David Coton was delighted to recently meet with Frank Honald, President and Owner of Henri Studio USA, who had flown in from Chicago to discuss the opportunity of bringing their products back into the UK next year.
Garden Statuary, crafted in high quality materials, comes in many forms and here David Coton chooses some busts, sculptures, statues and water features that can create a genuine classical ambiance in any outdoor space.
There's a huge range of expertly crafted classical statuary from manufacturers such as Haddonstone and Borderstone, using cast stone that matures wonderfully well but costs significantly less than quarried stone.
Their figures are inspired by Roman and Greek culture and mythology - gods, goddesses, emperors, heroic figures and mythical animals. Many are reproductions of originals at stately homes and museums.
Busts placed on pedestals and located around the garden can be tremendously effective. Caesar Augustus is portrayed as Commander-in-Chief gazing imperiously at his troops while there is also a fine bust of Brutus, Julius Caesar's assassin.
Roman emperors Antonius and Septimus are depicted in their finery and a distinguished Aristotle will not be be out of place among the other worthies.
Goddesses are represented by, amongst others, Andromeda whose life was saved by Perseus in Greek mythology, the stunningly attractive Helena, Venus the goddess of love and Diana the Huntress, both busts and full length statues.
Gods are thinner on the ground, but mythical figures such as Hercules, Eros and Apollo make an appearance together with Pan and his pipes. There's also a wonderful intoxicated and dishevelled Bacchus who can be joined by his enthusiastic adherent Bacchante.
In addition to these cast stone statues and busts, there are crushed marble and resin pieces from Enigma – among them David, Venus de Milo and Aphrodite, the Greek equivalent of Venus - featured in classical poses with, in the case of marble, a smooth to the touch white alabaster finish creating a marvellous effect.
With many pedestals, planters, vases and other classical accessories to augment this selection of statuary, there is enormous scope for you to create a themed landscape that reflects classical personalities, myths and legends, bringing ancient Greece and Rome into your garden.
You needn't break the bank or have a garden the size of Chatsworth to entertain the idea of a decorative fountain whose design will add classical distinction to any landscape.
There are many classical water features and Haddonstone, with all their experience of producing fine cast stone ornaments, offer several that are overflowing with grandeur as well as water.
The Neapolitan Fountain is a strikingly ornate creation on which a cherubic figure holds a dolphin from whose mouth water spouts and flows over the scalloped sides. Their Large Double Fountain is a sumptuous double tiered creation with a triple dolphin centrepiece. Other Neapolitan styled fountains provide more compact but no less elegant alternatives.
Cherubs feature on many classical fountains, one is seen carrying a bowl on the Two Tier Chrub Fountain from Borderstone, and two form the beautifully sculptured Entwined Cherub Fountain from Chilstone who also produce splendidly statuesque water features such as the Oxford, Laskett and Bambury fountains.
Also from Haddonstone is the Bayeux Stone Fountain that has a Romanesque influence with columns and stylish leaf moulding. French sophistication is introduced by a Versailles Stone Fountain which is inspired by originals at the Bosquet de la Colonnade - it will prove très charmant in many locations.
Borderstone's Large Circular Fountain is certainly an impressive size. 6ft in diameter, the two tiered centrepiece is nearly 7ft tall and is topped off with a pineapple. Easily assembled, three integral planters are also included.
A similar finial features on the more compact but still splendidly decorated Two Tier Pineapple Water Feature which is very elegant, slim and stylish.
Masserelli's are an American company producing fine cast stone ornaments, their classic Four Tier Fountain has a bottom pool that is 6ft across and water flows over four decorative tiers. The Windley Key Fountain's fibreglass bottom pool is even larger (8ft diameter).
Their other offerings include a sturdily proportioned Florentine Stone Fountain, the angular Three Tier Spade Fountain and the Two Tier Gabriel Cast Stone Fountain decorated with lion masks that spout water into the lower tier.
If you don't have the room for a large fountain, you can still introduce a classical ambiance with a wall mounted version of the Bayeux Fountain. Also from Haddonstone, the Dauphin Stone Fountain is finely sculptured with water flowing from the mouth of a lion, or alternatively a Wood Nymph, into a pool below and then re-circulated.
In normal circumstances with warmer weather and Easter coming along soon, you should be stocking up on bedding plants to fill planters, borders and hanging baskets. However, even though the garden centre is currently closed, we are still trading online and, while you may be confined to home, there are plenty of garden jobs for you to tackle during April. David Coton has these suggestions.
Sustainability and a growing awareness of wildlife are two of the key gardening trends identified by the Royal Horticultural Society for 2020, with gardeners in a position where they can make a substantial impact regarding environmental issues.
Robert Hall explains how getting out into the garden can help us to exercise, get out into the open air, enjoy time with nature and to help keep our minds occupied during these overwhelming Covid-19 times.
There's no doubt that television provides gardeners with inspiration, sound advice and good ideas, that's why we're all looking forward to new programmes and the return of old favourites during 2020.