The Art of Gardening
Choosing Concrete Statuary
When you mention the words " concrete statuary" what typically comes to mind? Garden gnomes? Birdbaths? Maybe it's a St. Francis statue or the woodland deer. No matter what statuary in your garden means, there are lots of ways to use it and good reasons to have it.
Statuary has a way of lending a little or a lot of whimsy to your garden. On a stylistic note, you can use whimsical characters in your garden, be they gnomes, birds or other woodland creatures to enhance a particular feel or aesthetic look that caters to your personality.
That's not to say that you need several pieces to achieve that look. If you are trying to create a Zen-like feel of a Japanese-inspired space, perhaps all you need to go with that sculpted pine tree is the simplicity of a Japanese lantern. What about adding a seated Buddha or a bench for contemplation? The idea here is that through the simple addition of one or two pieces you can effectively create a strong aesthetic design.
In classical garden design, there was always the presence of strong architectural pieces to lend weight and dimension to the spaces. While very few of us have the ability to create large-scale designs like those of the past, we can still enhance the spaces that we do have by mimicking those techniques. There are many recreations of classic garden art that are considerably scaled down to better fit the modern day urban setting; everything from columns and urns to neo-classical forms of Greek gods and other mythical beings.
Maybe you need a cleaner, less thematic space, one with clean lines and simple shapes. Statuary has evolved to include postmodern tastes and eclecticism with rounded and cubist shapes in planters, statues, and even water features.
As the buyer for statuary at Sky Nursery, I'm always looking for new and interesting items to bring to our store. We have great sources for statuary and we'll try to meet any need you might have through custom ordering from our vendors.
By Joe Abken
Skylights Autumn 2007, Vol 22, No. 3
articles on the art of gardening