Metal sculptor, Joel Haas, “Butterfly”, in an early spring butterfly garden
When I look out at my 60-foot long perennial border, I see all the components that make up the kaleidoscope of color waiting to attract butterflies, hummingbirds and bees. These winged gifts are attracted to the colors they see. Many studies support butterflies are attracted to the color purple, hummingbirds to red and bees to yellow. Once in the garden, the plants will keep them there. But like all perennial beds, the plants will wax and wane through their cycle of growth and production. By adding accents to the garden, this keeps the color constant and thus, keeping the birds and bees interested in coming to the garden.
That said, garden accents are not limited to attracting wildlife to the garden. They are at home in any garden including formal, casual, cottage, rustic, quirky, contemporary and electric!
This is where the fun begins. Garden centers, garden shops, garden fairs and flea markets are all great resources for garden accents and art. Here you will find artists who make new stuff out of old, such as birdhouses from reclaimed items; and old stuff into new, such as a birdbath carved from a piece of stone. And, of course, there is a plethora of stuff with personality to match your own. There are whirligigs, stepping-stones, bird feeders, baths, and houses. There are animals, bugs and gnomes, There are gates, benches, and gazebos. And what garden would be complete without a sign displaying a favorite saying. My personal favorite is from Yogi Berra, When you come to a fork in the road…take it.
Go to Wing Haven Garden & Bird Sanctuary in Charlotte, NC and read carved in marble lying in a garden path:
Life, believe, is not a dream
So dark as sages say:
Oft a little morning rain
Foretells a pleasant day
Other favorite signs are Peace and Grace be upon this Place or the most simple, Welcome to my Garden. I would be remiss in not mentioning the splattering of spiritual figures. St. Francis is at home in my garden St. Francis is the quintessential garden accent!
When placing accents in your garden, remember the garden accent is just that \an accent. Ultimately, the whole garden is the work of art. The garden accent serves as a small part of the bigger picture. There is art that serves the role of the focal point, but in my bunny and beyond bunny world, we are only whispering our attention. Tuck the accent in among the flowers and shrubs. The garden art speaks best when whispering in the shadows of the foliage and flowers.
Feeling crafty? Armed with a little know-how and you will be off to the flea market making your own garden art. How about a little teapot for your formal rose garden? Roses and tea are a nice combination, I think. Of course, there are butterflies for your butterfly garden, candles to light paths and even a once dust-collecting knick-knack can have a new life in the garden. With a little imagination, found objects can be re-purposed into garden art.
Making Garden Art from 5 Easy Pieces
- Found object from flea market or cupboard examples shown
- Half inch or 3/4 copper tubing from the plumbing section of a hardware store. This is where the investment is. However, they are reusable and copper is “at home” in the garden.
- Respective half inch or 3/4 inch copper tubing cap
- Tubing cutter
- Weather resistant adhesive.
Instructions for making garden accents from found objects
This example uses a $4 candle from a mass marketer.
- Ensure the accent is clean and dry with all tags removed.
- With the accent up side down and on a level surface, apply a heavy dollop of weather resistant adhesive such as \’93Heavy Duty Welder Adhesive\’94 to the bottom of the object and set copper cap into the adhesive; let dry for at least 24 hours.
- Cut copper tubing with a tubing cutter to the desired length. I buy 10 foot sections and get several stakes from each.
- Insert copper tubing into the cap.
- Place in the garden.
With multiple caps, accents can be traded out as desired candles at night, flower vase during the day.
For better stabilization, it may be advisable to hammer a section of rebar into the ground and then place the copper tubing over it.