Swinging Garden Saints

Feel a little oddly uneasy on your garden swing? There’s a saint who may offer comfort.

There are some quirky saints, to be sure, patrons of every imaginable profession or situation, from farming to protecting beekeepers, even keeping ants out of the house. But some are peculiarly suited for gardeners.

One of my favorite garden sculptures is my three-foot concrete statue of a saint – not Francis, the environmental/wildlife guy with the bird on one hand, but St. Fiacre, the most popular and official patron saint of gardeners.

St. Fiacre in Felder's garden
St. Fiacre in Felder’s garden

St. Fiacre is said to have sailed from Ireland to France looking for a quiet place where he could devote himself to God. An obliging bishop offered him as much land as he could turn up in a day,  and clever Fiacre, instead actually plowing the expected small plot, used his wood staff to dig a row all the way around and enclosing a larger area. His garden became a hospice from which he shared his vegetables, herbs, and flowers with travelers, some of whom claimed he performed miracles. He is now recognized as the patron saint of gardeners – and, by the way, of Paris cab drivers, whose taxis are called fiacres – because the earliest commercial rides-for-hire in Paris originated near the hotel Saint-Fiacre. Continue reading “Swinging Garden Saints”

Mississippi Snow Blizzard

Fact: We rarely get snow in Mississippi. Oh, every year or two we get in inch or two. Maybe.

But on December 1, 2017, we got an astonishing six inches, sometime between when I peeked outside at clear 3 a.m. and when I awoke at dawn. It was piled softly atop everything, completely covering decks and glass bottle trees alike, and even utility wires.

Front Garden in Snow
Front Garden in Snow

It was simply beautiful, and its muffling effect made everything so eerily quiet!

Knowing it wouldn’t last long, I quickly made the rounds, taking photos unspoiled by footprints all around my garden, front and back, and including the completely-buried plants in the back of my truck garden.

 

 

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Giant Glass Bottle Tree

The finished bottle tree is over 17 feet tall and is accented by two smaller bottle trees nearby

I think I just created Mississippi’s tallest bottle tree in my front garden.

I know these folksy garden sculptures, based on three thousand-year-old Arabian folk tales (not African “voodoo” as some people say), aren’t every one’s cup of tea. But there are thousands of them scattered across gardens of a surprising assortment of people; I’ve photographed them in poor country gardens and upscale and even antebellum settings, done by “dirt” gardeners and those with the wherewithal to have used classical sculptures instead.

Bottle trees are especially beautiful when backlit by the sun
Bottle trees are especially beautiful when backlit by the sun

Continue reading “Giant Glass Bottle Tree”