Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop – Garden Whimsy

– Posted in: Garden Design

Gardening Forever! Housework Whenever

What’s your most valuable gardening tool? A favorite hoe? A treasured soil knife? A high-quality pair of pruning shears? All of these are handy, but really, one of the most important tools that any gardener can have is a good sense of humor. Start taking yourself or your garden too seriously, and it’s almost guaranteed that something humbling will happen to take your self-esteem down a notch or two. But hey, who said gardening was supposed to be serious, anyway? It’s not all fun and games, of course; lots of it is hard work. But if you can laugh off some of the inevitable mistakes and small disasters, it’s a whole lot easier to get back out there and keep trying to get it right.

So this month, let’s share some of the ways we try to keep things light-hearted in our gardens. Ornaments, for instance, provide endless possibilities for chuckles (and possibly even snickers, if they’re really tacky). You don’t have to admit to having them in your own garden; pretend you saw them somewhere else, and we’ll pretend to believe you. Silly signs are another fun way to express your personality and add a touch of whimsy. Or maybe you’re a fan of those giant gladiolus, double coneflowers, candy-striped zinnias, polka-dotted variegates, and other gaudy plants that send more serious gardeners into fits. Don’t be shy – you’re not alone!

If you’re new to the Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop, here’s how it works: Write a post on anything related to garden whimsy on your own blog and leave a link here (already-archived posts count too), or jot down your thoughts in a comment below. At the end of the month, I’ll gather all of the links into one summary post for easy reference. If you’re interested in checking out previous GBD Workshops, you can find them here:

Paths and Walkways
Fences and Walls
Arbors and Pergolas
Color in the Garden
Container Plantings
Front-Yard Gardens
Stone in the Garden
Decks, Porches, and Patios

And for those of you who like to know what’s ahead, here’s the list of proposed topics for the next few months of Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshops:

* Trellises and Screens (and vines, too)

* Water Gardens (ponds, waterfalls, bog gardens, and container water gardens)

* Coping with Slopes (groundcovers, terraces, steps, etc.)

Path of Least Resistance sign

Nancy J. Ondra
Nan gardens on 4 acres in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the firm belief that every garden ought to have a pretentious-sounding (or at least pretentious-looking) name, she refers to her home grounds as "Hayefield." There, she experiments with a wide variety of plants and planting styles, from cottage gardens and color-based borders to managed meadows, naturalistic plantings, and veggies--all under the watchful eyes of her two pet alpacas, Daniel and Duncan.
Nancy J. Ondra

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29 comments… add one

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Frances July 1, 2008, 7:18 pm

This one should be fun, Nan. I’ll put my thinking cap on and see what comes to the top.

Oh, Frances, you shouldn’t have to think too hard. I know you already have plenty of posts that would fit perfectly with this topic. I thinking of the Faire Garden faeries’ gazebo, for one….

VP July 1, 2008, 7:22 pm

Hi – I have a couple of examples you might like in a post I did in early June. Will also see what else I can come up with this month.

Oh my goodness, VP – yes, that’s definitely a great start. Thanks for sharing!

our friend Ben July 2, 2008, 8:23 am

Heh, heh, heh… Can’t wait to see what people come up with for this one! (“In someone else’s garden,” yeah, right…) My post “The gazing ball thief” would probably fit the theme here–such a bizarre story!–but I’ll try to come up with a new one as well. There are, after all, a few ornaments around here…

Ah, yes, a *few* ornaments. In the meantime, here’s a direct link to The gazing ball thief.

Lisa at Greenbow July 2, 2008, 2:03 pm

I can’t wait to see this one. I can sure participate in this category. My DB says I have too many “focal points” in the garden. Ha… that should tell you something.

Too many focal points? Is it even possible? I look forward to seeing what you choose to share with us, Lisa!

Kris at Blithewold July 3, 2008, 3:54 pm

Nan, count me in! I’ve ventured beyond Blithewold for this one – Bristol is full of whimsy this week especially! And I freely admit to having a pink flamingo, a gnome, and a concrete toadstool in my own garden.

Hey, great to have you with us this month, Kris! I encourage everyone to visit Pieces of Flair, and to click on each picture in your post to get the full effect of each image.

Heather's Garden July 3, 2008, 9:09 pm

I’m not much of one for whimsy and my husband’s definitely a minimalist, but here’s a post from last year about the frogs in my garden:

Sure, that counts, Heather. I hope you really do like frogs, because you know how it goes: Once friends and family see that you have a few related items, you start getting gifts along the same theme, and a collection can multiply alarmingly quickly.

Tina Ramsey July 3, 2008, 11:24 pm

This will be an easy one for me, whimsy is my middle name, though some might call it rednecky I like it!

Tina Whimsy Ramsey, hmmm? I like it! I look forward to seeing you live up to your name.

Michelle Derviss July 6, 2008, 7:08 pm

A sense of colorful humor in the garden ?
Just a little bit.
here’s a link.
( there is even a photo taken by Saxon Holt in the slide show )

Excellent, Michelle – thanks for playing!

Christopher C NC July 6, 2008, 9:29 pm

I wasn’t sure I could do a post on this, but I was struck by whimsy today. The Scarecrow

Whimsy does have a way of sneaking up on one. Thanks for the link, Christopher!

our friend Ben July 8, 2008, 2:25 pm

Okay, Nan, check out today’s post, “The lawn police,” on Poor Richard’s Almanac. Somebody has to keep us all in line!

Oh, super: your classic concept has been expanded and updated! Here’s a direct link to The lawn police.

Lois J. de Vries July 11, 2008, 12:54 pm

My papyrus plant is my weakness. Here’s my post:

Great to have you with us this month, Lois! The papyrus is a perfect example for this month’s topic.

ESP July 13, 2008, 12:33 am

Here is another Papyrus!

I love this plant – very animated with the slightest breeze.

Wow, that is one gigantic papyrus. I guess it’s true about everything being bigger in Texas! Thanks for sharing the link to your post – you sure know how to have fun in your garden.

ESP July 13, 2008, 12:41 am

Also here is another piece of whimsy, a bagpiper with a “stinky” set of brooch pins:

check out:
Everything is Falling Apart
on my blog

Thanks for this one, too. Honestly, you don’t just *do* garden whimsy – you *are* garden whimsy. I’m so glad you joined us this month!

Frances July 17, 2008, 5:47 am

Hi Nan, Whimsy is ready for the public!

I’m mortified at how long it’s taken me to visit you, Frances, but I see that many, many others have already gotten there and loved your post as much as I do. Anyone who hasn’t already checked this out *must* go read the story of the Bongo Congos immediately!

Ellis Hollow July 20, 2008, 10:47 am

Hi Nan: My whimsy post is up:

Looks like your bottle tree has produced quite a few seedlings there, Craig. Thanks so much for the tour of several gardens’ worth of whimsy!

Phillip July 21, 2008, 10:29 pm

My post is up at

Hey, thanks for contributing this month, Phillip! Here’s a direct link to your post.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens July 23, 2008, 10:17 pm

Nan, I’ve missed a few months, but I couldn’t resist posting on “whimsy” in the garden. Here’s my contribution, with a little help from the garden fairies:

Thank you for hosting this!

And many thanks to you and the May Dreams Gardens fairies for a delightful post this month, Carol!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter July 24, 2008, 10:56 am

I love this topic. Here’s my entry:

I can’t wait to check out all of the posts.

Oh, yeah, you’ve got whimsy there in spades, MMD. Thanks for sharing it with us!

Lisa at Greenbow July 25, 2008, 10:38 am

Well Nan, I have it narrowed down and my post about whimsy in our garden is up at

Great, Lisa! Learning the stories behind the whimsy is as fun as the pieces themselves – thanks for sharing them.

Shady Gardener July 25, 2008, 2:00 pm

Hi Nan, This was fun! Thanks for the opportunity to share. 😉

Hey, thank *you* (and Gladys) for your terrific post, Shady – what a treat!

VP July 25, 2008, 2:36 pm

Hi – here’s my entry for this month from my garden:

Will also try and do a general piece on garden gnomes if I find the time, but another blogging project is eating into my ‘normal’ blog time! All will be revealed in the next few weeks…

Thanks for sharing your take on whimsy, VP. It’s a good thing you’re on another continent, or I’d find a way to lure Pig Pig Pig into my own garden.

Looking forward to seeing what your mysterious new blogging project is all about!

Eve July 27, 2008, 9:59 pm

Here is one of the very first post I did this this year.


I was new to blogging and didn’t exactly know how my blog would go. Does this qualify?

You bet it qualifies, Eve. Thanks for joining us this month!

Heirloom Gardener July 27, 2008, 10:12 pm


Here’s a post about Guard Frogs and Garden Names.

-Heirloom Gardener

Good to have you with us this month, HG. I enjoyed your take on the topic!

Layanee July 28, 2008, 10:30 pm

I actually had time to join in on the fun! Here is my link:

Thanks for hosting this one!

I’m so glad you could join in this time, Layanee. The lilies alone make your post a must-see!

Annie in Austin July 29, 2008, 5:53 pm

It’s still July! Will you believe it’s me if my post is on time, Nan?

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Good for you, Annie! You’re more on time with your post than I am with keeping up with reading and commenting this month. Thanks so much for a great post!

Gail July 30, 2008, 7:22 am

Here’s my post, thanks Nan!

clay and Limestone

Gotcha, Gail – thanks for another great post this month. What fun!

VP July 30, 2008, 4:34 pm

Hi again Nan – thanks for the comments so far 🙂

Here’s that gnome article I spoke about earlier:

This was worth waiting for, VP. Who knew that gnomes were so newsworthy? Many thanks!

VP July 30, 2008, 4:44 pm

Glad you enjoyed the post Nan and commented over at my place 🙂 Perhaps everyone else thought that gnomes were too obvious OR we’re much more tasteful than that of course!

Well, now, we just need a post on the virtues of pink flamingos to have complete coverage of whimsical garden art. But I’m guessing they’re not particularly common in the U.K.

Kathy July 30, 2008, 10:14 pm

It’s still July! Quite a while ago I wrote two posts dealing with the whole idea of whimsy: Garden Whimsy and I can’t believe I did this

Thanks for the links, Kathy. I thought I’d scheduled the post to be up on the 31st, but I must have goofed, so yes, it did get on earlier than it should have. I promise I will add you to the main list so people can enjoy your contributions too.

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