GARDEN ART Written by Lynn Greenlaw Certain photography courtesy of J. Dabney Peeples Design Associates and artist Yuri Tsuzuki
hat constitutes art in the garden? That’s most definitely a subjective question.
Very early gardens were more typically utilized for the practicality of growing vegetables; herbs and flowers that could be used for medicines and the aesthetics of a garden were left to much later time periods. Or to the very wealthy. Early Roman gardens would have contained marble statues that could easily fall into the artistic category. Rock sculpture and elaborately carved wooden doors or gates featuring bats, dragons and other mystic creatures would have been found in early Chinese gardens. Japanese gardens used sheared plants representing mountain shapes and stones placed in groupings as part of the aesthetic landscape. It wasn’t until much later that private gardens moved out of the realm of only those wealthy enough to own vast amounts of property – and those whose travels led them to bring home botanical specimens – to a broader range of involvement among those whose land holdings were a bit more modest. Contemporary gardeners have definitely gotten on board with a love of decorative garden art and are so much luckier to have a wide range of offerings with which to personalize their gardens in an artistic way. On the next pages are some ideas of garden art for you to consider from some very creative regional designers.