I fall into the category of gardeners who like to use garden art. My good gardener friend Della doesn't. Many of my gardener friends fall into one camp or the other. Some like appropriate garden art but don't have many pieces in their gardens. Others avoid it in their gardens while gushing about the beautiful art pieces in civic and professional gardens and botanical displays.
For other gardeners, like me, garden art can enhance the emotion that a garden evokes. Whether it's beauty, whimsy, introspection, or any specific theme, a garden reflects a gardener's design and the desire to induce a response by the viewer. Some garden art can amplify the reaction intended by the gardener. Admittedly, some garden art can degrade visual appreciation.
The reason I think so many gardeners have issues with garden art is because of the perceived abuses and excesses. Many of us have walked past a garden that is overrun with gnomes or flamingos or ceramic bunnies. In some gardens the garden art vastly outnumbers the actual plants. I can understand why a serious and dedicated gardener would have a personal problem with such landscapes; they think a garden's focus should be on plants.
But I think that each garden exists for that garden's gardener. With the exception, minimally, of big city botanical gardens created to be enjoyed by the masses, most gardens are designed, built, and maintained by gardeners for their own enjoyment and satisfaction. Sure, we love to share the beauty, but ultimately we garden for ourselves.
That means we use or don't use garden art because of our personal preferences. I have vague memories of being very young and encountering small sculptures in my grandmother's garden. Maybe that's why one reason why I like to use garden art. I've also seen many gardens with man-made additions that drew an emotion and made me smile and I want to recreate that. I like the little hidden figures that can be discovered among my plants.
I do have beds attempting to recreate such gardens on a small scale. The plants are selected and positioned for their structure, texture, and color. The simple beauty of the plants and flowers is enough.
My basic gardening style is one of balance. I grow flowers and vegetables. I grow in pots and raised beds and open plots. I have indoor plants and outdoor plants. I have flowering plants and non-flowering plants side by side. And I have garden art in some areas and not in others.
That's how I garden. I'm always open to suggestions and new ideas, but I garden for me and my enjoyment. I garden to induce a response from the viewer and most of the time the viewer is me. And I like garden art.