I was recently at a good friend’s for dining al fresco. His garden is a tiny perfect oasis of odd plants and herbs he has salvaged from neglected gardens or that were donated by folks who understand his talent for resurrecting all growing things. He has a wicked sense of humour and steered me to ‘funny plants and gardens’ on Facebook. Thought you’d find some decorating tips that will make you smile.
I have noticed that people who have a quirky interior decorating style will also infuse their outdoor spaces with touches of surprise and humour. On the site you suggested I did see an upended umbrella full of flowering plants, a bird bath that is actually a miniature bathtub attached to a backsplash, and a big old purse planted with succulents hanging from a tree branch. I like the attitude ‘what’s good for this could also be good for that’. Rather than planning on creating something humorous, it is often the case that imagination leads us an offbeat direction while we are thinking straight ahead.
For those who are searching for a little garden surprise, I found a collection of animated frog statuettes at frontgate.com. I wish I could strike a yoga pose as gracefully as these froggies. They are13” and 16” high, crafted from powder coated aluminum for all-weather protection with a handpainted Verdigris finish. They also show frogs in a Spring Dance, and a Balancing Frog Table with a lily pad for the tray. That’s a side table or plant stand that will make you smile.
We are thinking of building a Zen garden in our backyard. Our children want to help. Have you any tips? Are they difficult to keep up?
This is a a very doable family project. Explain the philosophy behind the garden, which is a dry garden arranged with specific elements in such a way as to still the mind. It is a pensive place that can be created and recreated by each family member in a way that speaks to them. Zen gardens can be any size, from small desktop models to expansive outdoor plots. For your backyard, choose a size that is manageable and build a mould or frame using 2x4s, barnwood or railway ties. Lay down a plastic weed barrier inside the frame to stop weeds from growing. Fill with sand or gravel that you can find at landscapers or ask at your garden center.
The elements that are placed in the garden are meant to symbolize nature and peace of mind. Moss, mossy twigs, pebbles and rocks, pruned miniature trees and bushes tell a story. A small water feature and animal statuettes are common. Make an arrangement but keep it simple. Overcrowding defeats the purpose. Rake the garden using curving lines that swirl like moving water. The lines move smoothly around your elements.
Maintenance is important for any garden. Zen gardens must be clean and cleared of falling leaves and garden debris. The act of preparing and maintaining such a garden teaches restraint and promotes quiet thoughtfulness. Your children are fortunate to have this opportunity.
Written by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email decorating questions to email@example.com. Follow Debbie at instagram.com/debbie_travis, facebook.com/thedebbietravis, debbietravis.com.