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My garden has pink flamingos from the original factory in Leominster, MA. Personally, I like seeing what oddities others populate their gardens and yards with, the odder, the better!

I just wish non-gardeners would stop buying their gardening friends doo-dads, and wait to see them in use! If someone wanted to buy me a really nice solar fountain I probably wouldn't complain, but otherwise, forget the signs and sleeping cement pigs.

Perhaps the BEST RANT so far. My garden with one hundred species, is thought as not to look like any other, ugly or not.

My stance is that if you have a house worth a million bucks and drive one of those expensive foreign status cars, why
should you have a shitty garden, just like the fellow in the fifty thousand range trailer trash?

Excellent rant, since it leaves no doubt as to what is wrong with nurseries in general and those garden stores,the owners and customers alike, the herds with blind shepherds, for the reasons eloquently expressed here.

I've been looking for a life sized carved wooden black bear for the garden, but haven't been able to find the right one. I guess I'll have to plant another Japanese maple.

My favorite garden ornament? ROCKS. For my birthday, my husband got me some boulders. Best. Present. Ever. (Until last year and the new puppy dog.)

CUTE KILLS, just another Tara Rule included in the classes I teach at Atlanta Botanical Garden.

ONE FOCAL POINT/AREA. SUBSIDIARY FOCAL POINTS allowed. Create lots of rooms get lots of areas for Focal Points.

JUST LET IT TOUCH. Foliage should touch most Focal Points.

Given something TACKY from a stepchild, mother-in-law & etc???? Site it for a year in your landscape, grow a vine on it. Then it DIES. Tell the gift giver it broke, though you know it is at GoodWill.

Beware 'WORDS' in your garden. "Welcome", why have a sign when your landscape (should) already say it.

OVERDOSE ON A THEME. Lots of little metal bugs? Put them all in a mixed border with succession planting. A subtle form of Cute Kills but it works because of Just Let It Touch.

Know landscape design rules so you can break landscape design rules with FABULOSITY.

Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

To each his own.

I go for rocks and gnarled wood myself and let the plants do the talkin'.

I get the rusted metal old farm tool idea but a little goes a long way and it doesn't work everywhere.

I have never understood the attraction to faces or heads as objects or containers either inside the house or out in the garden. It looks like decapitated people to me, like a trophy wall of big game heads. Same goes for hands or arms - too creepy for my garden.

Walking through my neighborhood I see COUNTLESS beautiful gardens that are TRASHED with dozens of obnoxious yard art (aka junk). There is no better way to ruin a landscape. One tasteful focal point is all that is needed. My top two offenses: 1. Plastic flowers in pots. Awful. 2. A garden littered with faded resin statutes. PLEASE THROW THEM AWAY.

"create something unique for your space?"

Can we all agree to stop saying "space" in this context? How about "create something unique for your garden?".

The word "space" is overused enough on HGTV...
as in "That's a nice space", "This is a great space"...


Just yesterday I was reading up on photographer Sally Mann, whose father instructed her there are only three proper subjects for art: sex, death, and whimsy. I suppose we could charitably say some gardeners try to cover all the bases.

Falling on deaf ears. I'm a garden snob. My guess is--as I alienate lots of folks--that 50% reading this piece have far too many objets de crap (that includes plants of the same height in mismatched colors and textures). I agree, go for it and spend $200-300 bucks on a unique sculpture--I've found them at local arts fairs and on ebay. If you want your scultpure to do double duty and feed birds, check out Joe Papendick's INCREDIBLE bird feeder sculptures, some for as low as $60, and topping out at $350 for way neato stuff.

"People don’t create a garden as a stage for their burgeoning gnome collection."

Gardeners don't, but commoners do. You'd be which I mean "disgusted".

My old boss only cared about color (constant blooms of any sort) and her stupid bird theme. Her backyard looked like a bad ayahuasca trip. Sure, the plants were healthy and strong, but they were mismatched and utterly corrupted by lame ceramic cockatoos and other ill-judged ornaments from everywhere.

Uptight much?? Gardening is an expression of the person and is about what makes the individual person happiest in their garden! Some may want to have perfect borders and nice little rows of flowers. Others have plants spilling over into walkways and growing wildly all over but guess what it's their garden!! Me I love whimsy, I love odd statues, metal work and the like. I have themed gardens, ones with moose, faerie, pigs, dragonflies and even those gnomes! My garden paths meander in and around the flowers, and you might find a faerie hidden among the hosta, a dragonfly taking flight near the pond, a pig peaking out from the phlox, a moose munching on violets or a gnome near the roses! It's fun, it brings a smile to my face and in the end that is what it's all about. Making me happy, that is why I garden, to satisfy my soul. My borders spill over, my plants grow too tall for places that they are planted in and that's ok because I'm not gardening to win awards, to be a famed plant collector or to impress anyone. I garden for me, myself and I! I'll never rid my garden of the things that make me smile and really how boring it would be for every garden to look like every other garden without the gardeners personal touch of whimsy in it! I say celebrate your gnomes, turtles, bears and flower stakes! If it makes you happy that is what matters in the end, the Jone's be dammed!!!!

You have to be careful with rocks, though. Potato Queen. Lauren and Scott Springer Ogden call them "meteor plantings" where "large rocks are plopped incongruously on a site with no relation to place, the plants there, or to each other."

I was just thinking about this on my drive in to work this morning. The tacky lawn/garden ornament of choice here in the Boston area seems to be a painted statue of Mary in a shell.

that is all.

Right on, Angie!! Are we not paying attention to the part of the Garden Rant manefesto about having "a hell of alot of fun" in our gardens? Since when is this a gathering place for garden snobs? I'm having too much fun gardening my ass off to care what the neighbors think. I do what I wanna do, learn as I go and if I happen to plant some silly object in a perennial bed that is meaningful to me and only me, do I care if someone is offended by my lack of taste? Hell no! Do what you wanna do, I say. Like the manefesto says, gardening is supposed to be fun, dirty and chaotic....not about creating boring, perfect magazine gardens. And, btw, I get plenty of complements on my garden, most of them from people who know that it expresses my own quirky personality, not someone else's idea of good taste.

While garden baubles certainly aren't my taste, I really think that people should be able to do whatever they want in their gardens - garish or not. How boring if all gardens were tasteful. I also think that taste is somewhat culturally dictated.

So I say long live garden gnomes and flashy baubles if they make the gardener happy.

I'm kind of alarmed that so many people cast such a jaundiced eye at other people's gardens. What's up with that?

To Angie and woolysunflower:

Gardening by definition is a piece of ground used for growing PLANTS, such as flowers, fruit, or vegetables. Do you see your garden more as a place for your plants or for your garden-oriented collection? Would you be more upset about a plant dying or eaten by bugs or one of your garden ornaments being damaged or stolen? If you are finding yourself in the latter camp, I suggest that your garden isn't really a garden at all but an outdoor curios cabinet. The garden must be first and foremost about the PLANTS. Yes, there is room for art in the garden, but there has to be limits.

Jennifer, those Mother Mary statues are all over south Lousiana and have been a part of that culture for decades(something to do with warding off hurricanes).I used to hate them, but over the years they grew on me. They're expressions of that particular place on the planet and therefore, fit in beautifully. Somewhere around here, I have a photo I took in some tiny south Lousiana town, of one of those statues in front of a trailer with plastic flowers planted around her. Some would be offended by the extreme lack of taste, but I thought it was an example of beauty in it's most simple and humble form.

I don't see why there have to be limits.

There is a yard/garden not far from my house that is decorated with ceramic bathroom stuff.All painted various shades of pink & red (the house is also pink). There are plumbing pipe arbors, bathtub & toilet planters, and sinks just standing around doing nothing. It's so odd, I kind of want to go knock on the door & ask them what the hell they are thinking.

Of course, all that being said, I yearn for a sun dial and some ceramic gnomes. I just haven't been able to take the plunge yet.

Living in a rather free-spirited West Coast city, I've had to make my peace with whimsy, even though it's the exact opposite of what I try to do in my own garden. But you can't just push a button and turn gnome-fanciers into advocates of Restrained Good Taste. The world is big and life is messy.

I dislike them because I think that it brings the focus on gardening from the horticultural and science aspect, to that of achieving cuteness and momentary appeal. It cheapens gardening in a sense for me, since ornaments really serve no purpose aside from the occasional focal point or a moment of wry humor. If done tastefully they can even be attractive or stunning. But I think that the majority of ornaments detract, rather than add to the overall appearance of the scape.

My beef is also with the massive market now growing for them. Understandably they are easier and more stable of a market good than any plant, but when you have 50% of the store devoted to various resin animals, ugly fountains, and various ornaments, it makes me begin to wonder if the ornaments are there because of demand, or if the popped up because of ornaments being present in the store?

It's not just the nurseries that sell tacky garden art, have you checked out Horchow or Gary Price ?
I shouldn't say too much more, as I have the occasional task of having to site these type of pieces into other's landscapes and then make it look seamless within the landscape .
Sometimes a $ 25 dollar gnome is just as bad , and in some cases better suited than a $ 10,000 chunk of grinning bronze.
To each their own to enjoy .
Gnomes away !

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