The Willmann garden – Where the sun always shines
There’s a gardener in Lufkin, Texas, who enjoys telling folks that the sun always shines in her backyard, even on cloudy days.
Indeed. Walter and Stacey Willmann’s garden boasts nearly two dozen large sun faces. But the expressive faces that animate fences, adorn garden sheds, and hang from tree trunks are only one of the lighthearted features—and collections—found in this whimsical wonderland.
Garden signs, with sentiments ranging from “welcome” to “gardeners know all the dirt,” are posted near gates, beside garden paths, and next to herbs and veggies. Birdhouses, too, embellish the setting. They complement the colorful glass bird feeders that dot the landscape. Stacey handcrafts the one-of-a-kind feeders in her “little workshop,” a quaint garden focal point that sits behind raised herb and vegetable beds. Nearby, a collection of wind chimes dangles from a favorite plum tree.
“I love to decorate indoors and out,” she confesses, adding that sometimes where others see a wall or fence and think nothing further about it, she sees a blank canvas. “I decorate my privacy fence with sun faces, birdhouses, and unique outdoor metal and wood art pieces.”
But Stacey’s flair for decorating goes far beyond hanging décor on fences. If you look closely, you’ll notice color themes that tie areas together “garden room” fashion: there are the red and teal pillows on the family heirloom swing, the red flower pots, and the metal garden-art cardinal that connect the pergola area to the teal, red, and white mowing shed behind it; there are the blue-bottle wind chimes that hang over the blue flower pots on the steps of the workshop; there is the teal-accented garden sign that complements the teal art deco flower that hangs on a teal, red, gold, and white “fence panel.” The brightly-colored panels were assembled, painted, and distressed by Walter. The Willmanns display them throughout the garden.
But collections and color themes are only part of the appeal of the Willman garden. Just when you think you’ve discovered all the treasures here, you bend down to smell a rose and come across a small garden gnome half-hidden amongst the branches, or you notice a yard art lady bug tucked under a salvia plant, or you see a ceramic pitcher suspended from a shepherds’ rod amid cast iron plant foliage.
“I like to create little surprises for someone to find,” Stacey explains, referring to the small birdbaths, cherubs, and medley of bird and animal art nestled among the plants.
She also scatters all kinds of herbs and flowers throughout the garden.
“I plant herbs and flowers everywhere I can,” she says. “I love the smell of rosemary, lavender, lemon balm, pineapple sage, garden sage, and mints, including peppermint, spearmint, and chocolate mint, to name a few.”
So how do you describe a garden where herbs and heirloom tomatoes mingle, where elephant ears and metal chickens share the same space, and where signs and sun faces compete for attention on colorful fence panels?
“I like to think of the garden as whimsical,” says Stacey. “It’s a reflection of who I am.”