April is a Month to Look at Garden Ideas

We start with Reflective Gardening.


Did you ever consider how you view your garden? View it in a reflective way? Be reflective in a garden? Consider using a mirror in the garden? Adding water for its reflective qualities? How about a gazing ball? There is so many ways to add light and color, expand a view or have the view be expansive. Using reflection in garden design is a designer trick to add to the garden experience.


Many gardeners (above, Art of Gardening) in our area make use of mirrors in the gardens, especially those that do small space gardening. It makes the garden feel larger and if strategically placed, more flower-filled. In the case of the image above, it becomes a changing “painting” in the space. Notice next to it two other mirrors. The space is very well-appointed and designed.

A few things worth a mention, be considerate of birds. They have a tendency during mating season to fly right into a mirrored surface. Be considerate of neighboring properties too, since mirrors in a sunny location can redirect the rays of the sun in a glaring manner. A mirror in the garden can brighten a shady spot.


Large gardens approach the reflective design aspect of a garden a bit differently, using water to reflect back a pleasant view or in the case of this daylily garden, gazing balls. The orbs add sparkle and a bit of bling, yet had their beginnings in lure and legend. They were objects to keep evil at bay, bring good luck and prosperity, and a show of friendship through the ages. But they also were coveted for their reflective abilities, to see people entering a premises or even to spy on young lovers.

Click any image to see the garden of the gazing balls larger in the galleries below. The daylilies reflect back all the color and visual excitement of the gardens.


One of the best uses of gazing orbs is when they are surrounded by multitudes of flowers. View both galleries for ideas and a splash of garden color.


I think the best use of reflection in a garden does it both in the most obvious way with an image reflecting back at the viewer, but also allowing for those inner reflective moments. Nothing does that better than adding water to a garden, not just a small artificial pond, but ponds of natural scale.


Click through the gallery for the sense of peace.

Notice in all these images why one would feel at peace and reflect back on times of joy, contentment and inner peace. What makes these places feel like someplace special? Is it the large towering trees? Most certainly that is one aspect of the experience. Tall trees are comforting and sheltering, they also make one feel small in relationship to the nature that surrounds. This is where being reflective comes in, especially if a garden sitting area is positioned by the water feature as in the case of all images shown from the vantage point of the seating in the gallery below.

How about the water. Water can be soothing in its calmness, silencing and masking the internal chatter we have in our daily lives. Do you notice the lawns? They are also a factor in the feeling of calm. Green is a color that elicits calm, restfulness, cheerfulness and makes one feel healthful. The blue sky above adds to the tranquility. The grass sets the scene and is nothing more than a foundation for the theater of nature in these large gardens. Water and trees equals wildlife and all the soothing sounds that one hears. Take a look through the gallery of calming scenes. See if you feel it.

Stay tuned, April has some great ideas. Happy gardening! Hope you get some inspiration.


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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24 Responses to April is a Month to Look at Garden Ideas

  1. Kathy Snay says:

    Excellent post. Tweet worthy.

  2. swo8 says:

    Donna I want to plant some Easter Lilies in the garden. Should I just cut them back and plunk them in or should I wait until they finish flowering and it gets a little warmer?

    • To get your lily ready for outdoor planting, pinch off blooms when they begin to fade. Make sure to allow the foliage to die back naturally to feed the bulb. I like to keep them in a cooler room rather than in bright sun while they die back. It takes longer, but the bulb replenishes. Transplanted lilies do best when planted when the plant is dormant, yet I have planted them in flower before since they are potted. Just continue watering your lily as the plant is dying (while it is inside) regularly to prevent the bulb from drying out. Some dry and clean the bulbs (and keep them cool over summer) to then plant them in Fall. Not me. I like them out in the garden ASAP. I also planted those greenhouse Hydrangea with no problem making it through our winters. The key is the micro-climate beds.

  3. Rachel Chrostowski says:

    Hi Donna,

    I wondered if you might consider sharing an upcoming Land Conservancy event to your Garden Walk Garden Talk followers? We are bringing author Doug Tallamy to speak in Buffalo on May 10. You may know Doug from his awesome book, Bringing Nature Home. We would love for garden enthusiasts to all have the opportunity to hear Doug’s presentation. If you’re interested in helping us spread the word, that would be just wonderful! I will attach our event flyer, as well as include some text (see below) that you can use to promote the event if you like.

    Please let me know if you have any questions or if you want any additional information.

    Thank you!!!


    Our friends at the Western New York Land Conservancy invite you to hear Doug Tallamy present about “Rebuilding Nature’s Relationships at Home” on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at the UB Center for the Arts, beginning with a reception at 6pm and the presentation at 7pm.

    Doug Tallamy is the famed author of the award-winning book, *Bringing Nature Home*. His work has sparked a national conversation about using native plants in our gardens and landscapes to reverse the loss of wildlife and to make our communities healthier. Don’t miss this opportunity to see him in person!

    Tickets are $20 per person. Purchase your tickets in advance at the UB Center for the Arts Box Office or online at *Tickets.com*

    This event was made possible by the following cosponsors: Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, East Aurora Garden Club, Eastern Monarch Butterfly Farm, Ecology & Environment, Grassroots Gardens, Joy Kuebler Landscape Architect PC, The Knoer Group, Lessons from Nature Garden Consulting, Nature Sanctuary Society of WNY, Paul Fuhrmann, Sierra Club Niagara Group, Wild Birds Unlimited, and WNY Environmental Alliance

  4. I don’t have any gazing balls, though I’ve occasionally considered getting one. I do really like colored glass. We used to have a sort of sunflower sculpture made with metal and colored glass. Sadly it really wasn’t sturdy enough to be an outdoor ornament and gradually pieces went missing until I set it aside.

    • I don’t either. They work best with lower growing plants so not to get swallowed up in the garden. I make my stained glass ornaments for the garden. I have often thought of mirrors for the fence, but never added them. I bet the squirrels would hate them.

  5. aussiebirder says:

    Really beautiful places to meditate and rest in Donna!

  6. How wonderful that you are sharing garden ideas, Donna. I have mirrors and water in my garden, but thought of new ways to use them when I perused your stunning galleries. I look forward to more in your series. P. x

  7. Yes, I need to do more of this. Thanks for the ideas! I do have a gazing ball, but I’m thinking of adding some windows, doors, and mirrors. We do have a small pond, which has added some character to the garden, for sure. 🙂

    • If my garden were larger, I would definitely have a natural pond. I did have an in ground water feature for years, but took it out for the work of draining it in winter. It was not reflective though, but rather creative in design. I like Jim’s decorative use of mirrors on the fence. He really has an outdoor garden room. I have too many birds in my garden though, and have them fly into windows, so no mirrors. I do have some small reflective garden ornaments throughout the garden though. It is nice seeing the sun make them shine and sparkle.

  8. Donna, I took photos of some of these same places, but your photos are so much better! I learn so much from you.

  9. Susan Link says:

    I really love the gazing balls and I don’t have any either, but I’ve always wanted one. I love the gold one you featured with sculpted design on it. Great article on design ideas!

  10. I have mixed feelings about gazing balls. I think they can really compliment the garden and flowers if placed properly. Other times I think they look tacky and out of place. I love water in the garden especially when they reflect tall trees. I like the idea of mirrors but haven’t found a good place in our garden for them. Thanks for the tip about heat/reflection. I hadn’t considered that. In a sunnier spot they could reflect a lot of heat and cook plants or possible help create a microclimate.

    • Reflection does have its negatives. Mirror in the garden can be tricky to find the right spot. Remember as kids the little boys frying ants with a magnifying glass? It can be much the same in very strong sun. The glare can be starling too. I just posted a garden tip on FB for our garden club that talked about finding the right place for hanging baskets so they blend into the surroundings. I should do one on mirrored surfaces too. Even glass can pose similar problems if sited wrong. Glazing balls especially need good siting. What they reflect is important and much as the glare they cast.

  11. My grandparents always had one of those orbs in their garden – a nice memory!

  12. debsgarden says:

    How I wish I had a pond, not a small man made one, but a large natural one with a blue row boat and weeping trees reflected on its surface…sigh. The closest to a water feature I have at present is a birdbath. A gazing ball, that I may can do. But a mirror in the woodlands could be intriguing too.

  13. A.M.B. says:

    A very inspiring post! Lovely pictures too.

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