I can still remember the moment that I became fascinated by the beauty of wrought iron. Like most children I hadn’t been much excited by architectural features, especially metalwork, but all that changed when my parents took me to Salzburg in Austria. Before the trip it had been the city’s connection to The Sound of Music that had filled me with anticipation but it was a street in the centre of town that was to make a lasting impression.
A Street in Salzburg
We had just finished visiting all of the locations from The Sound of Music and it had been an enjoyable experience. I loved that film as a child. In fact it was the first movie that I had seen at the cinema. We decided to take a walk around the centre of Salzburg and after a few minutes of strolling around the old town we turned a corner to find ourselves in Getreidegasse (Grain Street). This wonderful thoroughfare is notable for two things. The birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the fact that all of the shops have beautiful wrought iron signs hanging above their doors.
As you look down the street those wonderful signs dominate your view and give the whole area a unique character. I was immediately entranced as I had never seen anything like it. From that day I developed a love for anything fashioned in wrought iron. That street really opened my eyes to the possibilities this material presents and what a difference it can make to the appearance of a building.
Some 20 years later I was to purchase a house which had wrought iron gates. They were one of the features which I loved about that place and I set about adding more wrought iron pieces to both the front and back gardens. I had wonderful wrought iron baskets at the front of the house which I filled every summer with a riot of flowering plants.
In the back garden I featured wrought iron pedestal planters to add height to my container displays and the patio always looked wonderful when everything was in bloom. The ornate shapes of the wrought iron work and the black colour was the perfect complement to both the plants and the Art Deco qualities of the 1920’s house.
My house was hardly a stately home and of no architectural note whatsoever. It was a modest house in an ordinary street but the combination of wrought iron adornments and colourful planting lifted it to another level. Sadly my current garden does not live up to my previous efforts and I will have to do something about that. I am considering adding a wrought iron bench to the back garden and some lovely planters to the patio area.
How strange that an Austrian street should influence the way I present my own home and garden but then that is how life is. Sometimes you discover something inspiring in the most unexpected places and can never be without it again!
Article by Sally Stacey