I devoured fairy tales as a child, especially Anderson and Grimm. But this Grimm's tale is one I didn't really know until recently. It's very popular here and in German it has two names, "Der Froschkönig" and "Der Eisener Heinrich" ("Iron Henry"). The tale starts with the princess playing with her golden ball. To her dismay, it falls into the well. A frog offers to retrieve it for her but she must promise be his friend and share her table and room with him. She readily agrees but the minute she has her golden ball back she flees from her slimy new friend.
Her father sees what has happened and demands that she keep her promise. Reluctantly she allows the frog to become her playmate for the rest of the day. That night, when the frog wants to share her bed with her, she just can't stand it any more and she flings the repellent creature across the room (my dear readers, wouldn't you as well!?) When the frog slams into the wall, it breaks the spell that "Iron Henry" is under and he transforms back into a handsome prince. They live happily ever after.
No surprise parents might hesitate this tale to their children. At first it seems this princess is a liar and a thrower. She is very human and just like any real little girl. But the important thing is that she follows her heart's instinct and in the end that is exactly what is needed to make the magic happen. This isn't magic from a glass slipper or a pretty face, but acting out on your instinct. How wonderfully daunting and daring it is to follow your heart!
I started to really adore this tale when my youngest son was in preschool and he got the role of the king when his class performed this as a play. When the little girl playing the princess came to him and told him she would not have the frog spend the night in her room, he had to bang his fist on the table and sternly reprimand her with "You may not take back your promises!". My son at 4 was no stranger to banging his fist and shouting his demands!
So what does this have to do with my garden? A few days ago while watering the flowers I realized "The Frog King" is right here in our yard. There's romance, purity, a hint of royalty and even a pottery frog. I didn't realize I had a fairy tale so close!
This flower bed is near the house and has a romantic castle or wishing-well feel with the rock wall and border and lots of ivy. It's just a narrow strip in the shadow of the house and I like how white and yellow flowers come to life in the shade. And after sundown when the sky is still light they just seem to glow.
This year I have white petunias, little daisies, and garden cosmos. I discovered these delightfully romantic little silene flowers with the beautiful name "Starry Dreams".
There are also the green boxwood bushes that I attempt my best with the clippers to shape into spheres and they are wonderful all year round (especially nice and green in the winter - so pretty with snow )
I found a pair shabby chic crown ornaments years ago at the dollar shop and they have gotten rusty and fragile. I hope they hold out a little longer because I think they are pretty.
The yellow flowers and the round boxwood symbolize the Princess's golden ball.
Last but not least, Mr. Frog!
Magic is all around us, we just have to open our eyes and notice!