Glass That Enhances Gardens

– Posted in: Garden Adventures

I’m enraptured by anything that glistens. I enhance my living spaces, indoors and out, with prisms, rhinestones, crystals, globes, mirrors and more. As the sun shifts during the day, these objects flash and glitter. I become a child again, living entirely in the moment. Sometimes this happens in other gardens, too. Like this Aloe marlothii in Patrick Anderson’s garden, bright with mid-winter blooms and a perfectly placed golden orb.

These disks hang in Diane Dunhill’s Santa Barbara garden.

A paperweight graces an undersea-themed succulent garden.

Florists’ marbles echo the shape and hues of pachyphytum leaves.

Glass balls with trapped bubbles suggest beads of water.

A red glass sphere repeats the red of Crassula ‘Campfire’. Between them is golden Sedum nussbaumeranium.

Crystals, like sunlit rain, drip from a tree limb in a designer’s garden.

A drop-shaped terrarium contains a tiny garden.

Large glass vessels topped with spheres grow alongside columnar cacti in Frank and Susan Oddo’s garden.

Also at the Oddo’s: Slag glass. This chunk is between Sedum rubrotinctum (top) and Senecio mandraliscae (bottom).

Blue slag glass shimmers in the garden of Peter and Margaret Jones.

And at Rancho La Puerta fitness spa in Tecate, Baja California, a metal sculpture that resembles a Jai Alai basket appears to hold a chunk of sky.

Debra Lee Baldwin
Award-winning garden photojournalist Debra Lee Baldwin authored Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens, and Succulents Simplified, all Timber Press bestsellers. Her goal is to enhance others' enjoyment and awareness of waterwise plants and gardens by showcasing the beauty and design potential of succulents via books, articles, newsletters, photos, videos, social media and more. Debra and husband Jeff live in the foothills north of San Diego. She grew up in Southern California on an avocado ranch, speaks conversational Spanish, and at age 18 graduated magna cum laude from USIU with a degree in English Literature. Her hobbies include thrifting, birding and watercolor painting. Debra's YouTube channel has had over 3,000,000 views.
Debra Lee Baldwin
Debra Lee Baldwin
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Brigitte December 24, 2011, 1:45 pm

“…I’m enraptured by anything that glistens. …. I become a child again, living entirely in the moment. …”

yes, your words describe it perfectly, for me. I feel the same. Love that post.

Thanks, Brigitte. I’m all for anything that recaptures that childhood sense of wonder. Sometimes, on an airplane, with nothing to do and sun streaming in through the window, I make the diamond in my wedding ring flash prisms. Before I know it, half an hour has gone by. — Debra

Sheila Schultz December 24, 2011, 5:15 pm

Amazing glass… I need to find a good glass blower in 2012! The ‘look’ really works with succulents, what great combinations. Happy Holidays, Debra.

Thanks, Sheila, same to you! I sometimes find great glass at bargain prices at Marshall’s. It’s mostly vases, but you never know what you’ll find. — Debra

Debbie Bowman December 24, 2011, 10:59 pm

Beautiful, I’ve done this too:::))

Welcome, fellow Debbie! Another idea that I’ve done with great success (but didn’t show here, because it doesn’t photograph well) is to strew glass florist’s marbles in gravel pathways. Really makes ordinary crushed rock look extraordinary. — Debra

Gaia gardener December 26, 2011, 11:33 am

Thank you for some wonderful ideas on using glass ornamentally in the garden. While I love glass pieces, I’ve not been sure how to use them effectively outside and several of your photos really started sparking ideas for my own gardens.

I’m very glad to spark some sparkling ideas! Just be sure you don’t start a fire, like I almost did. I set a glass paperweight on my wood deck railing, little realizing it would magnify the sun’s rays. Later, I noticed a burned trench in the wood and wondered if my teenage son had been smoking, and perhaps had set a cigarette on the railing. It wasn’t until I saw “steam” coming from below the paperweight that I realized it was—aieee!—smoke. Btw, that’s not the first time I almost set my garden on fire, but I’ll save that story for another time ;+) — Debra

Stephanie Martin December 26, 2011, 3:03 pm

What a lovely post! Imaginative ideas for using things I’d not thought of before.

Thanks, Stephanie! So many glass objects work well in the garden. These are just a few. I also have some telephone pole transformers, which I found at a yard sale, adding interest to the end of a pathway. — Debra

Steve Asbell December 26, 2011, 7:51 pm

Your photos of glass and succulent vignettes inspired me so much when I first read your books! I have since used sea glass on a much smaller scale to similar effect, only after washing off any saltwater residue, of course. 🙂

Hi, Steve — I love sea glass as a topdressing for containers. It has such lovely, milky colors. — Debra

Brian Wilson December 26, 2011, 10:12 pm

My good friend Kim Webster specializes in
glass sculptures for the garden and does wonderful work .

I agree. Thanks for the link, Brian! — Debra

Barbara Chambers December 28, 2011, 5:18 am

Your art is beautiful!!!!!!!

Thanks Barbara. I almost deleted your comment because none of my art is shown here, but I couldn’t bring myself to. Those seven exclamation points won my heart. — Debra

Candy Suter December 29, 2011, 9:34 pm

Another great post. Yesterday I went to the California Cactus Center and saw a lot of glass top dressing. Looked wonderful. They can’t get the glass anymore because of some environmental issues. But I thought, hey why not bash up some marbles!

Hi, Candy — I’m looking into sources of crushed, tumbled glass. Stay tuned! — Debra

Charlotte exterminator January 3, 2012, 5:06 pm

Wow lovely! I especially love the drop-shaped terrarium container!

Thanks! It’s at DIG Gardens nursery in Santa Cruz, CA. They may offer it mail-order. — Debra

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