Monday, June 26, 2017

Blooming in full color

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.” ~ Alice Walker, The Color Purple 

Cindy La Ferle

One of my biggest gardening challenges is finding ways to add color to a yard that's densely populated with trees and evergreens. Over the years I've planted several varieties of hosta -- with great success -- but even the plants with variegated leaves don't provide enough interest. 

Cindy La Ferle
Which is why I've become a major fan of outdoor ornaments and container gardens. Colorful potted annuals can be placed in sunnier locations, then moved anywhere you like for backyard parties. 

When it comes to decorating with garden ornaments, I think there's a fine line between tacky and sophisticated. If you collect too many garden gnomes, lawn pigs, or religious statues, your neighbors might wonder if you're selling the things as a part-time business. The key to successful garden decor is nestling your favorite items between lots of greenery, using them as subtle accents rather than focal points. A garden ornament should appear as a "surprise" that delights visitors when they spot it on a tour of your yard. And if you've got a quirky sense of humor, the garden is a great place to show it off.

Cindy La Ferle
A few of my garden ornaments were gifts from friends, serving as sweet reminders of special people and occasions. Years ago, for instance, I wrote a newspaper feature about a talented gardener in my community. After the story was published in the local paper, she gifted me with a small stone cricket and told me that it's a symbol of good fortune. 

Other ornaments in my yard were purchased to add color and interest to specific areas. Sometimes I stumble on wonderful items in unlikely places -- when I'm not even looking for them. The whirligig in the top photo, for example, is a recent purchase from Ace Hardware in Clawson. Doug and I spotted it when we were looking for plant stands. This piece will be moved to our Frank Lloyd Wright home in St. Joseph, where it will work nicely with the midcentury modern garden theme there. ~CL

My garden in Royal Oak, with Apollo in his new wig / Cindy La Ferle

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