Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop – Garden Whimsy

Gardening Forever! Housework Whenever

What’s your most valuable gardening tool? A favorite hoe? A treasured soil knife? A high-quality pair of pruning shears? All of these are handy, but really, one of the most important tools that any gardener can have is a good sense of humor. Start taking yourself or your garden too seriously, and it’s almost guaranteed that something humbling will happen to take your self-esteem down a notch or two. But hey, who said gardening was supposed to be serious, anyway? It’s not all fun and games, of course; lots of it is hard work. But if you can laugh off some of the inevitable mistakes and small disasters, it’s a whole lot easier to get back out there and keep trying to get it right.

So this month, let’s share some of the ways we try to keep things light-hearted in our gardens. Ornaments, for instance, provide endless possibilities for chuckles (and possibly even snickers, if they’re really tacky). You don’t have to admit to having them in your own garden; pretend you saw them somewhere else, and we’ll pretend to believe you. Silly signs are another fun way to express your personality and add a touch of whimsy. Or maybe you’re a fan of those giant gladiolus, double coneflowers, candy-striped zinnias, polka-dotted variegates, and other gaudy plants that send more serious gardeners into fits. Don’t be shy – you’re not alone!

If you’re new to the Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop, here’s how it works: Write a post on anything related to garden whimsy on your own blog and leave a link here (already-archived posts count too), or jot down your thoughts in a comment below. At the end of the month, I’ll gather all of the links into one summary post for easy reference. If you’re interested in checking out previous GBD Workshops, you can find them here:

Paths and Walkways
Fences and Walls
Arbors and Pergolas
Color in the Garden
Container Plantings
Front-Yard Gardens
Stone in the Garden
Decks, Porches, and Patios

And for those of you who like to know what’s ahead, here’s the list of proposed topics for the next few months of Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshops:

* Trellises and Screens (and vines, too)

* Water Gardens (ponds, waterfalls, bog gardens, and container water gardens)

* Coping with Slopes (groundcovers, terraces, steps, etc.)

Path of Least Resistance sign

About Nancy J. Ondra

Nan gardens on 4 acres in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the firm belief that every garden ought to have a pretentious-sounding (or at least pretentious-looking) name, she refers to her home grounds as "Hayefield." There, she experiments with a wide variety of plants and planting styles, from cottage gardens and color-based borders to managed meadows, naturalistic plantings, and veggies--all under the watchful eyes of her two pet alpacas, Daniel and Duncan.

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29 Responses to Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop – Garden Whimsy

  1. Frances July 1, 2008 at 7:18 pm #

    This one should be fun, Nan. I’ll put my thinking cap on and see what comes to the top.

    Oh, Frances, you shouldn’t have to think too hard. I know you already have plenty of posts that would fit perfectly with this topic. I thinking of the Faire Garden faeries’ gazebo, for one….
    -Nan

  2. VP July 1, 2008 at 7:22 pm #

    Hi – I have a couple of examples you might like in a post I did in early June. Will also see what else I can come up with this month.

    http://vegplotting.blogspot.com/2008/06/garden-centre-kitsch.html

    Oh my goodness, VP – yes, that’s definitely a great start. Thanks for sharing!
    -Nan

  3. our friend Ben July 2, 2008 at 8:23 am #

    Heh, heh, heh… Can’t wait to see what people come up with for this one! (“In someone else’s garden,” yeah, right…) My post “The gazing ball thief” would probably fit the theme here–such a bizarre story!–but I’ll try to come up with a new one as well. There are, after all, a few ornaments around here…

    Ah, yes, a *few* ornaments. In the meantime, here’s a direct link to The gazing ball thief.
    -Nan

  4. Lisa at Greenbow July 2, 2008 at 2:03 pm #

    I can’t wait to see this one. I can sure participate in this category. My DB says I have too many “focal points” in the garden. Ha… that should tell you something.

    Too many focal points? Is it even possible? I look forward to seeing what you choose to share with us, Lisa!
    -Nan

  5. Kris at Blithewold July 3, 2008 at 3:54 pm #

    Nan, count me in! I’ve ventured beyond Blithewold for this one – Bristol is full of whimsy this week especially! And I freely admit to having a pink flamingo, a gnome, and a concrete toadstool in my own garden.

    Hey, great to have you with us this month, Kris! I encourage everyone to visit Pieces of Flair, and to click on each picture in your post to get the full effect of each image.
    -Nan

  6. Heather's Garden July 3, 2008 at 9:09 pm #

    I’m not much of one for whimsy and my husband’s definitely a minimalist, but here’s a post from last year about the frogs in my garden:

    http://heathersgarden.typepad.com/heathers_garden/2007/07/frogs.html

    Sure, that counts, Heather. I hope you really do like frogs, because you know how it goes: Once friends and family see that you have a few related items, you start getting gifts along the same theme, and a collection can multiply alarmingly quickly.
    -Nan

  7. Tina Ramsey July 3, 2008 at 11:24 pm #

    This will be an easy one for me, whimsy is my middle name, though some might call it rednecky I like it!

    Tina Whimsy Ramsey, hmmm? I like it! I look forward to seeing you live up to your name.
    -Nan

  8. Michelle Derviss July 6, 2008 at 7:08 pm #

    A sense of colorful humor in the garden ?
    Just a little bit.
    here’s a link.
    ( there is even a photo taken by Saxon Holt in the slide show )
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/28279490@N02/sets/72157605991753750/show/

    Excellent, Michelle – thanks for playing!
    -Nan

  9. Christopher C NC July 6, 2008 at 9:29 pm #

    I wasn’t sure I could do a post on this, but I was struck by whimsy today. The Scarecrow

    Whimsy does have a way of sneaking up on one. Thanks for the link, Christopher!
    -Nan

  10. our friend Ben July 8, 2008 at 2:25 pm #

    Okay, Nan, check out today’s post, “The lawn police,” on Poor Richard’s Almanac. Somebody has to keep us all in line!

    Oh, super: your classic concept has been expanded and updated! Here’s a direct link to The lawn police.
    -Nan

  11. Lois J. de Vries July 11, 2008 at 12:54 pm #

    My papyrus plant is my weakness. Here’s my post: http://loisdevries.blogspot.com/2008/07/papyrus-daydream.html
    Lois

    Great to have you with us this month, Lois! The papyrus is a perfect example for this month’s topic.
    -Nan

  12. ESP July 13, 2008 at 12:33 am #

    Here is another Papyrus!

    http://east-side-patch.livejournal.com/7533.html

    I love this plant – very animated with the slightest breeze.

    Wow, that is one gigantic papyrus. I guess it’s true about everything being bigger in Texas! Thanks for sharing the link to your post – you sure know how to have fun in your garden.
    -Nan

  13. ESP July 13, 2008 at 12:41 am #

    Also here is another piece of whimsy, a bagpiper with a “stinky” set of brooch pins:

    check out:
    Everything is Falling Apart
    on my blog

    Thanks for this one, too. Honestly, you don’t just *do* garden whimsy – you *are* garden whimsy. I’m so glad you joined us this month!
    -Nan

  14. Frances July 17, 2008 at 5:47 am #

    Hi Nan, Whimsy is ready for the public!

    http://fairegarden.blogspot.com/2008/07/little-whimsy-in-garden.html

    I’m mortified at how long it’s taken me to visit you, Frances, but I see that many, many others have already gotten there and loved your post as much as I do. Anyone who hasn’t already checked this out *must* go read the story of the Bongo Congos immediately!
    -Nan

  15. Ellis Hollow July 20, 2008 at 10:47 am #

    Hi Nan: My whimsy post is up: http://www.remarc.com/craig/?p=425

    Looks like your bottle tree has produced quite a few seedlings there, Craig. Thanks so much for the tour of several gardens’ worth of whimsy!
    -Nan

  16. Phillip July 21, 2008 at 10:29 pm #

    My post is up at http://phillipoliver.blogspot.com

    Hey, thanks for contributing this month, Phillip! Here’s a direct link to your post.
    -Nan

  17. Carol, May Dreams Gardens July 23, 2008 at 10:17 pm #

    Nan, I’ve missed a few months, but I couldn’t resist posting on “whimsy” in the garden. Here’s my contribution, with a little help from the garden fairies:
    http://maydreamsgardens.blogspot.com/2008/07/whimsy-in-garden.html

    Thank you for hosting this!

    And many thanks to you and the May Dreams Gardens fairies for a delightful post this month, Carol!
    -Nan

  18. Mr. McGregor's Daughter July 24, 2008 at 10:56 am #

    I love this topic. Here’s my entry:
    http://mcgregorsdaughter.blogspot.com/2008/07/fierce-creatures.html

    I can’t wait to check out all of the posts.

    Oh, yeah, you’ve got whimsy there in spades, MMD. Thanks for sharing it with us!
    -Nan

  19. Lisa at Greenbow July 25, 2008 at 10:38 am #

    Well Nan, I have it narrowed down and my post about whimsy in our garden is up at http://greenbowgardens.blogspot.com/2008/07/bit-of-whimsy.html

    Great, Lisa! Learning the stories behind the whimsy is as fun as the pieces themselves – thanks for sharing them.
    -Nan

  20. Shady Gardener July 25, 2008 at 2:00 pm #

    Hi Nan, This was fun! Thanks for the opportunity to share. ;-) http://yardisgreen.blogspot.com/2008/07/just-bit-of-garden-whimsy.html

    Hey, thank *you* (and Gladys) for your terrific post, Shady – what a treat!
    -Nan

  21. VP July 25, 2008 at 2:36 pm #

    Hi – here’s my entry for this month from my garden:

    http://vegplotting.blogspot.com/2008/07/gbdw-garden-whimsy.html

    Will also try and do a general piece on garden gnomes if I find the time, but another blogging project is eating into my ‘normal’ blog time! All will be revealed in the next few weeks…

    Thanks for sharing your take on whimsy, VP. It’s a good thing you’re on another continent, or I’d find a way to lure Pig Pig Pig into my own garden.

    Looking forward to seeing what your mysterious new blogging project is all about!
    -Nan

  22. Eve July 27, 2008 at 9:59 pm #

    Here is one of the very first post I did this this year.

    LADYBUG

    I was new to blogging and didn’t exactly know how my blog would go. Does this qualify?

    You bet it qualifies, Eve. Thanks for joining us this month!
    -Nan

  23. Heirloom Gardener July 27, 2008 at 10:12 pm #

    Nan,

    Here’s a post about Guard Frogs and Garden Names.

    -Heirloom Gardener

    http://heirloomgardener.blogspot.com/2008/07/garden-bloggers-design-workshop-frogs.html

    Good to have you with us this month, HG. I enjoyed your take on the topic!
    -Nan

  24. Layanee July 28, 2008 at 10:30 pm #

    I actually had time to join in on the fun! Here is my link: http://ledgeandgardens.typepad.com/ledge_and_gardens/2008/07/garden-whimsy.html

    Thanks for hosting this one!

    I’m so glad you could join in this time, Layanee. The lilies alone make your post a must-see!
    -Nan

  25. Annie in Austin July 29, 2008 at 5:53 pm #

    It’s still July! Will you believe it’s me if my post is on time, Nan?

    http://annieinaustin.blogspot.com/2008/07/i-get-whimsical-with-little-help-from.html

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    Good for you, Annie! You’re more on time with your post than I am with keeping up with reading and commenting this month. Thanks so much for a great post!
    -Nan

  26. Gail July 30, 2008 at 7:22 am #

    Here’s my post, thanks Nan!

    Gail
    clay and Limestone
    http://clayandlimestone.blogspot.com/

    Gotcha, Gail – thanks for another great post this month. What fun!
    -Nan

  27. VP July 30, 2008 at 4:34 pm #

    Hi again Nan – thanks for the comments so far :)

    Here’s that gnome article I spoke about earlier:

    http://vegplotting.blogspot.com/2008/07/gbdw-gnomeless.html

    This was worth waiting for, VP. Who knew that gnomes were so newsworthy? Many thanks!
    -Nan

  28. VP July 30, 2008 at 4:44 pm #

    Glad you enjoyed the post Nan and commented over at my place :) Perhaps everyone else thought that gnomes were too obvious OR we’re much more tasteful than that of course!

    Well, now, we just need a post on the virtues of pink flamingos to have complete coverage of whimsical garden art. But I’m guessing they’re not particularly common in the U.K.
    -Nan

  29. Kathy July 30, 2008 at 10:14 pm #

    It’s still July! Quite a while ago I wrote two posts dealing with the whole idea of whimsy: Garden Whimsy and I can’t believe I did this

    Thanks for the links, Kathy. I thought I’d scheduled the post to be up on the 31st, but I must have goofed, so yes, it did get on earlier than it should have. I promise I will add you to the main list so people can enjoy your contributions too.
    -Nan