Marja-Leena Rathje
Home ::: garden art

garden art


Summer seems to have finally arrived here with the turn of the month. After a long cold gloomy spring, the light now seems almost too brilliant, especially for photography. We've been out on the good days in the past couple of weeks doing a lot of pruning of trees and shrubs to keep our mature garden from reverting into a rainforest jungle.


You might recall that last month when we were visiting our eldest daughter and her partner and attending a wedding in another town, I got interested in Richard's skilled metalwork. Using bits and pieces of intriguingly textured rusty scrap metal plates and rebar, he made me some arty stakes in a cage arrangement for my row of peonies. These ones always produce massive heavy blossoms, and it always rains when they are in bloom, so it's a difficult job keeping them staked up in an attractive way. Now I have these wonderful garden art pieces that will look nice even in winter! You can see the peonies are now blowsy and ready to shatter.


Another plant in the garden that needs staking is the giant red crocosmia, which will be blooming a little later. We've been using these 'bumblebee' posts that we received as a gift long ago, from my sister-in-law and her husband, and was crafted by one of his daughters (sorry I've forgotten her name). We needed a third stake to be able to comfortably tie a wire or string around the whole clump, so Richard made another post with a rectangular rust plate. We just put it in place yesterday on the other side. Don't all these pieces of garden art look great, and by repurposing material that might just end up as waste? Thanks, Richard!


To finish this little garden tour, here is a view of my red roses and the just finishing blue ceonothus beyond. Though you only see a glimpse of them, there are lots of self-sown foxgloves and daisies everywhere, giving my garden a wild look in the early summer.



Marja-Leena | 04/07/2011 | 15 comments
themes: Being an Artist, Home


They look amazing, I'm so pleased they turned out so well! I knew those rusted squares had your name on them. Richard did such an amazing job making the peony cage portable, no less. x

Elisa, of course! I must give you credit for steering me in that direction!! Now I'm thinking more of those lovely rusty stakes in other areas of the garden, like those hardy fuschias and the floppy alstroemeria and, and...

How great!

Next time you visit we must make a pilgrimage to Derek Jarman's magical garden at Prospect Cottage.

I've asked Elisa to check to see if my book about the garden is with you.

Wonderful witty things!

J, what a fascinating, magical garden! I would love to see it someday. So different a setting from my rather rainforesty one. Hope we'll find your book. (Good thing I checked MT's spam where I found your comment.)

Lucy, 'witty' is wonderful, thanks.

Yes, the pleasure of peonies is really short lived. They flop, and mine always seem to get just a little bit higher than whatever I have rigged up to prop them, so after that inevitable rain they manage to touch the ground.

Your roses are lovely. Mine are budded but not yet in bloom.

It looks as if you had a slow spring but are having a fast summer. For us, of course, plant proliferation is year round.

Anne, I have that problem with a lot of flowers actually, probably because I seem to choose many tall kinds. These roses are quite a hardy variety but still late this year. Even some of them flopped with all the heavy rains.

Hattie, usually summer here is July and August, hot and dry. The rest of the year is the rainy season, heh. Cannot compare to Hawaii but usually I don't really mind too much as long it's not too hot.

Ooo! A little wildness is not a bad thing!

Rouchswalwe, ah, you like the wild look, eh.

I have been wildly hacking at deciduous Japanese bamboo (that 19th-century favorite) and yanking up miles of bishop's weed. Summer finally hit here. All four days of it... I hope we get more. Just in time. Mildew was setting in.

Now if only I could get rid of that big ostentatious Cooper house behind me, I could have a nice prospect of lake and hills...

I'd like to see Derek Jarman's garden. Like the pictures I've seen!

Brilliant idea, which seems to open up a whole range of possibilities for garden sculpture. As long as it doesn't intrude too much. These seem to fit and appear modestly on the scene.

Marly, I bet we could set up a competition on who has the most invasive plants and weeds, and of course all the trees (sometimes houses) that threaten one's views! I have to be careful I don't turn this into a gardening blog.

Joe, I agree that it all has to be in balance with the plants. I think these metal rods work better than the heavier wood pieces we were using.

The sculptured pieces definitely add an element of whimsy to what is definitely a most beautiful summer garden. They're hard work but well worth the effort, eh?

Susan, thanks, I do find gardening challenging at times and hard work yet I love it.