After years of making do with decaying benches bought from big box stores, we decided it was time to move on to some improved ways of encouraging relaxation among the flowers — something that still doesn’t happen often enough. This notion was inspired by our visit to Chanticleer in June. They have a lot of benches and chairs in the gardens and they are often painted whimsical colors which brings of smiles of delight. When you pause and view the vista you get a different picture than when you are just walking through the grounds.
We found our chairs at Lands’ End. They are made in the U.S. of North American Maple and come fully painted and ready to go after a short assembly (all the fittings pre-drilled and it only takes about 15 minutes per chair). They are just as comfortable as they look and were marked down from from $159 to $110.50 each. Shipping was just $18.95 total for both chairs. They have been used to watch the fireflies in the evenings or to look at approaching thunderstorms with a glass of wine at hand.
Also out on the bank above the pasture we have put a new three-person wooden bench.
This one is made in Viet Nam from Kapur (a teak-like tropical hardwood) and is available through Amazon. Assembly was a little more complicated but it’s quite well made with the same kind of metal inserts and bolt combination that was pioneered by scandanavian furniture makers. And the old weather-worn bench has been moved to the fairy circle in the woods.
Our picnic table had basically fallen apart this past year so we also replaced that item with an unfinished kit from Home Depot that was made of untreated southern pine. We then spent a morning staining that table with the following result.
Also in the back yard now is a tiny new bench for our one and only granddaughter. Besides some possible use while she is visiting, it serves to remind us of Aoife everytime we look in the backyard.
Those are jungle animals carved in the back of the bench. So altogether these have been very satisfying additions to the outdoor ‘rooms’.
On the garden front the Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ that I had mentioned previously have come out into full bloom. They do a good imitation of a jungle plant.
Another big contributor on the flower front right now are the gladiolus. We have a family tradition raising glads. Years ago my Aunt and Uncle in Canada came within one garden of qualifying an All-American Glad (the All-Americans get tested in trial gardens around the country). I still remember my Grandmother breaking the old corms off the glads as a wintertime activity. Probably our favorite right now has to be the bicolor that Beth picked off the rack at Russell’s Garden Center in Wayland, MA a couple of years ago. The picture on the bag looked impossible flashy but indeed it was pretty accurate (congrats to Jonathan for identifying this one as ‘Princess Margaret Rose’, named in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s sister).
We dig them every year for the winter even though glads are sometimes hardy in our area. And they have multiplied since we first got them. They make spectacular arrangements when brought indoors.
Of course glads are almost a natural for flower arranging on the inside. All those ruffles and widely varying colors. Another color that has a lot of impact is the green one (I think it’s ‘Green Star’ from Brent & Becky’s). But it’s pretty hard to go wrong with glads…