Dress Up Your Garden

Would you get ready for an elegant soiree without putting on your earrings or your cufflinks?

Would you give a carefully selected birthday gift without adding a lovely ribbon and bow? Probably not.

Much as we are in the habit of adorning items (including ourselves) to increase attractiveness and desirability, so too can we adorn our gardens to enhance their appeal.

Ornaments for your garden are only limited by your imagination. There are statues – both whimsical and classical, wind chimes, plant stakes, water features, birdhouses, garden sculptures – both serious and playful, rocks, furniture, pergolas. Ornaments can be functional if used to support or contain plants.

Or they can create divisions between areas of your garden. Or they can hide an unsightly corner. Whatever their purpose, they will make a statement, telling visitors something about you and your garden’s personality.

When choosing ornaments to incorporate into your garden, consider the existing plantings, the hardscape of walls and paving, and your own taste.

Consider the style of your garden  is it a southwestern garden filled with succulents; a lush Victorian garden abundant with climbing roses and wicker furniture; a natural woodland; or a serene Japanese garden, elegant in the simplicity of its Japanese maples. Certain ornaments lend themselves to particular styles — a white marble, classical statue looks at home in a garden of neatly clipped boxwood and symmetrically arranged stone urns. But it would look quite out of place in a desert garden filled with terra cotta, graceful grasses and spiny cacti.

My recent visit to the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show affirmed for me that there is an astounding array of possibilities to add interest and personality to your garden. Take a look at some of the things I found:

This lovely, white metal filigree chair adds a charming accent to its green surroundings. Even if your space is more limited, a small chair, stool or bench can be incorporated among your plants. Not really meant to be functional, such an ornament subliminally beckons one to come and rest awhile in the peaceful garden.

Water features can range from extremely elaborate to starkly simple. According to one of Sunset’s garden decor books, “almost any garden can gain dimension from water.” Water can be serene and peaceful or it can splash and cascade as it tumbles over rocks. It creates interplay with light, attracts birds and masks outside noises.

And in addition to the intrinsic beauty of water itself, your garden will benefit from the decorative structures you use to contain it. Stroll through Cherry Blossom Gardens for a look at some of their stone and bamboo fountains.