It has been a very busy few weeks. The family and I took a trip over a weekend to Chicago for a memorial service for Tim's grandfather who recently died. I met a lot of Tim's extended family, who wre all wonderful people and ate a lot of saurkraut with polska keilbasa (upon seeing this dish at the post memorial service dinner, I yelled out "God bless Chicago!") and drank a few beers. We also took a trip into the city and spent a few hours at The Art Institute of Chicago, which I have had an ongoing love affair with since I was a child. We only got through the Impressionists and Architectural Fragments, but the kids were blown away, which was what I was going for.
Collin, William, and Kendall in front of one of the Art Institute's lions.
Eames & Young, Angel from the Cornice of the Title Guarantee Building (Chicago), 1898
Alfonso Ianelli, Architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Midway Gardens: Sprite Head Study for Exterior, 1912
So why, with all of the fantastic, famous works of art contained in the museum, would I choose these particular works with you? Because, as I was working about my garden, I got to thinking about how important ornamentation is in the garden. It can add so much and really showcase the gardener's personality and aesthetic. I also realized that I had a lot of stuff scattered around in my beds, and I thought "these would make good pictures," so there you go.
I've always tried to accomplish a few things with my garden ornamentation. First, I use arches, obelisks, etc, to add a vertical element to the garden. I love vines (what is a garden without a clematis?) and climbing and rambling roses. Instead of simply running these up a trellis (which I also do) I like to place vines in the middle or in odd places in the garden where I feel like more height is needed.
My porch - ignore the rusty ironwork - it's one of those things that I have meant to get around to forever. I used to grow sweet peas up it to hide it. I'm starting to digress (in a caption!) so let's get back to the body of the post!
I have two roses, one with a clematis and one with a perennial sweet pea, on obelisks in the garden in front of the porch. Without them, the garden would leave the porch too exposed. One is a pretty iron obelisk that I bought at a garden center, the other is made out of three pieces of bamboo that I joined like a teepee at the top. When I sit on the porch, I get this pretty view.
Height can be added with ornamentation, too. I used to have a birdbath in the garden, but I pushed down on it this spring and the bath part (it's got to have a better name than this, but I don't know it) broke off of the center. Dejected, I started carting it to the trash when I realized that if I put the pole behind something medium tallish, say some catmint, it would add more height and look awful pretty. I could be my small garden column. I had an area that needed some rehab, so that's exactly what I did.
A few years ago, our neighborhood was over run with chipmunks. I love the little guys, and I think everyone else did, but then we adopted Foxy the cat, who, as it turns out, liked to hunt chipmunks. There are no more chipmunks in the neighborhood. They all ended up as prizes on my front door mat. So I decided to add this little guy as a memorial where the chipmunks used to peek up their little heads.