Monday, April 26, 2010

Foxg-Love and Bloggy-Love

I got the best compliment a few hours ago from a neighbor and friend who was sharing a glass of wine out back in my garden. (Btw city gardens do have one single advantage over country and suburban gardens who have all the space, lack of noise, tons of sun, blah blah blah, everything everything.....we have neighbors all up and down the street who stop by because they are dying to see what is going on behind the white picket fence!  It kicks butt, I have a bottle of wine on the chill for just such occasions which happen about once a week.  They bring stuff too.  I just got a jar of homemade preserves out of this, last week I got a vase full of roses from a neighbor who has to be away the entire month of May and picked all the roses on the bush for me!)

Ok, back to the compliment.  (I have been drinking wine, as mentioned,  so plan on this being incredibly verbose with lots of parentheticals and no editing - as you suggested I do IG, eat your heart out).    She said, "Wow.  This garden looks like an English country garden!"  Cha-ching.  She can come back forever anytime she wants and camp in the backyard too!    I was so self-proud I was almost rendered speechless but due to the two point five glasses of wine before the comment I was, in actuality, rendered nothing of the sort.   I haven't shut up for a moment since.

After I got finished blabbing how it was nothing, and anyone could do it, and no I really haven't spent 40 hours a week working on this garden (lies, all of em), I honed in on what exactly she meant.   We actually have a style of garden here, outrageously known as "Charleston Style" which 90% of gardens around here adhere to.  First, it looks 'right' (semi formal) and second the things in them tend to be no brainers here and make for beautiful easy gardens.    People love Charleston gardens around here, myself included.  My front garden, if I should ever actually get the wild onions out, will eventually look like that too.   I've got tourists to impress, after all.    I cringe at what they must think now, but hey, my house is Carribean pink, that has to count for something.   Ps. for those of you who are curious what a double porch style house or the front garden looks like (flowergardengirl), its coming, its coming, I just have to actually plant something out front so I am not embarrassed on the internet here by the 800 wild onions, unlevel dirt, and ugly hedges.  Its one thing to talk about them, its another to display.

Okay, so I'm off topic again.  What she (my friend with the wine and jam) was talking about, really, that made my garden so English?  The Foxglove.    It is starting to bloom and it is majestic.    In my garden most of them get about 3 hours of sun, and would be happy to be in a lot less I'd say, judging by what they look like at 1pm.   But once the sun is off of them they look divine.  One of them, a Camelot Cream (the white one), isn't really totally bloomed yet and is already around 3.5 feet tall.  He is going to be a giant when fully bloomed.

So anyhow also now that I am typing typsy, and I have your attention and I continue to go off topic, cheers to you, all my loyal readers, my new readers, and of course, Jean, who adopted me when I was two days old.  I would bring you some jam and come and visit your garden too if I could.  Meredith, when I go camping this summer out that way,  I might just be lurking in your yard.... (not in a creepy way though, I'd ask first.)

Love, Jess (with an english country garden hehe, probably until July when it all goes into heat shock)

(next post will include no parentheticals I promise)


  1. Well cheers Jess! I'll raise a glass of wine to that. Your foxgloves really do look lovely. I grew them in our first garden, and you're right, they can thrive with the barest minimum of sun. They do add such a lovely vertical element to the garden though. I also understand about being willing to talk about the scraggy parts of a garden, but not quite having the gumption to show it :P I'm very guilty of that at the moment.

  2. Congratulations, Jess! It's such a wonderful feeling when others think your garden is beautiful! You are absolutely right that this is an advantage of urban gardens. My closest friend lives in the city, and people drop by to admire her garden all the time. I am more in the situation of Jim Dodson -- slightly off in the woods at the end of a dirt road, but occasionally able to get admiring comments on my garden from the UPS delivery guy or the chimney sweep. -Jean

  3. foxgloves...yes, that is what I am going to plant under the fence that gets very little sun...yes yes yes!....I am so glad I read your post...

  4. That corner near the white picket fence is really filling in nicely! I have been wanting to give foxgloves a try because not only is it gorgeous, but it thrives in shade, and how many "showy" vertical flowers can perform in the shade? My concerns is that it's poisonous and I have a toddler, but then again, pretty much all plants are potentially poisonous. Anyway, can't wait to see the rest of your "Charleston-style" garden!

  5. I love reading rantings. Weird - I know, I am one. That foxglove looks fantastic - love the pink one. Being a stupid gardener, I have no idea about different styles. That reminds me that I should start googling and enlighten myself.

  6. parentheses are bad? (i'm queen of the parenthetical!) your foxgloves are gorgeous. all those pink and purple flowers look so pretty together.

  7. We spend the weekend before Christmas in Charleston every year - we are some of the tourists you have to impress! I know what you mean about the Charleston style - and I love it. I think drinking wine with your neighbors while talking about gardening is part of the Charleston style, too, and one I'd like to incorporate into Eastern NC style.

  8. So enjoying your beautiful blog ... recently finished reading Pat Conroy's, South of Broad. His love for Charleston was his most engaging character. Cheers! (It will soon be time for enjoying May Wine in my garden ... do come!)

  9. Jean - Thanks! It is true that my little gardening heart wants to share my flowers. I don't know why this is so, because I'm not so much like this with other parts of my life (home, family etc). But gardening apparently must be shared.

    CVF - one of these days maybe we can convince the blogging garden world that we can have an 'ugly' part of the garden day on the internet. Then we will all feel better.

    Kathryn - yay. I love being helpful. My first visit to a garden blog was doing just that...wondering what I should plant in the shade. Just remember they are highly poisonous so always pays to be cautious.

    Crystal - I think about it sometimes too, that everything in my garden can kill people. Back of the border is a good spot along with, just like you said, making sure the kids don't eat anything growing outside. I will get rid of my oleander when I have kids though. That stuff is beyond dangerous.

    Chandramoulis - I am a styley person so I often note architecture styles garden styles or even clothing styles. It really isn't that important though in the long run, if what you have is what you like!

    Daricia - The writer in me knows that theoretical good writing should be able to avoid those, but I love them too. :)

    Ginny - The southern tradition of being very social suits me pretty darn well too. I did have a headache this morning though... got to not go too crazy here next time!

  10. aloha jess,

    yes i see you are slightly breaking the mold with your country fare compared to the formal mold...but who's to care in your back yard and your only there to impress yourself...unless you always have clients over...

  11. I love your foxgloves! Mine are blooming, too. It sounds like you have some nice neighbors! And you must be a great neighbor, too, to have a bottle of wine waiting on them!

  12. Joey - thanks so much! And you better watch out. I often think how nice it would be to visit all my blog friends gardens is real life. I'd definitely bring wine!

    Noel - I totally totally agree. You have to be trespassing to see behind the garden gates unless you are a squirrel. And even that is debatable.

    Deb - Aren't those foxgloves great. I think they might have snuck in as a top of the top favorite. And yes, my whole neighborhood is well, very neighborly. Charleston takes pride on being an city with old values, old buildings, old sidewalks, old gardens and old family names. It comes with some positives.

  13. Here's the thing; I live Hingerland, and I live in the country. Ergo, my front garden is a genuine English country garden. Maybe I'll post a picture of it one day so you can see the true look!

  14. IG - I understand its not really an English garden - I can't grow half the stuff you guys can because it gets too hot here. Only my friend noticed some flowers that do grow there so thats what she was saying. Most gardens around here are formal and do not have ANY flowers that would be considered country garden'ish hence the distinction.

  15. I'm in love with your foxgloves Jess! And, just by the way am in full support of a glass of wine and a dose of verbosity ;)

  16. Awesome post! And awesome pictures. I may stop by one day and expect a glass of wine...both Chuck and I always have wanted to visit Charleston. It's really not that far away. I'd definitely get all touristy!

    And btw, those wild onions are the scourge of my yard as well. Some parts are worse than others. Everytime Chuck mows the lawn, he comes in smelling like chives. Nothing gets rid of those damn things.

  17. Beautiful pictures. Dont worry about the wild onions. They were a pain in the butt for me this yr too. I am not familiar with the Charleston Style, but I would sure love to see more pics of your garden.

  18. Nothing wrong with being parenthetical.

    I get lots of looky-loos, but they rarely bring me anything. I did get an awesome fern peony once. And another neighbor dumped a bunch of cool plants in my driveway as she was getting ready to move - she just showed up with a wheel barrow and said, "Here, I'm giving these to you so they will have a good home." *dump*

    I would love to have the look of an English country garden - but I guess I will just have to settle for being thought of as a good home for wayward plants.

  19. Aw, Jess, I love your tipsy posting! Those foxgloves are glorious, and definitely do make my anglophile tendencies "rise to the fore," as I'd say if I were British and stuck in the 18th century, I suppose. ;)

    Let me know when you'll be in the area, please! We'll be here most of the summer. Oh my gosh I might meet a fellow garden blogger! There's motivation to get everything beautified. ;)

  20. Heidi - thanks! Garden and wine seems to be a really good combo.

    Kyna - you definitely should tell me if you are heading to town, because you're right you aren't that far! You and your husband are definitely welcome!

    Tammy - I hate those things. I spend soooo much time digging them out, and I'm sure they will be back. As far as Charleston style, I really should go and take my camera out and take some pictures. Some of the small gardens around here really are fantastic in their own way.

    Sylvana - hmmmm. a pile of plants sounds great to me! Besides, what a compliment to you, that your neighbor thought you'd be the best mom for the plants!

    Meredith - I will definitely let you know if(when) I come that way - but I'm sure its already beautified just as is it.

  21. Hey, Jess! I'm so happy to hear that I'm not the only one that enjoys some wine with my blogging time! :) And your garden / foxgloves are absolutely gorgeous! If you're ever in SE Florida, be sure to stop garden is always open!

  22. Cheers! Sounds like you have nice neighbors. It is that southern hospitality.
    In the summer, our neighbors all sit outside for happy hour(s) on Friday.
    Your foxgloves are beautiful! Your vine on your fence looks great, too...very pretty!

  23. Oh, your foxglove are so beautiful and I can see why your neighbor said you had an English Garden. I would love to visit your city someday and see the beautiful gardens in the city :-)

  24. It's so pretty there! I just came in from being outside and noticed buds on my Foxgloves. I agree they really add that English garden feel.
    I wish I had neighbors that were as friendly as yours sound.

  25. I'd be happy to come by a Charleston home to drink wine and rave about the garden anytime! ;)

    It really does look lovely, your friend is right.

  26. I love it! Wining and dining in the garden is fabulous!!

  27. Gals and guys, sorry so long to respond to your posts!

    Kimberly - you betcha! I would love to!

    Amy - the vine is an inherited star jasmine which I treated with scalecide to bring back to life!

    Noelle - everyone should visit this city once I think. Particularly lovers of architecture and gardening (and food). Just DON'T pick July or August. Those are the months Charlestonians have as payment for living in such a nice place the rest of the year. It is a sauna.

    Catherine - I feel very lucky about the neighbors, because to be honest, they all came to me and introduced themselves the second I moved in. I even got a note on the door!

    AF- Anytime!!

    DGG - I think I'd eat outside every night if it weren't for the no-see-um situation at dusk.

  28. I just came across your blog from a link on Curbstone's. I love foxgloves and just planted some the first of May, a little late for me but they should be fine. We have had a mild spring so far. You have some wonderful pictures of them here. I put them in an area with some fairy statues. I always think they look like a plant a fairy would love to have a home in.

  29. Ooooo what Bea-u-tiful foxglove!!!
    You must be about a month and a half ahead of me - season wise. My foxglove has just popped out of the dirt after the long winter.
    It's so nice to look at your pictures and see some pretty flowers!

  30. Oh man! Love your foxglove. Very pretty.