Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cookies and Cream anyone?

Cookies and Cream, one of my favourite ice cream flavours and is what I was exactly reminded of as I was preparing to age our newest garden ornament.

We were generously given an Incan/Mayan inspired sculpture by our good friends Gary and Nat (a really lovely family I may add!) last time we paid them a visit. I’ve always thought such an ornament would be perfect for our jungle area, wherein it can blend with the lush planting and will make a little surprise for anyone exploring it.

What makes this sculpture even more special is that it is unique and handmade by Gary himself, carved out of low density concrete blocks. He’s talented and very good in making different sorts of garden ornaments and can turn his hand to many different crafts, which comes in handy as they are currently restoring a 17th century English cottage.

We spent some time choosing a suitable location to show off, and at the same time blend in this new sculpture, which is at the base of a large old tree. As the sculpture is made from a concrete block and still looks very bright and new, we wanted to hasten the aging process so it will look like it’s been there for quite some time already.

So out comes my tried and tested formula, my Cookies and Cream mix of 50:50 Live Yoghurt and Multi-purpose compost to be painted on to our new ornament. I’ve used this mixture many times before and has always worked a treat, and can be used virtually any time of the year.

It’s worth noting that you must use ‘Live Yoghurt’ in the mix, as opposed to just a Yoghurt flavoured product.

Once the sculpture is in position I started to generously paint it with the mixture.

And after a few minutes, here’s the ‘finished product’. The plant right in front of it is a small Yucca recurvifolia which I may or may not remove depending on how the area will look like in the spring, which by that time will be lush with native arums. It looks like the plant is more of an obstruction to the sculpture, but I’d rather that it blends in with the vegetation rather than standing out on its own. So one thing I’ll have to think about in the next few months.

Not quite a finished product as yet, it will take a few months to see the more or less final result, hoping that it will look like it’s been there for years in just the space of a few months. But for now I’ll let mother nature take its course and will post an update in the spring.


  1. What a talented friend you have. The sculpture looks great. Thanks for the tip on aging concrete too. I will use that sometime.

  2. Your friend's talent really is impressive...and that trick with the yoghurt and compost is really neat. I need to remember it for when I ever get to the point of installing sculptures in a garden.

  3. I love the sculpture, and I love how aged it looks right after you apply your special mixture. Another awesome piece for your awesome yard!

  4. What a great sculpture. It will just look better and better as it ages.
    I've tried carving it (we call it Hebel here) and it's not as easy as it looks -- but then you do need talent.

  5. Thanks for the kind comments everyone, love what you have done with it Mark, it looks great in its new home, will be nice to see it in its new home in a couple of weeks :-)

  6. What a beautiful piece, and so much more special as it was made by a friend. Look forward to seeing it "age" gracefully.

  7. the sculpture fits perfectly in your jungle!! it already looks so much better with your aging treatment!

  8. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. jim and pat

  9. Thanks for the compliments, Gary appreciates them too as you can see :)

    It's actually the live yoghurt that does most of the work, the compost enhances it and provides instant aging effect. Another option is to add a drop or two of green food colouring to the mixture so the painted ornament gets an instant 'algae' effect. But it won't be Cookies and Cream anymore, more like Pistachio :)


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