THERE are days in March when I dream of having only lavender, santolina and lilies.
The scent from these can be overpowering especially when grown in warm, sunny situations like those bordering patios and sitting-out areas.
And successful gardeners have always made very good use of moveable seats in these sheltered spots.
They have learned that permanently positioned seats can’t follow the sun and that cold breezes have a habit of sneaking into the garden from different aspects.
Deck chairs may be great fun on decks, but a folding director’s chair is far more appropriate in a small garden and can be used for dining outside during summer and inside during the off season.
They come in garden tolerable shades of fabric which I like. However, all seats irrespective of size, material, or shape are an invitation, a suggestion.
They invite you to pause, rest, or turn around; all imply you have come far enough, and at that point you should take time to ponder, reflect, and perhaps review what you have seen.
If living and enjoying the garden is your priority (and it should be) then sitting down every now and again in a comfortable seat should be a primary issue.
The reality however is seldom experienced by the young gardener but treasured by the mature.
For many, sitting in a garden has become a comparatively recent occupation but it was always available to the super rich classes of yesteryear who could afford benches and seats made of pure white marble, antique wrought iron, or even solid black ebony.
Today, marble is out. Even the reconstituted stone replicas are rejected as being too heavy, bulky and uncomfortably cold especially on the bottom!
What’s in is teak, and so the classiest of garden seats are made of this very fashionable material. The reasons for its popularity are many.
Teak is slow to season and so continues to mature and harden as it weathers outside in Irish conditions.
It moulds to a pleasant light grey colour which can be kept free of lichen by occasional applications of a weak bleach or teak-oil.
This will keep garden seating in its honey colour for an indefinite period.
Teak’s disadvantage is its price and availability.
Up to recent years it came from the wilds of South East Asia, and due to demand, was almost milled out of existence.
Today, the single species of teak, Tectona Grandis is plantation grown and strictly controlled, and as such is still expensive but probably more easily sourced by furniture manufacturers worldwide.
Other good hardwoods include Meranti hardwood and these also come from controlled forests where harvesting and replanting are strictly adhered to. The best cuts are kiln dried and treated with preservative for long-life in all climates.
Try to source a comfortable seat this summer. In the meantime, there is still time to invest in some lavender santolina and lilies.