Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Inspire Happiness


The large wooden fence has been taken down, giving the viewer a chance to see the rest of the art in the front yard. 

There is a house in a town near me decorated with overgrown plants and bicycles. Propped up between a stone wall and the sidewalk, a fence of white bicycles lines the perimeter of the property. Small baskets between the handlebars are filled with seasonal silk flowers that change with each holiday. I often have no reason to drive by this house, but sometimes go out of my way just to see the newest display. Pink flamingos, a suit of armor, and an assortment of large metal sculptures fill the yard. Regardless of how exhausted or stressed I feel, this house and unconventional artwork makes me happy. It reminds me to follow my heart and to see the beauty and potential in everyday life.

I'm not an artist and don't have a fence of white bicycles. I have a cheap camera, a hot, thirsty garden, and just enough gardening knowledge to kill less and less plants each year. But I hope when you visit my blog or my garden, after surviving my irreverent sense of humor and squirrel trash talk, that you will find some small bit that inspires happiness.


This sign was custom made for me by Stewart's Scenic Signs, a family owned and operated metal art business in Saskatchewan, Canada. I saw a garden sign on their website that said 'Inspire Happiness' and asked Sherry Stewart to customize it for me with the dragonfly, flower, and frog. She was wonderful to work with and ships her work across Canada and the US.


'Monch' asters and orange milkweed


The Sunnyside garden


'White Swan' coneflowers


Purple Prairie Clover
This is the first year it's ever bloomed! I finally have in just the right place. I only had to transplant it four times.


Joe Pye Weed isn't a weed at all but a powerful pollinator magnet.  Parts of this clump are over six feet tall.


 This used to be my Bed of Death and Misery but after redesigning it last fall, it's much happier and so am I.


I can't fix the weather or give you a raise, but I hope I can inspire happiness. 

70 comments:

  1. You are sunshine in a blog! Your sense of humor and thoughtful posts bring me back time and time again and I always leave smiling :)

    And your prayers have helped 'fix' our weather a bit...we've had the nicest July I can recall. My garden ended up with nearly 6" of rain over a 9 day period. Happy Dance! My husband mowed last night and I've never seen our lawn so lush in the middle of summer. I'm gonna have to blog about that!

    And, thanks so much for the big pile of blog love...you've made me very happy ;) It means so much to me that you're inspired by my blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Woo-hoo!! The world can be such a hateful place. It's wonderful to help people find happiness. :o)

      Delete
  2. Hi, I think Joe Pye Weed is a nice plant! Your garden looks lovely and your camera is enough good taken these photos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joe Pye Weed is also known as eupatorium. I think it would grow well in your garden. It's very cold hardy and likes to be moist. I have to water it a ton but it's worth it.

      Delete
  3. Thanks for the happy inspiration, Tammy. Just in from a long watering session, I needed that.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You gave me smiles with the photo of the bicycle fence; what a fun concept.
    Stay cool and keep smiling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our a/c is fixed and we're cool and happy!

      Delete
  5. You take really nice pictures with your "cheap" camera :-). Need to learn that. Are those white bicycles real ones?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're the real McCoy! I know some people think the house is tacky, but I love the spunk of it. Glad you like the photos. :o) I have an anti-jiggle setting that I always use. It really helps.

      Delete
  6. Very nice sign---what better thing to hope for than to inspire happiness.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Tammy, I enjoyed this inspiration to happiness post.
    You should stop by and introduce yourself to the folks with the white bicycle fence, and tell them how much you love their garden art...I'm sure you'll make their day happy too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The house is on a very busy street and I've never seen anyone around the yard. I'm not sure the artist lives there full time. But maybe I"ll send him a card to tell him how much I love his artwork.

      Delete
  8. We in Finland have less sun and more than enough rain. It's raining hard every day. About humour, maybe we teachers have our own humour, at least I understand yours..;O)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll take your rain! Teachers have to have a sense of humor to deal with kids all day. I didn't know you are a teacher. So cool!

      Delete
  9. You definitely have the power to make me smile, sometimes chuckle and always feel happier after reading your posts.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Jak zawsze opowiadasz z dużym poczuciem humoru i to bardzo lubię. Twój znak pasuje ślicznie do Twojego ogrodu. Kwiaty są w nim śliczne. Sąsiad chyba miał zbędne stare rowery i ciekawie je wykorzystał. Pozdrawiam.
    As always, tell a great sense of humor and is really like. Your character fits beautifully into your garden. The flowers are beautiful in it. The neighbor was probably unnecessary and interesting old bikes used them. Yours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!! I'm not sure where he found all the bikes. I hope they were free!

      Delete
  11. That fence of bicycles is just too clever. When I first saw it, it went through my mind that someone was having a bridal shower!!Guess it was the umbrellas and flowers and the arch with flowers. Anyway, it is a great idea. Your cone flowers are so pretty, others,too and I like your
    inspire happiness sign. Your blog inspires happiness!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love clever art, as opposed to art that just inspires me to say, "I don't get it!". I love how unique it is.

      Delete
  12. You do! You do! You inspire happiness. Your garden looks a lot like mine only nicer and better maintained and, well, nicer. Love the custom designed sign!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your big RELAX sign inspired my desire for a sign with words!! As a writer, I love the idea of having words in my garden. It just seemed to fit me.

      Delete
    2. Aww, that's so flattering. I do agree that words in the garden just seem necessary.

      Delete
  13. I"m always smiling when I read your posts, you definitely are an inspiration and your sign fits you perfectly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hooray!! I need another one that says, "Go back inside and finish grading papers" but I would probably cry and cuss every time I saw it. :o)

      Delete
  14. I always smile when I visit here, Tammy. I have a feeling you would be oh, so much fun to hang around with. Your sense of humor and down-to-earth nature always shine through in your posts. Thanks for the continuous grins and chuckles. Thanks for your encouragement and helpful tips during our drought. Things are looking much better now after a few inches of rain!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've added states in a drought to my prayer list. :o) I can be a real goofball and wish all the awesome bloggers I've met lived closer so we actually could hang out! Hooray for rain, epsom salts and kelp!! Woo-hoo!!

      Delete
  15. Those bikes made my day :-) But I liked your sign too, now I want a sign for my garden....just need to come up with a clever idea...Great and inspirational post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They make all kinds of signs. I'm so glad I found them!

      Delete
  16. Very original idea that bicycle fence. People do come up with the oddest ideas, but it did put a smile on my face.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It definitely beats a toilet full of flowers, which I always find to be a really crappy idea.

      Delete
  17. A bicycle fence eh, and they say we British are eccentric.
    I have Joe Pye Weed in my garden, but it doesn't grow as tall as yours, and it won't this year. Would you believe, something has chomped the top off one of the stems.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know of any bugs or critters that attack Joe Pye weed but I'm sure you have different wildlife than I do. That is pretty weird, though. I just hope it was tasty!

      Delete
    2. Actually, I hope it wasn't tasty so they don't come back for more!

      Delete
  18. Wouldn't that be a nice phrase on a grave marker: "she inspired happiness"?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would be much better than "We're glad she's gone!"

      Delete
    2. My favourite writing on a grave is Spike Milligan's - who said: I told you I was sick!

      Delete
  19. Thanks for the tip on the snow boots. You know how I love a bargain! :) The bicycle fence - Oh my goodness - I love it! I hope to become more fun and eclectic as time goes by and that picture really inspired me. I hope you know how enjoyable you are to read!!! You make me smile with every blog post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I need a snowy winter!! I love the bicycle fence, too. I love how unexpected it is.

      Delete
  20. Is it just me, or does it seem like blogger is having technical difficulties? I just posted, but I don't think it went through. So, I'm back at it. Sorry if this is the second time around that you have to read it, but so be it! The bicycle fence - Oh my goodness - I love it! Thanks for sharing that INSPIRING pic. I hope to metamorphosize one day out of my landscape designer cocoon and become more eclectic in the garden, and that picture was just the ticket. Thanks! And in case you didn't know....your blog posts always make me smile. : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a lot of technical difficulties with blogger, but it could just be my computer. I'm trying to be more eclectic in the garden, too. I like gardens with a little funk. :o)

      Delete
  21. Tammy, your posts always brings a smile to my face! Inspiring happiness is a perfect goal for any garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hooray!! Right now one of my roses is making a little green worm really happy. Argh!

      Delete
  22. You moved something 4 times to get it to bloom? Whoa...we are definitely made from the same stock! I think all I do is move around plants. You do inspire happiness. David/:0)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a rose that might be moved for the 4th time this fall. I'm determined to find it's happy place. This spring I found its almost happy place but it needs more sun (duh!) so out comes the shovel.

      Delete
  23. Love the sign!! You have such joi de vivre, of course you inspire happiness! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! Every time I see the sign in my garden, I like it more and more.

      Delete
  24. Awesome you found a family business to support! Love the sign.
    Love coming to visit here, you make me laugh and give me beautiful things to look at. The purple prairie clover is lovely, such a pretty one and it must be happy now. Joe Pye Weed, a must have.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad that sign wasn't made in China! I love supporting independent artists!

      Delete
  25. Love your art behind the garden. It all works well. These kinds of gardens do make people smile:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As a kid I once lived in a neighborhood that had been built around a guy who had a huge gated compound full of scrap metal. He created a super tall robot with red eyes that looked out over the fence. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. If his sculptures had been mixed with plants, he could have sold tickets.

      Delete
  26. The first garden isn't familiar, will have to ask my daughter if she had seen it in her travels through your area.
    I love Praire Clover, what a great bloom. I replanted a wildflower from the edge of our property last fall. I remembered that it was a Blue Lobelia, looks like it is a Joe Pye Weed, how funny. I kept watching it this year and didn't think it looked like the Lobelia...now I know why.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's on a super busy street but is still easy to miss if you're not looking for it.

      Delete
  27. Dear Tammy, You inspired me with happiness through your interesting posts, lovely photos, helpful info about acidic soils, and encouragement to grow ground cherries. And that 's just in the last few days!!!!!! And your quirky funny sense of humour. The bikes, umbrellas and floral arch are so pretty, definitely unusual creative artform. cheers. catmint

    ReplyDelete
  28. I really like your sign and the message. The bicycle fence I could do without in my neighborhood though. Not much to worry about, they would disappear really fast in the city.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I'm not sure the bikes are functional so it would be a karmic slap to anyone who stole them.

      Delete
  29. I love your blog, it makes me happy! I think the bicycle art house would make me smile if I drove by it too. One of my neighbors neglects her backyard. Maybe I'll make my own art in that space. I bet she won't notice, and it'll give my neighbors something fun to look at. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe neglect is the theme of her backyard and it's already an art space?! ;o) Maybe you could rent the backyard and raise chickens.

      Delete
  30. CM - you have an amazing blog! It is always a treat to come by and see what has inspired your latest post. Cool 'inspirations' up in the top left corner of your blog page. Jean and Cat have been long time favorites of mine. Garden bloggers are just SO cool -- I wish there were more hours in the day (for blog reading)! :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. CM - It is always such a treat to stop by and see your blog topic of the day. This one is wonderful! Your "Garden Love" feature is lovely! (Jean & Cat are long time favorite bloggers!)

    ReplyDelete
  32. So ... if you have THREE posts from me ?? You can delete the last two!! (when I posted the 1st comment, I didn't see the "Your comment will be visible after approval" notification)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I posted all three simply because they made me happy!

      Delete
  33. I love that sign! It is so cute and has a wonderful message :-D

    ReplyDelete
  34. What wonderful photos! Love those bikes and umbrellas. Feel good photos!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Wish we were neighbors! :-) Thanks for always being a positive garden-blogging friend. Another use for umbrellas! ha.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for visiting my blog! Feel free to comment on the posts or photos.