Circles, spheres, orbs, and globes in my garden
June 14th, 2010
In the July 2010 issue of Better Homes & Gardens, I wrote a short item for my “Debra’s Garden” column called “Curves Ahead.” It could also have been titled “Three Cheers for the Circle.”
I am obsessed with round shapes — balls, spheres and orbs — and I love to dot the garden with these forms. This design trick relates to one of those basic lessons anyone who studies the art of landscape design is taught: Choose an idea and repeat it frequently.
My eye is naturally drawn to orbs and globes. They are so pleasing to me – in fact, I wrote about this passion previously – in an earlier blog post, “Zen of the Circle.”
Ornamental globes, obelisks and balls have taken up residence here in my Southern California backyard — check out the photograph below.
And it’s not just the three-dimensional geometry that puts a smile on my face. Curved outlines, such as the edge of a perennial border, patch of lawn or a turn in the path echo the orbs and reappear as arcs or crescents in the garden.
My interest in the sexy, organic globe shape has come “full circle” (pun intended) from a single idea to a cohesive design theme and a nice way to use ornamentation. Look around your own garden. Wherever you see a bare spot, perhaps it’s calling out for an orb or two.
I included a post-script note in my BH&G piece, promising to share my gallery of rounded and curved design ideas with our readers. Here it is – enjoy! Please send me your own photos and I’ll include the best ideas here, too. Check the bottom of this post for some of my favorite shopping resources.
Best resources for spherical garden ornamentation:
Pot-ted Store: Three graduated sizes of balls made from steel strapping will lend a lovely moment of architecture to the landscape. I have the medium-sized one in weathered steel (my preferred material). Annette and Mary, owners of Los Angeles-based Pot-ted, now sell a series finished with bright orange and turquoise powder-coating – their fav hues. Oops – I mean “aqua” and “tangerine.” Inquire about custom colors! Prices: $98 (18-inches); $139 (24-inches); and $169 (30 inches). Shipping available.
Bauer Pottery Garden Orbs: My friend Janek Boniecki has revived the classic California earthenware known as Bauer Pottery. In addition to making reproduction urns, dishes and serving pieces (in that awesome, sun-drenched palette), Janek and crew also create ceramic garden orbs glazed in Bauer colors. Yellow, dove gray, French blue, Federal blue, chartreuse, lime green, midnight blue, parrot green, turquoise, white, black and aqua (for some reason, the Bauer orange pieces are slightly more expensive, perhaps because of the glazing involved).
I am a bit addicted to these “globally admired” orbs, thanks to the company’s occasional factory outlet sales in Los Angeles. I have five or six of these gumball-shaped objects, which look tres-bien in and among foliage, flowers, blades and stems. Prices: $75-$82 (8-inch); $100-$110 (12-inch); and $150-$165 (15-inch). If you think you’ll be in the Los Angeles area sometime, make sure to check the Bauer web site to see the warehouse sale schedule. You will definitely find great prices and maybe even an orb or two (if I don’t get there first!).
Clare Dohna, Mosaic Artist: Based on Vashon Island, Wash., artist Clare Dohna makes vibrant mosaic tiles in dazzling botanical shapes (flowers, bugs, leaves and more). She uses these tiles to adorn the surfaces of all sorts of wonderful garden sculpture and art, such as bird baths, bird houses, egg shapes and — my favorite – mosaic spheres. You can see one of her pieces at the top of this page; it plays nicely with the solid-colored Bauer orbs. Contact Clare directly (from her web site) to inquire about color schemes and prices.
June 15th, 2010 at 8:14 am
Debra, I saw your article in the July issue of Better Homes and Gardens today, and thought I would share an idea with you regarding bowling balls in the Garden, such as the one Pictured in your article.
I have acquired several bowling balls, and made gazing balls out of them for myself and family. You purchase enough half glass marbles, at the craft stores, such as Michael’s, to cover the ball. I then fill the finger holes with clear water proof caulk and marbles, then you cover the ball with the marbles using the caulk, and then let it dry, and then you can put it on a gazing ball stand, or make a stand from clay pots also glued together, and painted if you want to, or simply lay then on the ground. If you would like a picture of these, I will be glad to send you some. They make great gifts.
June 15th, 2010 at 8:19 am
Thanks for writing! I’d love to see pics of your cool bowling-ball “makeovers” – sounds like a really creative way to add round shapes as focal points to the garden. Thanks for sharing the idea. If you send me pics, I’ll post them here.
June 15th, 2010 at 10:02 am
Wonderful idea for a post Debra! Circles have recently become “a thing” for me too! Thinking about my own little “throw rug” lawn in back right now.
Lovely pics too- thank you!
June 15th, 2010 at 4:18 pm
Circles just seem like a smile in the garden! I was thinking of you on Sunday when a few of us made a side trip to Marcia’s garden…great fun.
.-= Lorene´s last blog ..Edible Heirlooms – a book review =-.
June 16th, 2010 at 10:29 pm
[…] Contact « Circles, spheres, orbs, and globes in my garden […]
June 19th, 2010 at 12:36 pm
[…] a follow-up to my last post about round objects in the landscape, I thought I’d show off a few more of my spherical works of art, from my backyard. You can […]
July 10th, 2010 at 9:07 am
I love spheres in my garden and was so excited when I saw you had a website. I had a Better Home and Gardens magazine from a year ago, which showed glass floating balls in a water feature. I loved how these looked and though “how am I going to find these glass floaters” I was so excited when I wend to the Madison, WI Art show and a artist had a ton of these beautiful floaters and showed them in a water feature.
In my garden the water feature is one of my favorite spots and I love the colored floating balls. I can’t wait to buy some more.
July 12th, 2010 at 10:42 am
I see on your website you have floating balls in your water feature, can you tell me where you purchased them from?
July 15th, 2010 at 7:03 pm
I love the idea of recycling bowling balls into garden art. How cool is that?
To Diane Jankowiak:
I would love to see pics of those gazing balls. Can you e-mail some to me at firstname.lastname@example.org?
July 22nd, 2010 at 5:00 am
would also be very interested in learning where to purchase the floating balls for my water feature!!! Thanks in advance.
July 24th, 2010 at 8:03 am
In the July BH&G issue and above you feature the three dark blue ceramic orbs which are not shiny like the ones I see on the Bauer website. Where did you get those?
June 12th, 2011 at 7:12 am
[…] posted two photo galleries of spherical ideas, emphasizing design principles for using circular and round elements in the […]
January 6th, 2012 at 3:27 pm
Pretty impressive. Is there a word for people who are fascinated with orbs, globes, balls, spheres? I am one.
February 9th, 2012 at 11:21 am
Just finished pouring cement into some old globe light fixtures. Question 1) How long do they have to sit in the globes before I crack the glass? Question 2) One of the globes I poured has cracked. Is there a particular reason for that? I’m sure looking forward to seeing the results.