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Apr. 16th, 2008

Still toying with gardening stuff in the front lawn. Of course, I'm changing my mind every 35 seconds, but my current decision is to have something fairly conservative around the borders--I'm thinking retaining-wall brick herb gardens, maybe with a very small path around them (to make it easier to mow, if for no other reason) and something a little more interesting in the middle.

I still don't know what that is.

Maybe I'll set up some sort of fairy-baiting arrangement. I wonder what the best way of attracting them is? Hummingbird feeders seems like a good place to start. Maybe I can change the formula on the feeders to have better colors than just red (would the hummingbirds not react well to a green feeder?) Having something that draws fairies seems an amusing concept, and could be done in a way that's not outside the realm of acceptability for my neighborhood, but satisfies my need for whimsy. At least it'd be something fun to build around as an idea. Have to do a little research on what plants are A) able to survive the native texas conditions, and B) would be useful in this endeavor.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 16th, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC)
For plants I'd suggest cross-referencing plants from http://www.smartscapes.org/plant_list.html (designed to survive in this climate and save water) with plants from http://www.thebutterflysite.com/gardening.shtml (designed to attract butterflies). At least that is what I would do if I had a garden or the ability to garden.
Maybe plant in a nifty fairy shaped pattern or a pattern that looks like a fairy when the colours bloom.

Of course I'd try to have something with colour blooming all year and I'd probably have a few herbs too.

But that's all my dream garden and I can't even kneel for more than a minute any more, not to mention not having land.

Maybe you should make a list of what you want the most.

I think the little path around the outside of the brick to allow for easier mowing and to differentiate the area is a great idea. Maybe using a colour of pebble that means something special to you or just the rocks found in the garden?
Apr. 16th, 2008 05:22 pm (UTC)
I like the idea of different-colored pebbles...but there's absolutely no rocks on my land at all, it's really odd. Maybe a bird bath that's been tricked out with different-colored tiles. I'm kind of wanting lots of hangy-dangly things.
Apr. 16th, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC)
I need to lend you my Texas plants book sometime.

I think fairies like any kind of plantlife. I find that Red Tips are very hardy. Maybe even some Mountain Laurel.
Apr. 16th, 2008 05:24 pm (UTC)
Mountain Laurels are so common, though :) They're beautiful when they're in bloom, true. But I think if your'e going to point toward an area and say "there, that's a quality fairy lure," it's going to have to look the part, so more color than native trees, except maybe there could be one main tree in the middle. Or something similer, like a bunch of potted rosemary.
Apr. 16th, 2008 06:36 pm (UTC)
Hummingbirds and rocks
The red bait is just because they can see it VERY well.
Humingbirds came to the peach tree blossoms all the time and they're a very light pink surround by green.
If you're into having any vines hummingbirds and butterflies LOVE honeysuckle.
I've never succeeded in getting humingbirds to come to feeders, but once one comes to your yard the whole fleet does. (That goes with most birds, really.) And since you have to change it out so often to keep from poisoning them a plant is just easier.

The cheap way to get pretty pebbles is skinny dipping in local creeks and just picking the few colorful ones.
If you would like any bland rocks for bulding/shaping, you're welcome to the rock pile. They range from a 2 inch diameter to head sized, so all big enough the birds wouldn't eat them and starve. I'm building on the pile, again, from planting the five new trees in the backyard.
A lot of the ones in our yard are normal, bland, tan rocks, but, gorgeous if you crack them open, but sometimes you have to crack 17 to find the one with purple inside. (Great job to outsource to a twelve year old, "Crack these open, here's a big hammer. Wear safety goggles, have fun." If you want I can see if my new neighborkids are interesting in it.)
If you go to one of the hippie nurseries like It's About Thyme the people know what you have to do to make the plants you want work in this zone.
Apr. 16th, 2008 07:36 pm (UTC)
Required caveat from the agnostic witch
I am comfortable with simultaneously holding two mutually contradictory ideas in my head. So, while I remain skeptical of the actual existence of real, live fairies, I will pass on to you what I have from my friends who aren't as cynical.

1. If your goal is to build a fairy garden that's pretty, whimsical, and the analog to a little girl putting on a pair of wings and a tiara and proclaiming herself a fairy princess, then go for it. The aesthetic is lovely, and I bet it will make you smile every time you look at it. I can give you recommendations about plants, technique, and layout to make this happen.

2. If your goal is to attract actual fey (engaging suspension of disbelief), then you may want to give it some serious thought beforehand. They can have some very specific requirements, and doing the wrong thing once you've attracted them can result in some very unpleasant retaliation, as I've been told (chronically misplaced / broken items for one, trouble with mechanical / electronic items for another). If this is your goal, I can help you with that too. Basic rules: don't take them for granted, but it's insulting to directly thank them. Don't neglect the area, but don't over-tidy it either. Leave shiny tribute on a regular basis.

3. Either way, you'll want lots of bright colors, sparkley hanging things, and plants that attract flying wildlife. Some sort of small fountain or other moving water is good as well. The option 2 garden would likely be much less tidy, and might need some specific plants, but I can walk you through that if you want.
Apr. 16th, 2008 07:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Required caveat from the agnostic witch
I don't think option #2 is really a good plan, assuming (as another latitudinarian pagan) there's such a thing as fairies. Given that I'm usually riding the ragged edge of order already, I haven't any strong desire to bring in anything that one shouldn't name. No, this is more like putting a tiara on a flowerbed, but I'll probably end up treating it like a demi-altar anyway.

Remember, every time you say you don't not believe in fairies, a fairy scratches her head...
Apr. 16th, 2008 08:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Required caveat from the agnostic witch
Smart man.

This page has excellent information about attracting butterflies, complete with links to lists of food and nectar plants with the species that they support. Another list is here. If you felt like doing the research, you could pick and choose which butterflies to harbor.

This page has good hummingbird info, and here's a list of plants they like. They're less plant species specific than butterflies.

Be sure to include some bushy evergreens scattered around the area - all wildlife needs somewhere to hide. A water source will greatly multiply your success as well, particularly a moving one in full / partial sunlight - most birds have practically no sense of smell or taste, so they rely on sight and hearing to find water. You'll want something that's shallow, or put river stones in a deeper bath so the smaller birds and the butterflies don't drown when they go to take a drink.
Apr. 16th, 2008 10:41 pm (UTC)
you need shiny-s.

Apr. 17th, 2008 05:06 pm (UTC)
Yes nice shiny preciousness. But then you've got a raccoon problem.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )