Saturday, September 28, 2013

Light and Space

When I saw this picture in my mind's eye, I knew I loved the play of light it evoked; so much so that I took several shots and have played with them digitally.

This rusty fire escape is almost sculptural art.  It was intended to be strictly utilitarian back in 1915 when the two-story building was built in my village.  Now largely deemed as probably unsafe for use, and as the second story of this now antique type store is largely unused, I hope no one has the idea to remove it.

I think I tend to find those utilitarian items imbued with a functional beauty to be the most powerful art in a personal garden, unless the gardener is also a sculptor or visual artist of some sort.  While some gardeners are, most aren't; which leaves them prey to the siren song of all sorts of poorly made commercial garden ornamentation.

Okay, trying to do a butterfly garden, aren't we all?

Tea anyone?

Cute the first time I saw it.  No longer.

Sight lines, anyone?

Stop already!
So how do we incorporate beauty and light and design in the the utilitarian layout of our gardens?

They got it right at Johnson Nursery in Menomonee, WI with this retainment pond.

They even did a nice job with this dry stream bed/rain garden on one side of the path...

...not so much with the origin on the other side. 
Three large boulders set into the ground a bit at the base of what I think I remember to be a flowering crab would have been much more appealing than the small stones.  The tiled stonework floats over some culvert type passage for water run-off.  A flat stone approximately 18" high to provide impromptu seating in a garden or yard under a shade tree might be appreciated by any gardener whether to actually sit a moment or to visually take in the garden in a quiet moment.

These are both example of utilitarian items in a garden which bring more beauty than most garden art.

Go big...or just keep weeding.


  1. I love the shadows of the stairs! That is my kind of visual entertainment! Nice job over all.

  2. I agree with you. The thing is, those sorts of old utilitarian items can be hard to come by, at least here in suburbia. Come across them at an antique store and they can be ridiculously expensive.