Moulton’s Oval Garden Gets a Sundial

If you’ve passed Moulton’s Oval lately, you may have noticed the new armillary sundial. The arrival of this sundial ends a long wait to find an ornament that would add balance and interest to this garden. The Moulton’s Oval garden team considered many ideas —including a boulder,  birdbath, or sculpture. Then garden club member Peter Sevier offered to make a sundial, and that sounded perfect.

Armillary Sundial in Moulton’s Oval Garden (July 2018)


Creating an accurate sundial takes skill and precision. What a surprise to learn that Peter knew how to bend steel and engrave brass. He even contacted the North American Sundial Society for guidance.

While Peter worked on the sundial, the search began to find a suitable base. The Department of Public Works invited the club to look through their piles of leftover boulders and blocks, and the team selected a couple good-sized pieces of granite. Perry Day and his DPW crew then kindly delivered them to the oval. After the garden team relocated a few perennials to make space, a thoughtful and capable passerby “muscled’ the rocks into place.

Peter was on site and already had a plan for how to mount the sundial to the granite. It had to be positioned precisely to be an accurate timepiece. The fixed brass rod in the center points north and is parallel to the earth’s axis. As the sun appears to move across the sky, the rod casts a shadow on the “equatorial ring” of Roman numerals, one for each hour from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

You are welcome to approach the sundial as a path has been cleared. For best results, check it out on a sunny day.

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