GBDW - Garden Whimsy

Maisy and Daisy amongst the Ash leaves - November 2007

My dictionary defines whimsy as self-conscious semi-humorous sentimentality. And I feel a little self-conscious today in presenting some of the more whimsical features of my garden. After all, what makes me laugh will probably be judged by some others as pointless tat, kitsch and in bad taste. See also my previous post on Garden Centre Kitsch for some examples - whilst these certainly amused me, I haven't added any of them to my collection.

It's this big!

A whim is defined as a sudden impulse or thought and all the whimsical features in my garden are testament to that. Unlike most of my garden's other features (excepting plants, and we all have impulse bought at least one for our garden haven't we?), no thought or plan went into the purchase of these objects. They simply made me stop and giggle (or think), then buy them. Here's a small selection of some of the objects that form the finishing touches in my garden.

Pig pig pig alternates between peering cheekily round our central steps and a bookcase in our hall. As you can see he's in an outdoor phase at the moment.

The Mexican is perched on our patio wall and forms a focal point leading into the garden from the garden's side entrance, where he is framed within a pergola. I'll be showing you the side garden and pergola next month as part of a very exciting blogging project I'm working on at the moment.

I love the sea and a lot of my pots are blue, so this starfish was a must have.

The garden is on a limestone bedrock and I often find fossilised corals in the brashy stone when digging. Therefore a replica ammonite was a natural addition to my finds from the garden.

I also have a number of wild animals, some of which also occur in the garden in their natural form, such as frogs. Most of these are hidden and my niece loves to find and count them all when she visits. Some are hidden so well, I couldn't find them when taking the photographs for this piece!

Not all of my objects are 'natural' garden ornaments. This is one of a pair of finials I picked up cheaply at an auction. Normally they would be fitted on a gatepost pillar, but I thought they'd make a different 'full stop' to the narrowing borders either side of the steps down to the lower patio.

Most of my garden whimsy serves absolutely no practical purpose at all, except to amuse me. However, the above decorative trellises are being used to add interest to the vast swathes of fencing we have bordering our property where there is no soil available to grow plants. These are down one of the sets of side steps off the patio. Below is another practical example used to protect some wooden posts from rotting and reminds me of the Arabian Nights.

Garden Bloggers Design Workshop is bought to you courtesy of Gardening Gone Wild. Click here for my patio design introduction last month.


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  2. Wow I love your arabian nights finials (spelt correctly?), where did you get them from?

  3. Hmm-I'm not very observant! Several pieces there have escaped my notice when I have visited. Next time...

  4. i think you could set up a business dealing in those Arabian Nights post caps. I'd like a lorryload please :D By the way, Helen Yemm has concrete geese in her garden, and one doesn't even have a head.

  5. I want that starfish. Okay, lets play. I am going to go post another picture of Senior Werm.

  6. "Helen Yemm has concrete geese in her garden, and one doesn't even have a head."

    She was probably testing some sort of "Concrete Geese Decapitation Gizmo" for some magazine or other.

  7. Love Maisy & Daisy - I have 2 willow/wicker hens in my veg patch. Not sure if they really keep the real ones out but it seems OK at the moment. I also have a stone rabbit with broken ears - how sad is that?
    sadly my hens are becoming a bit droopy and have to be supported on the edge of a pot but they are still fun!
    Love Maggi
    PS I seem to have something in common with helen Yemm = can't be bad

  8. I delight in the kitschiest stuff, but yours really isn't. (Well, maybe the Mexican is, but then it's in an English garden, so that actually makes it kind of surreal, so no.) I like the pig, especially as you move it around. I guess I'm slightly twisted, but I love the idea of concrete animals moving around. The finials aren't whimsical, they are classy.

  9. I have to admit that I think there is fine line between garden accoutrements and garden junk or kitsch. It really is possible to overdo it. Using some small object that will bring a smile on your face is fine. I like all the natural shaped objects - like the seashell and the ammonite and the frog. Not sure I would like the pig in my garden - but each to her/or his own taste. The garden is after all our own private cultured piece of Eden, and as long we enjoy it then I don´t really care what other people think. I am going to buy some very nice life size dragonflies on very thin steel poles - that is a bit whimsy to me.

  10. Hi from Val at pencil and leaf. Thanks for your very nice comments! Love this post. My garden was full of failed ceramic experiments mine and others ..they looked much better 90% hidden in the bushes.I sadly dont have a garden now but when I visit my Dad in the Uk we go to the garden centre and every time the "stuff" section is bigger and bigger, inlcuding the burgeoning fake flowers section.. we were struggling to find some real ones on the last visit! Here in the USA they are big business.. am going to do a post about them soon..good luck with the course, sketch book will be fine! I miss drizzle and my frogs...

  11. Enjoyed seeing another side of your garden, VP. I didn't expect all this whimsy here! I love the blue starfish; I would have picked this up in a heartbeat, too.

    Great photo of the snail on yesterday's post. I'm guessing he didn't last too long?

  12. What a fun collection, VP. I must say that I'm hopelessly in love with Pig-cubed; *such* an endearing face!

  13. I like all of your whimsy. I especially like the ammonite. It would be fun to find several replicas of fossils wouldn't it?

  14. SOL - my local garden centre - 10p each! Bargain!

    TS - I'll give you another tour the next time you're here :)

    Victoria - aren't they great? 1 of my best impulse buys ever

    Aunt Debbi - that was such fun!

    GM - probably...

    Maggi - great, you're here! I feel so much better about my stuff now I know what Helen Yemm has in her garden :)

    MMD - I like slighty surreal stuff, so that's a great compliment about The Mexican

    Niels - good points well made my friend. I like the dragonflies on sticks too. I find it's best not to overdo it - hence the hiding them bit

    SGP - welcome! Fake flowers are a problem over here too, plus lots of other tat that has nothing to do with gardening :(

    Rose - glad you like it and you're right about that snail...

    Nan - he's a cutie isn't he. A real impulse buy, not to be resisted

    Lisa - a great idea. I'm also finding lots of the real thing in the garden too - perhaps I need to show everyone sometime?

  15. HG - sorry didn't mean to leave you out - they're 2 of my faves too. I like the idea of terracotta hens pecking away at the gravel :D


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