A New Face in the Garden Part 2

And on…  Then, at, yes, a garden centre, propped against the base of a Wellingtonia, there he was.  Bang.  Love at first sight.  Strong featured.  Hair a mass of Medusa like curls.  And, best of all, he was sticking his tongue out.  OK, he was concrete, but it was kind of roughly done, a good colour, and as no-one had plainly fallen like we had, he had the beginnings of a good coat of lichen. No price tag.  The saleman was nonplussed.  Our concrete man had been part of something else, but the something else had got broken, leaving him behind.  The face had a sort of bib, which must have socketed into the ‘something else’.  The salesman named, rather doubtfully,  a price.  We should have beaten him down.  We hastily rushed our new friend to the car, lest the price go up.

A day or so later, impatient, we fearfully hacked the bib away from the face, raided another part of the garden for a one of the huge rectangular stones to make him a plinth, dug up some rodgersias, and voila! There he was amongst the mud and looking smug.

But we wanted him amongst vegetation, when that returns, and a foot or so back from the pool’s margin.  We rigged up some hosepipe to the pump, fed it into the man’s head, and spout he did.  Alas, the pump wasn’t up to the distance the water needed to be thrown, merely increasing the soup-like consistency of the garden.  Ok.  We need a more powerful pump.  Alas too, the plinth is quite high, and we realised how much fun it would be if the water fell first into a stone trough, and then a spigot from that emptied water into the pool…. And then…  But I won’t go on.  We shouldn’t have done it.  We are now spending time (and money) on avoiding something terrible.  A four letter word.  Naff.

our new face


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! www.david-stuart.co.uk or, more fun, have a look at www.pinterest.com/davidcstuart
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2 Responses to A New Face in the Garden Part 2

  1. Roger H. Boulet says:

    Greetings David,
    I had to look for a definition of “naff,” first off. In North America I think we use the word kitsch to mean about the same thing….

    I think anyone who has been to Italy becomes a convert to fountains. I fondly remember when living for some weeks at Aix-en-Provence, there were a number of simple affairs in town, spouting water much like their ancestors had at Aquae Sextiae. There was even one fountain, growing moss that spouted warm water. Residents would bring there plastic containers to fill up on the first rate drinking water. I loved these useful fountains…

    Our present house in Summerland has a spring-fed stream running through our back yard. Usually bordered by iris and day lilies in the spring and summer, right now there is a large quantity of watercress (just above the little waterfall) which we put into our evening soups…I have also planted 5 different kinds of mint at strategic locations….When the windows are open in the summer, we can hear the sounds of this creek… the level never varies… It was actually one of the main reasons why we bought this house almost 20 years ago now… The creek preserves a lot of its natural wild uncivilized character… we love it.. But I do remember Italy and Aix…..

    • david stuart says:

      Roger hi!
      Eerm… In the UK, amongst the visually and morally corrupt, the work ‘kitsch’ is often a term of huge admiration. In fountain terms, it would encompass a large plastic statue of Mickey Mouse having a pee. For those of us not so tainted, the word ‘naff’, uttered with a shudder, would do instead.

      As to your own garden, no purely natural feature, like your spring (of which i am sick with envy), can possibly be either naff or kitsch. However, were you to give it a grotto, plus or minus something like Minnie Mouse or a even a Neo-Classical nymph, then it could be both. If you were hugely rich, and the spring strong enough, and you could do something like the cascade at Villa d’Este, then no word would do. Only a gasp of wonder.

      Snow on Cheviot this morning, and to be down at this level by Friday. A comfort breakfast as a result… croissant with apple and rosehip jelly. Hips of the eglantine rose to be precious about it…


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