How long has Barbara Israel been in the antiques business?
Barbara founded Barbara Israel Garden Antiques in 1985 after she purchased a large collection of estate statuary. Today, Barbara Israel is a renowned national authority on garden antiques and her book, Antique Garden Ornament: Two Centuries of American Taste (Harry N. Abrams, Inc. 1999), is acknowledged as the definitive work in the field.

When was Garden Traditions established and why? After her years of experience in the garden antiques market Barbara recognized that there were limited options for a broad audience to own antique garden ornaments. Thus, Barbara Israel was inspired to create Garden Traditions in 2006. By reproducing fountains, statuary and furniture from her exclusive inventory, she is offering garden owners the opportunity to acquire replicas with the historical significance and aesthetic appeal for which her garden antiques collection is known. Barbara Israel has personally chosen each ornament in the Garden Traditions line for its fine workmanship and exemplary design. Though these reproductions are made with the same emphasis on craftsmanship that distinguishes their antique originals, they cost significantly less.

Where are the Garden Traditions pieces produced?
The Garden Traditions collection is made in New York State, less than 2 hours from our offices, affording our team a unique level of oversight and quality control. Because of the facility's proximity, we are able to work closely with our manufacturer through every phase of production to ensure that these ornaments are the true descendants of their antique ancestors.

Do the reproductions have the same detail as the originals?

Yes, our exceptional molds are capable of reproducing the finest details. Everything that makes up the antique look of the piece—chisel marks, rough surfaces, and texture of the material—is captured by the mold. Each Garden Traditions reproduction, made from the finest composition stone, is individually cast and finished by skilled craftsmen. The result is a collection of top-quality reproductions to keep for generations as the antiques of the future.

From what material are the garden ornaments made?
The refined aggregate mix used to create these ornaments results from the years of experience our manufacturer has in producing cast stone exterior architectural sculpture for the restoration industry. Using his time-tested quality materials and techniques, we are able to offer pieces with enough strength to withstand outdoor weather conditions while maintaining sufficient porosity to age gradually over time.

What colors or finishes do you offer?
The Garden Traditions collection is offered in two historically accurate, naturalistic colors, each of which permeates the entire object guaranteeing a uniform color throughout. European-inspired pieces are cast in a buff color reminiscent of quarried limestone. Asian-inspired ornaments are produced in a grayish tone that evokes the Eastern tradition of carved granite.

How heavy are the Garden Traditions pieces?
The weights vary from just under one pound for the smallest piece to well over 350 pounds for most of the larger ornaments. For individual weights, please consult the descriptive information for each piece on the "Our Collection" page.

Can I place my ornament directly on the ground? Are there any precautions I need to take?
In temperate climates, the pieces can be placed directly on the ground. In freezing climates, we recommend placing them on cement footings, pads or pedestals to prevent their bases from having direct contact with soil during the freeze-thaw cycles of winter and spring.

What is the best way to protect my ornament?
For a full commentary on maintaining your ornament, please see our "Maintenance" page.

For optimum protection of your garden ornament, we also recommend Barbara Israel's Weatherbags, simple weather-resistant covers for ornaments available in 3 standard sizes. Our Weatherbags are made from durable multi-layered polypropylene, and are available in 8-foot, 12-foot, and 16-foot diameters for statues ranging from 30" to 84" in height. Easy to use, the circular covers are simply placed over the object and gathered at the base with the pre-threaded nylon cording cinched through grommets in the material. Please see our "Weatherbags" page.

How should I clean my new ornament?
To gently clean superficial dirt and unwanted mold or moss off ornaments, fill a spray bottle with one part ammonia to two parts water. Spray the solution on the affected areas and allow it to soak in for several minutes. Rinse with water (spray with a regular garden hose—never a pressure washer) and repeat several times, as needed. For stubborn stains, we recommend using a bleach-free, non-abrasive cleanser and a soft-bristle brush. Any cleaning beyond the most superficial should be done by a trained conservator.

Copyright 2006-2012 Barbara Israel Enterprises Inc. All Rights Reserved.