The Potting Shed, Hilt Street Garden, Brevard, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

A Pinterest Worthy Garden

Let’s start with hiding the trashcans. I’m sorry this picture is so Pinterest worthy.

My neighbors, who live one block from me, and were kind enough to invite me to see their garden, chose to hide their trashcans in this clever way. It just makes you smile, doesn’t it?

Pinterest Worthy Garden, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

A clever way to disguise trash cans, with old logs and Purple Homestead verbena.

I have a list of top 10 questions from garden clients. Ranking #2 on the list is how to hide anything from trash cans to HVAC units, and the solution, to my client’s way of thinking, is never cheap. Elaborate fences, major plantings, stone walls, you name it. So, this inexpensive (even the pots aren’t pricey), and completely charming idea, artfully done by my neighbors Pat and Joe Webb, impressed me enough to pull out the IPAD and show clients, it can be easy.

Turns out my neighbors, who were antique dealers (Barclay-Scott Antiques) and furniture re-finishers (Ancient City Refinishing) in St. Augustine, Florida before moving to Brevard, already knew something most landscapers and new-to-gardening folks don’t. It doesn’t have to be new.

And, a garden doesn’t have to be matchy-match (a real design term). From the labyrinth in their front yard to the potting shed in the back yard, the Webb’s garden is so much dang fun.

Wait till you see the labyrinth container. Worthy of any fairy-garden Pinterest pin, for sure.

Pinterest Worthy Garden, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

The Webb’s are cat people, so Aggie stays at home when I visit their garden.

Pinterest Worthy Garden, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner, Pinterst worthy labyrinth fairy garden

A sedum-planted labyrinth container. Another Pinterest-worthy idea done by Pat’s sister. She works at New Leaf Garden Market in Pisgah Forest. Owner, Hope Janowitz, was the designer who installed the bones of the Webb garden early on.

Pinterest Worthy Garden, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

At the very back of the garden is the potting shed. The Webbs call it their whim.

Pinterst Worthy Garden, Transplanted and Still Blooling, Cinthia Milner

Seedlings getting their start in the potting shed

Pat and Joe said the potting shed, which is constructed of local locust wood, tin roofing and windows from an eastern North Carolina farm, was a whim. They were looking for their next project. This was it, a functional (they use it to store garden tools and start seeds), and yes, looks-like-it-is-straight-out-of-the-Appalachian-mountains, shed. It is their newest, and yet another Pinterest-worthy part of their garden.

Pinterest Worthy Garden, antiques and herbs, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

Antiques and herbs, reminiscent of St. Augustine, the Webb garden reflects what Pat calls the organic nature of life.

Pat has a teacher’s degree and Joe a finance, but that didn’t stop them from following other dreams, as well. Pat was in retail management, and Joe did Restoration Studies at Sotheby’s in New York. Pat describes each move in their lives as knowing when one chapter is finished. Walking through their garden is like reading those chapters. The old chapters are there and the new ones are forming.

Pinterest Worthy Garden, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

A simple urn with volunteer violas.

Pinterest Worthy Garden, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

The perfect spot for an herb garden, a breezeway from the kitchen to the garden. The Webbs widened the banisters to accommodate pots of herbs.

Pinterest Worthy Garden, Herb garden ideas, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

Willie Nelson, the cat, likes the wider banisters for sunning.

Pinterest Worthy Garden, Broken pot in garden, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

Even a broken pot has a use in the garden, just add rock so the soil doesn’t slide out.

Pinterest Worthy Garden, Raised bed veggie gardens, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

Raised bed vegetable gardens behind the garage and near the potting shed.

Pinterest Worthy Garden, Moss Garden, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner,

The moss garden. A reminder of the mountains surrounding their garden.

Pinterest Worthy Garden, Bowl of pansies on old log, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

A bowl of pansies on an old log makes for a perfect vignette.

Pinterest Worthy Garden, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

Anything can be a plant stand… or a chair.

Gardens tell stories and the Webb’s garden tells their story, one of acknowledgement of the old while embracing the new. It makes for a lovely garden combination, and a good Pinterest board.

Transplanted in Cedar Cove

I watch Hallmark’s tv series, Cedar Cove. I download it on my Kindle after Hallmark has aired it on Saturday night. Nothing bad  happens in Cedar Cove. The worst conundrum is a love triangle, and I mean of the platonic kind. Who will love who? The characters are all gorgeous and smart, the scenery worth the hour viewing time, and the town idyllic. Right after mom died, I curled up in my bed, under her blanket, and watched 6 episodes. Soothing my brain with 6 hours of daily life in Cedar Cove where the climatic question hanging over the Pacific Coast rock outcroppings was if Grace would mess up her relationship with Cliff (it seems rather inevitable) was the necessary medicine of the day.

One thing strikes me, though, about Cedar Cove. There is always this pull toward Seattle, a ferry ride away. Job offers, girlfriends, ex-wives, children, all are a boat’s journey across the water. Often the characters must decide whether to stay put in Cedar Cove, or answer the call of money and possible fame in the big city. Making the sacrifice to stay in Cedar Cove requires they give up their sure success, their big dreams, the one thing that has always propelled them, be it career or great love. No big fish, big pond for them if they stay. In Cedar Cove all the fish are pretty much equal. And, that seems to be the charm of the series–everyone is included–and no one is regarded as less than or more than anyone else, with the exception of the few antagonists.

I have a huge desire to escape to Cedar Cove (and I mean literally, not just on my Kindle), but I am forced to consider if I haven’t already found it in my quaint life. How closely does my life resemble that of the characters of Cedar Cove? Pretty darn. My scenery is no less stunning. I am surrounded by mountains, and trees. I live in a rain forest and the county I live in is called the Land of the Waterfalls. Beautiful sunsets and sunrises accompany me on my drive to work and back.I walk everywhere I need to go–the grocery store, the coffee shop, the movies, restaurants, clothing stores, church. It has a wonderful sense of community and privacy. Not to mention, aside from an outrageous water bill, the cost of living is low. The downside? So far, I haven’t met the Cliffs or the Jacks of Cedar Cove, but let’s be honest, sitting at home doing jigsaw puzzles or playing rounds of SET alone, isn’t exactly trying. But, who knows? Maybe my town is overrun with good looking single guys with tortured pasts. In the words of the kid from Angels in the Outfield, “It could happen.” .

My point, in all this estrogen run-on sentence structuring is this: Perhaps my Cedar Cove is right where I am. Perhaps your’s is too. Cliche obviously, but cliches are cliches for a reason. They’re often true.

Recently, a man who is a pretty big deal in the horticulture world stumbled across my blog and contacted me. I suppose finding his name in a garden post inspired him to say hello. It was unexpected, and a nice surprise. I admire his work. He is the big fish in the big pond. To use the metaphor, he’s in Seattle. His email caused me to wonder if Seattle wasn’t the place for me too. If I am, to quote an old friend’s mother, “withering on the grape vine of life?” (She used that little cliche when we were hitting 30 and still not married.)  As for the characters of Cedar Cove, the lure of Seattle is there for me too. Am I missing something by staying put in this small place of plants and mountains?

My two years in Brevard have allowed me ample time to get to know the dog care lady, the bakery owner, the coffee shop owner, my neighbor with the hot dog truck (Aggie introduced us!), the priest of the Episcopal church and his wife, the owner of the two women’s clothing stores in town (of course), and the owner of the real estate company, and two restaurants. I know the town architect, most of my neighbors and the all the local cats and dogs. I am also well acquainted with our neighborhood pet bunny rabbit  (that I am desperately trying to get a picture of). I placed my fall mums on the porch today (Cascade orange, if you’re wondering). I am headed after the pumpkins next week. My neighbors notice when I am gone. They know Evil Kitty and Aggie (the pets). They know what time my College Son comes home (long after I’m asleep). And they know when my grandchildren are here I am unavailable. .

My boss thinks I’d be happier if I moved back to Asheville (our Seattle), a good 45 minute drive over a mountain and through a valley from me. But, he’s an extrovert, and his social calendar (of which I have happily been a part) is forever full. But, for this INFJ girl (www.16personalities.com) the solitude and the personal connections that are forming in my mountain town are compelling. Heck, my landlady is my best friend in this sleepy place, and in case you’re interested, the neighbor behind me is having a time of it with her oldest son. (We discuss this situation while I water my containers in the evenings, both of us convinced he went off to Seattle when he should have stayed in Cedar Cove. She’s a fan too. Knowing thyself is forewarned and forearmed.)

I circle back around after traveling in my mind’s eye over the mountains to the place where I’m told success lies. I find I am compelled to stay put. The connections that are forming in the shadow of mountains and waterfalls hold more interest for me than whatever it is a place like Seattle can claim.  All my life, I did think I wanted Seattle, but I have discovered I really wanted Cedar Cove. How lovely to have ended up here while on my way to the Big City/Big Lights.

Since, it’s been a post of cliches, I’ll throw out another one. Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans. Thank the Lord for traveling mercies.

The Weekly Wrap Up/The Half-Backs of Brevard

So, it seems, three posts a week is going to be my schedule.

  • Monday–Blog Bible Study
  • Wednesday–Garden Talk
  • Friday–Weekly Wrap Up, i.e.whatever is in Cinthia’s head

Take note: this could change. Surprising, I know. But, since it’s Friday’s post, which means weekly wrap up time, I’ll give you the news of Brevard, metropolis that it is.

My little town, whose population reaches around 7500 (I find that insanely large), is over-populated presently. It’s all the Florida-to-the-mountains folks. They live in Florida half year, here half year. It has something to do with taxes. Because they live in Florida six months, they pay less taxes for the year.. Don’t ask me why. When your tax bracket is fairly low, you get to live wherever you want any amount of the year, and you don’t wonder about Florida’s taxes. Nov-May they live in Florida. May-Nov they come to our mountains (Blue Ridge Mountains).

Transylvania County is home to the City of Brevard (yes, Halloween is a blast here) and it is called “Land of the Waterfalls.” It should be called “Land of Lakes,” (without the butter). We have a billion lakes–little lakes and big lakes. I am always visiting clients at their lake homes. Today was no exception, and when I was leaving I feared I’d taken a wrong turn. So, I stopped, rolled down the window and politely (because I was raised in the South) asked a couple how far it was to Highway 64. They went into great detail, explaining that it was at least 5 more miles of winding, curving, switchback roads. Since I’ve driven on those roads all my life, I wasn’t as impressed with that fact as they were. The woman, who I’m betting had waited for this moment since moving to the mountains, said, “You’re in the mountains, now,” taking a sip of water from her camelback while letting the enormity of that sink in. I refrained myself from killing her. I also refrained myself from stating the obvious. “No,” I really wanted to say, “you’re in the mountains now. In six months, it’s back to the humidity for you.” I can be so snarky. I actually said, “Indeed I am,” while rolling up my window.

In the winter, we get our town back.

I always wonder if the half-backs wonder about us. (Half-backs, as we fondly call them, refers to the fact that they are not from Florida, either, but from NJ or NY or somewhere really cold, and when they started to move back there, they only made it half-way back, which left them here.) I do wonder about people who live split lives. I realize that is a bit over-stated, but for the life of me, i can’t imagine what it is like to live 1/2 and 1/2, though I like my coffee with 1/2 and 1/2. I think I’d get homesick for one 1/2 or the other.

But, after awhile, even the half-backs find their place here. We all form friendships and miss each other come Nov-May. They long for their mountains, while they sit in their patio homes and watch the movement of pool water instead of lake water. They have carved out a niche for themselves in these mountains, and, odd as it is, summers wouldn’t be the same without them.

July is almost over and that fact astonishes me. Rudbeckia is in all out bloom, signaling the nearing of fall. Joe Pye Weed is blooming on roadsides and mornings have been cool. My evening walks with Aggie require a light jacket. It has rained for days and that brought a cooler front with it. I will soon have less and less work to do, and my fireplace will take the place of my air conditioner, making me feel older but somehow comforted by the seasons.

I thought quite a bit today about living an ordinary life, and wondered what it would be like to be extraordinary. I decided it would be a lot of work. So, I’ll leave you with this quote. I have no idea who said it. Somebody very extraordinary, I suppose.

“Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.” 

Or, climb the mountain because you’re half-way there, and well, are you going to turn back now?

 

 

I AM NOT HAPPY TO BE HOME

While my Coastie son enjoyed his week at the Hacienda on Jekyll Island with the family and his oldest Miss Priss, he was looking forward to heading home. At home, he would be greeted by Bonus Daughter and SJ. A hard combo to beat.

BD and SJ on their beach (i.e. not Jekyll)

BD and SJ on their beach (i.e. not Jekyll)

The College Son and I were not as happy about the return trip to the mountains. We wanted to stay at the Hacienda. Six and half hours later (including stops that I begrudgingly made–I fall into the don’t-stop-till-you-get-there-group of drivers) and our flip-flopped feet were mucking through the rain puddles instead of sand. Welcome to Brevard. It’s a rain forest.

We do like home. I mean, here’s what we came home too.

 

Summer blooms along picket fence

Summer blooms along picket fence

Yet another killer combo, thanks to moi.

But, we do so love the Hacienda. Take a look.

493

Miss Priss and the College Son in the tidal pool

587

Me, in what is my uncontested favorite spot in the universe

500

Frankie Ann (aka “Mom”, “Grandma”, “Maurme”) in the kitchen at the Hacienda, window looks in from the courtyard

563

College Son peeking out from his bedroom, where he spent an inordinate amount of time…

487

Miss Priss behaving herself so well and posing for the 10billionth picture (Mommy had to stay behind and Miss Priss was extra good even though she missed BD)

462

Frankie Ann and the boys

477

Ah, the family photo op. I love it.

528

Our quiet time place atop the Hacienda (many Bible Studies done in that spot and many a Scrabble war fought)

464

The Uncle and his niece (Miss Priss and College Son). Nothing is as endearing to me as this picture

611

On the pier waiting for the sun to go down

T-shirt says it all.

608

Coastie Son and Miss Priss, oh what a diva!

620

Our little spot of Paradise on earth, the Hacienda

653

Best picture ever in Uncle’s hat

555

Buds… (the College Son and Miss Priss, Uncle and niece)

497

Lots of sea turtle on Jekyll

621

Only took until the last day, but she finally decided she liked the water. 🙂

469

Frankie Ann waiting patiently while the Coastie Son checks out a boat

582

The hot tub, a perfect spot for viewing the island weddings

627

My view from my white swing

548

Stairs to the Lookout Tower, the most desired thing in the world to a three year old, going up and down, up and down them

625

Doing nothing in the tower

535

Marsh where we ride our bikes

647

There’s always one. Look at Miss Priss looking at her daddy. She is already in dire need of counseling.

589

Yes, that is moi in the big hat. The only place I get to live out the dream of the huge hat, at the beach.

552

Frankie Ann holding forth in the modified living room of the Hacienda

506

Headed for a favorite pastime, bike riding (the trails are pretty awesome)

578

Needs no explaining…

Yeah, we’re crabby,