A must for every gardener is the weathervane. It can advise you instantly as to the change in direction of the wind and of impending rain, warning you that there may only be a short time before you get drenched. I started checking these out after our weather became inclement in less than 30 minutes last Sunday. All weekend we had enjoyed the most beautiful weather; chilly, yet sunny mornings warming up throughout the day to an almost perfect autumn climate.
However, once a nor-wester starts to brew it doesn’t take long for the weather to change and eventually rain will fall. Wouldn’t it be easier to see the change happen as soon as it occurs? This is why weathervanes are such a necessity for gardeners.
So, what’s the importance of copper weathervanes? Most weathervanes are made from some metal whether it is aluminium, stainless steel, galvanised steel or wrought iron and while most of these will do the job adequately it takes copper to really stand out.
One of the big benefits of copper weathervanes is that they don’t rust and will maintain their look for many, many years. Depending on the metals found in your natural rainfall (and natural rainfall always contains some metals) will depend on how other metal weathervanes will respond. Some metals will aid in the eventual corrosion of your weathervane while others may just make them look unsightly.
Copper weathervanes are durable and they look great all the time. They also have a sense of prestige about them that other weathervanes don’t.
Types of copper weathervane
There are almost as many copper weathervanes as there are ideas about designing such equipment. The most common would be the rooster and the traditional stand-alone directional weathervane but then there are many others also. Horses, rabbits, cyclists, yachts, hot air balloons even witches on broomsticks (if you’re that way inclined).
How to install a copper weathervane
Weathervanes can be mounted on freestanding poles in the middle of your garden or, as most gardeners do, from the top of their roof. The most important aspect of installing a weathervane is to ensure that it’s line of sight is not hindered by other structures of plants. If a large tree is directly in the path of a prominent wind direction this will skew the performance of your weathervane. So find a place that will not distract the weathervane.
Also find a location that is easy to get to for ongoing maintenance.
Once a location is sourced mount the pole securely using a spirit level to ensure that the pole is straight and level. This is also critical to the weathervanes performance as a deviation can hinder the weathervane from moving appropriately.
Point the directional arrows in the correct region ensuring that the east-west arrow is exactly 90° from the north-south arrow.
Grease the spindle and make sure the weathervane spins freely.
Maintaining your copper weathervane
Most copper weathervanes are verdigris (that is they aren’t polished and appear to be aged). While some copper weathervanes are polished and require constant polishing to remain looking good. If you are after a low maintenance weathervane I would certainly recommend buying a verdigris over polished.
If you have birds roost on your weathervane you may need to maintain it a little more than those who don’t. Bird droppings will mar the look of your weathervane and may also affect its balance rendering it inaccurate when signalling a wind change. These droppings may also clog the spindle causing it to cease moving. If this is the case, wash the droppings off the weathervane and apply some grease or vaseline to the spindle ensuring that it rotates freely.
If you want to deter birds from roosting on your copper weathervane hang a shiny trinket or small mirror from the vane. This will annoy birds from getting too close and they will stop coming back.