Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Art in the Alaskan garden: the whimsical, the wacky, the what were they thinking!?

I think this baby falls under the "whimsical" category, don't you think?
I was going for a really strong vertical modern look. That's how the birch tree section got hauled home from the cabin. All two hundred pounds of it. It was so heavy I just rolled it into place. It was effective for the first year by itself. Sort of modern Alaska minimalist. Not even the gale-force winter winds could budge the thing. Being frozen to the ground always helps. Year two, my hubby was threatening to hang a bunch of old antlers around the house. Now some are calling the garden home, including this little moose rack, randomly plunked onto the birch. Voila, art!

This wacky guy was acquired in the Mat-Su Valley. I almost missed out, not wanting to make the 45-minute drive on a Saturday. But I took a chance and attended the Alaska Garden and Art Festival at the Palmer Fairgrounds. Lots of booths with whimsical goods, some weird, and a few "what were they thinking?" I found the mother lode at an older gentleman's booth. He informed me that he uses mostly recycled "junk" to make his work and really enjoys what he does, even recruiting his wife to paint some of his art. He had pigs, faces aplenty, bugs, lobsters, and I can't remember what else. A lot though. I snapped up a few other quirky items from him before I left. He said he might be at the Alaska Botanical Garden Fair in June next year (2010). I hope so, I am planning on adding one more funny face to make it a trio.

Now I'm not much a collector of anything froggy, but my mother-in-law has a large and fabulous collection of frogs. Glass, wood, porcelain, metal, gem-encrusted, you name it. I think she would approve of this copper specimen nestled amongst the Ligularia 'Othello' and hostas. I couldn't resist taking it home when I saw it at the gallery. There were snails, snakes, praying mantises, owls, bats, and our unofficial state bird in Alaska, the mosquito. I took that one home, too. I have a weakness for copper in the garden. Even my fence posts are topped in copper. Weird or wonderful, you decide. I think having one "main" metal color fosters a certain cohesiveness between house and garden. I like copper. Some prefer steel, brushed nickel, brass, black powder coated metal, etc.
Saw this guy on the Anchorage Master Gardener Association tour. I admit plant envy readily, but garden art envy rarely strikes me here. Not so in this case. I kind of have a salmon theme going in my yard, so I really wanted to know where the gardener found this. Unfortunately for me, she was yakking to a small group about her veggie garden, which was large and cleverly laid out on a sloping backyard, so I never found out the info. Oh, well. Maybe I'll make one myself. A friend is teaching me how to weld specifically to make garden art. That post might be called "Adventures in the ER", we'll see....

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