As you walk along your garden path, a small sign printed with the name of the rose variety in your flowerbed adds a grace note to your solitary wandering. This is a small example of using words in the garden to express a mood or offer an opinion. From political signs to the paper banner across your daughter's lemonade stand, signs add information and ambiance to the landscape.
Signs are easy to make, whether they're cast in plastic, burned into wood or printed on paper. Add a gardening poem to the area around your arbor, or print the lyrics to your favorite song and stencil them across the back of your garage. It's an expression of your taste, and you can put it where you please.
Signs don't even have to be in words. The "Clothesline of Quilts" project, decorative traditional quilt patterns painted on old barns, has been a huge success, spawning a book and a number of Web sites. Summarize your philosophy or express your passion in words or pictures. Think of a stationary bumper sticker, and you have the idea.
On the next page, we'll look at the wackier side of garden décor.