More on Private Gardens

More and more gardeners are using sculpture in their gardens as another level of interest.  Many of us do not have the money to buy real sculpture or don’t like the same cement items that are made in hundreds of reproductions that we can afford. So many people are getting very creative, turning their “junque” into interesting sculpture.

I once went on one of those private garden tours where one lady bought lots of flea market items that she transformed into plant holders or sculpture. She hung bed pans – you read correctly, they were discarded hospital bed pans – on her wood fence and filled the deeper lip with succulents. This display made everyone laugh as they passed by.

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Making something special for the garden

Arbor and Gravel Path — explored 🙂 by Chickens in the Trees…

TheGardenLady is always looking for creative and inexpensive ideas for planters or  to make something special for the garden.

With the storms that knocked down so many trees in our yards, I have been searching for uses of these trees other than having the arborist or the person cutting the fallen trees just cutting the trees and removing the trunks and branches.  If you are creative you should be able to reclaim some of the tree material for yourself or for others to use. The people who haul away your trunks will probably make mulch of your trees and resell it or sell it as firewood. Of course, you can do that, too.  But you might want to be a bit more creative. So look at your trees when they are down to try to see how you can recycle and reuse the material. Of course, if the tree was consumed by nasty insects like tree borers and you know that is what caused the tree’s demise, do not use those trees, just discard unhealthy trees. (see here) Use only trees you know to be healthy that were downed by a storm or that had to be removed for esthetic reasons.

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Decorating your garden with found objects

wringer washing machine in my garden by lolaleeloo2

After a while some people feel that they have enough plants in their garden with plenty of flowers, but the garden does not seem to be quite complete. Well, from time immemorial gardens have placed sculpture in a garden to add another interesting dimension. Sadly, some of us do not have the finances to purchase real statuary or real art  What can we do to remedy this? Put on your creative thinking caps and start looking around you. Did this hurricane bring down some trees in your yard? Don’t just cart it to the dump, but see if when it is chopped up, you could use it to build garden furniture.  TheGardenLady loves to visit gardens when garden club groups open their private houses to allow others to see what they have done. This is a great way to get ideas for my garden because gardeners are cleverly original.

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Sculpture for the Garden – 2 Garden Artists: Patrick Dougherty and Simple

stick castle by wolvesatthedoor

As you gaze out at your garden wishing you could have something of interest in it even when it is winter and most of your plants look dead or barren, TheGardenLady would like to suggest thinking about adding sculptural elements to your garden. Sculptural elements could be things you buy or things you create. Since TheGardenLady tries to give ideas that are not expensive, she would like to emphasize the creative side of garden things you might consider trying to make.

First let me describe the work of two garden sculptors. TheGardenLady is so pleased to have met both of these sculptors.

Patrick Dougherty

The first sculptor is Patrick Dougherty, a man who created an art form using saplings from trees. As far as TheGardenLady knows, Patrick Dougherty created this art form. He cuts down loads of saplings and then, with help from the community where his work has been commissioned (I and others had the fun of helping him build one of these sculptures), removes the leaves and starts creating a sculpture doing nothing more than weaving the saplings together.  See here.

Patrick Dougherty builds his creations as ephemeral, something lasting a short time, creations.  He uses no cement, glue or tape or anything to hold the sculpture together. When he finishes weaving the piece he lets nature take its course. And after a few years, if the piece is outdoors, it breaks down and is removed. Only those who were lucky to visit the site of the sculpture get to see it. TheGardenLady first saw one of Dougherty’s piece on the Swarthmore College campus.

At this time of year, you gardeners might have lots of saplings, branches or twigs that you are cutting down. Pick out the ones that will bend and not snap or break. Try creating your own ephemeral garden sculpture. Now don’t expect your creation to match Patrick Dougherty in style, shape, size or interest. But it will be your own work of art for your own garden. It might become an addictive hobby.


The second creative sculptor is a man who calls himself Simple.  Simple creates art for the garden and teaches how to make this art or he will come to your garden and create the art in your garden. His brochure reads, “Who has been Simple-ified?” and tells you his creations are at Longwood Gardens, The American Rock Garden Society, etc. He seems to especially like to work with Grasses to create what he calls a Grass Menagerie. These cats or dogs or tall people or anything your imagination can conjure. If you have grasses in your garden, now that they are brown and have to be cut back, this seems like the perfect time to create your grass sculpture and it seems like a fun thing for families and friends to get together to do. Simple is available from fall to spring to teach his personal craft of Horticultural Garden art. Simple can be reached at (610) 404- 1760. or check out his website.

Simple also offers other garden art design ideas.

If you try either of these art forms, please send photos of you creations so that TheGardenLady and her readers can see them.