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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 totally useless, 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 madness.

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 we can 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.


    "What is that out in the garden?

    A model railroad enthusiast has found a way to take his hobby out into the garden and produced a wonderfully entertaining web site along the way. With lots of decent sized pictures, movies, sound effects and railroad links, plus a good sense of humour, this is a rare treat indeed.


Follies, Folly Towers, Monuments & Curiosities

Eccentric Buildings Built
By Eccentrics

"The great point of this tower, is that it will be entirely useless"
Lord Berner

    This wonderful Folly at Goring-by-Sea was begun in February 1999 and completed in April 2000. It was built entirely by the current owner as a Millennium project.
    The Folly comprises a tower with spiral steps leading down to a natural well, linked by a 'ruined arch' to a two roomed building with lofts above.
    Excellent site with information about construction, pictures and folly links.

Care to join the FOLLY FELLOWSHIP? Or just cruise by and visit some of the more famous and public follies of the world.

Visit Hawkstone Park Follies in the United Kingdom. "Created in the 18th century by Sir Rowland Hill, the woodland fantasy of caves, cliffs and castle has been described as a lost world deep in the heart of Shropshire"

The award winning Lost Gardens of Heligan extend to some eighty acres of superb pleasure grounds together with a magnificent complex of walled gardens, the Lost Valley & Jungle Garden. Lying at the heart of one of the most mysterious estates in England, the former seat of the Tremayne family since the sixteenth century, Heligan is now the site of the largest garden restoration in Europe.

    Japanese Gardens

    The Japanese are undoubtedly the masters of garden illusion. Here a range of mountins and and a vulcanic peak are reflected in the shinning waters of a vast lake.

    All done with mirrors. An Irish gardener adopts an excellent idea from a neighbour's garden to add the illusion of more space to her own, small garden.
    The Garden Mirror Project

    Every garden should have a folly or two. This Outback Homestead is constructed of nothing more than old fence pailings, mirrors and paint

    Take a look at our very own "Garden Folly" in Virgo's Virtual Garden Tour.

See how this garden was developed around an ancient ruin theme.

Fancy a jungle adventure? How about building your very own native hut down the back garden? Although not strictly speaking a Folly, as I could see this also being very useful, never-the-less it fits the bill in being totally unnecessary in the practical sense. Some shruken heads hanging from the doorway would really get the neighbours wondering.