Parliament Of Owls In A Woodland Garden

Eight stone owls with etched details and yellow eyes

If the idea of gardening merely prompts memories of garden chores such as leaf-blowing, mowing, edging, dead-heading, thank your lucky stars you don’t have to engage in large scale owl-shifting.

Hearing Sherra Owen (whose garden these owls inhabit) on MPB radio reminded me that I had not yet shared my picture of her stone owl log. It is unfair of me not to say once again what a wonderful woodland garden she has, but she’s such a lovely person, I feel sure she won’t mind. Even her wooden fence thrills me, to say nothing of her trilliums, hellebores and other woodland ephemerals.

Apparently one of the things about encouraging owls to roost on fallen timber is that the wood decays and the owls fall… or rather they would, if the lady in question did not move them to a freshly fallen log. Continue reading

Crafts Style Wrought Iron Tree Gate

House gate with ginkgo shaped leaf pattern

Our landscape architect friend, Rick Griffin, says that the best way to add personality to a house is by doing something a bit special at the entrance. I like visiting Shrewsbury – I’ve written about it before – but of all the wonderful places there, the one I’d most like to receive an invite to is this private house. I know nothing at all about the people who live there, but by looking at their gate (plus a few peeks over their garden wall) I’ve formed an impression about them.  Continue reading

Naturalistic Bottle Trees by Stephanie Dwyer

Tree-shaped wire frames covered in blue bottles

Bottle tree installation at the Shangri La Botanical Gardens in Orange, Texas

Many bottle trees you’ll see – assuming you see bottle trees at all – are stiff. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but Southern folklore metal artist, Stephanie Dwyer, sets hers apart by making them sinuous and twisty, like real trees.

Bottle tree with colourful bottles with shacks

Bottle tree at Shack Up Inn, bent over as if by the wind

Her iconic bottle tree, part of a series inspired by Hurricane Katrina, channels lone trees all over the world, carved into art forms by the wind on some exposed ridge. It seems to grow out of the turf at the Sack Up Inn, and to nod with respect and resilience to its shadow.   Continue reading

Back to Back Sculpture by Simon Jago

These two souls are my contribution to this week’s photo challenge. What could be more local than a relationship?

The artist, Simon Jago, is also a professional set designer with a mastery of the most essential tool in a sculptor’s toolbox – space. The sculpture seems to tell a slightly different story from every angle. It would have been interesting to walk all around it, but the setting didn’t invite that. Luckily the artist is showing the opposite view on his website.

The wall that divides these two figures is slender but sturdy – part physical, part metaphorical. He has placed a steadying foot on the blue floor/plinth that is structurally linked to hers. Their body language mirrors each other: the barrier of his left side reflects the barrier of her right; each downcast head obliquely angled in counterpoise to the other.

Back to back sculpture: both

It’s funny how tempting it is to judge, even faced with a sculpture. There’s a lesson in that. Who is to blame? What should they do? Is there even a problem? As the artist asks, why do they look so alone?  Continue reading