Winter Fairy Trees, In Miniature

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A dear friend and I have been collaborating on a series of miniature vignettes these past few weeks.  I have made the trees and mounted them, using Pacific beach stones and assorted calcite and quartz crystals.

She has brought them to life with her delicate miniatures.

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ML has been sculpting miniatures for most of her life, and she combines them in charming vignettes, which each tell a story.

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We enjoyed our miniature winter scenes as table centers for a ladies’ luncheon yesterday.  Each was a bit different, but together made up an enchanted forest of wintery scenes.  We call these our ‘fairy trees,’ because they look like hospitable places for fairies to gather.

Do you invite the fairy folk to live in your home and garden?  They always bring a bit of magic with them, wherever they may go….

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We enjoyed sharing the trees with friends, yesterday.  Now our challenge is to pass them on to loving homes.  We know that there are others who will take pleasure  from them, too.

You will recognize the one tree I’m keeping, from this series, because ML created a little ‘Woodland Gnome’ to live beneath that tree!

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You will see that ML even created a tiny fawn to eye the topiary in this vignette.  She struggles with the deer just as much as we, and many of our other neighbors do.  This one was made as  a gift for a friend who is moving soon.  Look closely, and you’ll see the clippers our friend, who is known for her gorgeous flower arrangements, always carries with her.

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December is the month for magic and enchantment; for wishes and dreams to come true.  We hope our fanciful fairy trees add a bit of whimsy and magic to the holidays, for all of us still young at heart, who choose to ‘Believe!’.

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Miniatures by ML
Trees by Woodland Gnome 
The Fairy Trees are available, should you wish to purchase one,
at The Nurtuy, 6619 Main Street, in Gloucester Court House, Virginia. 
Reach The Nurtury at 804.695.4417 for more information. 
The Nurtury ships merchandise around the world.

 

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Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

February 21, 2015 ice 002

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“Our duty is wakefulness,

the fundamental condition of life itself.

The unseen, the unheard, the untouchable

is what weaves the fabric of our see-able universe together.”

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Robin Craig Clark

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February 21, 2015 ice 011

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“So it is said, for him who understands Heavenly joy,

life is the working of Heaven;

death is the transformation of things.

In stillness, he and the yin share a single Virtue;

in motion, he and the yang share a single flow.”

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  Zhuangzi

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February 21, 2015 ice 009

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

What Sits At the Top of Your Christmas Tree?

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Mark Roberts "Golden Age" fairy sits at the top of our Christmas tree.

Mark Roberts “Golden Age” fairy sits at the top of our Christmas tree.

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What sits on top of your Christmas tree? 

Hugh Roberts, of East Sussex UK,  is politely curious.

In fact, everyone who responds to his query will help add another pound sterling to the charitable contribution he plans to make in January.  His goal is L250. That is a lot of Christmas beauty!

Blogging friend Sue posted her tree topper earlier today and alerted me to Hugh’s challenge.  What lovely Christmas postings you’ll find from Sue!

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Mark Robert's Sugar Plum Fairy

Mark Robert’s Plum Pudding  Fairy

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When we moved to this home (and garden) a few years ago, a Christmas tree left behind by the previous owner was waiting for us in a huge box in the garage.  It was a pre-lit tree, with white lights, and we decided to make it our “den” tree that first year.

There was very little Christmas joy as I tried, in vain, to get all of the lights working.  I finally gave up and just put a string of colored lights on top and used this as our “overflow” tree for ornaments not displayed in the living room.  This tree held lots of childhood memories and fun ornaments given over the years by students and extended family.

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Mark Robert's "Mistletoe and Holly" fairy

Mark Robert’s “Mistletoe and Holly” fairy

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That January, we decided to just leave this tree assembled, covered in plastic dust covers, in the basement.  The ornaments were packed, but we just left the lights in place.  We’ve used the tree another time or two, but last year was so hectic that it never saw the lights of Christmas.

Earlier this month my partner began the discussion about discarding this old tree.  I think he planned to use its component parts in the deer barriers down in our ravine.  But I kept putting him off… and finally, took the trouble to go and lift the dust covers.  Not bad….

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December 22, 2014 Christmas tree 021.

I had been half-heartedly  shopping for a “new” artificial tree for the den.  I love the lights in the area where we sit and cook, and really wanted to bring some of those old ornaments out again.  But nothing I had seen online or in stores seemed worth the asking prices.  (Yes, I know, after Christmas sales…)

And so in a moment of sheer stubborness I wrestled this old tree up from the basement and plunked it down beside my chair.

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A new "Santa" ornament handmade from a cypress knob by a local artist.

A new “Santa” ornament handmade from a cypress knob by a local artist.

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There wasn’t much enthusiasm in the house, I must admit.  But when I plugged in the string of lights, it did look festive.

We began “fluffing” the tree.  The tree stood there the rest of the day with just the lights burning.  I was off to my parents’ home for the day, and needed to get on the road.  I planned to decorate it the following day.

Well, my partner continued to fluff it and bend it back into acceptable shape.  Its cheery glow greeted me when I returned home that evening.

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December 22, 2014 Christmas tree 026.

I was at peace with the decision to save the tree.  That is, until the following morning when I plugged it in on the way to the coffee pot.

The lights lasted maybe two minutes, and then nothing.  I tried and retried the plug, the fuses, the cord… Nothing would bring those old lights back to life.  They were more than 10 years old, but I still hated to give up too easily.

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December 22, 2014 closeups 004

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My partner is no fan of non-functioning Christmas lights.  He helped out by disentangling them from the tree.

I plugged them into another outlet and went through the string bulb by bulb.  And again, and again.  No amount of jiggling or replacement bulbs brought them back to life.

By this time he was on his way to Walgreens to find us some new lights.

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December 22, 2014 Christmas tree 022.

But there was still the problem of the factory lights, burned out and hard wired onto the tree.  Most of the bulbs were blackened from their little explosions years ago.  They were clumsily attached, and just marred the tree in every way you might name.

And so faithful partner went to work with wire snips, pliers, and brute force.  He liberated the tree.

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Handmade "Santa" purchased from the same local artist last year.

Handmade “Santa” purchased from the same local artist last year.

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Hours later, we were finally ready to place the new strings of white lights.  What light!  What brightness! 

This was no longer a cast-off.  It was transformed into a thing of beauty.  And I decorated it accordingly.

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December 22, 2014 Christmas tree 025.

Our Mark Roberts Christmas fairies, usually enchanting the mantlepiece, took places of honor on the tree instead.  We decided to dedicate this tree to the magic of Christmas.

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December 22, 2014 Christmas tree 027.

It holds many of our Santa Claus ornaments, including  one crafted from a cypress knob by a local artist, which we purchased from her earlier in the month.

We created this tree to celebrate the love, generosity, kindness, and miracle-making magic the Christmas season always brings.

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A gift on my first Christmas.

A gift on my first Christmas.

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It is decorated with gifts I have  received from my very first Christmas until this one.  It celebrates the power of belief, the power of persistence, and the power of love. 

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Another gift from one of my childhood Christmas celebrations.

Another gift from one of my childhood Christmas celebrations.

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So will you join me in answering Hugh’s challenge?  If you blog, just make a post about your own Christmas tree, and link back to Hugh.  You’ll find instructions on his page.  If you don’t have your own blog, he explains how you can join in, too.

It doesn’t cost a penny to participate… only a loving heart full of joy and goodwill!

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Merry Christmas!

Woodland Gnome 2014

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December 22, 2014 closeups 001

One Word Photo Challenge: Grey

May 21 2014 Forest Garden Botanicals 039

Wendy and Alan Wubbel’s forest garden at Forest Lane Botanicals in York County is lush with growth in every shade of green, silver, burgundy, pink, orange, and chartreuse.

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Magical in its infinite variety of vegetation, it is not at all where one might expect to find grey.

Wendy and Alan's display gardens at Forest Lane Botanicals.

Wendy and Alan’s display gardens at Forest Lane Botanicals.

And yet grey is the foil, the backdrop, which makes the plants pop.

Stone and concrete, weathered wood and leaves traced in silver soothe the eye; offering a spot to rest one’s eyes from the myriad details of their lush landscape.

Fairy garden designed by Wendy Wubbel.

Fairy garden with miniature Hostas,  designed by Wendy Wubbel .

 

Neutral and grounded, grey speaks to eons of continuity and perseverance.

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Its inert solidity provides the perfect contrast to green growing things which leap to life each spring.

May 21 2014 Forest Garden Botanicals 006

Wendy and Alan, welcoming and brimming with talk about their wonderful plants, greeted us this morning and led us around every path of the garden.

Another of Wendy's magical fairy gardens.

Another of Wendy’s magical fairy gardens.

We considered natives and hybrids, Maples and Hostas, Begonias and ferns.

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They offered initiation into growing a new genus:  the pitcher plant,  Sarracenia. 

Loving full sun, wet feet and dry ankles, as Wendy explained, we have the perfect spot to grow the pitcher plant we brought home with us:  in the new grey hypertufa  pot I’m already planning to cast for it.

All photos in this post were taken at Forest Lane Botanicals in York County, Virginia.

All photos in this post were taken at Forest Lane Botanicals in York County, Virginia.

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

With Appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells 

for hosting the Weekly One Word Photo Challenge

 

Salmon

Purple

Blue

Red

Black

Glitter

Turquoise

Periwinkle

Pink

One Word Photo Challenge: Turquoise in a Fairy Garden

April 26, 2014 azaleas 014

Forest Lane Botanicals in York County, Virginia, carries a number of dwarf hostas and other tiny plants.

Owners Wendy and Alan Wubbels have highlighted these miniature plants in a number of interesting ways.

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My favorite is their fairy garden. Fairy Gardens combine dwarf and low growing plants with all sorts of found materials to create whimsical, magical little landscape.

I think of these as horticultural dollhouses, designed to please the Fairy People.

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Turquoise is such a natural color to use in these little gardens.  Here it beautifully accents and enchants.

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

 

April 26, 2014 azaleas 014

With Appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells and her One Word Photo Challenge:  Turquoise

 

 

Forest Lane Botanicals

 

The display gardens at Forest Lane Botanicals in York County, Virginia.

The display gardens at Forest Lane Botanicals in York County, Virginia.

A neighbor  asked last summer whether I had discovered Forest Lane Botanicals.

She told me that it is a small family operation, a Virginia certified nursery specializing in ferns, hostas, Azaleas, Japanese Maples, various shade loving perennials, and some native plants.

This garden by the drive leading in to Forest Lane Botanicals enjoys shade from the forest and from established Azaleas.

This fountain by the drive leading in to Forest Lane Botanicals enjoys shade from the forest and from established Azaleas.

Intrigued, I made a mental note to find them.  One thing led to another, and their season ended before I found time to visit.

But I determined to find them this spring, and yesterday my partner and I visited for the first time.  The gardens are open to the public between March 12 and July 5 this year,  from 10 AM until 4 PM on Wednesdays through Saturdays.

April 26, 2014 azaleas 003

What a treasure!  This beautiful wooded property, near York River State Park, is tucked away along country lanes, in a residential area.

Owners Wendy and Alan Wubbels were away at a show in Richmond, but we visited with Cathy, who greeted us warmly and showed us around.

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The gardens exhibit the love and care with which they are maintained.

An intricate fairy garden in a large basin overlooks this forest garden

An intricate fairy garden in a large basin overlooks this forest garden

A peaceful and romantic woodland garden, the tremendous repertoire of plants blends seamlessly from one vignette and bed to the next across several acres.

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Garden art, sculpture, flowing fountains, fairy gardens, novel planting containers,  and unusual cultivars of familiar plants make this an intriguing garden to wander as one absorbs idea after idea for developing a woodland garden.

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A true partnership between man and nature is evident as one strolls through the beds. 

May Apple,

May Apple, Podophyllum peltatum, wanders through beds and along paths throughout the shade gardens.

Native May Apples, Podophyllum peltatum,  pop up at will in paths and beds, most now in bloom with their shy Hellebore like flowers tucked safely under the umbrella leaf.

Map Apples mix with ferns in this bed.

Map Apples mix with ferns and Foam Flower in this bed.

The large green leaves of this spring ephemeral march along the forest floor, springing up from underground rhizomes early each spring before leaves fill out the forest canopy, and then disappear by late summer.

sSedlings of Japanese Maple grow in the path beneath their parent tree.

Seedlings of Japanese Maple grow in the path beneath their parent tree.

Tiny Acer seedlings also escape the boundaries of beds, springing up beneath their parents in odd places.

A creeping form of Tiarella marches down a slope, awash in white blooms.

A creeping form of Tiarella, foam flower, cascades down this shady bed.

A creeping form of Tiarella, foam flower, cascades down this shady bed between ferns and Hostas.

Azalea shrubs are just bursting into flower as fronds unfurl to announce the presence of re-emerging ferns.

Hellebores are finishing up as ferns and Tiarella are emerging.

Hellebores are finishing up as ferns, Hostas and Heuchera are emerging.

Amazed at the many tasty plants, such as Hostas and Azaleas, which suffered no apparent nibbling from deer; I asked Cathy how the Wubbels protect their garden from grazing.

She indicated the many Boxwood shrubs throughout the garden.  Apparently, deer detest the aroma of Boxwood.  Along with a variety of sprays used on a regular basis, the Boxwood help deter deer from visiting the garden.

April 26, 2014 azaleas 018

A lovely garden, made all the more attractive for gardening fanatics like me because pots and pots of little starts of these lovely plants are lined up discreetly around the edge of the garden, and in a retail display area.

"Lady in Red"

“Lady in Red” Lady Fern has dark red stems on each frond.

I came looking for ferns, and left with three beautiful Lady Ferns,  Athyrium felix-femina  “Lady in Red.”

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Stands of Columbine by the drive, and emerging daylily foliage, hint at the beauty still to unfold here as the season progresses.

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My partner and I anticipate making a return trip very soon.  There is this lovely variegated Iris we have just the spot for…..

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Pitcher plants are found in abundance in sunny areas at Forest Lane Botanicals.

Pitcher plants are found in abundance in sunny areas at Forest Lane Botanicals.

One Word Photo Challenge: Glitter

April 21, 2014 hypertufa pot and pedastal 006

Shiny, glittery, glass  adorns this new installation in our garden.

The stump at the center of our  “stump garden” has been transformed into a pedestal to hold this hypertufa trough, adorned with the same glass beads and scallop shells.

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There is a little glitz in the forest to catch the light as the sun passes overhead each day, and to reflect the moonlight at night.

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We welcome the elves, fairies, and elementals who live in the garden, and appreciate their participation in its growth.  We create this little spot of glittering beauty, in hopes it pleases and attracts them.

The Flower Fairies for M Lady Tara

In spring the fairies cultivate
their favourite flowers carefully.
The beauty we appreciate
can’t happen accidentally.
The fairies know each flowers needs
and cater for them properly.
Though sprung from bulbs and corms and seeds
They tend them individually.
Though most adults can only see,
the blossoms which the fairies tend.
A poet might just possibly
observe some tiny fairy friend.
Children have no difficulty
they see the fairies easily.

ivor .e hog

With Appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells  for hosting the Weekly One Word Photo Challenge

 

Salmon

Purple

Blue

Red

Black

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