Gazing balls in the garden-why do we have them?

My blown glass on top of a wrought iron stand

My blown glass on top of a wrought iron stand

Many gardeners adorn their flower beds with a shiny glass gazing ball. What you may not know is the actual history of the gazing ball.

The gazing ball has a very long and diverse history starting back to the 13th century Italy when glass blowing was said to be invented. A true gazing ball is glass blown sphere that ranges in size from 4″ -12″ in which the color was sealed on the inside of the glass ball. Gazing balls were thought to bring prosperity and good luck to the home.

Throughout history gazing balls were also called witch balls {which were placed by the front door in the garden to ward off evil spirits} and friendship balls {since they were given as gifts to show true friendship}. Another interesting use for the gazing ball was started in the Victorian Era where the shiny reflective balls or ‘butler balls’ were placed on a stand on top of a buffet or table in the dining room so that the butler/servants could check in on the guests from the doorway. I was told many years ago that the gazing ball was also placed in the garden beside a bench for a woman to watch for her ‘suitor’ during courtship.

gazing ball

Stainless steel gazing ball on the edge of my pond

However the gazing ball came to be , it is a must have in the garden. Placing gazing balls among your flowers in the garden not only adds a bit of color but a bit of whimsy that attracts your visitor’s gaze to roam through the garden. I have several gazing balls throughout my gardens and am on the look out for new ones. My favorite are colored glass but I  have several that range from 4″ glass, a spray painted bowling ball, 12″ glass and even a 12″ stainless steel. I will never stop adorning my gardens and now that I learned that placing a gazing ball by the front door is thought to bring good luck and prosperity, I will have to add one there now too!gazing balls

Happy gardening everyone! I hope you add a gazing ball to your garden and remember a fun fact to share when someone asks you what they are.

gazing ballsCreating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!

Francis Bacon, in the 16th century, remarked that a “proper garden would have colored balls for the sun to play upon.”yard tour daylily 057

2014/2015 copyrighted material C Renee Fuller @ the Garden Frog Boutique

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