Statuary and sculpture bring a whole new dimension to a garden - adding a touch of whimsy, drawing the eye, or allowing a moment of contemplation
There's more to gardens than the plants - here we look at eight Partner Gardens where statues and sculptures are ready to surprise and delight visitors of all ages.
These charming carved owls are part of a Nature Trail at Crathes Castle, Garden and Estate in Aberdeenshire. There are 19 stone animals (displayed on rotation) for children to look for including an otter, fox and badger. In the Upper Pool Garden, admire the bronze and stainless steel dragonfly hovering about the pond.
Garden sculpture isn't just for adults! The Fairy Trail at The Trentham Gardens, Stoke-on-Trent, features 15 enchanting fairy sculptures painstakingly created from twisted wire by local artist Robin Wight. Some are shy, others are bold....how many can you find?
Dyffryn Gardens and Arboretum in the Vale of Glamorgan is a treasure of Edwardian garden design. Its various garden rooms and important plant collections are enhanced by a wonderful statuary collection, including this striking urn encircled by dragons, and a bronze sage on a bull.
Fountains, terraces and statues like these give the gardens at Renishaw Hall, Derbyshire - winner of the HHA / Christie's Garden of the Year Award 2015 - a distinctly Italianate feel. Elsewhere in the gardens, you'll find an elegant golden angel sounding a trumpet, and a whimsical circle of carved hares gazing at a suspended moon.
The gardens at Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, are home to one of the most important collections of 17th and 18th century garden statuary in the country, collected from France, Italy and the Netherlands. Whether closing a vista, emerging from shrubbery or leading the eye down a path, sculpture helps create the series of focal points and discoveries that was such an important element of Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild’s vision.
The Italian Garden at Hever Castle, Kent, was designed to display William Waldorf Astor’s impressive collection of Italian sculptures, assembled while he was American Ambassador in Rome. Be transported to the Mediterranean as you explore more than 200 fine marble statues, well heads, sarcophagi, columns and urns.
The lush subtropical gardens at ArtParkS Subtropical Wild Woodland Garden, Guernsey, are home to a wide range of sculptures arranged to best effect against the backdrop of the wild gardens, two small lakes and more formal areas.
Pictured is 'Losing his marbles' by Priscilla Hann.
The much-photographed Lamp of Wisdom, by Nathan David, provides a serene centrepiece for the Formal Garden at Waterperry Gardens, Oxfordshire. You can find another of Nathan's sculptures at the end of Virgin's Walk - and you can't miss the 18ft-high red granite obelisk carved with an ancient prayer for peace. The garden hosts Art in Action, a major festival of the arts, in high summer each year.
Mount Pleasant Gardens, Cheshire, holds an annual sculpture exhibition throughout September, showcasing work by artists from across the UK. The garden's resident sculptor, Andrew Worthington, holds regular sculpture carving workshops with discounts available to RHS members on selected dates.