Gardener's Grapevine 2011.07.27

Written by David Green.

This past Saturday, my husband Art, Sandy Cahill, and I went to the Ann Arbor Art Fair for the afternoon. Every direction you looked, someone was selling something and it was definitely a sensory overload. Art comes in so many forms and mediums.

If you have never been to the Art Fair it is worth the drive and time—the only cost is getting there and parking, beyond that it is at your discretion to spend or not. There are so many directions to go and none of them are bad; the entire place has artists in every nook and cranny. This leads me to a topic of interest in the garden—points of interest.

Some people use statuary to enhance their garden, others use whimsical art pieces, and some use wooden structures. It is these little extras that seem to set gardens apart and also pique people’s interest.

I find that changing things year to year will also keep folks watching a garden. As I’ve said before, I take care of the church’s gardens and yard with some help from the church ladies. When we plant in the spring we change things year to year to keep it interesting. We have this big blocky sign in front which does a nice job of announcing services and our pastor. It stands in the middle of the yard and is very overwhelming to the landscaping, so we work to make it blend in well.

The first year we re-landscaped we used hydrangeas to enhance the garden and a giant planter to draw attention to the message. This year we moved the planter over quite a bit and added two Adirondack chairs on either side of the pot, which gave a very welcoming look.

When choosing garden adornments or enhancements it is always wise to think of what you are trying to emphasize. If you add too much or a hodgepodge it confuses the observer as he tries to take it all in.

Last year a friend and I visited Meijer Gardens when the Chihuly exhibit was there. Dale Chihuly is a famous glass blowing artist who resides in Venice, Italy. His work was very tastefully placed in the gardens and blended well, as it was spread out across acres of gardens. If they had grouped it all in one place, the observer would never have been able to appreciate it all.

As with decorating the inside of a home or business takes direction, so in many ways does a garden. On the other hand, sometimes the little unexpected surprises, like the flowers that the birds plant, are just the right thing. Who’s to say what’s right, wrong or too much? It’s your garden, do it your way and change it next year when the ideas move you in another direction. Gardens are for fun and relaxation, and the food benefits are pretty good also.

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