When I travel to different gardens, the thing that makes the greatest impression on me is not only the plants but the ‘Garden Art’, or as I like to say ‘Garden Bling’. Garden Art reflects the personality of the garden owner and designer which makes it a personal and revealing experience. I like whimsical and unusual, not the pedestrian bunny or frog statues that some people plunk down in their garden. Even worse are the peeing boy statues or the replicas of ancient Roman art!
The materials as well as the subjects are important. They have to be durable and weather well with age- like copper, stone, or bronze. Copper acquires that classic verdigris patina and stone mosses over with age.
Don’t get me wrong, I love bunnies and I am not totally against bunny sculpture but it has to be done right! See this great rendition of a rabbit at the Brandywine museum! He is fat and satisfied! This statue makes a statement.
Other objects that you might not think of as pieces of art are man made, with a different purpose such as the massive standing stones at Avebury England. These stones cover more than 28 acres, greater than Stonehenge, and the clustered sheep in the picture just adds to the grounded effect. Of course, these stones weren’t put there for art (or were they?), but used as part of a religious or cult experience thousands of years ago. The stones are weathered and pock marked by time and are beautifully situated and fit into the landscape like they naturally sprung up out of the earth.
Then there is the garden art or statue that is just a little bizarre. I saw this oddity at Warwick Castle in England and quite enjoyed it. I would love to know more about it but cannot find anything on the web. It reminds me of the Sphinx-that impossibly long neck!
As a landscape designer, I always advise people to go for the unexpected and different. Art is enhanced by its surroundings but should be able to stand on its own. Gardeners sometimes take themselves too seriously. Have a little fun with it!
This sign that was posted in a garden in the Cotswolds, I would classify as garden art with a great sense of humor! Somebody had to really think about this one.
Whatever you call it- yard art, decorative accents, garden bling, garden sculpture, cheesy statues, tchotchkes, knick knacks, garden trinkets- every garden should have some unique pieces to set your property apart from the madding crowd.
In the two gardens below, Edward Scissorhands would be right at home. For the ultimate topiary experience, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jp2K0eQC_r0 and see how ‘A Man Named Pearl’ created a topiary paradise without any training at all.