Tropical Dirt

September 13, 2014

Art In Your Garden


Art is like a flower
If you nurture it,
it will grow.
If you encourage it,
it will open.
If you love it,
even the most dormant flower
can bloom in radiance.
There is a delicate flower
in every artist.
Support the Arts,
Become a gardener
and watch a flower bloom.

Author unknown

Art belongs in the garden. As strongly as I feel about the power and value of art, I do not agree with those who treat it as something ethereal, something to be venerated in seclusion. On the contrary, I believe that the processes both of making and enjoying art should be a part of all our daily lives. Taking art off its pedestal and turning it loose in the landscape can open ones eyes to a whole new world of landscaping. Plants, architecture and sculpture each contribute to the dynamic nature of a garden and influence its changing silhouette.

A garden when properly and creatively planned, utilizing light, temperature, water, stone, steel and organic and geological forms to create a finished, integrated space, makes the garden a natural setting for art. In this way, art mingles with daily life for gardens are places made to be lived in. Literature in every culture eulogizes the garden as a place of sanctuary, an earthly paradise whose natural organic constituency sets it apart from the man made world. Today’s gardens still offer more than just a functional approach to horticulture.

The earliest recorded gardens date back to the 7th century BC and emerge in ancient Persia, whose influence spanned the East-West trade routes. The inspiration for these and other ancient gardens seems to be a mixture of topography and religion. Archaeological evidence for Roman garden design can be seen in the grand manner of palatial gardens, water gardens and the hanging gardens of Babylon in the East. The Chinese used masters of feng shui to ensure sites were propitious and rich in ch’i or “vital breath”. Ancient Japanese gardens derived from religious needs as well as practical selection of a natural object and its surroundings as a sacred place. Open courtyard gardens were designed for Buddhist temples. In the 17th century the French culture influence dominated garden design allowing for a sense of pattern to form along an undulating landscape as evidenced in Versailles. In England they revolted against formal garden design preferring instead a fusion of still water, lawns and flowers set against a dark background of trees.

With the Renaissance, the placing of sculpture in gardens resumed and has continued almost unabated. It was common for a sculpture to be an integral part of the garden design process and some sculptors were also garden designers. The development of abstract art in the twentieth century caused a hiatus in the history of garden sculpture. When planning your Sculpture Garden, place the primary sculpture first, and then move the other pieces into place. Secure the sculpture to avoid losing it if someone knocks it over–this will also accentuate the piece with a nice base. Design features with simple lines and a simple planting plan so that nothing detracts from the sculpture. Make the garden inviting while allowing visitors to move easily between pieces of art and plantings. Make a statement with the sculptures you select and use plants to accent, but not detract from, the chosen pieces.

‘Sculpture’ is used here to make a distinction between the work of contemporary artists and classical garden statuary. The latter is appropriate for traditional and historic gardens; the former is appropriate for contemporary gardens. However, art and beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. The photos contained on this page show the diversity of our gardeners and the beauty they have created with sculptures and garden statuary. And for some levity we have a “green animal” for you. Today, garden design can enhance a house, palace or cottage. In a naturalistic landscape, “art in the garden” gives the owner a beautiful outdoor setting and a place to view some of the best in three-dimensional art work. Enjoy your landscape. Create a beautiful view from every window!

Filed under: Newsletter — webmaster @ 5:12 pm

August 14, 2009

The Power of Flowers


“More than anything I must have flowers always, always” – Claude Monet

Nothing lights up a room like flowers. A strategically placed bouquet has the power to create a mood and make us feel special. We use flowers in massive numbers to celebrate the most important occasions in our lives and in smaller arrangements to brighten a gloomy day. Flowers give beauty, color and fragrance, strength and continuity, in a world that is increasingly difficult, hectic and often indifferent.

When flowers give us pause, and we consider them in all their glory, if only for a moment, we taste the sublime. Our reactions to flowers are so powerful that flowers must possess many of the qualities our souls long for.

The rose is the most popular of all the flowers, affectionately knows as the “Queen of Flowers”, the rose has been known as the flower of love since ancient times. A single rose expresses simplicity, white roses, purity and spiritual love and yellow roses fidelity. Orange or coral roses speak of desire and the classic bouquet of red roses speak of true love. A dozen roses say “I love you” over and over again.

Have you ever been to a restaurant where your salad had been adorned with flower petals scattered around the plate or to a wedding where fresh orchids atop the wedding cake or visited a tea room and served flowered syrup? Edible flowers are the new rage in haute cuisine. The look is elegant, yet preparing flowers for eating is simple and fun to do. Though new to many of us, eating flowers has been enjoyed for centuries. The first mention of people consuming flowers was 140 B.C. Flowers are calorie free and rich in nectar and pollen, and some are high in vitamins and minerals. Rosehips are very high in Vitamin C. Marigolds and Nasturtiums also contain Vitamin C. Dandelion blossoms not only contain Vitamin A and C, but also are high in phosphorous.

The Flower Show is a museum of living art, a knowledge base for local horticulturists and a recital for budding gardeners. Each year, from February through May, The Federated Garden Clubs of Florida (FFGC) present juried Flower Shows showcasing the talents of their members and introducing new varieties of flowers and greenery. Youth Garden Clubs showoff their arrangements to win ribbons and awards. In our northern states, after a long dreary winter, the most anticipated event of the spring is the Annual Flower Show. Cities such as Boston, who has been presenting their Flower Show over 132 years and entertained over 150, 000 visitors this past March, work throughout the year preparing for this spectacular event, enticing residents from other states with flower arranging competitions and top floral designers presenting glamorous tablescapes. The grandmother of all the flower shows is the Chelsea Flower Show held in London every May for one week. Chelsea Flower Show started in 1913 takes place in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, designed by Sir Christopher Wren. Chelsea is the first event of the London “season” and heralds the start of the British summer. The Queen attends the event and in 2002 Prince Charles exhibited. His garden was called the “Healing Garden” and featured a tribute to his late grandmother. Also in attendance are celebrities and London society. Visitors travel from all over the world to attend this massive event and view the unbelievable kaleidoscope of colors created by roses, delphiniums, day lilies and too many more flowers to mention.                                                                                I was fortunate to attend the Chelsea Flower Show a few years ago accompanied by several Garden Club friends. The experience was both overwhelming and inspirational.

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Garden Club of Coral Springs

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12167 N.W. 9th Place
Coral Springs, Fl. 33071