I’m making garden totems to sell at our local garden art sale this summer.
The first question I get, is “How much?” so I’ll answer that first! They’ll come in three sizes, and three price points (plus tax!).
- Small Totem Measures 5′ 6″ from the base to the top of the finial, $110.00
- Medium Totem Measures 6′ 6″ from base to top of the finial, $210.00
- Large Totem measures 8′ from base to the top of the finial, $310.00
What they are
I paint each one personally. Wherever you see paint, it has at least three coats. Each one has routed bands cut into the poles, as well as embellishments like wood ornaments or wooden bands nailed and glued onto the pole.
All poles use the same palette of colors – so if more than one is purchased, they will family together and have some visual consistency.
The totems are hand painted on 4″ x 4″ southern yellow pine posts. The posts, caps, and finials are all pressure-treated to resist rot, insects, and fungal decay. They are painted with acrylic-based exterior house paints. All are protected with multiple coats of a UV-protecting marine varnish to help prevent fading and to ensure a long life.
Each totem comes with a spike base for installation.
What they are not
They are not mass-produced vinyl wraps on a PVC plastic pole.
How best to use them in your garden
They add a great splash of color as an accent or a centerpiece. They look best (I think) in groups of three, in differing heights, spaced somewhat evenly.
Single poles look great too, especially in smaller gardens or in a garden vignette. In a large garden, one pole on its own could be overwhelmed by everything else. Multiple totems make a statement.
Placing them at the far end of a garden will draw attention and provides a destination leading visitors through a garden. Placing them where they can be seen from a home window is very nice – they do add a great splash of color – especially in winter months.
Installing & care
Each totem comes with a 12-gauge steel, 4″ x 4″ column base ground spike, with self-locking nuts, for installation. The ground spike is just under 36″ long – most of it a spike that gets pounded into the ground. You’re going to need a sledge hammer and a short piece of 4″x4″ to place in the holder while you pound.
Depending on your soil type, they may be sunk easily. Some clay-y soils may take some work (find a young person!), or you may decide they don’t have to be pounded in all the way, especially if the base is hidden in or behind plants. The bases, once pounded in and secure, are solid, and will easily support the largest totem.
You can push and pull to get them “plumb” as you drive them into the ground. The only tools you will need to install are a sledge hammer to drive the spike into the ground and a level for plumbing it up.
The exterior-grade house paints and marine-grade polyurethane will keep your totem looking good for years. They can stay out all winter – however – to keep their vivid color as long as possible, I recommend:
- Placing them in a shaded area
- Store them indoors in the winter months
The prices listed above are the Family & Friends and Airline discounts – you’re all my friends! (If I don’t like you, I’ll charge double!) There are no discounts if you purchase more than one. If you don’t think you’ll be needing the spiked base, I can take $10 off.
I won’t sell any in advance of the Buffalo Style Garden Art Sale on Saturday & Sunday, June 26 & 27, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on the grounds of the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. I need the inventory – and I want you to attend the garden art sale! There will be around 40 vendors of garden art participating. Save your COVID stimulus bucks!
If you’re interested after that last weekend of June, I will start making more, but I don’t have an idea of turn-around time yet for any produced after June. It would be before the end of summer for sure. I may be able to do some slightly customized ones – give me some of your house paint (that’s sitting in your garage) and I can maybe incorporate your own house’s DNA into the design.
Okay – who am I going to see at the Garden Art Sale? It would be good to know who is serious about buying so I can have enough inventory on hand that weekend! I currently plan on having 26 poles, roughly eight of each size available. But if the demand is higher for different sizes, I can still accommodate and make even more if needed. If you don’t want to leave a comment here, you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And no, I can’t ship them!