All that glitters …



… is pure gold in terms of the daily enjoyment I get from walking by this object and its identical companion. We had fun talking about outrageous garden practices in the deep South and elsewhere, but sometimes the things you might not do yourself are admirable in others. And I must say the rest of this front garden is equally formal. (I don’t know what he does, but he has the only lush grass carpet on the block.)

The thing is, it’s hard to stop with this sort of embellishment once you’ve started. This, its mate, and their surrounding wrought iron fence started out pure black, but have been getting shinier and shinier as the summer has progressed. Even the formerly somber planters on the porch have been detailed. You have to wonder where it will end. Is the house next? That would be awesome.

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


  1. It’s hard to convey the true impact of these “statues” in the tiny front garden – mere steps from your own lovely garden – but I think you captured it. Beyond kitsch.

  2. I love to see others’ yard art! Since garden accessories has been the fasting growing segment of sales in the past few years, it pays to pay attention!

  3. My first thought was, oh no, not another tasteless, ‘black boy’ statue, how politically incorrect!
    Despite the glossy black and shining gold paint which attracts attention, it still bothers me.
    And then there is the problem of child abuse – some small mite being made to hold up a heavy pot of plants. You notice that most caryatids are women or children. I am uneasy with naked ladies holding up urns or pillars or buildings – is that what we are perceived to be here for, ladies?
    I don’t mind nymphs and shepherds, fairies or even garden gnomes, who can all get on with their secret garden lives unemcumbered but let’s not introduce sexism and racism and child abuse into our gardens.

  4. I feel like I should apologize for posting this–but when I see something like this, I dunno, I just have to share. It’s pushing the envelope of over-the-top.

    However–in terms of the black–I am not totally sure he didn’t paint it black for purely decorative purposes. Does that alleviate? Probably not.

  5. Dear Elizabeth,
    I suspect that it was painted black for decorative purposes, and my post was somewhat tongue in cheek. It might be fun to post the most aweful garden statuary your correspondents pass daily.

  6. Yeah, I got the child abuse satire, but racial stuff you can never take a chance on!

    I have to restrain myself every day from posting images that would make your hair stand on end. I suppose we all have to.

  7. Well, I totally enjoyed the Palm Beach-style ornament in that yard when I past by it during my visit to Buffalo. We Yankee gardeners are way too tasteful, in my opinion. That was the thing I noticed most about the gardens of Savannah, for example. Humor. Buffalo, too–lots of silliness in the gardens.

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