Illusions are those things that appear to be that which they are not. By this definition almost
everything in the garden could rightly be called illusion. In our endeavors to recreate the
beauty of nature in our
personal patches of earth, we must employ illusion and indeed the test of a successful garden
design is how deftly this has been done.
Follies on the other hand, while being kissing cousins to illusions, differ in their striking obviousness.
A folly can be as grand as a Greek temple to Apollo on an English Country Estate. To as simple
as an ornate, but
bird house on an Australian city balcony. Few of us have the funds or space to employ the
grandiose folly designs of the great Victorian gardens but all gardeners, no matter how tiny their
domain, can inject fun and interest into their gardening by creating their own version of gardening
Even the terms "Illusion" and "Folly" will be debated by many. The definitions are as blurred and
misleading as the ornaments themselves. For arguments sake, let us say that anything that is
decorative but of absolutely no use is a Folly and designs that give the more subtle feelings of
space and vistas are garden illusions.
Australian artist and gardener, Tony Crago, uses all manner of inexpensive materials to create
garden illusions and follies in his N.S.W. garden. Many of these can be seen in his book "Australian
Garden Illusions". The book serves as a guide to all of us with more ideas than money, how
turn our gardens in to places of inspiration and interest without making the acquaintance of our
local bank managers, friendly or otherwise.
In fact I'm sure it is the sheer challenge of making something wonderful out
of nothing much at all that drives most gardeners to take spade in hand and trudge into the
unknowns of a new gardening project. Often all it takes is the mere germ of an idea, something
read in a magazine, seen on a Gardening Show, or spied in a neighbour's "castle grounds", to get the
creative and physical processes motoring. With that I hope you will find something to inspire here but
if you do not, please call back as this section will see many changes and
additions very shortly.