Liv­ing sculp­tures

New Zealand Woman’s Weekly - - WEEKLY GARDEN -

If you don’t hap­pen to have an au­then­tic gold pan and match­ing plinth ly­ing around the place, don’t de­spair – you can still make one of these eye-catch­ing liv­ing art­works.

I have my eye on an about-to-be-de­funct bird bath that lives right at the bot­tom of the gar­den.

If you have such a thing, con­sider re-homing it closer to the house and plant­ing the bowl. You can al­ways re­con­sti­tute it as a bird bath in spring.

For a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion, check out your lo­cal gar­den cen­tre for a shal­low ter­ra­cotta basin and a ter­ra­cotta plinth. If there’s no match­ing plinth, grab a planter the right size, shape and colour, up­end it and use that as your base.

But what should you plant? Cy­cla­men is my go-to choice in win­ter. The foliage is as pretty as the flow­ers, and it’s not both­ered by be­ing ig­nored. Choose a low-grow­ing grey-green or dark green Mondo to keep it com­pany, then add a tall or­na­ment.

Ajuga is a low-spread­ing plant with rounded, dark bronze or pur­ple leaves. You could team it with a minia­ture flax in sim­i­lar tones and use a cop­per or­na­ment with a nice patina of verdi­gris for a de­signer look.

Box is a good choice for foliage be­cause it’ll grow in a small con­tainer and will sur­vive very well with a mi­nor amount of food and wa­ter. It’ll go with just about any­thing, so mix and match other plants to your heart’s con­tent.

Live plants can al­ways be a bit of a risk, so mix­ing liv­ing foliage with ar­ti­fi­cial flow­ers and berries will en­sure your sculp­ture looks good even if some­thing turns up its toes. And re­mem­ber, you can al­ways add and sub­tract for ex­tra im­pact. If you don’t want to spend money on or­na­ments, get cre­ative with dead eu­ca­lyp­tus twigs tied to­gether and pushed into the soil, dried seed pods (palms have very dec­o­ra­tive ones) or pieces of pu­mice threaded onto wire.

Hav­ing ex­am­ined the items used in the gold pan, I’m won­der­ing what sort of cre­ative job I could do with corn cobs. Uneaten, of course.

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