Sunday, March 18, 2012

Gothic Garden Decor on a Beer Budget

Gazing gloomily out the pantry window at the barren landscape this week, the insomniac started daydreaming about the imminent return of spring. Even the bunnies that inhabit the grounds surrounding the Gothic Mansion were acting in a most spring-like manner, ensuring that in a few months the garden will be overrun with bunnies and their progeny, busily chewing their way through all the newly purchased plants.

The Estate Surrounding the Gothic Mansion - Last Week

This cheerful thought of spring instigated an entire week's worth of scrutinizing the gardening catalogues, deciding which items were absolute necessities for both the Gothic Mansion and the Attic, and which items needed to be eliminated (contract work doesn't pay that well, you know). And while the insomniac would love to order the $4,000 (each) Art Nouveau marble statues of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, the $56,000 reproduction Victorian cast iron conservatory or the $3,800 griffin bench, as her Sainted Father used to constantly remind her “you have champagne tastes on a beer budget, dear”. And no matter how much time has elapsed since those words were last uttered, it remains to this day a very accurate statement.

Yes, please ...

This is the type of garden decor the insomniac WISHES  she could afford. But as her  Sainted Father also used to say, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride”. On further reflection, it would seem as though the SF had an idiom for almost every occasion, and it must be fairly obvious by now that the nut didn't fall far from the tree.

Gothic Folly I

Gothic Folly II

If one can't afford to build an actual Gothic Folly in one's yard, then one could always substitute some Gothic mirrors with artistically draped ivy to reproduce the look on a smaller scale. And apparently using mirrors in garden decor is The New Black, at least according to all the gardening magazines who are in the know about such matters. But once an idea firmly takes root in the insomniac's  mind it never really goes away, and so eventually a Gothic Folly will be making its way across the ocean, perhaps in time for next year's gardening season, and the cost be damned!

Walls, fences or even garage walls provide endless decorating possibilities
as a backdrop for plaques, mirrors, etc. ...

Ornate cast iron garden furniture is always a good investment for the Gothic garden. Sometimes old pieces can be picked up at garage sales, and if they happen to be painted that ghastly green that everyone seems to feel is an attractive colour for garden furniture, please bear in mind that black spray paint was invented for a reason.

Winterthur Garden

Fill a beautiful black urn with flowers, moss (or even dead twigs if your gardening skills are anything like the insomniac's), add a small piece of statuary and there you have it; an affordable decorating option that can be brought indoors at the end of the season to be enjoyed during the long, bitter winter, which will inevitably arrive far too early.   

This planter will make even dead flowers look beautiful ...

A unique decorating idea suggested by a dear friend was to place the decapitated head from a broken cherub statue in a basin of water, gazing up towards the sky (sort of like a miniature Ophelia tableau, if Ophelia had lost her head when she drowned, that is). The friend created this little display in her own garden but after one too many queer looks from the neighbours, decided it was maybe a bit too morbid and donated both pieces to the insomniac's  garden instead. The cherub's body now sits beside the waterfall with its head under the falls, both pieces undoubtedly longing for the day they will be reunited (please don't tell the cherub, but this is very unlikely).  

Where does one even begin to find
something like this?

Now make no mistake, the physical act of gardening - weeding, pruning, getting dirt under one's nails - does not appeal to the insomniac  in the slightest. Quite frankly, the only contribution she makes is to pore over the catalogues and decree what will be ordered with the next paycheque. But she does enjoy cracking a beer (no champagne due to budget constraints), flopping down on the sofa in the gazebo and from this prone position admiring the handiwork of the long-suffering spouse; the person who actually does all the necessary hard labour to get the garden looking this lovely.

The Estate Surrounding the Gothic Mansion - Last Summer

But having a limited budget inspires one to be more creative with their garden. And since the yard surrounding the Gothic Mansion is almost half an acre, one most definitely cannot afford to fill every available inch with yard decorations, as much as one would like to do exactly that. So every year, a different corner of the yard is worked on and added to, and perhaps just before the inevitable relocation to The Sunny Retirement Condo in Palm Springs, the garden will finally look exactly how the insomniac  and her spouse have envisioned it in their minds for the past twenty-five years. Maybe this year's project will be the wrought iron driveway gate with bats, just like the one that was seen enclosing a grave somewhere in Transylvania and that will continue to gnaw away at the insomniac  until it's eventually completed.

Please visit the Attic closer to the end of April when the newly ordered garden decor should start arriving, even though there will inevitably be at least two more blizzards before spring finally makes itself known and the gardening (or, in the insomniac's case, the consumption of beer in the gazebo) can commence.

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams of springtime, which will hopefully arrive sooner rather than later ... Goodnight, my pretties.



  1. Gothic Gardening by malice is just awesome.

  2. And Insomnia is just another word for, "need to be creating something", LoL

    1. Or in some people's case, insomnia means just lying awake worrying about ridiculous things. :)