What is it about water features?  In the Borders, the top pool had gone ‘dead’, the frogs had deserted, and the fish were long dead.  Beneath the duckweed, the water was grey, stagnant, dead.  Well, all that’s changed.  I syphoned off the water, James cleared out the weed and mud, and that’s all down on the courgette bed still to be planted.  The water is clear, refished, and we watch the occasional re-emergent duckweed with calculating hatred.

Elsewhere, it’s as bad.  In Alec’s London garden, the little lion’s head (above) no longer spouts.  Foxed have chewed the pump’s electrics, and anyway, we can’t find it for hugely grown hostas and ivy.  And in the Lincolnshire garden, with its original fountainhead stolen, the pump is either fused, mud-filled, or otherwise out of action.


I’ve bought myself a pump for the top pool.  Nothing startling.  It would take twenty minutes to fill a wine bottle.  But how does it reach the pool.  Via a waterfall, even if that’s out of an old stone trough?  Out of a twee bronze frog?  Something Japanese-ish and bamboo?  Or a face….

Well, faces are ok.  We can’t do (though would adore) a Vaux-le-Vicomte.  We don’t really want a concrete lion.  Then, what about….

A natty bronze one?  That would look good amongst the irises and rogersias, though a bit daft spouting out of the garden room stones.

What could work would be a spigot, or even a nice old brass tap.  I’d like a nice Roman spigot like this best, and we’ve plenty of whopping stone blocks that were dug out of the ‘ruin’ floor to make some sort of support for it…

But what about supporting living craftsfolk?  Like this rather nice face, that makes little reference to the antique? It manages to be slightly sinister (which I like), modern, and which I rather fancy with Rogersia tabularis and shuttlecock ferns.

Alternatively, there’s a little garage just off the Columbia Road flower market that does concrete, or plaster, repros of all sorts of things from Art Deco alsatian dogs to the private parts of ‘David’.  He had a rather nice river god that can be drilled to make a fountainhead.  He would inset into a masonry wall quite easily.  But I’ve been collecting other faces, and can’t decide on what the face should express…..




About david stuart

garden writer and journalist, and occasionally a designer, with a garden in the Scottish borders, and his pal's gardens in Edinburgh, London, and Lincolnshire. They keep both of us very, very busy. Books I've written listed on my website, and dozens of articles and garden and plant pictures. Currently working on several new projects. One of these was to return to painting - see the blog - and which is proving exciting! or, more fun, have a look at
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