at the amount of sod that has to be dug out.

The picture above was taken from the point where a new Nellie Stephens holly will be planted to mirror the one at the end of the wall.   Can only find one currently, in a 50 gallon bucket and costing 250 dollars.  Although these will be uneven for some years, it will have to be.  We have nine of these giants around the place in all different stages of life.

The past few years, I have started laying tile on the wall outside perpendicular to this one.  All different shades of white with white grout.  Only work here at the end of the day when some thin set is left.  Same for white grout.  The finished work is slowly growing and no time to speak of has been spent.  My brilliant friend Judy says the wall looks like dividing continents.  She is right, always right.



The nandina above is a volunteer.  We have them a couple of other places, and they propagate and move easily.   A whole line of them against a white tiled wall would be nice.  And we have the same thing going on elsewhere, which is a good thing for a composition.


These palmettos are along the bottom face of the front porch.  Busy summer.


Generations of girls have loved this book.  As a child in the suburbs of St. Louis, I could not imagine such a place as it presented: old walls and secrets and lost spaces that had been forgotten.  Unused rooms in a house. Romantic like a heath would be, or a cliff, or a moor,  or the ocean (any one of them) for that matter.  Anything other than poured cement streets and little measured squares, one house per.


The aesthetic of Frances  Hodgson  Burnett‘s book, The Secret Garden,  is called back in old movies, black and white.  Jane Eyre, Heathcliff, you know.  Making woodcuts outside in the movie “Enchanted Cottage”.

Advanced now in finding waste for building (today is broken brick day), when I first bought this acreage, it was beyond me to construct a walled secret garden.  So I planted bushes for walls.

Much different now than it was when first planted, you have to live long enough to appreciate it.


I planted four Nellie Stevens holly bushes,  two on each side of the gate entry, on both the pool side and the garden side.  They were planted too close so their spreads come together and a tunnel could be made.


You can see in the picture above that I let the garden side hollies grow up before letting the pool side ones.  Used to trim them into cubes.  In the future when all four are the same height, I hope to trim all four tops into one cone.


I do have walls around my secret garden, but they don’t contain it.


1-secret garden 4

On a little relief of grass sits a cement bench featuring an edge made of pieces of plates.  My pink oleander is straining for the sun these days.  Changes will have to come.  Ornamental grasses circle its base.


A mound of azaleas on the right and elaeagnus, the only one in the area that I trim to this extent,  lead into the garden.  During September and October, the fragrance of the elaeagnus  is dazzling.  My mother called this “Russian olive” and it was in her garden.  Don’t remember it being as fragrant as it is here.

The white tile path has to be moved this winter as the bushes are overtaking it.  Always move the path, never the bushes!


A line of red barberry interfaces another of holly, and they are the walls for the secret garden.  At the top of the picture are the Nellie Stevens hollies.