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Annie in Austin
Welcome! As "Annie in Austin" I blog about gardening in Austin, TX with occasional looks back at our former gardens in Illinois. My husband Philo & I also make videos - some use garden images as background for my original songs, some capture Austin events & sometimes we share videos of birds in our garden. Come talk about gardens, movies, music, genealogy and Austin at the Transplantable Rose and listen to my original songs on YouTube. For an overview read Three Gardens, Twenty Years. Unless noted, these words and photos are my copyrighted work.
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Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Left Coast Garden Consultant

This post, "The Left Coast Garden Consultant", was written for my blogspot blog called The Transplantable Rose by Annie in Austin.

Garden bloggers like Carol of May Dreams and Frances of Faire Gardens report the presence of wee fairy folk in their gardens but I've never seen evidence of them here. Luckily for me, an experienced maker of fairy gardens happened to be visiting Austin a couple of weeks ago and she graciously consented to a consultation - accepting root beer floats, barbequed brisket and gift shop souvenirs in place of her usual fee.

The Fairy Garden consultant liked many parts of the garden. She appreciated the deep fuchsia color of an emerging anemone but felt that the most likely place for the fairy folk to dwell was in the Secret Garden, kept warm in winter by a brick wall and southern exposure, but shaded by deciduous trees in summer.

This small garden is planted with a fig tree, shown with summer leaves in the photo above - how many fairies would it take to eat one ripe fig?

Apparently, the fairies didn't feel at home because they had no small benches to perch upon. The cute little caps of the live oak acorns weren't set out on tiny tables.

Pot feet that could be useful to fairies weren't placed in the secret garden but were stacked on shelves. Seashells from a vacation were kept inside a large plant saucer. How could the fairies use them if they weren't handy?
The consultant arranged shells, rocks, wood and terra cotta in a more pleasing way. She liked a heart-shaped rock and some tumbled glass mulch.
Some fairies don't mind manufactured items but these fairies are the Austin hippie type, disdaining all but natural materials ...the pot feet get by because they're clay
and the tumbled glass started out as silica sand.

The stars were cut from paper, which used to be wood.

It's possible that I won't see any fairies attracted by these efforts but I'll keep watch for traces of them dwelling in the secret garden.

The consultant rested on the bench for a moment, looking at her work.
I started to believe that there had been a fairy in my garden after all.
This post, "The Left Coast Garden Consultant", was written for my blogspot blog called The Transplantable Rose by Annie in Austin.


  1. You are one lucky gardener! I hear that it can be just as hard to get a good fairy garden maker to do a full consultation as it can be to actually see a garden fairy.

    With all the additions your consultant made to your garden, there should certainly be some fairies move in by summer, if not later this spring. I can't wait to read about what mischief they cause!

    Carol, May Dream Gardens

  2. Annie -- Your fairy post is quite magical, as is your little fairy consultant. She is delightful and clearly had a wonderful time exploring your secret gardens. It's a nice reminder that in spite of our books and our formulas and our exhaustive plotting and planning, Mother Nature's work in our gardens truly is magical. Thanks for reminding us of that.

  3. Oh, Annie, what an enchanting post, and what an enchanting consultant, and what a good deal you got on her services! Glad to see your fairies are the hippie type, as are ours, or maybe they are hillbilly fairies, but they like their materials to be natural. We have clay feet and shells on shelves also, quick, get them out before the creative fairies go elsewhere! And thanks for the link, an honor to be mentioned in one of our favorite stops during blogtime.

    Frances at Faire Garden

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  5. Now if that isn't a job I'd yearn for! You'd certainly have to have a lively imagination and a whimsical nature to succeed at such a career. I envy her! I will look for fairies in my garden, and for perches for them to land on. Perhaps they will come on the backs of the birds. Or jump into my pond with the frogs. I love it! She surely brought serenity to your gardens.

  6. Isn't it fun to watch how a child plays in a garden? Making fairy houses is one of my daughter's favorite outdoor activities too. She swears that the garden has been visited by a few.

  7. This has to be one of my favorite posts of all time by anyone anywhere! Absolutely delightful.

    You know...this could be a children's book.

  8. How wonderful you have a consultant! I've long been a fan of the Fairy Folk. Tell your consultant I hear, from a VERY reliable source, they are particularly fond of circles made from small stones and Daisies. From what I understand they use those circles as doorways to enter our gardens.:-)

  9. What a cute post! I'm sure now that you've had an official consultant the fairies will abound in your garden. Beware of the mischief though!

  10. How sweet. And to have such a fairy visit your garden! How lucky you must feel. :)

  11. I love the fairy mischief...fascinating. What fun! Captivating!

    You always deliver fun posts, Annie, but this might be my favorite of all. What a nice story for children!

  12. What absolutely delightful pictures. You indeed have a fairy in your garden.

    We have a fairy in our garden too, and only she can see the little people. But she tells us when they're there.

  13. Oh, how charming ("charmant," the French would say.) Thank you for letting us watch and learn how to attract fairies into our gardens.~~Dee

  14. Now that's what I'd call fairy feng shui. If you don't see fairies in your garden after all this, I'd have to think they just aren't letting you see them. No fairy could resist such an enchanting spot.

  15. The consultant doesn't come to Austin very often Carol - I sure was lucky! But how will I know which mischief is caused by fairies and which by squirrels?

    I was delighted to see that the consultant felt at home in our garden, Diana...made me think we had done some things right. She's very in tune with Mother Nature ;-]

    I'm glad you liked it, Frances - maybe Tennessee and Texas have more than fairies in common!
    Your Faire Garden blog is one of my favorites, too. [as you requested, I removed the post saying Blogger was temporarily not working. It seems to be okay now.]

    Hello Brenda Kula - lack of imagination is not a problem for this consultant. I like the idea of fairies coming on frog-back! Our disappearing fountain has been attracting birds but I don't know if it's enough for frogs.

    It's been a long time since I had this pleasure, Pam/Digging! Your daughter is probably right - they'd have a lot of fun there...especially the ones who like to bounce.

    Wow! Thank you MSS from Zanthan - praise from you counts double.

    Hi Randy and Jamie - I will pass this information along! Small stones we have - and there should be a few shastas eventually. I wonder who would have come in if I'd made a circle out of the camellia blossoms instead of arranging them in a triangle?

    Now that both you and Carol have warned me about the mischief, Sherry, I'm getting a little nervous!

    Hello Pam - lucky is the word! That consultant plays a tough game of miniature golf, too!

    Thanks Mary - the visit was so much fun! I'm glad the consultant's parents said it could be shared.

    A fairy named Marigold would be a perfect visitor to any garden Josie! Fairies from cooler climates do better to visit Austin in the winter...wouldn't want their wings to droop in the August heat!

    Merci beaucoup, Dee of Red Dirt! They must surely dance under the moonlight in your rose garden.

    Hi there Molly - love the fairy feng shui idea...I'm counting on that fountain keeping the chi flowing!

    Thank you from the consultant and the blogger

  16. What a sweet post. She's just the sort of consultant I need here. Now I realize what's been missing. It's been too long since a fairy has visited my garden.

  17. Your garden consultant left lots of magic behind from the looks of it. I love the pictures of her - what a treat it must have been to have her there for a visit. She will want to have frequent updates, I imagine, on all the mystical activities in your garden ...

  18. Annie in Austin, "How do you tell if mischief is caused by garden fairies vs. squirrels?" If the result of the mischief is mean or destructive, that's the squirrels. If the mischief makes you laugh and wonder and smile, that's the garden fairies!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  19. Annie, what a delight to have your own Garden Faire Consultant! I am sure her results will be most pleasing as the Fairies will flock to your garden with all the improvements the Consultant made.

  20. Annie:

    What a lovely fairy gracing your garden! I have yet to see one here but, hopefully, someday!!

  21. Nothing like a child's imagination and laughter to attract fairies.

    My consultants recommend glitter, cake decorating sprinkles is a good source for putting a smile on the consultants and the fairies.

  22. What a marvelous post! I didn't know about the pot feet -- I haven't any, but can remedy that.

    I spend the entire year collecting lichens and moss and fungi for the fairy garden. I forgot to set out the new acorn cups, though, but I did place some new stones and pieces of brick growing moss for comfortable seating.

    It's all such fun.

  23. How fortunate you are that a garden fairy just happened by! ;-) My "garden fairies" are rather inexperienced yet, being only 2 - 4 years old. They'll learn, though, won't they!

  24. I don't think that the fairies can resist with all of these wonderful additions cooked up by your consultant, Annie! :)

  25. Annie,

    Everyone is right she is a charming garden consultant and fabulous fairy.
    I haven't any but look forward to the day they visit my garden!

    Glad you stopped by my site and hope to see you in Austin.


  26. Annie, I don't know what would have come in, but it certainly looks like a comfortable place to take a nap. A cushion of cameilas.

  27. For once the attention was all stolen from the plants; your fairy might need a wand to do magic but her very presence has added a diivine touch to your post...May God bless her and may she bless us all.

  28. No wonder your faerie was drawn to the anemone - it matches her fuchsia colored flip-flops. Must be a favorite color of faeries. To have the imagination of the young again.

  29. Hi Lintys - thank you - any time spent with these consultants is precious!

    Kate, it was a wonderful visit - I haven't moved a thing, but some of the stuff in the photos has changed a little...but I don't think it fits Carol's criteria for either fairies or squirrels ... I think it is Blue Jays!

    They haven't flocked yet but I look every day, Lisa at Greenbow!

    I expect fairies to start using the internet to check out gardens - you should soon have a group of web-savvy fairies camping out in your lovely garden Layanee!

    Hi WiseAcre - I'll remember the cake decorating sprinkle idea...that consultant is rather partial to them on cookies, herself ;-]

    Hello Jean - soft green moss is in short supply around here - but at least we have the acorn cups...I see you have "Spencer's Mountain" in you favorite movies- you made me want to see it again!

    Welcome Shady Gardener - bet you'll have fun watching those little ones experiment in your garden!

    If a fairy shows up in your garden she will have to have a sophisticated sense of color, Blackswamp Kim - no powder blue and pale pink!!

    Hello Gail - may there be a fairy visit in your future - Spring Fling is coming fast now - it's very exciting!

    Hello Randy & Jamie, the camellias were done so quickly this year - thank heavens for photos.

    Thank you GreenThumb - her presence cast a glow on our lives!

    Wasn't that a bit of serendipity, Ki? There's too much of that color in mid-summer Austin, but in early spring it gladdens the eyes.

    Thank you all for the comments,


  30. I wonder where I could find a fairy consultant. Perhaps a couple of little elves I know would do the job.
    She certainly knows her stuff! Now that she's worked her magic in your garden I can't imagine the fairies not showing up...but you'll have to watch in the middle of the night if you want to see them Annie. At least that's what I've heard.
    She sure is a cute consultant :) I especially love the last photo.

  31. Cute! What a great job. :)

    I really love your big dragonfly too.

  32. After reading your post I felt the need to consult a fairy garden maker too. Yours made big improvements in the garden by making it more FF (fairy friendly) so I won't be surprised if you stumble upon a fairy or two one of these days.

    Lovely post Annie! :-)

  33. Lovely! I enjoy little things tucked away in gardens that you only notice when you look carefully. Close attention is rewarded.

  34. what a spectacular post! I sit here smiling at how YOU enjoyed the enjoyment of another. That's the good part of humanity.

  35. Enjoyed reading your Blog and all the work your consultant did to bring fairies to your garden. I have places that need her touch when we get back to IN. I sure hope she comes to visit us this summer. Great site, I will visit again. Linda of Indy

  36. My secret garden .... how perfect!! As a great plains gardener ...we have lots of wide open areas - just like the theme from Montana, Big Sky Country .... In yards around town, secret gardens are the rage! Belief in goodness and hope. I think that is why gardening is so popular here in Montana. There is a fantastic post that truly will put the magic in ANY garden! check it out.... it's easy and above all inspirational. :)



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