GRANDIOSE GARDENS - BRINGING ANTIQUES OUTDOORS
These gorgeous summer days we’ve been having here in New Orleans have me finding myself enjoying some time outside in my garden!
There’s nothing quite like lounging around on a warm weekend day, curled up in the shade by the poolside with a good book. All this time spent outside has me thinking about the importance of outdoor decor, and maybe it’s the southern heat talking but I’m ready to share my secrets!
When one thinks about decorating with antiques, the immediate thought goes to furniture inside the home. In thinking this, we are forgetting about one of my very favorite characteristics of antiques: their versatility! The weathered and classic look of these relics of the past provide a timeless elegance to any garden, porch or patio space.
My absolute favorite garden accessory would have to be my signature Greek olive jars. Also known as oil jars, these large vessels date back hundreds of years. Jars hailing from Greece — also known as pithari — mainly were used to store a family’s olive oil. Earlier in Minoan culture, these monumental containers housed grains, wine, and other liquids. It has also been said that these jars held water, which when evaporated cooled down a home. They may have been precursors to modern air-conditioning, an innovation I am often grateful for in this Louisiana heat!
Smaller jars found use storing tasty snacks such as olives, pickles and cheese, but larger jars functioned as shipping containers to transport goods around the Mediterranean region. Coincidentally, I hand picked a 40 foot container filled with one of a kind finds and we are fortunate to have over 20 olive jars with old patina at wholesale pricing for our 2 day event, August 25 and 26th at our warehouse! Par for the course with any uncommon artifact, these jars are becoming harder and harder to find. Don’t miss out on this exclusive opportunity to infuse your garden with the distinctive character these jars provide.
In an outdoor space, I would recommend grouping jars of varied sizes to accent potted plants or as standalone adornments in a garden. Another creative use for these unique jars would be turning them into a fountain, creating a trickling water feature that would bring tranquil ambiance to any outdoor space. These olive jars also make for handsome planters. Fill them with small citrus trees, herbs or colorful flowers in place of your average terra cotta pots to fill your garden with history! Whether or not you put plants within these jars, it is important to drill holes in the bottom for drainage. If you don’t, the water that collects in the bottom will turn into a breeding ground for mosquitos, the natural antagonist of the southern summer!
Each jar has its own unique personality and is a work of art. It is truly a one-of-a-kind item that sets the stage in a room or garden. These ancient jars are something to add to your collection of treasures and live with forever. Every jar features its own stunningly distinctive patina, with storied layers of paint that appear cracked or uneven. Each chip, crack, and mottled mark is a glimpse into the life of these centuries-old vessels, a line in the tale of their colorful and productive history.
Due to their functionality and characteristic beauty, containers are a common theme in outdoor decor. Other antiques that I use to adorn my own personal patio include traditional garden urns and French jardinieres, both featuring chic details that elevate the space. In antiquity, urns are symbolic of noble simplicity, beauty, and reason — the garden urn is no exception! A ubiquitous motif for the decorative arts, a garden urn is an effortless way to bring class and elegance to your garden.
Renowned 19th century horticulturist and garden designer Gertrude Jekyll said of the jardiniere:
“There are some English words which have no equivalent in French, but then there are a great many more French words for which we have no English. One of these is jardinière. Even in French it does not quite rightly express its meaning, because the obvious meaning of jardinière is female gardener, whereas what we understand by it is a receptacle for holding pot-plants”
We simply do not have a word to describe the feminine and graceful beauty of these French vessels! I like to keep treasures such as these available in my warehouse, check out some of the pieces we have in stock below:
My last suggestion I’ll give you today for a grandiose garden would be to add sculpture! Including art in any space is an ingenious way to create a cultured design in a cinch. Antique statues are steeped in symbology and history, and add an illustrious richness to an outdoor space. Use them as eye-catching focal pieces and let their personality fill the space, or tuck them between plants for a whimsical secret garden vibe. They can also be used to flank a set of doors and create a magnificent entryway!
One of the most intriguing pieces we have in our warehouse is an 18th century French reproduction of a classic Greek sculpture. A modification of the Apollo Sauroktonos by Praxiteles of Athens (mid-4th century BCE), this plaster statue has been altered to indicate a young Dionysus through the symbolic depiction of a draped panther skin, ivy in his hair, and grapes adorning the tree trunk. Arriving soon in our highly-anticipated container is a pair of stunning lion sculptures, a sneak peek of which can be seen alongside Dionysus below!
When it comes to designing with the classic elegance of old world antiques, be sure not to limit yourself to inside the home! The right pieces will bring a timeless charm to your outdoor living space, creating an exquisite environment teeming with one of a kind treasures. Feeling inspired to add to your garden collection? Come fall in love with new and exclusive outdoor adornments at our upcoming container reveal, August 25th and 26th at 1526 Religious Street! With dozens of new garden accents coming into stock, we have something for every patio, yard or terrace! Stock up during our limited two-day event, offering wholesale pricing on all antiques. I am just delighted to be bringing back this stunning myriad of outdoor accessories, and simply cannot wait to share them with you!