Garden Statuary and Gewgaws


A lot of people find the temptation to fill their gardens with objets difficult to resist. I know of some gardens in which it is impossible to move without falling over a stone toad, bashing into a Buddha, banging my head on a wind chime or locking eyes with a gargoyle spouting water from a wall. A weird fashion began about 25 years ago for placing curious blue-glazed ceramic balls around the place. I have never understood the point of these and can’t believe the idea has stuck around for so long. My rule of thumb is really that unless you can afford to pay a lot of money, or accidentally come across a marvellous bit of decorative stone or furniture on a skip it is not worth having. The ornaments you buy in most garden centres are generally ineffably naff and poorly made. My local hardware shop sells a large range of gewgaws for the garden;  a water bearing goddess Egeria made in moulded concrete, a selection of very sinister looking animals with beady glass eyes or a wobbly bird bath if you fancy it. Call me a snob (as if) but really I would give novelty wishing wells, large concrete boots and tiny wheelbarrows a wide berth. Gnomes have a certain ironic appeal to hipsters, but really the joke does wear thin after a time. If you can possibly afford it, some really good terracotta urns are well worth spending money on. Don’t be tempted to buy them on holidays on the Mediterranean, they are most likely not frost proof and will crack in our climate. A plain, large Ali Baba pot standing in a shady corner can look really great. Again, don’t stint on garden furniture, the cheap stuff falls to bits very quickly. If you go for wood you really do need to treat it every year.