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Interestingly the most popular garden accessory is actually the most accurate timepiece in most peoples homes. As a matter of fact, if your sundial is installed correctly and it's time disagrees with your watch, your watch is wrong. Public clocks used to be reset according to sundials. This highly complex timepiece accurately tells the time according to the Sun's noon placement in the sky. Unfortunatley most gardeners simply slap them in their gardens as pure decoration disregarding their time functionality.
Does anything in your garden have over 3500 years to gather perfection and variety other than your sundial? Of course not, so use this to your advantage. When planning your garden search for a sudial first. You'll be amazed at the enormous selction to choose from. You're sure to find one that sings your personlity throughout the garden. After you've installed the sundail, preferrably in working order, build your garden around this centerpiece.
On the surface, the difference between an armillary and sundail is cosmetic. The armillary is much more ornate and official looking while the sundial is much simpler looking. The armillary can actually do quite a bit more such as tell teh postion of stars as well as time. It is accurate even though it was built on the premise that everything revovled around the Earth and not the sun. It's origins are in question as to whether the Greeks or Chineese developed it first. But no matter the origin it will make a grand centerpiece in your garden.
Let face it, most gardeners would rather put a sun dial out just for the decorative effect. If it tells time, great. If not that's what a digital watch is for. If your sun dial is not set up correctly your garden won't fail. I've know many indoor gardenerw who have used sun dials inside or in a perpetually shady spot. The popularity is due to their intrinsic beauty not their time keeping ablilty. So put it where it looks good and use your watch.
The sundial in your garden is not only a thing of beauty but the oldest form of time keeping know to man. As you're getting away from all of the rigors of life in your garden why not get way completely. Shed your modern watch and tell time the way our ancestors did. To do this you'll have to position the sundial during high noon with the arm facing north. Most importantly the plate of the sundial must be flat and renain secure. This can be achieved by not scrimping on the pedestal that you install your sundial on. You'll be surprised at just how more relaxing your gardening experience can be by going back in time.
So now you have a sundial in your garden and you thought you might as well know how to use it. Well good for you, it's really quite simple. Basically there are two components to a sundial: the plate, and the shadow arm that rises out of the center at an angle. This arm captures the shadow of the sun to tell what time it is. Now for the sundial to work, at high noon put a compass down on the face plate and rotate the face plate until the arm faces due north.There should be no shadow. Make sure the plate stays flat and secure and you have a reliable garden timepiece
Sundials have been around since about 1500 BC. It's a remarkable instrument and has been used on every continent on Earth. The principle is simple, the tip of any vertical object can be used to tell the time. As the sun passes, the tip of the shadow traces the hours throughout the day; spring, summer, autumn and winter. Now you have in your garden a replica of an ancient device over 3000 years old. No wonder so many gardeners use this as the centerpiece of their gardens.
If you have ever wanted not only an attractive addition to your garden décor but also a fascinating study in history, consider adding a sun dial to your garden. Sun dials, until the end of the 19th century were used to capture the time unlike today, where we all live by watches, digital clocks and computers. To read a sundial accurately, you must place it so that it points directly to the north celestial pole. This can become not only a beautification for your lawn or garden, but also a interesting conversation piece as well.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|