A Whimsical Garden

A Whimsical Garden

Part of Ep. 1601 The Magic of Gardening

Cheryl Keeffe, a Bluff Country master gardener and a doll maker, found creative ways to deer-proof her garden and added tons of surprising elements. Plant selections includes miniature hostas, bamboo, shrubs and trees, miniature ferns and roses. Other hostas include Cousa Regal, Lady Isabel, the Royal Standard and Jurassic Park.

Premiere date: Mar 01, 2008

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley:
We're in Onalaska.  And I'm with Cheryl Keeffe in front of her garden.  Cheryl is a Bluff Country master gardener and a doll maker.  You're going to give me a tour of your garden.  But I look at this bouquet and I'm a little worried. 

Cheryl:
I wanted to show you what my hostas used to look like. 

Shelley:
Lovely. 

Cheryl:
We have a lot of deer here in valley.  I got tired of looking at hostas and daylilies with no blooms and no leaves, and decided to take care of that situation. 

Shelley:
So we're about to enter a deer-proof garden. 

Cheryl:
This is a deer-proof garden. 

Shelley:
Great let's do that.  This doesn't make sense to me. 

Cheryl:
This is to confuse the deer!

Shelley:
It's working on me, too!

Cheryl:
It's very effective. 

Shelley:
So you have deer that can read, too.  Look at the difference.  You have so much greenery.  This is a beautiful sanctuary. 

Cheryl:
Thank you.  I find that leaves make it that much greener. 

Shelley:
Hostas with leaves, who would have thought?!

Cheryl:
I know! They're so pretty and they get blooms. 

Shelley:
What did you do besides the confusing gate to keep the deer out?  It looks like a very natural setting. 

Cheryl:
Well, I added some bamboo.  I found that after the doe used it as a day care center for her two fawns that the bamboo spaces were too big, so I added the mesh. 

Shelley:
We can barely see it.  It makes it look natural. 

Cheryl:
It lets the air and the light in plus you have a view of the other garden going through there.  But it does keep the deer out. 

Shelley:
That's what counts.  I like the gate, too, the doorway. 

Cheryl:
Yes, the doorway, you can only exit by pushing it out this way.  The deer haven't figured it out.  They don’t thumbs.  They can't pull it open.  But I'm sure they're working on that. 
Shelley:
Probably, they look here and they go, “lunch.” Let's talk about some of the features.  What did this used to be? 

Cheryl:
This just used to be grass. 

Shelley:
Wow, what a difference. 

Cheryl:
I started with a small, little island.  Then we had a septic break, and while it was torn up anyway we just tilled it and made it into a big garden. 

Shelley:
Tell me about some of your favorite spots in here. 

Cheryl:
The fire hydrant was a birthday gift from my husband as my first water feature. 

Shelley:
Lovely, what a great idea.  I hear the sound of real water trickling. 

Cheryl:
Yes, this is my little pond and meditation garden.  It's the frog hangout. 

Shelley:
I see a few frogs.  

Cheryl:
There's several frogs.  Between the frogs and the running water they keep down the mosquitoes, mostly. 

Shelley:
Mostly? 

Cheryl:
Mostly.  We do have some really big mosquitoes in our pond that just won’t go away. 

Shelley:
It is the Wisconsin state bird. 

Cheryl:
Then I should be honored. 

Shelley:
Maybe he'll stick around for a while.  You have some unusual flower beds, too. 

Cheryl:
Yes, I find that if you have trouble keeping blooms going and pulling weeds if you add some little surprise elements it detracts the view from that.  People don't notice the weeds as much. 

Shelley:
And you don't have to fertilize it.  It's a very restful view. 

Cheryl:
It is.  Shelly, my style of humor is to come around the corner and have people go, “Ah-ha!”

Shelley:
(laughs)

Cheryl:
Or, “Ha-Ha!”

Shelley:
This is one of the stranger things I've seen in a garden. 

Cheryl:
Oh, it's pretty normal in mine! This is the queen of forgetfulness. 

Shelley:
That makes sense. 

Cheryl:
I can identify with her because I lose things all the time.  Her thrown is situated right over the septic take-out so she really is sitting on the thrown.  She's surrounded by all her royal hostas. 

Shelley:
These are hostas with a theme. 

Cheryl:
Yes, these are the Cousa Regal, and Lady Isabel the Royal Standard. 

Shelley:
And what royal hosta has the dinosaurs under it? 

Cheryl:
None, that's my new one.  That's the Jurassic Park hosta.  He's a baby, so he has his little dinosaur. 

Shelley:
He's going to get big. 

Cheryl:
He’s going to get about chest high and about seven feet wide. 

Shelley:
Wow!

Cheryl:
If he looks anything like his mother, which I think he does. 

Shelley:
That's going to be incredible. 

Cheryl:
It's going to be very large.  They billed it as the man-eating hosta.  I envision legs sticking out of this at some point.  Possibly the king. 

Shelley:
You have another little kingdom.  Literally, a little kingdom.  Let's go look at that.  This is lovely.  This is a fairy garden, right? 

Cheryl:
When you're a doll maker, you're used to thinking in miniatures.  That can be miniature houses, swings and plants. 

Shelley:
It looks like you've had fun with this. 

Cheryl:
I have, it's an excuse to buy the little hostas, shrubs and trees. 

Shelley:
I see some miniature ferns. 

Cheryl:
And the miniature rose. 

Shelley:
It is wonderful. 

Cheryl:
I enjoy the fairies, except for the bad ones. 

Shelley:
What? 

Cheryl:
There's a bonfire over there.  I see they have been partying again. 

Shelley:
Is that the liquid debris over there? 

Cheryl:
Yes, I wondered what that noise was last night.  I thought it was the frogs, but no, it was them. 

Shelley:
You must have so much fun with your gardens. 

Cheryl:
It is a good time. 

Shelley:
Even with the parties at night? 

Cheryl:
He's a little hung over. 

Shelley:
Cheryl, thank you so much for sharing this with us.  Next up, we're going to show you how to make your own miniature garden. 

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