Garden Gazing Balls
Gazing balls are a popular fixture in backyard gardens. These colorful spheres can be found in a wide range of sizes and colors. The most common size is 12 inches in diameter, but they can range in size anywhere from a tiny 2 inches to a whopping 22 inches across. Gazing balls are traditionally made of glass, but they can also be made with a variety of materials including stained glass, ceramic and stainless steel. Gazing balls are typically placed atop a stand, which can be a work of art in and of itself. Gazing balls are also known by several different names, including lawn balls, witch balls, gazing globes, garden ball, chrome ball, mirror ball, Victorian ball, butler globe and globe of happiness.
History And Uses Of Gazing Balls
Gazing balls have been used to accent gardens since the 13th century. Craftsmen in Venice made these beautiful spheres out of mouth blown glass. Many kings through history have had them in their gardens and believed that shooting balls had the power to keep away evil spirits, disease and attackers. Some legends say that racing balls were used to repel witches. If the staring ball is placed near the entrance to the home, then the witch would gaze into it and be scared by her own reflection. The name "globe of happiness" stems from the custom of giving the globes as wedding gifts to bring the bride and groom happiness. In Victorian times, gas balls were used both indoors and outdoors. Indoors, they were placed on sideboards, and in dining rooms, so that the servants could use them to discreetly see who needed a refill without standing and staring at them through the meal. Another use was in the foyer of the home so parents could keep an eye on their daughters and their dates when they bid each other goodnight. Placed outdoors in the garden, young women would gaze into the ball, in hopes of catching a glimpse of their future husbands. In the South, they were called "garden gazers" and they were placed at the gate to the front yard so that one could see who was coming. Knowing ahead of time who is approaching, the people on the porch would either go and prepare a glass of iced tea or have refreshments ready for the guest or, in the case of an unwelcome guests, would go and hide.
Gazing Ball Care
A good quality staring ball will last for a long time with the proper care. A solution of mild vinegar and water can be used for retaining stainless steel gazing balls. Automobile scratch remover can be used to remove scratches. Because gazing balls can be delicate, they should not be placed on the ground or other location where they might break. With this in mind, manufacturers have made special stands for them and are available where gaming balls and globes are sold. These stands come in a wide variety of colors, sizes and shapes that can accommodate any kind of taste and any size of ball. Make sure that the shooting ball is on the pedestal securely enough so it will not be knocked over easily. These globes can be kept out in most weather; however, they should be brought in during extreme weather such as storms or harsh winters to keep them from freezing and cracking.
Display Gazing Balls
There are no rules for displaying gazing balls, whether one has several or only one to work with. The only requirement is creativity and imagination to display this wonderful work of art.