Although some garden ornaments do look good enough to eat, you’d be advised to refrain from actually taking a bite out of them – well that’s not the case at the White House.
The US President’s residence unveiled its Christmas decorations for this year today, with the theme being “Joy to All”, and First Lady Michelle Obama revealed that at their heart lies a 300lb gingerbread replica of the White House itself in the State Dining Room.
The model is incredibly detailed, including a marzipan rendering of the building’s kitchen garden – complete with garden statues. Another set of garden ornaments portray the much-loved “First Dog” Bo, a Portuguese water dog.
All in all, there are 40 “Bo-Flake” ornaments throughout the White House, with cut-out images of the pooch, as well as a full life-size replica – holding fairy lights in his mouth – in its East Garden Room, as well as a massive statue of Bo next to the gingerbread White House.
Ms Obama was asked about the decorations when unveiling them before an invited audience of military families, saying that the many Bo statues reflected his high standing.
“He’s almost as big as the house. He is such a huge personality,” she declared.
Rich Australians with massive backyards will soon have a chance to buy some unique garden ornaments when this year’s Sculpture by the Sea exhibition at Bondi Beach comes to a close.
Reports this week revealed that after 500,000 visitors came to the exhibition, up to 16 of the huge sculptures have already been sold to companies and private individuals, with one going for a princely $100,000. It’s not too late to get one for yourself, however. Some 88 of the 113 sculptures were for sale, with prices starting at $400.
As the works are dismantled, some of them are going to be reassembled in private homes, farms and beach houses, while others are shipped overseas to become garden ornaments in Canada and New Zealand. One was donated to Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens, while another will remain silhouetted on the Bondi headland after being donated to the local Waverley Council.
The unfortunate few that do not find a new home are set to be washed away by the sea.
The sculptures were on display for 18 days at the end of October, and dismantling began on 6 November, with two cranes and a fleet of vehicles engaged to move the items.
Their true place is surely as garden ornaments, but amateur divers in the Lake District recently revealed one of the quirkier aspects of their hobby – the concealing deep underwater of garden gnomes.
The BBC reported at the end of last month on the gnomes lurking beneath Wastwater – England’s depeest lake. With depths of some 260 feet, it is not a place for the inexperienced lake diver, but it turns out that some old hands have been placing the garden statues there for years.
Kendal and Lakes Sub Aqua Club diving officer Paul Fray told the Beeb that the gnomes popped up in pictures on diving websites and forums, and the practice was common in many lakes around the world.
“It’s the funny thing with divers, they do pop up in some odd places,” he said. “Mind, it’s the best place for them because I think they look silly in a garden.”
The authorities are not so amused. Police divers have on several occasions tried to remove the gnomes, fearing their attractions might literally lure novice divers out of their depth. The gnomes have always been replaced by other divers, however, so it appears the gnomes of Wastwater are here to stay.
A interesting array of garden statues were unveiled in parks and recreation areas around Harpenden in Hertfordshire this week, as part of the diamond jubilee celebrations of 2012.
The high-end garden ornaments were commissioned by the local council, with Harpenden residents coming up with the designs, via a public competition that took place over the summer. The winning designs were all brought to life by Richard Sweetland of Bespoke Metalwork.
One statue, later unveiled in the High Street Sensory Garden, was designed by one Roy Bentley, while two more identical ornaments were the brainchild of a Grove Junior School pupil, identified only as Phoebe. They were also unveiled on Tuesday at Southdown Rose Garden and Batford Green, by Harpenden Mayor, Councillor Nicola Linacre.
The occasion was certainly a happier one for garden ornaments than the sad news from Bignor Gardens in the South Downs last week, where a valued sheep statue was crushed by a falling oak tree.
The garden statue was one of two made for the park by Bosham sculptress Willow Legge and is one of only 10 in existence. The park’s management are hoping to replace the broken ornament, but intend to keep the crushed sheep/oak tableau as an additional visitor attraction.
Children and young disabled people will soon be able to enjoy a new courtyard garden in the Wyre Forest, Worcestershire, thanks to a grant from a charity.
The garden at the Longbank Centre in Bewdley has been built by the Kidz First charity, and was made possible by the local paper The Shuttle, which obtained a grant from its parent company’s charitable Gannett Foundation last December.
The garden was originally meant to open in the spring, but the terrible UK weather this spring and summer – which included heavy snow and flooding – meant that the project suffered delay after delay. But work has continued apace and organisers believe it will be ready in just a few weeks to host gardening and other educational activities.
Garden ornaments feature widely throughout the space, as well as pathways, a hopscotch court, palm trees, garden statues and a storytelling corner, among other attractions.
Kidz First chief executive,Sharon Weston told the paper that “the biggest bonus will be the sense of worth and usefulness felt by service users involved and the years of fun, creativity and places for contemplation they will have.”
This Sunday sees the final open day at a garden containing some fantastic examples of statues and garden ornaments in Stourport, Worcestershire.
Astley Towne House garden has been holding open days throughout the summer as part of the National Gardens Scheme, whereby the public are being encouraged to visit the best of the UK’s gardens, and maybe take away some ideas of their own.
The garden took a decade to construct and will be open on Sunday 30 September, between 1pm and 5pm, before closing for the autumn and winter. It will be the last chance to experience its incredible sub-tropical plants, such as palm trees, exotic flowers and paths of real banana trees.
Garden ornaments include a woodland temple, a Classic Greek-style grotto decorated with shell mosaics and a water feature, plus many garden statues and a stumpery garden. When you’re tired of strolling, simply relax in its unique revolving neo-classical summerhouse!
Lovers of beautifully landscaped gardens, water features, picturesque temples and beautiful garden ornaments are in for a treat at the start of September, when Forge House in East Haddon, Northamptonshire, opens its gates as part of the National Gardens Scheme.
The open days, on September 1 and 2, hope to repeat the success of last year’s event, when £1,240 was raised for charity.
The house features Haddonstone’s show gardens, composed of various sections such as a Roman-style swimming pool, a gothic garden, a “green corridor” bedecked with garden ornaments in the form of Classical busts and a contemporary garden. Indeed, the whole grounds are an education in how best to display one’s garden statues and garden ornaments to their best advantage.
When the show gardens open in just a few days’ time, the NGS entry fee will be £2.50 for adults. The fee goes towards a raft of charities, including Help the Hospices, Marie Curie Cancer Care and Macmillan Cancer Support.
Friends and relatives of a US bride-to-be gathered quirky garden ornaments, plants and flowers recently for a very special themed party.
Jessica Whiting of Marietta, Georgia, has been a lifelong fan of the much-loved children’s book The Secret Garden – and it was this book by Frances Hodgson Burnett that inspired the bridal shower.
Upon arrival, guests were greeted bygarden urns painted in bright colours, with the venue decked out with more flowers and decorative garden ornaments, such as garden statues, antique keys and gargoyles. This was followed by a delightful picnic-style lunch including cucumber sandwiches and chicken salad.
Garden parties are very popular in the summer months – although Georgia is of course lucky to have more hot days than back here in the UK! A celebration in a garden brightened up by statues and other garden ornaments can be a delightful but economical way to mark an occasion – from a bridal shower to a birthday.
Clay and cement garden statues are an excellent way to give a garden character and to create a relaxing atmosphere. For even more charm and character, a moss-grown garden statue can create a wonderfully antique or historical feel.
Of course, when buying the highest quality garden statues, it is very unlikely that they are going to come with moss “pre-grown” on them. However, it is actually a very simple – and relatively quick – process to persuade mosses to grow on cement and clay garden statues and garden planters, with noticeable effects in just a couple of months.
Firstly, you will need some samples of the moss you wish to cultivate, some buttermilk and a simple kitchen blender. Just mix the moss in the blender with the buttermilk until it is of a smooth consistency, not unlike thick paint. When this is done, wet the garden statues you wish to grow moss on and, using a normal DIY paintbrush, paint this mixture all over the areas of the statues in question. When you are finished, cover the statues in plastic and leave it in a part of the garden which is fully in shade all the time, adding more moisture from time to time.
In just 3-4 weeks’ time, moss will begin to grow more thickly over the statues, and in a few months, they will look like they have stood in your garden for generations!
Garden statues are – by their very nature – stationary items. After all, their ability to make a garden feel still, relaxing and peaceful is one of their most treasured qualities, whether they are water features, contemplative buddhas or depictions of mythical animals.
Something completely different is in store, however, for visitors to The Alnwick Garden in Northumberland, which next month will be hosting Still, a festival of “living sculptures.”
This event will see the garden statues overrun by a series of installations, produced by Newcastle-based circus outreach company Let’s Circus, all themed around the idea of human sculptures. Four artists have been tasked with creating art installations with “a live human element at the core” – all to be incorporated into the garden’s own landscapes.
As well as installations such as The Alnwick Butterfly and the Queen Gatekeepers, visitors will be able to interact with some exhibits, such as by “planting” themselves in giant pots as “human topiary.” There will also be a massive chess set for visitors to take turns as pawns.
If successful, the event will be held every year. For more details, log on to www.alnwickgarden.com, or call 01665 511081.