Any person who has ever had a mind to cultivate a garden has a love for all of nature’s creatures. Even the aphids I squish, and the Japanese beetles I whisk into bags for the trash, the rabbits, the white flies on my dahlias that enrage me, the bloody slugs-I still have a tough time not welcoming any of nature’s creatures to my garden. I might as well put up a sign: Any natural transient welcome: room and board available at no charge and please, stay as long as you like. No wonder that sculptures of bugs, birds, dogs, are every bit as interesting to gardeners as sculptures of the human sort.
Gardeners understand that people don’t own the planet, they are but one species among a whole planet of species. My shop has always been friendly to all manner of fauna. The corgis have been here every day for the last four years, and MCat maybe 7 years; these three came during the reign of Hoppy the toad, Jojo the cat and Jack and Libby, the mini schnauzers. Who knows who or how another creature might be added to the current Corgi administration; anything can change. The place would not seem right without them; many people know them by name, bring treats, or pitch the ball down the driveway for them. These astonishing cast and wrought iron armatures are all that remain of a pair of eagle sculptures from France, some several hundred years old. Though made of iron, they have an unmistakeable air of power and vitality. The little faux crows-we like these too.
Troy’s sculptures of birds and animals speak much to his respect and love of nature. His work has great appeal, for good reason. I so love how directly he sculpts. Some garden sculpture is more about the technique of the sculptor, rather than the feeling of the sculpture itself. People readily sort this out, and gravitate towards that which strikes a chord for them. Whether it be for fun, or in memory of something or someone, an appreciation for art in a garden comes naturally.
Mary Hode is an English sculptor of formidable talent. Her husband fashions garden pots I treasure. But her stoneware sculptures of cats are so beautiful, I would be confident asking any person to consider adding her work to their collection-whether for inside or out. Their faces have a distinctly human look about them; I understand this. I do believe my Corgis are people in dog costumes.
No lion lives in my zone, but the lion is a very popular motif in garden sculpture. They are on duty every day, holding court, standing watch. This English cast stone lion has a very British culture feeling to it.
This finely detailed lead hare comes from the English lead ornament company known as Crowther and Sons. What gardener in my zone has not shared their garden with the rabbits? I do love the expression-you think he ate the lilies??
This handmade Italian terra cotta sculpture of a dove is beautifully rendered. I like small terra cotta sculptures like this, keeping my pots company over the summer. I have spots for them indoors, for the winter.
This Belgian concrete terrier circa 1930 has a sassy terrier expression, indeed. I gave him a rope collar for the winter. I never had much interest in the doll thing, but I do like dressing my sculpture for an occasion. Just for fun.
This concrete poodle got a very stylish holiday wreath hat made from red wood shavings. This dignified little dog, suffering the indignity of this silly hat, got plenty of attention until one gardener found him impossible to resist, and took him home. I like this part of gardening-most everything about it is irresistible.