It is made of aluminum, so it won’t rust and is relatively lightweight. It is designed and painted to look like it is made out of branches. While it’s obvious that they are not really branches, the design is more in keeping with a semi-wild area than a bench with a strictly utilitarian or modernist, abstract design that leaves no question it is a product of the civilized, man-made world.
The bench is at the top of a bank. Virginia bluebells grow on the bank. The water you see is a rock-lined pool of water that we think was the original water source for our house. It is actually not that deep, and in droughty years it has gone completely dry. Frogs live there. We know because just beyond the pool is a path going left and right, and when you walk on that path the frogs plop into the pool. Beyond the pool is a seasonal rivulet. (We call it the brook, but that might make you think it is more substantial than it is.) You can probably see the neighbor’s house and barn and the hills in the distance.
I was sitting on the bench earlier this evening, listening to the burbling water and the birds singing, idly wondering how it would all look when the trees leafed out, and what other spring ephemerals would do well here. The Secret Garden is an area of our property uphill from the chicken yard that is somewhat secluded. It was a little too wet and uneven to be mowed by tractor, and so was permitted by the previous owners to fend for itself, and became an especially wide hedgerow. I dubbed it the Secret Garden and have been trying to eliminate invasive plants and encourage and add plants native to this area, especially spring ephemerals.
The Secret Garden is far enough away from the house to feel like you are in a different place, yet close enough that you can hear the call to supper. The snowdrops that I planted along the path, before I decided to concentrate on native plants, provide a good reason to get out of the house during mud season, when the weather is still unsettled and not particularly tempting. Not too far from the bench is a hammock in a grove of locust trees, a nice place for a nap on a warm summer day. Each year I try to find some way to make the Secret Garden more of a haven for the family. This year the branches bench was my little bit.