By: Debra Dylan
We Plot By Moonlight
Peter Pan’s Lost Boys could find a perfect hideaway at Mike’s Day Lilies in Powell, Tennessee.
The otherworldly front yard was “dug out by hand with a clay pick,” says Timmy Arnold. The property belongs to his father, Mike Arnold, and it has been in the family for generations. Timmy continues, “Every plant and rock was brought here. We are extreme plant fanatics. My father is like the architect and I’m the laborer.” They’ve been working on the land and the structures for more than 10 years.
To escape the heat of the day, father and son “plot by moonlight,” says Timmy. Seating was naturally built into one of the stone walls. It’s perfect for gathering around the fire pit at night.
The Gnarly Gnome
The bridges and pathways lead to an impressive backyard workshop built out of pallets. The Arnolds’ woodworking business, The Gnarly Gnome, gets its name from Timmy’s appearance and the magical look of the property.
The Arnolds collect and sell a variety of salvage, including pallets, bricks, cinder block, and other items. All of the structures and floors on the property were made with recycled items.
The Secret Garden
The lengthy entryway to the workshop and lily field is lined with a variety of flowering plants.
Timmy regrets planting Trumpet Creeper in the garden. He says, “It grows over everything and it doesn’t do any good to cut it back or to pull it down.” Trumpet Creeper climbed up his grandmother’s vintage satellite dish. Under the dish is a shady sitting area with nasturtium, hibiscus, and gorgeous tie dye morning glories.
A grand circular stone hut is next to the workshop. Wind chimes adorn many of the trails. A pair of grandfather clock chimes hang inside the stone hut.
Only one neighbor has tried to get the Arnolds evicted from their land. Timmy says, “Some people are incapable of seeing magic. All they see are weeds.”
Photos by: Buck Kahler
© Debra Dylan, 2015.