Art among the Artemisias

Art among the Artemisias

It just used to be just gnomes that adorned gardens and the occasional statue in the grounds of a stately home but now it seems garden art and ornaments are growing as prolifically as ornamental shrubs.

With the British passion for gardening meaning more of us are spending time and more importantly money in our gardens, the trend for outside art is creating an extra opportunity to make a relaxing outdoor haven.

Of course gardening like everything else has trends and plants that graced the flower beds of our grandparents, which have since lost favour, are now coming back into fashion. The increasing growth of hydrangeas in all their glorious colours is just one example.

Fountain in a greenhouse, Allan Gardens, Toronto, Ontario, CanadaThemed gardens are also becoming de rigueur and if you visit any garden centre you will be amazed at the variety of plants and shrubs available to create an ornamental garden or desert themed plot.

Start small

Garden designers are becoming as popular as house decorators, but of course we all have our own ideas for the space we can to enjoy outside.

You can start small with a few decorative animals or birds placed strategically amongst the greenery. Now is a good time to place any ornaments before the plants grow fully and you can pick out the spaces that would suit.

If you have a large space an elegant statue or an archway is a good way of drawing the eye.

Use your imagination to lighten a dark corner with a mirror or shiny structure. There are some beautiful polished steel or copper ornaments ranging from birds and animals to abstract balls and mosaic mirrored decorations that you can hang from trees.

Water features

A water feature is of course, a magical addition to any garden and things have moved on so much from the days of Charlie Dimmock energetically digging a hole and lining it with plastic to make a pond.

We now have magnificent structures that enable water to cascade gently over volcanic rock, granite or bronze. Fountains can be run from outdoor electric pumps to bring a touch of

Versailles to any suburban grounds and a fish pond is no longer a repository for a few goldfish but can become a home for elegantly graceful Koi carp. And you can still have a gnome fishing from the edge if you want.

So much depends on the size of your plot, but there are plenty of small and inexpensive ways to add a touch of humour and personality to your estate.

Meerkats are currently very popular as are fairies and pixies. You can buy little doors to fix to a tree to indicate you have a fairy house in your garden and not necessarily at the bottom.

Animals of all shapes and sizes can be hidden in the undergrowth from the realistic to the fantastical. But it is important not to overdo it as too many can detract from the planting.

Also very fashionable are the attractive wall hangings that can be used to break up a solid brick or stone wall. These have always been used in Mediterranean patios to reflect light and add interest to enclosed spaces.

gnomeIf you have a limited budget you can collect stones and shells from the beach to decorate edges or create a seaside themed area.

This can also be a chance to make a memory garden with things collected on trips your holidays.

A piece of driftwood can make a stunning feature, or a plain plant pot that you have decorated yourself, or with the help of children.

Let your imagination run wild and give your garden a chance to be more than just somewhere for growing plants.