Monday, March 17, 2008

Bowling Ball Garden

I originally posted this on September 24th, 2007. It was a very early post and since there are more readers now, along with the fact I have an early morning this morning, I thought I would revisit this garden, especially for Lola and those other readers who have not seen the bowling balls in the garden....

One thing I must cop to, this garden has been reworked since this picture was taken. I am trying to prepare it for the Master Gardener Tour in June. Lots of work to do. Some bowling balls were repositioned though still in the same linear manner, and an arbor was added. Another identical arbor is also scheduled for this garden. Will post on it soon.

I promised in my introduction I would talk about a bowling ball garden. This is mine! I had been collecting bowling balls for many years with little or no luck accumulating a lot at one time. I have finally found a source (albeit broken or cracked) for a great deal of bowling balls as you can see! Bowling balls work well as garden edgers because they are heavy, stay in place, do not rot and define a border in a big way. These bowling balls serve a functional purpose in that they help slow down run off from my driveway. Behind the picket fence backing the bowling balls are: Clematis on the picket fence, Rose of Sharon shrubs, and a few crepe myrtles; these are all backed by Thuja occidentalis 'Pyramidalis' with a few 'Emerald Green' mixed in (also known as Arborvitae). Behind the arborvitae are four red barberrys, a few privet and an Easter Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana). During a good year (when we do not have a drought) this garden is filled with Impatiens balsamia, also known as jewelweed or touch me nots. Jewelweed is a native wildflower that helps to filter water and likes a moist habitat.

I have been told the sap in the joints or nodes of the jewelweed stems helps to alleviate poison ivy rash. This is very good to know if you are out in the woods and especially handy since jewelweed and poison ivy grow in the same habitat. Jewelweed normally forms a microclimate. No weeds will grow beneath it, and it rewards me with millions of orange flowers which the hummingbirds love. I truly hope it comes back wonderfully next year. Jewelweed sets seeds just like the shorter garden variety impatiens in that it forms a pod full of seeds. When the pod is ripe and is touched it explodes and often gives the un-initiated quite a start; as one of my gardening friends found out last year (Judie).

The blue looking evergreen tree next to my husband's garage is a Cupressus arizonica 'Carolina Sapphire'. I love this tree as it requires very little care and grows fast and is fragrant. Oftentimes these cypresses are sold in pots around Christmastime as a Christmas tree. They are very drought tolerant and I can honestly say I DID NOT water this tree at all this year.

I cannot let you go without telling you about my arborvitae. I did water these arborvitae about four times this summer. These evergreens started life in my garden in 2003 at about 3 feet tall and are now 8-10 feet tall. They have been in my garden four years. Sometimes arborvitae have problems with bagworms (never had them in this particular garden) and sometimes people don't like that the stems can come apart later later in life but they are wonderful screens, grow fast and are worth their weight in gold as a wildlife habitat. I have found when it is dark and very cold that these arborvitae will be filled with birds. It is amazing to walk by them at night and feel the flutter of small birds flying around because they were disturbed from their warm roosting position (the disturbance part was not intentional I can assure you). These trees like sun to part shade, and normal moisture. I am challenged in the sun part but have found part sun works just fine for these arborvitae.

Anyhow, one last note about my bowling ball garden. I have two hopes when people visit my garden and they are that people feel comfortable and that they smile. Bowling balls in the garden are whimsical and not typical but I can assure you, most people smile when they see them.

Let me know what you have in your garden that makes people smile. There is always something, even if it is a funny plant or view.

Have a good St. Patrick's Day-Make sure to wear GREEN!

This post has published with the comments. Sorry Skeeter! It may shock you to see it at first-but I think it is fine they are there. I hope you don't mind.

Skeeter was one of my very first commenters, and quite faithful. She kept me going happily for a long time and gave me lots of great advice. THANKS AGAIN!

in the garden....


  1. Now I know that is one heck of a conversation piece!

  2. Yup. But I just don't know if I would like all of the talk.:0 Doesn't matter because I LIKE it and gardens are all individual just like the gardeners. Right?!

  3. That is totally right! You need to tell the Saint that! He fusses at me all the time about how the yard is starting to look like a redneck yard with all my trinkets. I don’t have that many trinkets as I go for a tasteful look but anything with paint on it is a no no redneck thing with his idea of decor... I tell him to leave the gardening and house decorating to me!

  4. Your spouse understands-just has to get your goat every now and then as all spouses like to do. Keeps life spicy.

  5. dawn with peachesMarch 17, 2008 at 6:54 AM

    I guess I didn't realize you had them lined up, I thought they were spaced like gazing balls, what made you think of this?

  6. Everyone can say that when you garden you are "having a ball!" It's a very unique idea to add that sense of whimsy in your garden! I don't have much for that whimsical interest other than a statue of a cat someone gave my wife. We should probably add something else unique at some point.

  7. People use all sorts of things to border a garden and I like the bowling balls and all that is behind them. Like you say, Tina, they are heavy and will not rot. If you can get them free from a bowling alley you saved some money. You saved the bowling alley from having to take them to a landfill where they will probably never degrade in a million years. They add color and what is a garden all about but color? Esp in the winter when there is not a lotta color. If I was a person that bends my elbow to partake in the spirits I would raise my glass to the bowling balls as well as to all my great new friends on this great blog on this green day!!

    Top of the day to all.

  8. Tina, I think it's great to express yourself in the garden. It is a very cool idea --although those bowling balls look mighty heavy. I think the colors are great --when it is cold and dreary you still have bright colors to look out at. Happy St. Patrick's Day y'all!!!

  9. Too funny Tina with our old comments!

    I like whimsy in a garden. Shows you have a fun loving side and not all serious...

    I dont have a lot of whimsy in the yard due to the Saint, but I do have a little statue here and there. I call these my spots of interest!

    Cheers to one and all on this day of Green eggs, Ham and ale. None for me as I dont drink the Ale but I raise my imaginary mug to one and all... Happy Saint Paddys Day! I'm not going to wear green, I want to see who will pinch me! LOL...

  10. Tina,

    In your spare time you can mosaic the balls with mirror and make them gazing balls!

    Thanks for the info about the cypress is lovely and I just notice that Whole Foods is selling them!


  11. dawn with peaches, i saw a magazine article once with them all lined edging a bed. i liked the look. they really look good, stay in place, never rot and are colorful. it would probably be too much for even me if i spaced them out like gazing balls. i kind of like them here. i will post some pictures soon of the updated garden and arbors.

    dave, should've ended my post with "in the garden....having a ball!" just like you said. that is very witty. wish i had thought of it.

    mom, you are in a very good mood today! and happy st. pats to you too. i wore a green jacket to jury duty. of the about 300 folks who showed up, probably close to 75 were excused (only to serve later). the rest of us are on call for the next two weeks. we have to call in each night. i did get out at 10 though so that was not too bad.

    anonymous, this is something your kids would like and maybe even you, but not your hubby i am sure. he is probably like skeeter's saint-no bowling balls in my yard as long as i pay the mortgage!

    skeeter, i know you don't mind the comments sharing. one day maybe when the leaf changes platforms people will be able to pull up the old posts, but for now reposting obviously brings up the comments too. remember when it was just you and talking? now we have a pretty great community and lots of folks to chat with.

    gail, gerianne just mosaic'd hers. she and her daughter did two a piece and they are gorgeous. they used glass gems and jewels. i have a picture and the instructions so i will at some point prepare the post and also do some of my own. hers are a work of art more so than these plain ol' balls.

  12. Just a quick hello to y'all --I know I would like the bowling balls but you hit the nail on the head --hubby wouldn't let them roll in our yard, hahaha. He won't budge on the fence either --I want one he still doesn't. I might get my way one of these days. I have to spend quality time with the girl model --she is in the school spelling bee tomorrow and I want her to be calm and sleep good. I have to read her a good book and get her washed and into bed. I might try to peek in later to see what you all have been up to. I planted my strawberry plants today and my one lone blueberry bush. I hope they do well --yum-yum on the thoughts of blueberries. Hubby likes strawberries --they are okay to me _I prefer blueberries and eldeberries. Oh, Tina I think the tree we used to chew on the branches as kids was birch --just kind of pull the bark back while we were out in the woods and suck on the flavor. My hubby did the same thing -we spent hours in the woods and outside as kids. Not many video games --we had them but preferred the outdoors --and still do today:)

  13. hi anonymous, i knew hubby wouldn't like them. it might be a guy thing.

    you need at least two blueberry bushes for good pollination. did you get two? if not, it is not too late. i would get two more. one of the same variety you planted, and another cultivar to ensure good cross pollination.

    no jury duty tomorrow as there are none on the docket. i will be out working on a story instead.

  14. dawn with peachesMarch 17, 2008 at 9:06 PM

    Hi Guys,
    Jack of all trades tells company that my gnomes are "junk" but I fire back by telling him---"Don't make fun of the little people". He really secretly likes them though. I say anyone wanting something far-out, go for it! It will wear the hubbies down.
    Anonymous, did you know the primary ingredient of asprin is birch? You guys must not of had any growing pains while young. lol. Indians discovered it, best thing since sliced bread.

  15. oh Dawn you are so funny. I just have to marvel at the humor of my
    "quiet" daughter!!

  16. I ran to town today to pick up some small flower pots and you will never guess what I found...?
    An adorable gnome for only $8.00!!!
    He was calling my name so I just had to get him! I have not put him into the yard yet and when I do I will not dare point him out to the Saint. I will let him find my new friend! Wonder how long that will take? Tee Hee...

  17. dawn witrh peachesMarch 17, 2008 at 9:52 PM

    You go for it Skeeter! The saint is the saint but he may not know what might be good for him! Experience the freedom of Gnomedom.

  18. Thanks for the blog Tina. I really enjoyed it. Gave me some ideas. Like how to keep kitties from going under my shed to have little ones. Not mine to start with.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Jean. Besides it's your garden. I like the idea. Think I'll check & see if I can get some. Great that they don't rot.
    The only one here that I have to buck is Young'un. Like fussing about where I put the roses, said, "Something else to have to mow around". He seems to forget he never mowed the yard till I broke my leg. I told him to get it started & let me try. I just can't pull on the cord. He won't do that. He is NOT a yard person. But, hey, it's mine.

    I saw the cutest thing at Wally world. It's a bird but for the yard. He has the cutest face & is so plump. Think I'll get one for the garden. Skeeter, I like it when something calls my name, don't you? It just means you were meant to have it.

    Dawn with Peaches tell him that those "little people" do a lot of work when he's not looking. Didn't know that birch was in aspirin. Knew about chewing on it to clean teeth. Maybe that's why most older people had good teeth way up in yrs.

    Any way "Happy Blearny day" ALL.

  19. I forgot to mention that it was in Sun. G'ville Sun about the "Snow Lady" in Maine. How cool is that. Here we have talked about her on the blog & finally someone got smart. They put something of interest in the paper. Cool, Cool, Cool.

  20. dawn with peaches, i did not know that about birch. i do bet anonymous and siblings were never feeling any pain as kids. wonder if it will work with a river birch for me when i am in the garden?

    mom, she is definitely something else on the web! cracks me up! i bet the other two sisters would never believe this of dawn with peaches.

    cute gnome skeeter. i never would have guessed it was plastic. even so, plastic wears really well in the garden. i added him to today's post.

    lola, not sure why the guys don't like the whimsical as much as we women. mr. fix it is cool with anything i do in the garden because he likes the whole effect. he says our house has "character". yup, that is us. you can win the young un over. it is your home. as far as mowing around roses and stuff, i say take out all the grass-then no mowing. it can be a pain in the a@@ to mow around little gardens so i do sympathize. don't let him know though as you may never hear the end of it. he'll be ok.

    too cool about the newspaper carrying the snow lady. we are a bit ahead of the trend-though it helps having family in the great state of maine.

  21. Ya that it very cool Lola. Thanks for sharing that with us.

  22. dawn with peachesMarch 18, 2008 at 5:11 PM

    That is way cool Lola, nice to know you guys get alittle taste of snow. Seems she's pretty famous.