With prime season for garden ornamentation here, a decision is needed. I fell in love with a round tree bench.
Spring arrived early this year and the entire town has been at peak ornamental shrub and tree color for about 10 days now. It’s distracting when I drive because my eye is drawn from neon yellow forsythia to white pear trees, mottled magnolias, and the pale pink weeping cherry and flowering plums. You may not know this about me but I Hate Gardening and never gave a moment’s thought to any tree for three-quarters of my life. But an email showing a vintage round tree bench seemed perfect for my yard in spite of the freakishly heavy February snowstorm in 2010 that broke almost every branch of our flowering plum in the front of the house. My posts on that Storm Damage Aftershock and Storm Damaged Trees Repaired showed the debris and how things were trimmed back on the bet they’d rebound.
When I saw the profuse pink blossoms in front and back this week, I began to think about garden furniture — again. Being in the heart of the Lyme disease belt and on wetlands, we don’t sit outside much. But Barbara Israel’s site is one of my favorite places to drool over rare and beautiful garden antiques. And every Spring I go there thinking I should have garden furniture. There was a pair of English wrought iron, Regency style “tree seats,” ca. 1940, that fit around a medium-size tree. Instant love.
I could really envision a circular bench around our flowering plum, in front of the house, even though it’s asymmetrical now.
Our weeping cherry — seen here through my kitchen window — is not a great candidate since it leans, though a bench would enhance the overall view.
Since the antique bench is out of the question, additional research turned up a small number of contemporary choices, all somewhat affordable (under $500). Each requires assembly and only two provide a critical dimension for a circular seat – the diameter of the donut hole.
The Toscano Roundabout, from Home Depot, fits a tree less than 30-inches in diameter. Check. It has three sections, is described as powder-coated 7/8-inch tubular steel and heavy duty.
Napco’s Tree Hugger and Plant Stand bench bears a glancing resemblance to the golden oldie but also is the most costly. A full 63-inches across, the interior section looks huge.
Longwood Gardens Wrought Iron Tree Surround is the least costly but comes in six pieces. Too many moving parts? The center measures 24-inches across, which would be a good fit for a medium-size tree. It’s modern and handsome though a trifle generic looking.
If I bought a bench I suppose it could be placed around each of the trees to see where it looks best although I can see how that strategy might lead to double trouble.
(Source: Barbara Israel Garden Antiques, Home Depot, Amazon.com, alloutdoorbenches.com)
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