A garden is infinitely more interesting when it reflects the owner’s personal vision: whether it is through the selection of plants, trees, or the way all of the landscaping elements come together to form a pleasing effect. A garden that includes art, urns and architectural salvage brings a whole new dimension that adds structure, imagination and even whimsy. It’s a creative endeavour that can be as satisfying for the creator as it is for the viewer.
This post explores examples from a few gardens in eastern Ontario where the summers are short, but where the visual impact is extended throughout the year with the clever use of carefully placed art and objects in the garden. We have also included local sources and links to the artists’ websites at the end of this post.
The work of the sculptor John McEwen sits at the side of a garden where two retired OCAD professors reside along the Napanee River. It is a large-scale forged iron container entitled “Spring Tonic”. The light can be seen through the work at different angles and at different times of the day creating what the artist refers to as a “Porous Body” or transparent effect.
Among the ferns is another piece by John McEwen of a full-sized work in his “Solid Body – Animal” series.
Gardens that incorporate art create a sense of discovery for the viewer. They help us see the landscape in a new way which is enhanced by the interaction between the plants and the objects, as these examples illustrate:
Carved wooden works can be challenging in a garden but this antiques dealer in Croydon added some whimsical folk art to the family’s vegetable garden. The figures sit against a 19th century log milk shed moved to the site and repurposed as a garden shed:
This painter in the Tamworth area commissioned a custom made balcony by the metal works sculptor, Jane Longstaffe. The railings intersperse arabesque shapes of garlic scapes with birds and insects effectively integrating his 19th century stone house with the extensive gardens outside. Several of Jane Longstaffe’s iron works also dot the landscape creating a sense of fun and wonder in his garden:
Planters and Urns
A garden would not be complete without planters and urns. Here are a few of our favorites:
We have seen salvaged items employed in some ingenious ways in gardens: sometimes they are used to create entrance ways, steps, as garden art, or to cover up unsightly well caps:
Gardens provide a source of inspiration, creativity, joy and discovery. According to this Chinese proverb:
Life begins the day you start a garden…
Architectural and Salvage
- Ballycanoe & Co – Specializing in 19th Century Architectural Salvage – www.ballycanoeco.com
- Croydon House Antiques – Dealing in Objects of Merit – www.croydonhouse.com
- Salvage Garden – Curated Collection of Architectural and Industrial Artefacts – www.salvagegarden.ca
There are two nurseries that incorporate sculpture and display gardens worth visiting in eastern Ontario:
- Farmgate Gardens – www.farmgatecardens.ca
- Rideau Woodland Ramble – Display Gardens and Centre – www.rideauwoodlandsramble.com
- Susan Low-Beer – susanlow-beer.com
- Jane Longstaffe – janelonstaffesculpture.com
- John McEwen – johnmcewensculpture.com
Rogues’ Hollow Antiques would like to thank the following individuals for generously allowing us to share their inspiring gardens with our readers:
- Christopher Broadhurst
- Wendy Cain and David Hunt
- The Field Family