One definition of totem is “anything serving as a distinctive, often venerated, emblem or symbol.” We often think of totems as being tall and thin…vertical elements that are visual punctuation marks if you will. In the garden these are usually ornamental, but they can also be functional. Totems, or tall, upright elements, can be important focal points in the landscape, but they can support plants as well. Here are just a few photos to serve as inspiration for your own creations.
This colorful totem is made from tin-can art on a large limb.
These totems are created by allowing the metal holder to remain sturdy and keep the clay saucers stacked. These are pot or plant stands, repurposed!
This totem was created out of a copper garden obelisk that was filled with glass balls. The balls are held in place with wires artfully wound around the form. This was created by Judy Rogers for her garden in Brewster, MA.
Here is a garden totem that is part ornament, part plant support. Next to the birdbath I have a Clematis integrifolia, which is a bush form of clematis. It flops open every spring before flowering, so it needs to be supported. Rather than install an invisible staking system I chose to use this totem that I bought some years ago at a flower show. It is made of a brightly colored stairway spindle, topped with a flat wooden disk and a plastic finial. You could make the same with any spindle from a home supply store – top with the unfinished wooden circles that are sold as wheels at crafts stores, and an old glass insulator or upside down small flower pot. The possibilities are endless. To use such a piece as a support, push it into the ground right next to the flopping plant and then run a cord or, as I did here, a thin piece of Velcro around the plant, tucking it under the leaves so it doesn’t show much. The ornamental aspect of the totem takes the eye away from the fact that the plant is tied up.
The Bee Ball in that last photo is a hand blown glass ornament that also provides footing for bees to get a drink from your bird bath. This Bee Ball was made by Barbara Sanderson. See her website for information about this and other glass for your garden.