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Gazing Balls and Stands

Gazing balls are experiencing a resurgence of popularity. Gardeners love their beautiful colors and mystical connections. There are many styles of stands that further enhance the decorative value of these garden accents.

What is a gazing ball for the garden?

A gazing ball is a sphere that is placed on a stand to decorate the garden. Gazing balls can be any size. Some are as small as two inches in diameter, but the most common sizes are from 10 to 12 inches. Traditional gazing balls are made of blown glass. Modern versions may be glass or metal.

Gazing globes are available in almost any color. They may be translucent or opaque, smooth, mosaic, or iridescent. Steel gazing balls often have a mirrored surface. Large gazing globes are quite heavy and are usually placed on an iron or stone support. Both steel and glass globes may have a stem that fits into the support for a more secure fit.

What is the purpose of gazing balls?

Centuries ago, a gazing globe was placed in gardens to ward off evil spirits and disease. Legend had it that these glass globes could ward off a witch and attract mystical spirits. Gazing globes were popular in Victorian gardens for decoration and for their beauty. Gazing globes are used to add interest, beauty, and mystery to gardens and other outdoor spaces. Some practitioners of New Age religions use the balls for literal gazing. This practice is called scrying. They believe that gazing into the ball will clear their minds and foster a spiritual connection. Modern gazing balls may have solar lights in them for an extra mystical effect.

How do you clean a gazing ball?

If your gazing globe is an unbroken sphere:

  • Clean metal balls with dishwashing soap and a soft sponge or cloth. Rinse well.
  • Clean glass globes with dishwashing soap and a soft sponge or cloth.
  • Rinse and dry.
  • Follow with window-cleaning solution.

If your gazing ball has a stem to fit into a base:

  • Remove the rubber gasket if it is loose enough to do so.
  • Put a small amount of dishwashing soap and water into the interior of the globe.
  • Swish the water around until the inside of the globe is clean.
  • Then clean the outer surface the same way that is described for an unbroken sphere.

If the rubber gasket on the stem still has a tight seal, your globe will not have anything inside it that needs to be cleaned out. Just wash the outer surface as described above.

What are gazing ball stands?

Stands for these balls are usually made of metal to form a sturdy base for the ball. Stone or resin pedestals are another popular choice. Supporting bases may be of almost any height. Short bases are great for displaying the globe on a table. Taller pedestals are appropriate for placing among the plants in a garden. If your ball has a stem, you will need a base that has a cup to seat the stem into. If your globe is a smooth ball, any support should be compatible.

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