Thursday, June 4, 2015

The New Guardians of the Estate

The bride and I love us some landscaping.  Our place is not large--a subdivision lot of 100' wide by 250' deep--just over half an acre--but with her as the designer and me as the shovel-wielder, we've managed to create a really nicely landscaped place.

Our "estate" has been featured a couple times on garden tours, most recently this past weekend.  We have a variety of beds featuring various native, heirloom, or exotic plants, and the sloping yards have proven to be a good way to incorporate stone walls using local native limestone.  Plus our water garden is a nice feature.

Another one of the things that we've been adding in particular the past couple of years has been statuary--tasteful and understated, sculptures that peek out subtly and surprisingly.  I'm not sure that our most recent addition prior to the garden show meets those criteria, but we fell in love with a gargoyle that we mounted up on our pergola:

Image credit Gary

Actually, we got a pair of alike gargoyles, mounted now on either end of our pergola.  I think seeing such critters on the medieval cathedrals in Europe last fall got us thinking.

Seems that the term gargoyle (see Wikipedia, here) originally refers to their water-diverting function.  Our pair, mere statures, should more properly be called a chimera, but for us, gargoyle is still the term of choice:

In architecture, a gargoyle is a carved or formed grotesque with a spout designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building, thereby preventing rainwater from running down masonry walls and eroding the mortar between. Architects often used multiple gargoyles on buildings to divide the flow of rainwater off the roof to minimize the potential damage from a rainstorm. A trough is cut in the back of the gargoyle and rainwater typically exits through the open mouth. Gargoyles are usually an elongated fantastic animal because the length of the gargoyle determines how far water is thrown from the wall.

When not constructed as a waterspout and only serving an ornamental or artistic function, the correct term for such a sculpture is a chimera, or boss. Just as with bosses and chimeras, gargoyles are said to frighten off and protect those that it guards, such as a church, from any evil or harmful spirits.

So, we like to think that these guys are the news guardians of the estate, keeping watch both night and day.

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