By Michele J. Kuhn
Everything from classical to whimsical available at area merchants
Looking to put a pig in your petunias? A fountain amongst the forsythia? Maybe an angel to accent the aster daisies or an urn in which to plant ursinias?
Stone, concrete, steel or cast iron, architectural pieces, those with whimsy and stationary pieces or ones that move with the breeze are among the wide range of decorative items available at garden centers, landscapers and specialty stores throughout Monmouth County.
The appeal of decorative pieces, said Jane Sudler Black, owner of Church Street in Little Silver, is that homeowners “want things they don’t have to water or talk to… and it gives their gardens another dimension.”
Sudler Black has been seeing a trend toward more “architectural salvage” pieces in the garden this year. She has been selling glazed vases with an Egyptian motif that were made in England during the 1920s after King Tut’s tomb was discovered and those designs were all the rage. “They look great in the garden,’’ she said.
Jane DiMisa, owner of Entertain with Jane at 114 East River Road, Rumson, said her clients often ask for classic, traditional pieces, liked the large Campania pots she sells which she then fills to overflowing with a variety of flowers in an English-garden style. “I like things that bloom at different times,” she said. “I don’t want something to look good in June but not in August.”
DiMisa’s clients also have been looking for a varied décor for their gardens, a “more eclectic look that’s not so matchie-matchie.”
When it comes to whimsical pieces, DiMisa has found that a trend this year is frogs in the garden. “They are really big this year. Last year it was bunnies… It’s cyclical,” she said. Last year also heralded the year of the garden gnome, perhaps to coincide with the release of the animated film “Gnomeo and Juliet.”
Over the years, Sudler Black has seen her clients enjoy setting stone or concrete pigs in their greenery and flowers. “Pigs are probably No. 1. I don’t know why, I don’t. Maybe it has something to do with Homer from ‘Charlotte’s Web,’” she said.
Church Street, located at 50 Church St., also sells a lot of turtles and stone or concrete rabbits. “People like other animals, too. I am now trying to find vintage animals,” Sudler Black said.
Natale Sichare, garden center assistant manager at Sickles Market in Little Silver, calls decorative pieces for the garden “hardscapes,” something around which homeowners can plan their gardens. “Statuary and statues are the focal point of the garden. Your home doesn’t stop at the windows…it expands beyond the glass, beyond the window treatments,” he said. “Once you have that hardscape, you do the soft, the garden.”
Decorative pieces in the garden are “something to catch your eye,” Sichare said.
Among the items that are popular with customers are fountains, which Sichare said “romances the garden and brings in birds and wildlife.” Fountains also add a calming feature and the sound of the water tripping over rocks or flowing into a pool often blocks out other undesirable sounds, like traffic. “It’s like white noise, it detracts from the noise.”
“Organic and Zen are the trends of these last couple of years,” he said.
Sickles has a wide variety of items including reproductions of classic sculpture, birdbaths, stone owls for fun and metal windcatchers that move in the breeze like pinwheels of palm fronds. There are Buddhas and large pottery vases, stone flip-flops for stepping-stones and urns.
For new homeowners looking to locate statuary and focal pieces in their garden, Sichare recommends that they observe their property for a full year so they will know what each season will bring and how the yard will look under a variety of conditions, light and weather. “A lot of people run to get landscaping done. I think you need to be in your home for a year so you’ll know things like which window you’ll be looking out of after you put your furniture in,” he said. “Try it on for size and see where the light is and where the sun comes up and sets.”