Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


July 1, 2014

Cathie Shaffer: There’s just one teeny problem: 07/01/14

ASHLAND — I am pleased to announce there is a beautiful new fence on my neighbor’s property, enhancing not only my yard but my mood.

You see, I’ve wanted a fairy garden for several years now. I’ve long had a fascination with fairies and have saved several magazine photos for inspiration.

As I’ve mentioned before, my mother had a green thumb. Some people had petunias and marigolds in their beds, but my mother was far more adventurous.

She grew bells of Ireland, straw flowers, something with flat silver discs that we called a money plant, Chinese lanterns, hollyhocks and sunflowers.

Oriental poppies grew in a line near her patch of raspberries — red, black and yellow — and not far from the rhubarb plants.

A row of peony bushes had been planted in a row at the edge of the front lawn before I was born and waved to passersby with their pink and white blooms.

When I think “spring” I remember the scent of lilacs and I always smile when I see a weeping willow tree. We had a big one in the yard that we girls used as a hiding place.

We’d sneak a treat from the kitchen and retreat behind the curtain of hanging boughs to eat, confident no one had any idea where we were.

Now, of course, I realize my parents and grandmoter were well aware. After all, we lived in the country so when food disappared, we were the first suspects. And I’m pretty sure our giggles gave us away as well.

I don’t have two acres surrounding the house as we did on the farm, so my flower gardening efforts are more modest by necessity. That’s another reason a fairy garden in the corner when my picket fence meets the neighbor’s new fence would be perfect.

In my mind’s eye, I envision a little bower where a fairy might find respite from the sun or rain:  White lily of the valley flowers planted in a floor of Irish moss, bachelor’s buttons, and a jack in the pulpit or two. Of course, there will be acorns for the fairies to play around and little rocks for them to perch on.  

Now I do know that fairies are mythical. Despite some attempts to fool the public, no one’s ever caught a fairy, photographed a fairy or held a conversation with one.

But just in case they do exist, I feel the need to make an addition to my fairy garden that probably isn’t found in most. My cats, you see, like to escape the confines of the house to spend time in the great outdoors.

For them, of course, the great outdoors is our own back yard. I would feel terrible if either Batman or Bitsy mistook a fairy for a mouse or blowing leaf and attacked. So I’ll be adding a sign that reads “Caution: Feline Zone.”

So all I need now is to translate my English warning into fairy language. And I have a suspicion that may take more than a quick search on the Internet.

CATHIE SHAFFER can be reached at cathieshaffer@zoominternet.net

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