Nicola here. I’m sitting outside today in the sunshine (we’ve been having very un-summery weather here in the UK lately so I’m making the most of it) and around me are various ornaments that are, literally, part of the garden design and something I really love having in my garden. There’s Fez, Kiwi and Piwi (who are metal birds) and elsewhere, my badger (in the photo), tortoise and even a peregrine falcon with its beak chewed off by one of the guide dog puppies. I’d never really thought what a feature garden ornamentation is until I read an article recently saying that the tradition of decorating your garden – or grove – dates back to Ancient Egypt.
The Ancient Greeks favoured statues of the well-endowed god Priapus which were placed outside to encourage fertility, act as bird scarers and allegedly warn of unpleasant consequences to trespassers. I haven’t included a picture of Priapus out of respect for readers’ sensibilities but the idea of decorating one’s garden with statuary was one that endured through the Roman period when the fashion for sculptures of animals began. At Roman villa complexes in England designs for hedges have been found that allowed for gaps where urns and statues were displayed.