Category Archives: Garden

California Dreaming?

by Kimberly A. Cook                    (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

It’s raining. Again. It’s official, this is the wettest February on record in Oregon. Since before the pioneers. This time of year we should be looking forward to Spring break, posies popping out of the ground and humming vintage Beach Boys songs.


This plaque set next to the squad of bunnies in the store. Beach trips! 


Instead I took a couple pictures of the first pink saxafrasia blooms yesterday and they blurred. Not enough light. It was 2 p.m. in the afternoon! But there are some soggy buds on the trees and the brave daffodils are trying to rise into the air once again. I need to get them life vests.

Of course, it’s pouring in California too. Good news for them, their drought is over. Bad news, Mother Nature is still pouring on the water. Just to be sure I guess. Maybe she’s been chatting with Smokey Bear. (I call him Smokey the Bear but it appears he’s changed his name. Hard to keep up.)

Since I prefer to live in denial these days, I am going to assume the sun will come out again and we will have a fabulous Spring. Plans for planting my garden pots, more development in the Fairy Rock Garden and wearing less than four layers of clothes fill my mind. Naked painted toes! Shorts! No parkas! I get excited so easily.

We can do this. We can plan for sun. Warm breezes. Farmer’s markets. It will happen. Raspberries. Visiting alpacas. Fresh pears. Gliding back and forth in the lawn swing on a warm summer’s eve smelling neighbor’s BBQ and hearing the birdies sing.


Farmer’s Market bounty. Everything comes back to food…..


In the meantime I guess we can take a hint from Spec Ops Cat and spend some time like he did yesterday. Find a cushy bed and a fuzzy blanket. Proceed to tunnel, twist and turn into a cat burrito. Cats are so smart.


Yes, Spec Ops Cat is inside that lump. Cats rule! 


Wake me when it’s Spring!


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Big Bark, Fairies And Spring?

by Kimberly A. Cook                         (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Last Saturday at my fiction critique group, my author buddy Cindy Hiday surprised me with a gift. When I unwrapped the item, it was a humongo piece of bark. Score! She felt it might be perfect for the Fairy Rock Garden. It fell off firewood she and her Air Force veteran hubby were unloading.


What a beautiful bark piece. It’s drying out in the front foyer, watched over by garden bunny. This may become a fairy diorama… 


Cindy’s husband joked if she needed any bark. “Yes, for Kim,” she replied. He’s learned just to go with it when these events happen and my name comes up. Very smart man.

Another writer in our group puzzled by the bark present wanted me to explain my Fairy Rock Garden. Most Fairy Gardens are little scenes in the garden with plants and mini-furniture and houses in pots or tucked under trees.

In my case, I decided to make a Fairy Rock Garden so I don’t have to deal with the plants either. I have the start of an entire development; more rocks, less plants to water. My fascination with Fairy Gardens started while attending Camp Fire summer day camp at Camp Nadaka.

We split nut shells to make fairy bowls and put them on top of tiny wood tables we made in the forest. That’s all it took for my imagination to take flight. Also explains why “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is my favorite Shakespeare play; fairies rule.

On the way home from our fiction critique group, I stopped at Joann Fabrics to pick up some bead craft containers. When I walked in the door, this is what I saw to my right.


Flipping Fairy Garden gear everywhere! On sale too!


I almost screamed. Fairy Garden booty as far as the eye could see. I immediately began taking photos. The thirty percent off tags were very tempting, but I only bought two things. Think I was so overwhelmed with joy I couldn’t shop. Hard to believe, but true.


You can get apple houses.



Or stone and moss houses.



Or lawn swings and camp fires and Welcome doors.



Or a chicken coop. They even have rabbit hutches.



I had to buy the Fairies Welcome sign on the left. Then I purchased a little round wood table with cookies on a platter and a pink tea pot. Priceless.


If you want to get some Bloom Room Littles, then Joann Fabrics is the place to go. But not before I get back to clear out some fairy garden stock. I have coupons for Thursday. Good thing I’ve got a Subaru Forester for hauling.

Got Fairy Garden furniture and accessories? Let’s all get ready to play in the dirt!


P.S. Checked online and the Camp Fire Organization sold the former Camp Nadaka in 1995 to the city of Gresham, Oregon. It is now the Nadaka Nature Park, 10-acres of natural area and a 2-acre neighborhood park on the former Nelson property.

Check out these clean-up and construction pictures which just happen to show some big fairy houses. Told ya!


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Rolling Rocks In The Garden?

by Kimberly A. Cook                  (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Back to the rocks! This past weekend I finally got to put rocks in the Fairy Rock Garden. This might seem pretty straightforward, but in the end I needed three different types of rocks. So far.


Bags all lined up like soldiers. That was as far as I was going to haul them. 


First choice was to use white rocks. Researched them at Home Depot and did not like the look. Shopped online and found a landscape company close by with rocks to be used in fish aquariums. Got a five-gallon bucket of those. They are so pretty I want to use them for jewelry.

Decided the aquarium rocks would be used to simulate a pond and then I would go with decorative river pebbles. When I bought the six bags of river pebbles, the pond pebbles looked nice too. Bought two of those bags.

There was not one place on those rock bags that said how much they weighed, but I knew it was more than thirty pounds of kitty litter. Used my Air Force Reserve flight gloves, since the nomex with leather grips really help grab plastic bags. Full of rocks. Wet rocks.

Thursday loaded the rock bags from Home Depot into Subie. Friday unloaded the rocks from Subie to the garden. Saturday I decided it was not rock moving day.

Sunday it was time. The rocks spread pretty well but I almost forgot about the aquarium rocks, but I remembered in time to make the rock pond.


Get your freshly washed rocks! See the agate aquarium rocks for the rock pond?


They were drying out and looking dirty, so then I had to wash my rocks. About this time I figured I was doing play therapy and I could not have been happier. Whatever floats our boats!

Even found the piece of black obsidian Mom brought over from her yard and gave it a good scrubbing and added it to the landscape. Then I started moving things around. HGTV in the rock garden!


Pretty rocks in my own rock garden. Fabulous.


Then I began finding fun rocks in the Fairy Rock Garden. Started pilfering my own pebbles. Once a rock hound, always a rock hound. Still have a bucket of aquarium rocks left too. Priceless!

Then my new Fairy Houses 2017 Calendar by Sally J. Smith arrived. The pictures are what dreams are made of and where fairies truly live. There is a Fairy Garden industry!

But now I have to order the doors for the Fairy Houses, get ready to put a roof on the stump with pine cone pieces and unleash the hot glue gun. Plus move the elves in to guard the perimeter.

It’s not easy being a Fairy Rock Garden developer, but I’m having a blast.

Whatever play therapy works for you, have fun!





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Are You A Lawn Swinger?

by Kimberly A. Cook                      (Twitter  @ WarriorTales)

Saturday was a big day in my backyard. Finally the official set up and use of the lawn swing happened. Friends used their mechanical skills to fix part of the seat the Sunday before, so all systems were go for launch.


One of my happiest places on this planet. Got a lawn swing?


This was a big deal for several reasons, first being the weather was so stupid hot and wet last summer the lawn swing never made it out of the garage. The tragedy of it all. Second, this vintage lawn swing is a family heirloom and brings back so many memories. It’s built like a tank and keeps on swinging.

Third, there is nothing like taking a summer afternoon swing snooze or a morning reading nap while moving back and forth and hearing the clink of the metal bounce against the frame. A calming, quiet, soothing ritual of time passing in slow waves instead of maniac moments.


Juliet is back in town! That girl has got to keep herself together. 


Other reasons to celebrate included Juliet getting herself glued together for the second time after falling apart again. Gave her a black duct tape belt this time too. Gnomeo was quite happy to see her back in the neighborhood.

Then The Fairy rose showed off some late blooms in the early morning light in the garden. Pink, roses and clusters all in one rose bush, be still my heart. Aptly named since the Fairy Rock Garden is still under construction in the vicinity.

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This is the only rose in my yard with the guts and grit to grow in the clay soil instead of in a big pot. This Fairy Rose is hard core. Plus pretty in pink.   


August is a time to enjoy the lazy days of summer, take a snooze on a lawn swing and slow down and sip the lemonade.

Enjoy August!



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Who Is Building A Fairy Rock Garden?

by Kimberly A. Cook                               (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

I am! It decided last Fall while looking at the tired corner of my backyard that’s overgrown with raspberries who refuse to grow in pots. Plus other cast off pots with blackberries. And the dumping area I use for my old potting soil; aka my backyard fence corner.


The before mess in the corner.


I’m getting lazy and want more time to enjoy the patio and potted flowers instead of weeding all the time. On our trip to the Richardson Rock Ranch last Fall I even brought back a good selection of Rose Quartz for the Fairy Rock Garden. But it appears you actually have to take action to make this kind of thing happen.

So on Saturday of the long weekend it was time to charge the backyard mess and go for it. The ugly before picture a case in point above. I moved aside all the pots which will be downsized and then replanted The Fairy rose from a small pot to a bigger pot then moved/dragged it to a better position. The rose had a dirt and root clump the size of Nebraska. That was an interesting exercise in gymnastics, let me tell you.

Next up was weeding and considering the lay of the land. My hairdresser and I discussed using a raised bed on Friday for the garden. Figured I would need to level out the ground, which sounded like work. Went online for some ideas Friday night and got distracted on Pinterest. Found out there is quite the Fairy Garden underground, which was good for ideas.

While putting down the landscape fabric on Saturday afternoon, it dawned on me I could use some of the ideas from Pinterest and keep the lump of potting soil. Yeah! It would be the hill of my Fair Rock Garden with a Fairy home on it plus no digging dirt. Brilliant.

My goal is to use stuff/things I have and repurpose them. The stump in the middle of the Fairy Rock Garden will get a roof from my former cedar fence boards. I might even put roof shakes on from the pine comes left from the holiday wreaths.

Then I remembered my neighbor had given me a bunch of clay pots and those would make perfect Fairy Houses. (See Pinterest for rock, glue and Fairy house door construction on clay pots) Another old garden pot is the perfect shape of a large bee hive and I can spray paint it yellow. It appears I’ve become a Fairy Rock Garden real estate developer. Perhaps I do need another vacation, but I’m having fun!


The Fairy Rock Garden development construction site in progress. Now to get white rock, 


I’ve made good progress but ran into trouble since I decided to go with white rock instead of river rock. Doing the rock math I need about a half yard. It comes in 50 pound bags at Home Depot. Good gravy, I have enough trouble hefting the 30 pound kitty litter bags. I need about thirteen bags! Nobody’s gym workout is that good. Must see about delivery……

Stay tuned for updates. Guaranteed this project will take years. Have you built a Fairy Garden?


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To Nap, Perchance To Plant?

by Kimberly A. Cook                     (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Last weekend we had fabulous sunny weather and I knew the petunias, impatiens and basil had to be planted before they crawled into the house and mugged me. In high hopes once again, I’d bought more plants than I planned. They sat for three weeks due to nutty weather.


Spec Ops Cat resting after a hard day of supervising  my yard work. He had to sit on the carpet in a sun spot and look out the patio door. Tough job. 


It’s always fun to dig in the dirt, whether hunting for rocks or planting posies. Normally all the plants are in by mid-May, but obviously I’m disorganized this year. The tomatos got planted on time, but they don’t look too happy about it. Hot temperatures, cold weathers, rain and hail make for unhappy plants.

The roses just about put up the white flag too but they keep blooming, hardy little souls. Once again I am attempting to make fuchsia starts grow from the plant at my Mom’s house. Transplanted from the huge natural fuchsia at our former beach cabin on the coast, one of these years I am going to make them grow.


Ready for surgery on the potting table. These glasses are for liquor, but the fuchsias seemed to like them very much.


Mom put the starts in water and brought them to me. I carefully transplanted them into the tall shot glasses which look like test tubes and left them in the Southern window for a couple weeks, adding water. Bought special potting soil for them and Saturday was their big day to be transplanted.


Starts sitting on the back porch waiting for their water shower. Amazing what I find in my garage when I need to. Perfect pink pots. Priceless.


Found matching pink plastic starter pots in the garage, because I am sure that helps them take root. Rocks, potting soil, starts planted, then water and back in the house. Stuck them in used cat food cans for coasters to hold the water. Keep your fingers crossed. Maybe this year the magic works.

I love the smell of potting soil in the morning! Got plant starts?



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Back To The Garden?

by Kimberly A. Cook                (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Last Saturday I ended up in a speed tomato planting race against the incoming rain and thunderstorms. Weather hit a sunny 90 degrees on Friday and then dropped like a rock to 66 degrees with incoming rain the next morning.

Taking my time Saturday I checked the  Doppler radar at 9:38 a.m. and saw a blob of green, yellow and red moving my way. Tossed on my garden clothes and proceeded to weed, remove old potting soil, put in new potting soil, plant three tomato plants, add their cages, plus change the burned out garage light bulbs all before the storm hit. A quick fifty-five minutes flat. I did get misted on and a cool draft down my back.


First tomato in, a favorite yellow pear. Planted two each. I use plastic painter buckets with three holes drilled in the bottom sides. They were pink, but they’ve faded in the sun. Yes, that is a purple tomato cage.   



Normally I use Sweet Cherry 100s, but am trying this yellow cherry tomato hybrid since the Sweet 100s were not in sight in the store. Notice the yellow blooms in back? Yellow tomato cage to coordinate! 


The mint is growing by leaps and bounds since I planted it. Love the aroma.


Farmer Bun is already surrounded by blooms from the Fairy rose and blooms from a plant where I saw a hummingbird drink ing. You can rock it with a container garden.


Of course Spec Ops Cat wanted to come outside and help me, but since he doesn’t do rain or mist he stayed inside and supervised. Smart cat!

Got a garden? Let’s grow!



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