As I've been gradually developing my shade garden over the last 10 years, finding plants that would grow and survive our vicious winters and hot summers, and adding my fairies and my stepping stones, I realized that what it needed to make it perfect was a bench, something I could sit on to just be there and enjoy it. I live on a quiet residential street, so traffic and noisy neighbors rarely intrude, just the occasional romping dog and hosta-munching bunny.
I looked at a variety of different benches in stores like Lowes and Home Depot, and in catalogs, and the ones I really liked were very expensive, and I felt they wouldn't hold up to our winters. And they just didn't look right; I wasn't sure quite what was in my mind, but I was sure I'd recognize it if I saw it.
I went to one of the best local garden stores, Classic Yard, where I've bought plants in the past, and I knew they had a variety of statues, fountains, and other yard decorating things. And there I found my bench. It's concrete, so I don't think the weather can do much to it. It's very simple: just two solid legs and a table-like top. It reminded me of a smaller version of some of the rock tombs I'd seen in Ireland, and I fell in love. For $49.99 plus tax, they even delivered it and set it up for me.
I love sitting in the shade on summer mornings with my cup of coffee or tea, and watching my garden grow. (I'm sure the hostas were growing so fast early this month that had I sat there for an hour, I actually would have seen them grow!) Neighbors walk by, and we chat, and I've met some wonderful people. The dogs lie down inside their fence in the shade, and complain that I won't let them into the garden, but they settle down. I know this isn't what everyone would want, but it's almost perfect. The only problem, and it's a small one, is that in the morning after cool nights, it's a little bit cold on my backside!