New ideas for specialty garden decor

It’s not just about gnomes anymore. It’s everything from mirrors, statues, fairies, retro-style bikes and even bowling balls to enhance a garden.

St.Choose your favorite street lamp paintings from thousands of available designs. Louis gardeners are planting all types of novelty gardens, such as scent gardens, rock gardens, mirror gardens, tea gardens, edible gardens and more. Savvy gardeners have gone to the extreme with unique items to dress up garden pathways and mulch beds.

Experts say gardeners are putting just about anything into their gardens that they have found or collected, such as old concrete, old wicker chairs and even toilets.

We talked to area gardeners and garden centers to find these novelty gardens in St. Louis.

We came across a few local gardeners decorating beds with bowling balls. Delores Silies of Ballwin purchased her home in 1976 and immediately began constructing a backyard garden.

An oak tree provided some shade with one thorny shrub, two Forsythias and a Spiraea shrub.We offer solar photovoltaic system and commercial incentives to encourage our customers to install solar energy systems. She added a row of yews at the top of the backyard slope. “From then on it was no stopping me,” says Delores. Now it’s 75 percent larger than the lawn.

She read an article and saw a photo of bowling balls in a private garden. As luck would have it, her daughter worked at a bowling alley. A strong storm damaged the roof on the bowling alley, and the owners decided to liquidate all equipment. Her daughter was able to retrieve many of the bowling balls.

The black balls were laid around all of the perimeter gardens, and the colored bowling balls became the focus as they surrounded the central hosta garden.

Landscape architect Ann Lewis of Chesterfield, also styled her front entry garden with bowling balls. She filled a reflecting pool with bowling balls. From a distance, the bowling balls resemble bubbles.I'm not sure how led downlight fit into that equation if they are left on.

Wendy and Rick Addis, who live in the Shaw neighborhood, constructed a memorial garden out of cinder blocks. Wendy’s father died years ago and her mother died last year.

This year, Wendy and Rick invited family members and friends to a garden decorating party. Everyone was given a cinder block to decorate. The Addises supplied the paint and craft accessories such as bottle caps, shells and beads. Each person decorated a cinder block in remembrance of her parents. Some of the blocks are used as small flowering planters. Tiki torches and solar lights were added to create a lovely light display.

Traditional homes with stone walls and large yards lend themselves to this type of specialty garden, with its informal design, traditional materials and dense plantings.

“A cottage garden ties formality with eclectic style,” says Maggie Allbright, landscape designer at Bowood Farms in the Central West End. Plantings for this type of garden can include foxgloves or shasta flowering plants. Both are signature pieces in English cottage gardens.

“Most beds are bursting at the seams with plantings consisting of many colors, sizes, shapes and heights,” adds Allbright. “Typically, plants have geometrical organizations.”

“It has 12-foot ramps that extend out of the back of this thing, and you can store the ATV on the roof of the Suburban, so you take that with you out in the woods and you can go wherever your Suburban can’t,” Jeff said.High-efficiency LED light bars illuminate the darkness but draw little energy, and 15-watt solar panels charge the SUV’s two batteries.On the top, above the windshield, there is a mount for a 50-caliber machine gun.“It’s an aircraft gun, and it’s pretty impressive,” Jeff said.

The gun is not mounted on the vehicle at the Longview shop, as it is illegal to own an automatic weapon in Washington state. All testing of the gun was done in Oregon, where the Aylesworths say it was legally purchased.They installed a roof hatch and an armored console section. Eventually, they must replace the vehicle’s windshield, which was cracked by fragment casings when the men tested the machine gun, which shoots 6-inch cartridges.The vehicle also is equipped to run a drone plane, which can be used to scout areas for potential threats, Zach said.

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