Sending a message – garden style

As if the fragrance of a rose, the radiance of a sunflower, or the promise of spring expressed by a daffodil weren’t expressive enough, gardeners use signs to communicate. And the messages they send span the spectrum from sweet to sarcastic, from sentimental to salty, from practical to playful to patriotic.

Music to the ears: Signs come in all sizes, shapes, and materials. All photos by Diane Morey Sitton.

Often, the messaging begins with a “Welcome” sign suspended from a garden gate. Once inside, signs reading “Garden of weedin” and “Soil sport” give a wink and a nod to green-thumbed friends. “Earth laughs in flowers” provides rich commentary for colorful annual beds. Signs declaring “Hummingbird haven” identify drifts of nectar-rich flowers and provide a perch for the high-energy aerialists. In gardens that twinkle with lights, “Fireflies welcome” magnifies the enchantment.

Big hearted: This small sign uses words and symbols to get its message across.

And just as there is no end to the quips, quotes, and captivating messages gardeners post in their landscapes, there are no limitations to sign structure and style. Whether purchased or homemade, letters are commonly scribed into wood; scrawled on tin; and painted on bottles, fence pickets, and discarded garden tools. In fact, when it comes to getting the message across, even bits of pottery and glass that are pieced together mosaic-style onto a rock or stepping stone have something to say.

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Free spirited: An appealing tangle of vines helps present the humorous message displayed in this garden.

Fortunately, gardens offer endless spots to flaunt words of wisdom. Using wire, rope, chain, and even vine, gardeners dangle signs from shepherd’s rods and porch posts. They affix them to gates and fences, and they nail them to the sides of garden sheds. When displayed in nooks and crannies, small signs send big messages; when placed beside paths, short-winded messages keep the traffic flowing. A single sign leaned against pots on a garden work bench can be a daily reminder or inspiration. Low walls, trellises, arbors, flowerbeds, and herb gardens invite garden signs, as well.

Message board: A sign at the entrance to a small kitchen garden provides information and a focal point.

Signs set mood, create focal points, provide plant information, and express personal style. But, best of all, signs are there to help when the language of flowers lacks just the right words.

Mood setter: A sign decorated with an appealing scene, bright colors, and carefree patterns adds to the overall appeal of this garden.

Posted by Diane Morey Sitton
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