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Seating in your Garden

Sitting Spiritually Pergola & Curve Back Swing Seat

A short time before Christmas, a brand new Sitting Spiritually swing seat was delivered to a client ready to go on a pergola in a newly designed garden.  I am rather envious of this lovely family and I know they will get years of fun, relaxation and value from their new purchase.  

I am very fortunate to have a large garden in Northumberland and for the last few years my husband and I have been creating various new areas of planting and lawn out of what was previously a wilderness of rampant rhododendrons.  In amongst the thickets we found some benches which have been lost and forgotten about by the last five generations of occupiers.  One is a late Victorian seat in the Naturalistic style.  A wonderful iron framework in the shape of gnarled twigs supports a flat plank seat.  It is in amazing condition considering the time it has been here but the seat is so covered in characterful lichens, I can’t bring myself to sit on it and spoil the effect so it is placed under a venerable oak tree for the squirrels to use.

Another is a teak seat in the Chinese Chippendale style.  The real sadness about this bench is that someone along the line has painted it in gloss white which has caused the wood to rot and it is no longer safe to sit on. It does, however, look fabulous, although slightly piebald, with a backdrop of a beech hedge variously green in spring and summer and golden russet in autumn and winter.  I have placed this where no one would ever actually want to sit but where it just looks pretty as I walk through a series of arches draped with scented white roses and wisteria, picking off little bits of paint as I go.  The only safe seat I have is pretty amongst some planting, and with snow on it as shown here, but I rarely use it to sit on – just to plonk things on as I work through the border.

This does mean that I don’t actually have a comfortable seat where I can just contemplate my garden and, if I concentrate hard enough, can zone out the traffic noise in the background and listen to the birdsong around me.  I would adore a Sitting Spiritually swing seat under its own pergola.  I would probably have more roses and wisteria here but in pink and purple with a few pretty pots of scented leaf pelargoniums to brush against and maybe some dahlias for late colour.  The garden songbirds would be joined by the buzz of bees and high above a mewing buzzard would circle on a thermal.  I also imagine the gentle squeak of the chains attached to the frame as I lazily rock back and forth would add to the soporific effect.  I don’t think I would place it in full sun but in a part of the garden that gets shade from the big oak tree later in the day where a cup of tea or an early evening glass of wine could be savoured.  Even at colder times of year it is great to have a peaceful spot to stop and sit, contemplate the next jobs to do in the garden and maybe even see the first green tips of snowdrops and narcissi poking through the ground, bringing the start of the next gardening season.  Nothing stays asleep for long here. 

It might be useful to point out that hardwoods such as oak and teak along with cedar are so beautiful when left to age gracefully to a silvery grey that painting them is almost criminal.  If paint is to be used, please make sure it is one which allows the timber to breathe.  Sitting Spiritually paint their Harmony pine seats  and will be able to advise for other timber, but they don't recommend painting their oak & cedar ranges as the timber mellows to such a beautiful silver colour.

Sitting Spiritually Pergola at Forde Abbey

With many thanks to Sophie Simpson Garden Design

01661 854814 or 07778 662966

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Posted by Siobhan on January 8th 2019

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