Are you thinking of getting an easel for your garden? I bought one recently for my own humble garden. Here's my Napco Metal Cross Easel review. (Apology: My photos leave a lot to be desired...)
The Napco 17.5” Metal Cross Easel arrived well packaged in a securely sealed box. The box was taped down securely on arrival. (I forgot to take a photograph before I opened it: enthusiasm getting the better of me, as usual!)
Sturdy and well-made without being heavy, the cross would be equally attractive and potentially attractive in or out.
It is deliberately designed to have a “weatherbeaten” appearance. This means it won't strike too stark a contrast when added to an established garden. It can be added in as a simple ornament or as part of a hardscaping scheme which deliberately incorporates elements other than stone.
Whatever your garden design scheme, this cross would make an excellent centerpiece for a planting scheme which focuses on light, leafy green plants. It would also look very attractive as a climber for ivy or white dwarf roses.
In a hardscaped scheme, simple and striking is most often the way to go. Place the cross in an uncluttered area. Surround it with a base of gravel, white sand, or larger, natural stones. Plant one or two ivy plants around it to draw the eye and create a striking focal point.
This makes such a display, and the cross itself, ideal for small spaces. It would also be possible to hang the cross against a plain white wall if you were looking to use it as a decorative element on its own, rather than as part of a surrounding scheme of either hardscaping or planting.
As I intend to add the cross to my yard as part of a combination hardscaped/planted scheme, its potential and practicality as an outside piece is what I what I will focus on for review purposes.
My initial concern is how well the cross, and particularly the chain which joins the “easel” component (which enables the cross to be placed and to remain upright) will cope with weather. It gets very wet where I live and the air carries sea salt. It may be a sensible precaution to invest in a small tin of anti-rust paint and give the cross a good coat before Winter and before placing it outside.
My intention is to train ivy up and around the cross. Obviously, this is a long-term prospect but my initial impressions are that the cross is ideal for this purpose. It is tall enough to stand out, yet not so tall as to enable the ivy to take over the outside space and go wild.
The cross is also crafted in open-work fashion. There are plenty of gaps for the ivy to twine itself through. With careful attention on my part, this should make it relatively easy to train the ivy to take the shape of the cross rather than simply going rampant and obscuring it.
Ivy, the plant I intend to train around the cross, is described as an aerial rootlets climbing vine by proper gardening types. It climbs by way of sending out experimental, rooted tendrils along its length which then provide nourishment to the entire plant.
In the early stages of training any plant, the young plant will often need to be gently yet firmly tethered to whatever you want it to climb. I use cable ties, loosely drawn in, to support climbing plants. Another option is pantyhose cut into strips. (I don't wear pantyhose, and neither does my wife, she being a jeans and socks kind of woman, so for the moment at least, cable ties it is!)
If you do go down the cable ties route, remember: do NOT close the tie all the way. Pull it in just enough to hold the plant against its support without causing the tie to press down on any part of the plant itself. This is what I normally do, however, I found that the open work nature of the cross already provides natural support for the semi-established ivy plant I have.
I chose to place the cross at the point in my yard where I leave off introducing my own will into proceedings and allow a little bit of wildness in. For me, this was a deliberate act. It marks the sacred aspect of the natural word.
In a larger garden, the ornament could be placed in a planting scheme whose elements were chosen to aid meditation or spiritual reflection. It could also be used, perhaps with a climbing rose plant, or small, ground level plants, as a memorial marker for a loved one who has passed on, or the final resting place of a family pet.
I will probably look to add some leafy greenery immediately behind the cross, as I feel it looks a little stark. However, in a fully hardscaped scheme with natural stone and alpine carpeting plants, or in a lush live-planted garden, this would be a striking feature indeed.
While I chose to use this as a garden ornament, it would also be ideally suited to being used indoors. It can be used as a decoration in its own right, an addition to a devotional space, or even as a Gothic-style jewellery holder. How? Rings and pendants sit well on the end points of the cross, while certain styles of dangling earrings could potentially also be hung along the length of the crossbar.
- Solid yet lightweight
- Can be hanging or freestanding
- Open work – ideal for training climbing plants
- Perfect size – striking without being dominating
- Suitable for indoor or outdoor use
- Slight reservations about how well it will endure the weather outside
Value For Money?
This is well made, and well designed, offering an attractive, decorative addition to any space, inside or out, without dominating the space.
This is ornament without ostentation, and will enhance any home or garden.