Everybody…and every garden…needs a protective charm. Alongside roadways in ancient Greece, 4-sided stone columns --- embellished by a frontal phallus and topped off with a carved visage of the messenger-god Hermes --- were erected. Passers-by who anointed these statues with olive oil knew that Hermes, the patron of travelers, would keep them from harm during their journeys. Over the past 2300 years this Herm-form has evolved as sculptors have castrated the columns while decorating them with the heads of all sorts of gods, humans and animals.
But, whatever face your Herm happens to be wearing, it will always be a benevolent presence…one who watches over your garden’s pathways.
A Victorian-era Herm is tucked into an ivy-covered alcove, at Blickling Estate, in northern Norfolk. Courtesy of nanquick.com
A pair of sleek, 20thcentury Herms flank a path at Anglesey Abbey. Courtesy of nanquick.com
Charming Lead Herm in private New Hampshire Garden
Buscot Park’s Water Garden is guarded by a phalanx of Herms, who represent Roman gods. Courtesy of nanquick.com