Outdoor Guide | Gardening

There's No Place Like Home

An East Bay business owner has brought a little bit of Oz to her backyard

Posted

“You can’t miss it. I have a zebra door and peace sign driveway,” says Elaine Felag as if she’s describing the most normal thing in the world. As the owner of Feminine Fancies boutique in Barrington, Elaine’s penchant for vibrant and whimsical design is unmistakable. She abides by the same philosophy in her garden, on the Bristol-Warren border. If you enter on the side of the peace sign driveway, covered in 50 or so darling designs, you tuck under an arbor punctuated by two bedecked mannequin heads atop the pillars. “Nobody in Rhode Island has a garden like this,” she says. “It’s like a Hollywood set.”

Underneath the arbor begins the yellow brick road, which Elaine’s husband Walter installed to complement the garden’s Wizard of Oz theme, which is accented by life-size characters from the film hand-carved by Cranston-based chainsaw artist Michael Higgins. The sculptures surprisingly blend in with the gardens, replete with decades-old trees, mature hydrangeas, clematis climbing up tree trunks and flora and fauna in every corner. “It’s funky fun,” describes Elaine. “I have things hanging out of my trees. I spray paint my trees and my bushes with plant-safe spray paint. On the lawn are stenciled stars with glitter. I’m not your traditional gardener.” One second you’re staring at a tree adorned with glittery tiaras and the next you spot a weathered car door tucked deep into the foliage with winding vines growing over it. “I always loved digging in dirt,” Elaine says. “I hate cooking, but I can dig a mean ditch,” says Elaine about cultivating a place uniquely hers.“ All I do is click my heels and there’s no place like home.”