This is Part 2 of my tour through the Art Goes Wild exhibit at Garden in the Woods, designed by W. Gary Smith. (Part 1 is here.)
In this display, floating islands of native wetland plants are arrayed like stepping stones among the lily pads. I'm really looking forward to seeing how these look later in the season when the plants are in bloom.
The islands are made of a porous recycled plastic and filled with soil. The plants' roots will grow through the plastic and down into the water, helping to clean the pond by absorbing excess nutrients. Gary was thrilled to see the wildlife enjoying the islands. In fact, a duck has already built a nest and laid her eggs on the third island, so we will be looking forward to having ducklings in the pond.
This piece is intended to evoke the form of yin-yang, a form which symbolizes opposing forces in nature. On one side of the path, a dark circle of pine branches is imposed on a light green field of hayscented fern, and on the other side of the path, a light circle of fern is imposed on a dark background of pine branches and mulch. (This one will look much better when the ferns completely fill in the light areas.)
This is another example of the use of repetition to unify spaces. These raised container gardens weave through the western garden and on through the meadow to bring the areas together. The plants are xeric plants which are adapted to dry environments. Again, I'm looking forward to seeing these in late summer, when the meadow will be in bloom and reaching up to touch the bottoms of the saucers.
The "saucers" are actually fire pit liners with drainage holes drilled into the bottom.
After walking through the landscaped areas of the garden, the trail curves back through a natural woodland area. People usually walk through this area without paying much attention to their surroundings, so it's fun to watch them come upon Hidden Valley, with its very understated serpentine arrangement of fallen logs. The line of logs actually goes up the valley quite a ways past what is shown here, so it's a continuing discovery as you walk back along the path. (Gary has carefully positioned the information sign well after you first come upon the piece, so visitors are able to discover it on their own.) On the other side of the path, they can see the natural dispersal of fallen logs on the forest floor, and hear the babbling sound of Hop Brook as it runs in a similar serpentine course through another valley.
This arrangement was made by 6 people working for 3 hours and uses only logs and branches that were found within the valley.
Gathering of Grass
These upright bundles, made from several different native grasses, are arranged in serpentine and natural drift patterns. These bundles are easy to make and can be used as accents in a home garden. They are long lasting and will provide food and shelter for birds and animals.
Gary was still making last minute adjustments to the display as we continued our tour.
So that's Art Goes Wild. I hope you enjoyed it. I'll be returning to the exhibit later in the season to see how it changes as the plants mature and bloom.