Lustful gargoyles and other free-spirited statuary found a home at Brief Garden, the Sri Lankan garden owned by pleasure-seeker Bevis Bawa.
It was a gift. Twenty-nine inches long, with a gaping mouth, red eyes, and a rough green skin wrapped over wire. At first I was thrilled, since I like garden décor: In my small plot on the banks of the Delaware River, I have tuteurs, a stone lion, various urns, and a small armillary—perfect roommates for a topiary alligator.
But this green creature was not friendly. I realized this at once, as I placed it on the dining room table. Its red eyes looked at me balefully, its jaws showing metal teeth. I quickly gave it a name, Ally, to domesticate it.