Country Gardens - - Garden Know-how -

Whirligigs are col­or­ful, creative in­ter­pre­ta­tions of do­mes­tic life, ad­ven­ture, cus­toms, and tra­di­tions. They can be made of any ma­te­rial, on al­most any scale. Keep in mind that works of art de­signed to be dis­played in the great out­doors need to be durable. A few dents and dings add char­ac­ter, but you may need to touch up the paint or make small re­pairs from time to time. Even if a pro­pel­ler is bro­ken, you’ll prob­a­bly be able to fix it your­self—and have fun do­ing so.

Very old and unique whirligigs may cost thou­sands of dol­lars, but if you keep your eyes open you can find vin­tage folk art whirligigs for $50 or less. New whirligigs cost about $30 and up. Or make your own: Pat­terns are avail­able in books and on­line, and you prob­a­bly al­ready have enough scrap lum­ber and use­ful bits of hard­ware to get started. The me­chan­ics are sim­ple. Once you fig­ure them out, you can make up your own de­sign.

In the gar­den, set whirligigs on sturdy poles where they can catch a breeze. If you have a pre­cious old whirligig, treat it with care and dis­play it in­doors. Barry and Allen Huff­man keep most of their col­lec­tion inside, but when they have friends over and the weather is nice, the whirligigs go out into the gar­den, and they get the party crank­ing.

These metic­u­lously painted farmhands with their 10-gal­lon hats bend to their end­less task. Carved fig­ures such as these are rarer than sil­hou­ettes, which can be cut out with a cop­ing saw or jig­saw.

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