where am I, and why am I in this hand basket?

I’m sorry to say it, but my garden has gone to hell in a hand basket this year.

handbasket title 2

I usually get tired of gardening around mid-August.  I figure a frost is coming soon (that is a ridiculous exaggeration, FYI) so why bother to continue weeding, etc.  But this year I have been motivated to give up weeding much earlier than usual because I have an unwelcome visitor!  A snake!

He appeared in my neighbor Arlene’s yard first, but he moved over to mine just hours later.  I think it’s a bull snake.  I’m no snake expert, but I did a little google research and that looks like the likeliest culprit.  When I saw him he was sunning himself under my clothes line.  I came around the corner and he freaked and ran (well, slithered) under the photo cottage!

garden photo cottage

Good gracious!  Why did he have to pick there?  He’s probably under that hosta right now!

He looked to be at least 4′ long.  OK, that’s another exaggeration, but he was pretty big.  Even nnK didn’t want to get near him, and she doesn’t mind snakes.

So the garden is getting a little scruffy.  It still has some bright spots though.  The hydrangeas are going gang busters this year.


garden 2

And the lemon slice million bells are taking over the boiler pot window boxes.

window box

The fairy garden is looking lush, but then again, I don’t really have to worry about finding a snake in there so it gets more attention!

fairy garden

Cossetta is looking a little worse for the wear with a spider webbed face and her wonky crown.  She’s trying to cloak herself in ferns out of embarrassment.


Can you blame her?

I have a Tiger Eye Sumac that has totally engulfed my arbor.  The clematis is tangled up with it, but still blooming away happily.

tiger eye and clematis

You’ll notice that I have skillfully avoided showing you the weeds.  I’m also not taking pictures of the plants that have been totally decimated by the dreaded Asian Beetle, but trust me, they are there!  But nobody wants to see photos of that stuff, right?

If you stand back and squint your eyes a bit, the garden still looks pretty good.


Just don’t get too close, and beware of snakes!

30 thoughts on “where am I, and why am I in this hand basket?

  1. Oh, I feel your pain! We had that problem in our first house and I was afraid to even go out the door. We tried to get an exterminator out, but most “don’t do snakes”. One finally suggested sticky traps. We put them by the concrete slabs they liked to sun on. We caught many smalls, and finally got the “momma”. She was about 3 ft long and trying to shed her skin to get off the trap. It was horrifying!


    1. Since I read online that Bull snakes are quite harmless and they eat a lot of mice, I decided I should just leave this guy to go about his business. I actually haven’t seen him again, and I hope it stays that way!


  2. Sounds like you have a good plan in place for dealing with the bull snake. Never heard of a bull snake but I am not fond of snakes either. In the ten years I have been
    in this home I have seen probably five one every other the year. Now the peeks you are sharing of your garden look lovely. Totally in love with hydrangeas and the shots of the photo cottage are fab and look at that lemon slice. We are not getting as much rain here as we normally do and it is taking its toll.


    1. Things are getting pretty dry around here these days as well, but that usually happens about this time of year. I actually haven’t had my sprinklers out even once yet this summer, but I might have to get them out soon.


  3. Snakes in the garden?! I get the willies when I need to weed around the big toads who inhabit ours! I love how you have managed to embed so many unique “lawn ornaments” into your garden, each partially hidden in the greenery and waiting to be discovered by the eye. I bet each has a story.


  4. Your garden still looks beautiful and yes you skillfully avoided the weeds. A talent which will serve you well. Ugh don’t you hate snakes? Me too!
    Still read every post faithfully and share your blog and work on Facebook. I hope you have some new readers in Ontario. Most mornings I enjoy a coffee and your blog. Thank you for your ongoing friendship through your writing.
    Not related to this post but is your new booth ongoing?


    1. Thank you so much Janice! I think I have gotten a few new Canadian followers thanks to you! I don’t really have a booth per se at Eye Candy REfind. I did have a specific corner of the shop for the grand opening as the ‘featured artist’, and going forward I will definitely have some items available in the shop but not necessarily my own space. And I’ll continue to also bring furniture to Reclaiming Beautiful, a shop in Stillwater that focuses more on furniture. So I have a couple of irons in the fire and am sort of seeing how it goes. One thing that is really awesome is that the vintage shop owners in the St. Croix Valley all work together (rather than treating each other as competitors). It seems like a really supportive group of people!


  5. While I too am startled by a snake, I have a place in my heart for those who have to be somewhere, and that Bull Snkae could just as easily be saying, “Hey, is it okkay if I hang out here? I promise to eat lots of vermin and other tiny beasties.” Reminds me of a poem (this is what you get for marrying an English major;-)

    My daughter
    wouldn’t hurt a spider
    That had nested
    Between her bicycle handles
    For two weeks
    She waited
    Until it left of its own accord

    If you tear down the web I said
    It will simply know
    This isn’t a place to call home
    And you’d get to go biking

    She said that’s how others
    Become refugees isn’t it?


    1. Love this poem, Mike! We have plenty of spiders in our gardens–and snails! The snails do plenty of damage, but they aren’t scary. Neither are the deer who come around.


  6. Last summer we had a snake that would get on our front porch and lay on the back of my wicker love seat! I saw him several times there! I did not sit there all summer!


    1. Oh my gosh. That totally give me the willies. I would not have sat there either! As it is, every time I go to hang clothes on the line now I clap my hands loudly and say “shoo snake!” just in case he is in the vicinity.


  7. I am so sorry for you. I am frightened by them. I can’t even look at one. They love to curl up in sunny places. My granddaughter and I seen 3 in a week. All dead!.


  8. Your garden is beautiful! Here in Texas everything is brown from 100 degree heat and no rain, I am green with envy. Cheryl


    1. Thanks Cheryl! Looks like you have scarier snakes down there than we do too. There are only two varieties of poisonous snakes in Minnesota, and both of them live only in the southeast corner of the state. Texas has … yikes! … 15 kinds of poisonous snakes. Maybe it’s a good thing that your gardens are brown and don’t need any tending (I’m trying to find the silver lining) 😉


  9. I have 2 garter snakes that live under my house and started to hang out in my flower/tomatoes right by my back door which is the door we use. Now that I have gotten use to looking for them they have disappeared. I am sure they are just waiting to catch me off guard again. I never thought to use them as an excuse for weeds…


  10. Oh my goodness, I am terrified of snakes. I would never step back out there either! I think your yard still looks fantastic though, especially those overflowing window boxes. Good luck avoiding the snake!


    1. Ha! Yes! She is named after that Cossetta’s! I bought her at a garage sale just around the corner from there, so my friends who were with me at the time felt like that was the most appropriate name for her, and it stuck. Last I checked, they are still there, although I haven’t been there in quite a while.


  11. Have you ever discussed where that manicule gardening advertisement you have is from? It’s incredible. I want to design something in that vein immediately! ❤ Maisondestencils


    1. Hi Lisa! I have mentioned that garden advertisement some time in the past. I got it from Curious Sofa, although I no longer see it listed on her website. I’ll warn you though, it is not really outdoor safe. The sign design is really just printed on paper that is adhered to the metal hand. It peels right off in the elements. I have used spray adhesive to re-attach it, and then sprayed it with a sealer. All of that being said, if you designed a stencil with that look I imagine it would be fab! So keep me posted if you do it!


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