As any gardener knows, the plants are the most important part of a garden, but they're not the only part. Garden accessories give your garden character, add interest, and can even be functional. Just look at any of Claude Monet's paintings of his gardens at Giverny. Would they be as beautiful without the bridge arching over the pond or the picturesque iron bench inviting you to rest alongside the path? Whether you have several acres of gardens, or just a small flower patch in your backyard, adding a few accessories will make the space yours.
- What is the style of your garden? Is it English-boxwood formal, with straight lines and a symmetrical layout? Or maybe cottage-garden informal, with wildflowers and grasses blooming wherever they like. It may even be a bit whimsical, with groups of plants growing here and there, just because it felt like the right place to plant them. Whatever your garden's style, your accessories should have the same attitude.
- What kind of accessories do you want? Garden accessories vary from little bird feeders , to stepping stones, to sculptures, fountains, bridges -- the list is nearly endless! When you're deciding what kind of accessories to add to your garden, keep in mind the scale of your space. A large concrete fountain is probably not the right choice for your backyard marigold border, and a dainty little hummingbird feeder is going to get lost in your giant-size sunflower patch!
- If in doubt, start small. If you aren't sure of what you want to add to your garden, pick out a few inexpensive, easily movable accessories. Then, if you don't like them, you won't have invested a lot of time or money. The great thing about garden accessories is that they're a lot easier to return than plants!
- It's time to start shopping! Once you have a general idea of what garden accessories you want, get out there and start shopping. Here's a short list of places to look to get you started:
- Home and garden centers. Although the choice of garden accessories at your local home and garden center may not be exactly inspiring, the prices are usually good and the selection is ample.
- Local craft shows. If there's a craft show in your area, be sure to stop by. Craft shows are great places to find unique, off-the-beaten-path types of accessories that will be the envy of your friends.
- Florists. Many florists feature some garden accessories and outdoor plants, in addition to the more typical indoor plants and flowers.
- Botanical centers. If you're fortunate enough to live in an area with a botanical center or garden, check their shop for garden accessories. Although they may be a bit more expensive, they usually have a unique selection.
- Internet. If you are comfortable with shopping over the Internet, you can find nearly any garden accessory your heart desires. Some good sites to try are Backyard Gardener, Garden Expressions and Garden Art & Accessories.
When you have selected some accessories for your garden, head out there and find just the right spot to place them. And if you can't find the right spot, don't despair -- it may just be waiting to fit in to a garden you haven't even planted yet!