When it’s more than just a pretty face

Who hasn’t explored a garden only to come face to face with a Grecian goddess, a grinning pixie, or the likeness of Bacchus, Neptune, or Mother Nature. In gardens, as in life, faces are as varied as the cultures and eras they represent. But the countenances found on pots, medallions, ornamental masks, mosaic creations, carvings, and pieces of metal welded or wired together to form an expression do more than represent a multitude of personalities.

Mellow yellow. With her short, curly, burgundy “bob” and floral surroundings, this girl is anything but mellow! All images by Diane Morey Sitton

Like scene-stealing divas, garden faces can steal the show, creating memorable points of interest in garden rooms, on terraces, and in flower beds. They add depth, set themes, and establish moods. Often, when encountered amid plants or around a bend in a path, faces bring a sense of surprise. As if that’s not enough, sometimes during the solitary tasks of weeding and watering, the gaze of a leaf maiden or mischievous elf fosters a sense of companionship.

Jack in the pot. Pansy, dusty miller and fern surround this wide-eyed jester.

Continued Below


Facing the facts
Like the bold, brazen, and bashful characters they depict, objects adorned with faces range from 30-inch-tall art pieces that dominate garden rooms to coy countenances that peak from pots. The equally varied list of materials includes marble, concrete, hypertufa, wood, ceramic, stone, and terra cotta.

Goddess in residence. Coiffed with rabbit’s foot fern, this classic profile is a striking garden accent.

About face
Head-shaped pots look their most compelling when crowned with a fern, succulent, or grassy, hair-like plant. Give them a “long-haired do” by planting creeping Jenny or other trailing selection. To fully appreciate their expressions, display them on tables, pedestals, or other elevated objects.

Here comes the sun. Large sun faces are a welcome accent on garden walls.

Plaques, ornamental masks, and medallion-shaped faces add personality to walls, screens, and fences. Exhibit a Mayan sun face at poolside: brandish a gargoyle on an ivy-covered wall: showcase a cherub on a patio partition.

Put a face on it. Even birdhouses can depict a character.

Fern beds invite freestanding faces chiseled from wood: pedestals invite faces chipped from stone. Large tree trunks summon four-piece kits containing eyes, nose, and mouth. Folksy one-of-a-kind wood carvings complement serendipitous gardens.

Tin man. Who wouldn’t love this exaggerated, red-faced mug cut from a salvaged metal sign.

With their thought-provoking visages, earthy materials, and decorative value it’s easy for garden faces to become garden friends.

Posted by Diane Morey Sitton
Back To Top