Thursday, January 23, 2014


Funny how we see something that strikes our fancy that might highlight a particular feature in the landscape, but we just can't figure out what it is?  Is it the height of a particular shrub, the color or texture of a leaf or simply the plant combination?  Sometimes there might be a "something" that draws you to this particular area of the garden.  For me, this something is art.

I remember several years ago I attended a garden club event in Staunton, Virginia.  I loved going to these events.  What made these trips memorable, was the iconic artwork that was nestled at the base of the bridge at US 250 & US 11.  Standing 18 ft x 20 ft was the biggest watering can and pots under planted by the garden club, of course, with the appropriate plant material to complement it's existence in this little town..  There is also a very large book at the local could not miss this if you tried. This garden art is the work of Willy Ferguson a welder and sculptor.  I remember thinking how awesome it would be if every town had some bodacious art that would make people smile.  It is still there making a visit to Staunton worth it  for a look see, a bit of antiquing, lunch at Mill Street Grill and a pause by the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Mansion (there are some very old tree peony's there). It still brings a smile to my face when I intentionally get lost in the Virginia countryside and end up near Staunton.

While visiting the Denver Botanic Garden and even the Bahamas few years ago, there were also some areas in the gardens I visited, accented by wonderful pieces of art - perfect for the plantings that complemented them in their grandeur. From trellises to stonework to merely colorful exclamation points throughout, art in the garden proved once again to be an enticement and not a distraction.

Flash forward to Paris......(of course :)
On my first trip to Paris, since nothing was in bloom, the art in the garden stood out as if it were the garden. The grass, fallen leaves and autumnal glow of the grasses seemed to make these statues stand out - as if they needed my coat.  As I strolled and smiled, I realized that these same pieces would simply melt into the landscape when the seasonal flowers began their garden party for the tourists.

Even bright colorful art that enticed young children to pause, interact and enjoy could be found in the Jardin des Tuileries where people were out, even in November to enjoy the gardens in their winter nakedness.  It was certainly a wonderful sight that gave me reason to pause and wonder, if there were more opportunities for people to enjoy the garden out of season, as in season, wouldn't the world be a wonderful place???  Art would certainly fill this void....

I have to admit, this one had me cracking up while sitting on the bench observing it from every angle, trying to figure out what in the world was this artists vision.......although I am not an art critic..  It just pops in the midst of a gray Paris day.

Even the infamous Eiffel Tower is considered art.  The vision of this at one time temporary piece of art, has been captured and duplicated so many times, most people are very familiar with it all over the world.  Yes art in the garden has its virtues.

Recently while in New Orleans, I visited the New Orleans Botanical Gardens and lo and behold, more art in the garden. All very beautiful, quite stunning and capturing the interest of those who walked past....or paused....I am enamored with the thought of art in the garden.  Once again, I was not alone in these gardens, families with children were enjoying the art in the gardens, as they should......any time of the year.

Which is why it is so important for us to support the Philadelphia Flower Show and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.  In it's 185th year, this show is THE Flower Show of the season.This years theme is Articulture.  Every year for the past twenty years, I have visited this event.  The memories of what I saw, learned and purchased stay with me as I anticipate the next year.  I am often impressed with the working of PHS City Harvest.  This group utilizes the neighborhood urban gardeners to serve the under served and under resourced within the community.  20,000 pounds of produce feeds about 1,000 families per week during the growing season in a calendar year.  This program is so impressive and can be a great way to embrace and revitalize communities all throughout America. Utilizing inmates and teaching them a skill to not only feed themselves but to help feed the community, would be a powerful tool in this economy. Giving back to our communities is something that each if us can and should do, no matter what our life path is. (In one of my past horticultural adventures, when I was lacking personnel, I had to utilize inmates from low security detention centers and I was quite impressed.)    Please visit their website:

I will be going to The Philadelphia Flower Show a few times this season - because I can and I am addicted to flowers in the best kind of way.  I also enjoy the memories of the adventure itself.  Not only do I learn something new, I always meet a new gardening friend that is just as in awe of the day as I am. There is no better way to officially start the gardening season in earnest than catalogs in December/January, indoor seedlings in February and The Philadelphia Flower Show in March........then I hold my breath for Garden Week In Maryland and Virginia...ah Spring, I humbly and patiently await your embrace..............  Will I see you there???

1 comment:

  1. Love the pictures. Spring will be here is about 54 days.


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