Around The Garden World – Day 47 (Bruce Munro, Cheekwood, Nashville)

 Cheekwood Botanical Gardens is hosting the Bruce Munro Art exhibit “Light”.

 Cheekwood is a 55 acre estate built by the Maxwell House Coffee Fortune.

 We had the unique privilege of having the very natural “Light” of a full moon during our visit to the gardens.

 160 miles of fiber optic cable was used in Light exhibit.

 I was able to see just a few of the annual plantings.

Water-Towers: 40 structures builts from 10,000 one-liter bottles filled with water and fiber optics connected to LED projectors and audio systems. 

 And of course there were pumpkin displays

Light reservation – tipi-like structures made from spent flourescent tubes 

 Fireflies exhibit – in the Japanese bamboo garden

 “Blue Moon” in the Japanese garden dry lake

“Candlelight” in Japanese Garden Pavilion

 “Field of Light”

 “Bell Drop Chandelier”

Around The Garden World – Day 43 (Maymont Park, Richmond, VA)

Maymont was the home of James Henry and Sallie Dooley who gifted their home and 100 acre estate to the public so that future generations would enjoy their homeplace as much as they did. 

Vignette gardens make this park a sensory smorgesbord…

 the herb garden

 The Grotto

Here’s evidence that I am easily entertained and will probably never really grow up…

 The Italian Garden

I really liked this verbena – has freckles like me!

 The Via Florum Garden

 The Grotto

 The Japanese Garden

 A sweet escape on the edge of downtown Richmond

Around The Garden World – Day 42 (Leiper’s Fork, TN)

Today was Leiper’s Fork annual giant Yard Sale on the sprawling lawn of Marty and Bruce Hunt. Lots of folks there selling stuff – everything from homemade ice-cream to great antiques. I was on the hunt for some garden art. This recycled hoe would be a great way to store all my wonderful Corona Tools. I’ll pass on buying the tools the vendor was showing with the rake. 

This was a creative way to use those old telephone wire insulators – these racks were welded by the vendor’s daughter to transform the glass into a candelabra.

I wish I could have talked hubby into letting me get this little bike rider – this is FUN garden art! 

Year-round sunflowers!

I didn’t buy but wish I had. This old cake carrier would have been a really cute way to store  items in my garage that I want keep critters out of. 

This would be the only kind of chickens I would have at my house for now.

Yes, we are a little redneck down here. 

This was the homemade icecream churn! 

Um. yeh. unique stuff

This is event is for all ages.  

I absolutely feel in love with these little retro play kitchens by Jenn Gruber

I guess this is what you call a Farm Table? 😉 

Vintage motor home 

Local guy and TV celebrity Mike Wolfe of American Pickers had a booth there with a few of his treasures and was just being the friendly guy that he is.

And of course, there were a few things a plant nerd like me found very tempting…

My friend Robin Baker and I finished off the day at the International Festival and Beerfest in downtown Franklin – cooling off from the day sampling beer from around the world.

All the local folks were there…

The event  ended with a great performance by Jonell Mosser.

Around The Garden World – Day 41 (St. Louis, MO)

Sometimes the shadows are deceiving. At first glance, someone might think this was a photo of late afternoon. 
When it was in fact midday. What is missing from the shadows on the gravel path? The oval windows. These shadows are from the roof of this covered pathway. 

 Today was the end of a long week and somehow an even longer day. As I was looking through pictures of the many gardens I’d visited over the last couple of years, I found a group of extra pictures from the visit I made (and showed pictures of yesterday) while at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. I miss the simplicity and quietness of that trip, being in awe of the garden’s beauty, and long for the lessons that a garden gives me. What I find myself longing for is a time of reflection. To look clearly at what is before me and not be fooled by the shadows – those things that are not real, those incidences throughout the day where something appears to be be true, but is actually a shadow of something else entirely.

A time of reflection to see what I need to see about myself and others around me

 and to see that beauty can be beyond the obvious.

A time of reflection to examine the path ahead of me. Its destination is uncertain… but I know I can  take the next step.

I find it ironic that the occupation that gives me such enjoyment – working with nature – is also an occupation that involves interaction with human nature that can be so hurtful. The joy of relentless hours creating beautiful landscapes can be lost in the tyranny of logistics, time sheets, unrealistic budgets, and the constant desire for instant gratification.  

So these photos reminded me that what I need is to reflect on what is true: I love to create beauty with plants, I love seeing how landscapes can become reflections of life as they grow and mature, I eagerly take on the challenge and mystery of how plants interact with the enviroment they are placed in, I embrace the goal of matching my client’s desires with what I know is horticulturally sound and visually welcoming for the area that I am planting in. And sometimes I just get it wrong.  

To bridge the gap between beauty and budgets, between creativity and human nature’s tendency to stick with what is familiar sometimes seems a distant goal.  To believe that with hard work, knowledge, and imagination I can make everyone happy is a shadow. To know that I have done my best reflects my love for what I do.
I think tomorrow I’m just going to work in my own garden.

Around The Garden World – Day 39 (Seaside, Florida)

 My work, especially this time of year, is about learning. Learning what looks/colors/style my clients like and want, learning what my boss is expecting (wish I could do a Vulcan mind read sometimes), learning who is the most impatient to get their flowers in and learning how to schedule 350 clients in 6-7 weeks during the expected planting time. Learning who works together best within my crews – which by the way, I have some pretty awesome installation crews – learning how many hours I can get away with working in the evening before I start to go bonkers, and learning how to not micromanage every installation. But the rest of the year I love to learn more about plants and creative ways to landscape and garden.

One place that is all about learning in the garden is The Corner Garden in Seaside, Florida – part of the Seaside school program. 

 Using materials close at hand make this garden a learning lesson in environmental responsibility.

Great classroom space