Just as many women, regardless of natural beauty (whatever that is), feel compelled to put on earrings and other jewelry on occasion, and guys doff hats or neckties to create an image, every great garden, large or small and without exception – from the uber-formal landscape of Versailles to informal ones around rural cottages – have some sort of accessory. We call it garden art.

Bottle tree

When plants lose seasonal interest, bottle trees keep the color going.

Photo Credit: Felder Rushing

Concrete chicken

Don’t be chicken to try something different!

Photo Credit: Felder Rushing

Grazing globe

Gazing globes bring color and reflected light to flower beds.

Photo Credit: Felder Rushing

Pink flamingos

Ya gotta have fun when you accessorize!

Photo Credit: Felder Rushing

Typical garden accessories include fountains, statuary, sculpture, urns, pottery, animal figures, wall or other hanging objects, folk art and much more. But scarecrows, stacked rocks, pink flamingos and bottle trees – dead trees festooned with colorful glass bottles (and one of my specialties) – fit in there somewhere as well.

Even built-in “hard features,” like unique gates, seating, interesting fence details, paving material or stylized night lighting fixtures, can be used to create a particular mood or invoke a style that says something about your interests, as well as your garden.

Style is an odd concept to garden variety gardeners, who usually have lots of mismatched stuff on display. Try to stick with objects that complement or borrow material or color from your home’s architecture; you wouldn’t expect to see a rustic fence around a formal mansion, or a matching pair of crouching lions in front of a suburban ranch style house.

And size does matter. Big landscapes and wide spaces call for bold pieces of garden art, but in a small space, you can truly get a million dollars-worth of embellishment from a single well-placed clay pot! Small objects – like the bowling balls scattered in my flower beds and my grandmother’s concrete chicken beside a path – are just right for complementing my cluttered flower beds. But I have larger, bolder pieces at the ends of walks, as well as fence-like divisions separating different garden areas.

Finally, accessories carry your garden through difficult times, like in winter, when flowers are mostly missing, or when you have to cut down your cannas thanks to leaf roller caterpillars. That’s when you need something visual in the garden, to keep your interest until things grow back.

Ya gotta accessorize! It’s your space, your style. Worst thing that can happen is people will talk about you. But hey, they probably do anyway – so you might as well enjoy your garden the way you want!