Most gardens have some appeal in every season, and Big Momma's Garden is no exception.
What is Big Momma's Garden? you may ask. Well, this is the name many Southerners give to a garden that traditionally was built and maintained by a grandmother, known affectionately as Big Momma. Such gardens contain some plants, but mainly they display ornaments – found objects, pieces of art, bought and homemade, recycled materials. Doodads.
Anything goes. I've seen everything from old shoes to wringer washing machines used as planters – or just as decoration. My BMG has wrought-iron fence pieces used as an entryway and as trellises holding more glass bottles.
The bottle fence is inspired by bottle trees, a standard feature in Big Momma's Gardens. According to lore, the bottles attract and capture bad spirits at night. Daylight disappears them.
These gardens originated in times when many gardeners could not afford to buy garden objects like gazing balls, sundials and such. So, they populated their gardens with "pretties," meaning whatever they found appealing, including glass objects that catch the light. Like gazing balls.
Wherever I've gardened, I've created these spaces; I like the way they look and feel, recalling so many I've seen in myriad Southern towns and rural areas, where swept gardens prevailed. For years, my regional bias asserted that only Southerners created Big Momma's Gardens. Then, I discovered they exist in the North, too, including right here in Connecticut.
Moreover, British and the French historically built their own versions, known as folly gardens, a reference to whimsical objects and structures, or follies. As these gardens gained popularity, folks who study such matters came up with an academic name: vernacular gardens. I even thought of calling mine a Big Daddy's Garden. But I don't.
Seminars aplenty have been held to discuss and argue over what to call these spaces, and how to assess their importance. I leave that to others, except to say mine pleases me through its unstructured wildness and its function as a balance to the more structured and groomed front garden, which is Asian-inspired.
Too, my Big Momma's Garden serves as a tribute to all the grandmothers who have helped raise and teach grandsons and granddaughters about gardening and life.
Now, images from various seasons, including Sunday's snow pictures.
Humans made many ornaments, but nature offers much material, like dead twigs, picked up after several blow-downs.
Metal poles from a friend, painted and used to support a tree.
Below, carpets make a path . . .
. . . to baker's rack, which will hold potted plants, come spring.