Art in the Garden

Whether it’s whimsical folk art, sundials, birdbaths or fountains, art in the garden is an absolute must. I have more than my share. But I’ll only show you a couple of types now. I don’t want to wear you out.

Chimney pots…
It was probably 35 years ago that my friend Dr. Bill Welch in College Station showed me a chimney pot he had in his landscape. I had never seen one, and the history behind it was fascinating.

Jump ahead a few years and I met a man who dealt in English antiques. Ted said he had a good source, so I bought more than I probably should have. However, I’ve loved these 100-year-old chimney pots that used to sit atop fireplaces, I was told, on the south coast of England.

Ted brought a container of them, and I got “the pick of the litter.” I have them strategically placed all through our landscape. (That’s partly because I like the way that they look, and partly because my wife won’t see them all in one place at one time. Have I ever told you that I’m compulsive?)

These antique English chimney pots have their own elegance in the garden. Looking somewhat like oversized chess pieces, they stand between 30 and 42 inches tall. They weight upwards of 100 pounds.
I married a music major from Ohio State. (Lynn played in the OSU Concert Band with Richard Stolzman, Howard Klug and Ladd McIntosh – look them up.) But these are about the only instruments I can play, and even then I have to have help from the wind.

Music of the Spheres
I honestly don’t remember the first time I ran across these wonderful musical instruments, but having these is like owning the modern equivalent of a Stradivarius. (The company uses that comparison, with merit.) They are tuned, and each has its own musical melody. We have five that I’ve collected over the years. They hang high in our trees. The one in my photo is Westminster, and at 4 feet in length, it’s the largest of the ones we own. (But they make much larger – can you believe 14 feet in their Quartal Basso Profundo! Its pipes are 5 inches in diameter!)

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This one sounds like a deep and resonant tall case (“grandfather”) clock when it goes through its notes. And it was windy a few days ago when I took this photo. You can see that the clapper and sail are blown to the right (as I was as I took the photo).

I have our chimes hanging, one on each side of our house, with this one being up the driveway to greet people as they come down our hill to our door. Curiously, they’re almost mute during the summer while the trees are leafed out, but they start singing come fall, and by the mid-winter winds, they’re announcing the blustery breezes.

Want to hear how beautiful these chimes can be? You can hear all 11 melodic tunings in five or more sizes at their fabulous website: I love these chimes!!!!!

(Note that several of the chimes are currently out of stock, probably due to supply chain issues and Christmas orders, but you can still hear them.)

Posted by Neil Sperry
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