Monday, May 16, 2016

Still Missing the Robot

When I was a kid I was lucky enough to live in a low-rent neighborhood near a 50 foot tall robot, complete with red lights for eyes. He was the guardian of a reclusive eccentric who had created a compound of fantastical creatures built from cast off scraps and rusted metal. A massive fence and padlocked gate squashed every adolescent whim of sneaking in for a closer look. When the city finally decided to revitalize the area, he was the first to go.  I deemed any progress made after he left a total failure. After all, nothing spelled out "Damn straight, we're a class act" like a giant robot. 



As much as I would love to add an enormous robot to my garden for the sheer joy of breaking every landscaping covenants rule my stuffy neighborhood has cooked up, I've resisted. It hasn't been easy. Instead I've added garden art much less spectacular but that's ok. I'll leave the eccentric to his genius and settle for the merely whimsical or sentimental.



Moving 17 times in 34 years taught me to keep only what's important or meaningful. But this bowl, purchased in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, is packed with memories. Even after it broke during my last move, I couldn't bear to toss it. I'm glad I've finally found a spot for it in the garden. It holds up perennial snapdragons self-seeded into a crack on the patio. 



These were like the robot - a wonderful surprise.


When my dogs ran over my gnome in my Gnome B Gone, I quickly replaced it.



Anchored in the soil with sticks stuffed into the body where the feet should be, the broken gnome looks like it's about to be arrested. I probably shouldn't find that funny but I do.



I have over 20 birdhouses but having lived in South Dakota I couldn't resist this one.


My button bird bath hasn't held up to the weather as well as I was hoping but I still love it.


Buttons and birdhouses?  This is a required purchase. 
Buying groceries and paying bills is so overrated. The blue metal rods are support stakes. 


 I have wrens living in the blue house.


Doesn't everyone decorate their succulents with ammonites and petrified wood?


I love anything round or curvy.


I thought the tansy needed some zing....


Apparently, I'm a sucker for stained glass, too,


and who can resist a cool mosaic?


That says it all!

Bradbury's monarda

But the ultimate artist is always Mother Nature.

51 comments:

  1. You grew up next to a robot? That is SO COOL! I really think that there needs to be more humor and appreciation of whimsy in the world. I have a friend who lives in an association that won't allow clotheslines. I'd be out of there in a NY minute. This post just reminded me of a large blue glass sculpture that I have been hauling around for over 30 years - it's going in the garden this year. Thank you.

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    1. Only for a few years! My HOA would die if someone put up a clothesline but they have no problems with pesticides and overuse of fertilizer. What rotten priorities!

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    2. (land of the free - but no clothesline - mystified ish)

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  2. I love your whimsy, Tammy :)

    But yes, I've pretty much just let Mother Nature decorate my garden.

    I'm not averse to garden sculpture or objects by any means, just prefer to invest my limited budget in plants.

    (I did try to buy a birdbath via Etsy once, but it arrived broken. I really should try again, as I know a birdbath or two would probably make the garden much more welcoming to wildlife...)

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    1. I bought something that arrived broken the other day, too. Big bummer. Birdbaths are easy to find and a great addition to any garden. The birds will love you!

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  3. I love all your garden art! I have some too, but looking at your photos tells me I need more :-)

    Have you ever heard of this place? http://love-and-adventure.com/dr-evermors-art-park/ It's in Wisconsin, and the sculptures are very steampunk-ish. We've been meaning to visit, but it's a 2 hour drive north of us, so we haven't made it yet.

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    1. I'd never heard of that place til now what how fun! It would be a great day trip for you! Have you thought about attending the Garden Bloggers Fling? I can't remember if I've asked you that before or not.... It's in Minneapolis and there are still spots available. One of the gardens we'll be visiting is in WI and full of cool mosaics.

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  4. You are indeed a “passionate gardner.” I’ve just gotta ask—was the bowl you bought in Istanbul broken when you got it, or am I looking at the wrong thing?

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    1. The bowl was intact when I purchased it but broke when it was shipped from my previous home to the one I live in now. I traveled to Istanbul with my mother who died a few years after the trip so the broken bowl still has a lot of meaning to me.

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  5. I always notice the pots in your posts. They are so original and interesting - as well as diverse. We also have a wren nesting in the garden but I have not been able to figure out where exactly. I have it down to an area 10 feet square but where in that area I do not know.

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    1. Thanks! I've had wrens build nests in my houses but then move on, leaving the nest empty. I think they're still in the blue house since there's been quite a bit of activity.

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  6. Nice to have some bling for the containers. I like all your choices.

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    1. Thanks! I'm an unrepentant potaholic. :o)

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  7. Fun stuff!! It's great to add garden bling--augments the seriousness of planting, while adding that bit of nonsense that we all need. I'm tickled to hear that wrens are living in one of your houses....

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  8. I loved your bird houses when we visited. How many bird houses can be occupied at the same time in a small area? Do the birds need their own territories (like mob bosses)? The bird houses are so decorative, though, that they are worth having even if most are empty.

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    1. I'm not sure and it's possible I have too many to make birds who prefer to nest in isolation comfortable. But I've read that social birds don't mind nesting close to each other. Even if the houses aren't occupied, I love them!

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  9. I would LOVE to have a giant robot. With 11 acres int he country, I don't have to worry about associations not liking it, ha. I did see a really large and colorful rooster the other day that is calling my name. It's about 5 feet tall...I'm SO tempted and this post is really pushing me toward it. ;-) Your yard is beautiful by the way!!

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    1. Me, too! I'd go back and buy that rooster! Thanks for the garden love. :o)

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  10. Anything that makes you smile as you pass it is SO worth hanging on to. Life is to short to cater to the silly whims of HOAs.

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  11. Putting your own mark on your garden is to be celebrated. As a designer, I regard it as the absolute right of my clients to add the things they love... be that a massive robot, a drunk and disorderly gnome, or a rugby post. I love that Monarda... does it get terribly mildewy or am I safe to add it to my must-buy list?

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    1. This is the first year I've grown this monarda but it's a tough North American native that blooms weeks ahead of the hybrids and has a beautiful purple blush to the foliage. It's also shorter, making it easier to work with. I'm already in love with it. :o)

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  12. Love your garden art especially your unique birdhouses. :-)

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    1. Thanks! I have many more than aren't in this post but they'll show up as the summer progresses. :o)

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  13. Wonderful, wonderful! Hope a giant robot someday finds its way into your garden, and stuffy neighbors be damned!

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  14. That is some AWESOME garden art - triple LOVE! Unlike you, I tend to keep everything, including broken pottery with no sentiment attached, as you never know when it will come in handy. I love whimsical touches in the garden & have a stack of things that I've collected/purchased/found that will eventually find their way into the borders once they are cleaned up.

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    1. Thanks! Put a few military moves under your belt and you'll be throwing stuff away left and right. I'm an excellent purger. It's fun to put the various art pieces out in the spring. I feel like I'm decorating the garden. :o)

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  15. Your garden art is absolutely wonderful!!! You have a great talent with both your garden design and bits of whimsy! Love it!! Thought of you today as I planted some Milkweed :) You always inspire me !!!

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    1. Awww, thanks! You are so loving and kind. So happy you planted milkweed!! :o)

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  16. Lovely garden art with buttons Tammy. Do you use special ones or those you cut from old clothes? Monarda is very pretty I should plant the same although I have red and blue one.

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    1. The birdhouses with the buttons were purchased but the bird bath made with buttons was created with buttons I purchased. I have a lot of monarda, too, but Bradbury's monarda blooms much earlier than the others.

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  17. Would love to chat to Miss Tansy!

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    1. I love that plant! So soft and feathery and now it has some fun art. :o)

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  18. Hi Tammy, I love your bird houses, I bet they're the highlighted feature in some avian quirky "Southern Living" property magazine. I've only seen the normal wooden ones around here.

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    1. Thanks! I have noticed the ones in England are much plainer. Anything goes here!

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  19. How amazing to grow up with a robot next door! Love all your garden whimsy and I especially love your I Love Gardening license plate!
    - Kate x

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    1. It only lasted a few years but I'll take what I can get. The license plate art is from Seeds of Change. I have one that says GROW, too.

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  20. You have fabulous art whimsy in your garden....wow....I love it all!

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  21. I really enjoy seeing gardens where someone has added art and other objects that they love. It makes their garden so much more personal. I agree, though, that nature does a better job than any of us, but it's still great that we can all contribute a bit.

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  22. I love all your bird houses Tammy! I used to have a nice collection of them myself, but our harsh weather here took a toll on them and I've never gotten around to replacing them. I am not a fan of all gnomes (I draw the line at plastic), but some of them are adorable. I got one today, as a matter of fact, and he is an adorable addition to one of my birdbath planters.

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  23. Tammy girl I can't believe you were so lucky to live near an eccentric like that !! now that is something you never forget .. and the look on your neighbors faces if you had one ? too funny !'
    I love all your bits and pieces in the garden .. they have such personality ... I cal it garden jewelry.. I haven't put mine out yet because I am so darn busy trying to get plants in and FIXED up ... that mosaic "wooden" shoe is a favorite of mine because I am so attached from our living in the Netherlands ... beautiful as are all the bird houses .. I NEED MORE of them ! Gnomes and I have an agreement which when I signed the contract was never to be spoken of again ... BIG sigh ! haha
    Garden ON Girl !

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  24. Wow how lucky you were to have a neighbour with a large ROBOT in his garden when you were growing up....wayyyy COOL.
    I would have a fit if I couldn't hang my laundry outside to dry...I love the smell of air dried clothes. Conserving energy from using a dryer is what it's all about. Those HOA's are a pain in the freakkking butt.

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  25. You moved 17 times in 34 years? Gosh! I moved every year as a kid....I love your broken pot, and am glad you kept it. I also love all your acquisitions, just gorgeous! I seem to have the same taste as you. Your birdbath looks great, it's weathering well actually. Your birdhouses are lovely, I bet the birds thank you for them. I'm laughing at you growing up near the giant robot....well of course you did!!! Doesn't everyone? Unfortunately....not! Fab post, just loved it!xxx

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  26. I love garden art/whimsical stuff and your collection, like you, is fun, colorful, and full of... great sentiment. What, you thought I'd say something else? Dare you to erect a robot! Would that be a robot erection?

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