When the garden is in its glory, it may seem like gilding the lily to place accents and ornaments among the blossoming boughs. But as the artistic gardener weaves the colors and textures of a garden into a wonderful pattern, carefully selected garden accents can highlight the whole design.
Sculptures and statues express the personality of the gardener with their whimsical, mysterious, religious, or abstract designs. Two stone rabbits peeking through the flowers can create a memorable tableau, and after the flowers have gone, the small statues will add structural interest, too. Mirrored gazing globes--a Victorian fancy--have caught the imagination of modern-day gardeners. Globes, large and small, on pedestals short and tall, add mystique to the garden as they reflect sky, foliage, and flowers. Copper sculptures that sway in the breeze are very restful, as are the soft, tinkling sounds of wind chimes. Decorative stepping stones can be used to capture children's handprints or to commemorate special dates. They can be used on long, winding pathways or scattered willy-nilly among the flowers.
Sundials have been featured in gardens since ancient times, and many of the styles available today feature classical designs and inscriptions. Some can be set directly on the ground, while others rest upon elaborate pedestals. Stone columns topped by urns of lavender and trailing vinca make a grand entrance to any garden. And if your beds are snug rather than spacious, a single flower-topped column will make a regal statement. To enjoy the pleasures of your gardens, there's no better place than on a garden bench or swing. And every gardener could use a place for rest and contemplation.
Not simply window dressing, garden accents are also useful design tools that can provide a focal point for the garden. A long bed of plants of similar heights will be much more interesting if a tall vine-covered trellis is placed at the back. And a planting bed that is past its prime can be revived by removing spent blossoms and setting a lush, colorful hanging basket on an iron shepherd's hook above the foliage. Plant stands can be used to arrange containers at staggered levels, and wire topiary forms can be used to train plants, such as ivy, upward into planned designs.
It isn't even necessary to have a garden to enjoy the charms of garden ornaments and accents, for they can just as easily decorate a balcony or terrace or add interest indoors. As the holiday season approaches, don't forget to splurge on yourself-or maybe drop a little holiday hint-as you picture stone cherubs nestled under the roses or a fountain trickling into your garden pond.