October 11th, 2008
My Folly

Folly by Ivan Spaller

folly |ˈfälē|
noun ( pl. -lies)
1 lack of good sense; foolishness : an act of sheer folly.
2 a costly ornamental building with no practical purpose, esp. a tower or mock-Gothic ruin built in a large garden or park.

A new visitor to Zanthan Gardens last week openly admired my failed garden house project. Seeing it through someone else’s eyes, someone who did not know the history of the project and thus did not have any of the negative associations was refreshing. Yes, it was time I got over it and got on with it, I who do not get over things easily, if at all.

I spent the day moving the potted plants out from under the protection of the back porch (where they can’t be seared by summer’s pitiless sun) to the deck. I took down the raccoon barrier. I suspect that I will have a lot of broken pots and shredded plants in the pond tomorrow. But I’m working on developing a devil-may-care attitude.

On seeing the gray wall, many people have suggested that I paint it pink or purple in keeping with a Mexican-inspired folk theme that is common in my South Austin neighborhood. I often wonder if I give off the aura of an old South Austin hippie. Although I have lived here since the mid-1970s, I never was a hippie…not even in the day. (Not that I have anything against hippies; it’s just that I’ve never been in with the cool crowd, not even then.)

You see, I like the gray wall. We planned it that way. And it was the only part of the project that turned out even vaguely like we wanted. I like the way the bright green of the leaves and the yellow of the chairs (and the cannas when they’re in bloom) are intensified by the contrast against the gray.


And if the wall were pink, it would really clash with the reds of the oxblood lilies nearby. And the orange dragonfly.


by M Sinclair Stevens

18 Responses to post “My Folly”

  1. From Jenny Austin:

    Your pots will be so happy to be out in the open now that the temperatures have moderated. I hope for your sake that the raccoons leave them be tonight. I have the same problem with them knocking pots over and rooting around in my beds. Your wall is a great focal point in the garden especially with the pond in the front. I think you are over it! Go sit on one of those chairs with a glass of wine.

  2. From Diana - Austin:

    Yes, you’re right about the wall – it has a Zen feel to it, especially at the angle from which you photographed it. And the pond was delightful to sit at and gaze at the goldfish, flitting about, waiting for food. I think you have the right attitude — just make lemonade!

  3. From Carol, May Dreams Gardens:

    Your link from Twitter took me first to your post last Nov. 2007 about how destructive the raccoons were/are in your garden. I re-read that and felt my own blood pressure go up, remembering what they did to my corn this summer.

    I hope they leave your containers and pond alone, at least for a few days. I like the wall ‘as is’, it is a nice backdrop for your potted plants and the yellow chairs.

  4. From Northern Shade:

    The fiery dragonfly is really popping against the green backdrop. It makes a lovely shot. I also like the view through the green stems, with glimpses of red flowers beyond.
    Good luck outwitting the bandits.

  5. From Annie in Austin:

    The sun-splashed leaves through the window and the yellow chairs with the Umbrella plant in the water all look good together with that gray wall, MSS. I also love the red dragonfly – hoped the fountain would attract them as ponds do, but so far no luck!

    The raccoons sound like such a pain. Last year when our pecans actually bore a crop we had raccoons screaming and fighting over the nuts just a few feet from our bedroom window and it freaked me out. You’ve probably already seen Raccoon and ponds thread – a couple of the posts mention raccoons being attracted to the grubs living under thick layers of woodchips. I guess we’ll keep expanding our decomposed granite paths!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  6. From katherine:

    i love the gray wall!

  7. From Bonnie:

    I like that gray wall, MSS. Although I’m not sure I could resist having some vines climbing on it.

  8. From Bob Pool:

    I was going to say what Bonnie said. A flowering vine with big purple flowers would look good on it. Like a clematis.

    I’m with you on getting over things. I don’t do it well, or quickly. I have a terrible memory but I remember everthing about every one that ever screwed me around. Pardon the language.

  9. From Nancy Bond:

    I love the gray wall…and that dragonfly for nice contrast. 🙂

  10. From Dee/reddirtramblings:

    Your wall looks great. I admired it when I visited your garden in the spring. Paint it or not. Do what you feel is writing. As to the hippie thing, perhaps it’s your beautiful hair (which you had braided when I visited.) I can see you doing yoga in front of that wall.~~Dee

  11. From KAT:

    Not a hippie? Don’t you remember when we were flower girls?

    Not that I really want to drag you back to thoughts of Killeen.

    That was a play…and it was a different kind of flower girl. Nope. I missed out on the whole sex, drugs and rock-n-roll thing because I was busy living in the previous century. I was more goth or cos-play than hippie. Remember when I sang Alice Cooper’s “Sick Things” in government class for extra credit? (I don’t either but I came across it in a letter.) — mss

  12. From Pam/Digging:

    The yellow chairs look smashing in front of that wall.

  13. From KAT:

    I don’t remember the Sick Things event, but I don’t think we were in the same government class. Mark was the big Alice Cooper fan, is that right?

    Yes! Mark was. What a memory you have. No. You weren’t there. Albert was in my government class, though and he was the only one who got the joke. The rest of the yokels just sat there with their eyes glazed over. And poor JQS got dressed up as a billion dollar baby when Tim Curry came to Austin to celebrate the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Paramount. I think you were in Iran, no it must have been LA, by then. — mss

  14. From kate:

    I like the wall the way it is … it has cool shades to it and makes the pond stand out (along with those beautiful yellow chairs). Sigh … my pond is frozen over.

  15. From Cindy, Katy:

    I like the drama of those hot colors against the gray wall. A more vibrant color on the wall would be too lively, I think. You’d feel compelled to calm it down with more plants against it. If I were to put any plants against that gray wall at all, I think it would be a single specimen plant, very simple and striking in form.

  16. From Pam:

    I like the grey wall too.

  17. From Tamara, Plano, TX:

    What a gorgeous dragonfly photo!

  18. From Layanee:

    Oh, if only all failed projects could turn out as beautiful as this one. Roll with the punches, go with the flow, you have done so admirably with great effect.