A garden is inherently artistic. The colors, patterns, and landscape design combine to create a beautiful portrait. French impressionist Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny was a long time source of inspiration. This famous garden of water lilies has been restored and is open for public tours. While a garden and the natural beauty that fills it is a work of art in itself, the marriage of man-made art and nature simply enhance nature’s palette.
First things first: when I talk about art in the garden I am not talking about gazing balls. I don’t get it. I know they are popular and I know you can find them as that “statement piece” in many a backyard. To each his own – they just aren’t my cup of tea. Personally, I have a penchant for what I call shabby chic. I fancy metal creations. The more aged and rusty, the better. But during a recent trip to Florida I discovered something that caught my eye.
American artist Dale Chihuly is known around the world for his blown glass sculpture. He carefully placed twenty-three installations across more than eighty acres at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, Florida just outside of Miami. From statement pieces out in the open to more subtle pieces that blended so well within the natural landscape in size, shape, and color you could almost miss them. Chihuly’s ability to create glass that masquerades as plants allowed nature’s creatures to feel right at home creeping across them. I found myself standing and staring at the simplistic beauty.
A lily pond with carefully placed glass balls was reminiscent of Monet’s garden. Another pond had a wooden boat stacked with large blown glass balls and spears. Twisted spirals of blue and yellow towered above the garden. They were breathtaking as the sun beamed through them. I walked the gardens during the day, but there was another element to this exhibition: a night show. The same pieces were lit up at night for an entirely different experience. Chihuly created something so unique, yet so natural.
Now, if I could just win the Powerball so I could commission Dale Chihuly to create a piece de resistance for my humble backyard. How sweet that would be?