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SoCal Style: Gardens

Global Attraction

September 14, 1997|SUSAN HEEGER

Try to bypass a gazing globe. You can't. Its sparkle is too bright, its shape too sleek, its reflection irresistible. Step closer and in front of your own nose, big as a gilliflower, you'll see the whole garden, plus the wild blue sky revealed within its mirrored finish. A crowning jewel for a parterre, it can even liven up a clump of weeds. Dangle one from a tree, perch it on a pedestal, float a few in your birdbath. Popular among today's green thumbs, glass gazing globes--also called "wish balls" or "witches' balls"--were prized by the Victorians but date from at least the 17th century, when they starred in Dutch gardens. The following century, they surfaced in England, nestling among herbs and flowers as magnets for health and luck. The Brits later hung them indoors to scare off evil spirits, and eventually they rolled into America, dolling up rose gardens in the 1850s and remaining popular for decades. Their stock plunged after World War II, when, along with lawn jockeys and plaster Bambis, they were relegated to landscape kitsch. But they're back now--either as pricey mercury glass antiques or newly manufactured copies in a rainbow of hues. Either way, they're hand-blown, one-of-a-kind and guaranteed to reflect your garden in a glamorous light.

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Where To Find Them:

Bountiful, Venice: (310) 450-3620. Antique mercury glass in various color and sizes, $285 - $1,200. Los Feliz Pottery and Statuary, Los Angeles; (213) 665-3801. New American hand-blown glass with non-mercury mirrored finish, 12-inch diameter, all colors, $59. Arte de Mexico, North Hollywood; (818) 769-5090. New Mexican hand-blown mercury glass in diameters ranging from 6 to 14 inches, $20-$65.

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