Complimenting the Sunflowers: The Color Purple

In color theory, yellow compliments purple. The colors are directly adjacent to one another on the color wheel, in the same way green is to red, and orange is to blue. Without consciously realizing it, I’ve complimented brilliant yellow sunflowers with purple Lavender, Ageratum and nearby Mexican Sage.

The sunflowers line the top of the deck, while the lavender shrubs grow in front. The fragrant flowers bump up against the steps, softening the hard edges. Lavender is one of my favorite plants. It blooms for months on end, with a distinctive scent, valued for its restorative and relaxing powers.  I dried a bunch of lavender in the garage, and used a few blossoms in my bath.  I’m dreaming up ways to share these powerful blooms this Christmas.


Lavender Lines the Deck

This week I planted Ageratum and Baby Tears in a moss bowl, added some LEGO® Brick furniture and called it a Fairy Garden. It wasn’t until I took a step back from the arrangement that I realized I had surrounded the sunflowers with purple goodness. I love the shape of the fluffy blooms, but I also delight in the little saucer shapes with the dotted edges just before.


Ageratum Graces the Fairy Garden

Dominated by tall grass, the Dwarf Plumbago is easy to miss. It resides in the lower garden and to the right of the steps leading to the deck. Don’t you just love the red burst of seed pods in the center?

Dwarf Plumbago

Dwarf Plumbago

The magnificent Mexican Sage grows at the curb, in an otherwise unremarkable section of the sidewalk strip. The sage goes dormant around December, when we give it a hard prune, then resumes its show of color, spring through fall. It’s a popular plant with children on the block due to its soft, velvet-like flowers. The hummingbirds are also big fans, frequently tussling over the right of territory.

Mexican sage

Mexican Sage
Drought-Tolerant and a Hummingbird Favorite

On the subject of territory, my sister Sharon “owns” the color purple. It’s been her favorite her entire life. Sharon, this one’s for you.

Back to School in the Fairy Garden


Fairy GardenOur local paper ran an article on fairy gardens recently with a few ideas I hadn’t thought of.  One suggestion was to plant a fairy garden in a pot up high for easy maintenance.  The other was to place it in a high-traffic area so others could enjoy it.

Today I did just that.  In honor of back-to-school month I planted a back-to-school themed fairy garden and placed it out front near the steps.  The bees found it immediately, then my son when he got home from school.  Can those ethereal garden fairies be far behind?

I used an old bird bath stand as a base, then added a fern-lined wire basket.  The fern-lined hanging basket came with three chains attached to a hook.  I pried the hook loose, then wrapped the chains under the bird feeder to secure it in place.

Lovely purple Ageratum line the back of the classroom, with Baby Tears serving as a walkway.  The classroom chairs are part of a stacking game.  I raided the LEGO® Brick bin for desks and playground equipment.  If you squint your eyes and employ your imagination, you might just see an apple on the teacher’s desk.

Fairy gardens were once the purview of small children, but they’ve enjoyed a resurgence among adults.  Blogs, books and websites abound with ideas and inspiration.  In the end, I think it’s fun to use your own imagination and if possible, items you have on hand.

This is a great project for the young and the young at heart.  Let me know how your garden turns out.  Be sure to report back…with pictures of course.  ♥

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

From Tonkadale Greenhouse:

For centuries, the world has been fascinated with the idea that “fairies and elves” live among us and have the power to spread magic and mischief throughout our homes and gardens.

While the existence of fairies is up to your own imagination, adding fairies to your garden is a way to participate in this centuries old tradition. It never hurts to please the fairies and sprites in order to gain their favor.


The Heart of LEGOLAND and a Dash in the Splash

LEGOLAND’s® heart lies toward the center of the park, known as Mini-land USA. Meticulously detailed Lego models recreate, on a miniature scale, monuments, neighborhoods and landmarks. Mini-land brims with recreations of  New Orleans during Mardi Gras, the White House, complete with marching band on the lawn, Las Vegas and downtown San Francisco to name a few.   It’s amazing to see the creativity on display. Each scene captures the essence of the original, using lights, sound and movement, such as a cable car going up and down the hill in San Francisco or a fire crew rescuing a cat from a tree.  Mini-land is full of charm, appealing to all ages.  In recent years they’ve added a Star Wars series, with displays from various Star Wars movies. In addition to the fixed models, buildings are surrounded by miniaturized landscaping.

If you look closely at the photo below, the trees are actually small plants, pruned and shaped to look like pines and spruce.  The red barn and green house are built entirely from Lego bricks.  They stand about eight inches tall.

Three years ago, LEGOLAND added a water park and a small aquarium. The current Sea Life Aquarium exhibit featuring crabs and other crustaceans.  The tanks were breathtaking, with an eye toward beautiful design and sea life preservation.  It’s small and intimate, a nice way to start the day.

We spent the rest of the day at the Water Park.  Cameras safely locked away, we donned bathing suits and floated anonymously on individual rafts along the Build-a-Raft-River. The water was warm and relaxing.  We shook things up by careening down the Orange Rush in a family raft.  My son talked us into a turn on the water roller coaster, a ride culminating with a steep plunge into a wall of water.  To say we were soaked is an understatement.

Trivia for the day: LEGO started in Denmark in 1932. LEGO comes from the word “Leg Godt” which means “play well.”

Brontosauraus Topiary for the Young at Heart

Brontosaurus Topiary

When my boys were small and interested in things like trains and dinosaurs, I spotted a Brontosaurus topiary frame in a garden catalog.  I’d never created a topiary before, but I thought it would be fun to try.  Having children gives you permission to play with Lego’s and to connect train tracks across the living room floor.  It’s also great justification for buying a pricey topiary frame “for the kids.”  I could hardly wait for it to arrive!

I bought and assembled the frame, centering it in the corner garden and bought four small-leafed ivy plants to place in each of the feet.  Somehow I missed a step and all the ivy died.  The small plants simply dried out too quickly.  I bought more ivy, and this time planted straight into the ground.  I stuffed the frame with Sphagnum moss and waited for the plants to fill in.  After a month or so, I had enough ivy to start threading it through the frame.  Eventually it was thick enough to prune.  It took longer than I thought, but the frame filled out and we had an adorable green Brontosaurus in our yard.

The boys are more interested in Minecraft than dinosaurs these days, but the charming little fellow lives on.  I trim it once or twice a year but for the most part it requires very little attention.  After a good prune, I find a small flower for the dinosaur’s eye.  It reminds me of my carefree summer days in our London yard and for just a moment I’m five years old again.

Time for a Trim