Saturday, 3 March 2012

Garden decor elements

It's a grey and wild day outside today, and although there are some stirrings of spring outside, the garden remains essentially bare.  This has turned my thoughts to elements of visual interest, which punctuate gardens regardless of season.  Of course, these decorative elements are at their best when they mellow and age into the garden, either as plants grow over and through them, or when algae, lichen and moss, or the passage of time and rough weather, soften and mellow sharp edges and pull the object into the very fabric of the garden.  Here are some examples of this from my photo if only I could find a 400 year old stone obelisk at cut price, with a nice fuzzy coat of lichen!

An elegant urn and pedestal at Threave Castle

Contemporary stone vases created with a dry stone technique at Threave

A touch of the Baroque at Crathes Castle, in the form a cheeky cherub

Also at Crathes, this contemporary slate circle and potted agapanthus reminded me of old millstones and worked well in what is otherwise largely an early 20th century garden, with an Arts and Crafts style

Hope those stone columns are strong enough

Even the practical can provide a decorative element, as in the case of this stone bench at Crathes.......

.....or this Doo-cot (pigeon house)

This is a favourite of mine - a stone font, at the end of a weathered flagstone path, framed by a series of golden hop covered arches

Again at Crathes Castle, I think the interconnection of the colouring between the plants and the stone vessel (and it's silvery patination from lichen), is perfect

This just makes me smile (chicken coop at Culross Palace)

These stone obelisks at Glamis Castle were so wonderfully weathered and mottled with years of accumulation of moss and lichen

The damp climate and fresh air in Scotland allows stonework to gather a thick accumulation of living materials

This would be a little too grand for my modest garden!

This basket of stone fruits almost looked as though it had been put up there to be collected later on, and then forgotten for 200 years

Although a little funereal, I like the elegant simplicity of this draped urn at Glamis

An armillary sphere at Cruickshank Botanical Garden in Aberdeen

A modern twist on the parterre concept, at Cawdor Castle

I wasn't quite sure what to make of this sculpture at Cawdor, but the golden sphere was mesmerizing

This dry stone sphere was the result of a re-roofing project at Cawdor Castle.  The old slates were formed into a visually arresting spherical fountain.....

.....and others formed this semi-circular seating area

This hand pump was in a bamboo garden at the Abbaye de Saint-Hilaire, near Menerbes in Provence

The fountain at Mas de Cabrieres


  1. Hello Donald, I just found your blog today and find your photography and posts very interesting indeed. This post is particularly relevant to us at the moment as we are trying to find something like a large lichen covered urn for the garden that look like its been with us for years.

  2. Thanks for your kind words - glad you enjoyed visiting my blog. Good luck with the hunt for that perfect urn!
    I look forward to exploring your blog too.