Thursday, February 21, 2013

Garden Ornaments

I don't consider myself a knick-knack collector.  While I certainly have some non-functional decorative items here and there throughout the house, I lean toward a more minimalist look.  I dislike clutter of most kinds and I regularly toss out "stuff."  In fact, whenever we're unable to find something, my husband will ask "Was it PPed?"  PP is his term for "Peterson Purge."

However, when it comes to the garden, I seem to have accumulated a lot of "stuff."  Although I disposed of clothes, kitchen items, old work materials, and even books in large quantities before we moved 2 years ago, I didn't get rid of much when it came to garden ornaments and furniture.  Maybe because I had to give up the garden itself, I held on to virtually all the old garden's furnishings and decorations.

It's an eclectic collection.

There are animals.

There are fairies and other mythical creatures.

(I swear this is the only gnome - at least the only one that stays out all year)

There are items to support bird life.

There are items kept for purely emotional reasons.  The child reading a book, given to me by my mother because she said it reminded her of me, which I use as a door/gate stop.  The sun-shaped votive holders given to me by a close friend shortly before she passed away of cancer, which I'm thinking I may use to hold small pots of trailing succulents.

There are items that don't fit any of these categories.

And then there's all the garden furniture.  I brought one bench, some rickety wicker chairs, and a small cafe table with wrought iron chairs with me when we moved.  I inherited two more benches left by the prior owner, as well as a chiminea, a large fountain, and the snorkel spa I wrote about earlier.  (The spa will eventually be removed or re-made to serve another purpose yet to be determined.)

I thought that, because our new garden is so much bigger than our old one, it could absorb a lot decorative material without looking cluttered.  However, the old garden was densely planted and, as a result, the ornaments in it were nearly invisible.  In contrast, the new garden is more sparsely planted (so far) so many of the ornaments stand out - perhaps too much.

I'd like to say the collecting has stopped but it hasn't.  Just last week, a friend of my husband's asked if I could use a wrought iron screen he planned to give away.  I took it, having no idea what it looked like or what I'd do with it.  I like it but I still haven't found the right place for it.  I put it on the back porch and have moved it around a bit but haven't yet found a satisfactory placement.

Screen, option 1

Screen, option 2

Screen, option 3

What do you do when collecting gets out of hand?  I'm beginning to think I'm going to have to rent a storage locker - or maybe re-purpose the spa as an outdoor closet.


  1. I've just recently found your blog and am enjoying it.
    I have a question about a previous post. What is the size of each of those cement stairs that your husband installed? They look like they would break a back. Did you order them from your local home center? I wonder if they make them in my state.
    Have you looked into changing your hot tub to salt water with a gas heater? I put in an inground pool (6x12 x5 ft deep)and it has both of those features. The pool takes about an hour for each 10 degrees of ambient temperature to warm up. (in other words if it's 70 degrees out and I want the pool to be 100 degrees, it would take about three hours for my size pool) Of course, I can get in it long before it reaches 100. The salt water feature means that it doesn't need a lot of monkeying, because there are no chemicals, other than salt. The salt is somehow turned into chlorine, so the pool stays clean. I set the filter to run each day. Just a thought. Hate to see a pool that you enjoy get dismantled, when it might not be a big deal to convert it.

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog, Sue! Re the cement blocks used to construct the slope stairs, each measures 10" wide by 16" long (at the broadest point) x 6" tall and, yes, they weighed a ton. They're usually used to construct walls but we picked them because they were a) relatively cheap, b) easy to find, and c) wide and stable enough to support a foot. My husband put in several at a time over a number of weekends. He balked when I suggested using them to terrace the slope too, which is part of the reason I made do with the tree ring material.

    Re using salt water and a gas heater in the spa, I'll mention the idea to my husband - I know a lot of people here too are converting in-ground pools to salt water but I'm not sure how the wood would stand up to it.

  3. I have a cat who could have posed for that first statue. When it comes to garden ornaments, less can be more but I've seen gardens filled to the brim with "stuff" and look fabulous. Some people are better than others at placing things. When I nursery shop with my friend, Monique, she's always buying garden ornaments that I look at and wonder what the heck I'd do with them. Then I see them in her garden and kick myself.

    Have you considered painting that gifted screen? I've transformed quite a few plain metal pieces with a can or two of spray paint.

    1. Painting the screen is an interesting idea. If/when I find the right placement for it, maybe I can find paint color or colors to help it fit in (or stand out, although I'm not sure I'm sufficiently fond of it to make it a focal point in itself).

  4. I love garden art and gardens with personality/funk to them. :o) As for the big screen, I'd stick it somewhere other than your patio, which is beautiful. I'd integrate into the garden in a way that it's a part of the plantings but still has enough zing to stand on its own a bit. Maybe somewhere unexpected would be cool.

    1. My husband has already moved the screen from the patio, claiming that it interfered with his view, so you and he are in tune. It's currently doing a try-out at the bottom the the slope obscuring my neighbor's chain-link fence.

  5. Those are great! Loved the first one also.