Regional Herb Gardeners: Garden Decorations, Herb Catalogs and Seasonal Planting

Regional herb gardeners share their experience with gardening, includes thoughts on garden decorations, acquiring herbs through herb catalogs and seasonal planting success.


| December 1991/January 1992


Regional herb gardeners share their stories on garden decorations, herb catalogs and seasonal planting success.

Garden Decorations

DENVER, COLORADO—I appreciate garden ornaments most in the autumn and winter. There’s not much else to look at, and I spend less time outside, so I don’t get so tired of it. My idea of good garden decorations is one that is nearly invisible and comes as a surprise, intertwined into the fabric of the garden. Some ornaments stick out like a sore thumb, more like garden graffiti than decoration.

It might be argued that a really beautiful garden doesn’t need any decoration. The plants themselves are the point, right? That’s for the really beautiful garden, but in mine, I pull every trick in the book. Besides, the ornaments we display tell something about us. Some, such as classic, imported ruins and statues, advertise that we can afford them. Others show the kind of “feeling” we’re after in our garden, whether the plants live up to the mood or not.

The material of which an ornament is made also says something. Plastic is gauche, we’ve been told, and we shouldn’t be caught dead with a spinning sunflower or oversized orange butterfly in our gardens. I’d be the first to dispute this, except that I can’t remember seeing anything truly beautiful made of plastic. Either it doesn’t lend itself to the creation of beautiful objects, or people who work with plastic aren’t much concerned with aesthetics.

I prefer more “organic” ornaments. I gave a bee skep to a friend; I’m waiting to see if yellow jackets take up residence first before I try one. “Oh, yes,” is the statement the skep will make, “we keep bees, and this is herb honey from oregano and agastache flowers, and we serve it on homemade bread from our stoneground flour baked in our outdoor brick oven.” It will show that our food is morally superior.

Birdcages are rather trendy, and I admit to having three. I’ve never had a bird (unless you count a parakeet named Izzy that I kept for a friend while she was on vacation; it caught cold in my drafty old house and died shortly after she returned), but cages fascinate me. My favorite is an old rusty one on a stand that I got at a garage sale. It blows over a couple of times every summer, smashing potted begonias and fuchsias on the patio, but otherwise it complements their old-fashioned, albeit battered, charm.





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