Photo by Rick Gush
It’s pouring rain this morning, so I’m just going to be slumming here in the office. I have an apartment near our home that I use as an office and workshop, and I have two little gardens there. The rear garden, which has floor-to-ceiling window doors looking out on it, is a fairly charming little mess of green leaves and comfortable shade, and it boasts two peices of garden sculpture.
The sculpture pictured above is the piece titled “Half-Assed Patio Furniture.” When I lived in the States, I often built Adirondack chairs, and I even had a little business building these comfortable monsters for awhile. For this art piece I built two halves of an Adirondack and fastened them together backward. It’s a piece with graceful curves, and the honey varnish on the wood acts as a brightening lamp among all the shady greens. The seats are too skinny and unsupported to be able to use as a sitting place. My wife is not particularly impressed with this artwork and would rather I had just made a usable chair. Ha!
The sculpture pictured right is “RapMaster Pinocchio.” He’s made out of welded sheet metal and covered with concrete and boat paint. A few years ago, some friends and I took him out on a boat and dropped it to the bottom of the bay. Then two scuba divers went down and took movies of him standing there. These days, he’s enjoying a stay in the garden, waiting for an opportunity to jump from an airplane or bake in a bonfire.
I’m a big fan of homemade garden art, and I really enjoy making it myself. I think the key is that it is not just display but personal expression. Buying statues from the garden center is swell, and I’m all for it, but making one’s own art is another thing. Gardeners frequently construct whimsical arrangements that they display in their gardens, and I’m crazy for those, because they’re personal. A statue from the garden center is less personal.
All gardens are themselves art, and even vegetable gardens are delightfully personal pieces of art and expression. When I look at other people’s vegetable gardens, I enjoy thinking about their thought processes as they built their gardens. Why did they build it in this way, and why did they decide to put that other part over there? The whole thing seems, to me, to be a personal expression. Even folks that only have a little patch or maybe even only a small apartment terrace manage to project a whole lot of their own personalities in their gardens. I don’t think we grow gardens just to eat the vegetables or cut the flowers for our vases. I think we garden because it is a pleasurable method of self expression.
I like August rainstorms. The garden is so big and sprawling and needs so much time just to water it these days that a rainy day is like a vacation. Ahhh!