Chihuly Garden and Glass

Some may argue that Dale Chihuly’s glass sculptures have become too mass-produced, with many similar-looking pieces displayed around the world. However, each of his garden installations has a unique quality, due to the ways in which the glass pieces are integrated with the landscape. One of the best examples is the outdoor component of the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum in Seattle, since this garden was designed for both sculpture and plantings, effectively combining and balancing the two.










Photos by Alice Webb

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An “Urban Glade” in Miami Beach

The Lincoln Road pedestrian mall in Miami Beach includes a relatively new addition: a block of water gardens that evoke Florida’s Everglades. The site was designed by the landscape architecture firm of Raymond Jungles, Inc., and construction was completed in 2010. The surfaces of the water gardens are raised above the surrounding pavement, and include many native plants such as Bald Cypress, Red Mangrove, and Pond Apple. The biomorphic shapes of the gardens and seats are juxtaposed with the bold linear pattern of the surrounding pavement, creating an interesting combination of urban and natural themes.
 
Lincoln Road Mall 1
The gardens include a variety of plants that thrive in or near water, with an emphasis on native vegetation.
 
Lincoln Road Mall 2
Islands in the water gardens – these ones include large Bald Cypress trees. I’m guessing that the surrounding water somehow infiltrates the soil in the islands from below.
 
Lincoln Road Mall 3
A “dry” garden with Live Oak trees
 
Lincoln Road Mall 4
The gardens are raised above the surrounding pavement – some more than others.
 
Lincoln Road Mall 5
Mosaic surfacing forms bold stripes in the pavement.
 
Lincoln Road Mall 6
Water flows over this pond edge into a drain for recirculation.
  
Photos by Alice Webb

Portland Japanese Garden

In Portland, Oregon, there is a lovely 5.5-acre Japanese garden situated in a hilly area west of the city center, within Washington Park. It is considered one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan. I visited this serene setting in May a couple of years ago, and would like to share some of my photos.

Portland Japanese Garden A

 

Portland Japanese Garden B

 

Portland Japanese Garden C

 

Portland Japanese Garden D

 

Portland Japanese Garden E

 

Portland Japanese Garden F

 

Portland Japanese Garden G

 

Portland Japanese Garden H

 

Portland Japanese Garden I

 

Portland Japanese Garden J

 

Portland Japanese Garden K

 

Portland Japanese Garden L

 

Photos by Alice Webb

Plants for all Seasons

After deciduous trees have shed their leaves in cold climates, the landscape need not be a boring and drab scene. There are a number of plants that display ornamental characteristics during the chillier months of the year, sporting colorful and interesting bark, stems, fruits, and seeds. Below are a few examples that should brighten your day!
 

A stunning display of Bloodtwig Dogwoods
 

Crabapple fruit against a backdrop of fallen Ginkgo leaves
 

Hydrangea seed heads add visual interest to the winter landscape.
 

The bark of this River Birch appears to glow in the sun.
 

Although ornamental grasses die back in winter, leaving their flower stems and foliage in place until spring adds color and texture to winter landscapes.
 

Brightly-colored Weeping Willow branches enhance a snowy park scene.
 
Photos by Alice Webb

Citygarden, Saint Louis

Citygarden is a relatively new (2009) sculpture park in downtown Saint Louis, Missouri, which I visited in late October of 2012. It encompasses two city blocks, and features over 20 works of art. The design of this park was inspired by the natural characteristics of the region’s river environments. Along the northern edge of the property, urban terraces represent river bluffs; the central, lower segment loosely depicts a flood plain; and a serpentine seat wall symbolizes a river as it winds along the southern section of the park. In addition, Citygarden has several sustainable features, including six rain gardens and a green roof on the park’s café.


All features at Citygarden are meant to be experienced – there are no “Do not touch” signs to be found at the park. In warmer months, a thin sheet of water runs down the Tilted Disc in front of this sculpture.


A series of steel arcs is one of the first sculptures in view when entering the park from the east. The Limestone Arc Wall, which gently curves across the length of the park, can be seen in the background.


The long, rectangular Split Basin is situated in the northeast quadrant of the park. There are two levels to this basin, with a waterfall in between, where the Limestone Arc Wall intersects it. A modernist café is situated to the right in this photo.


Arc sculptures as seen from above the Split Basin’s waterfall


The lower portion of the Split Basin includes stepping stones.


Park visitors check out the Video Wall.


The granite Meander Wall separates lawn from lush plantings


The Meander Wall continues along the southern section of the park, for 1,100 feet.


“The Door of Return” stands along the park’s central walkway. In summer, the Spray Plaza, behind this sculpture, includes numerous vertical water jets that spray in various patterns, with dancing lights at night.


“Scarecrow” stands guard along a wooded walkway.


“Zenit” adorns the summit of a hill at the park’s northwest corner.


View from the park’s high point, facing southeast


Playful rabbit sculpture at the park’s west end

Photos by Alice Webb

Rooftop Retreat: A Hospital’s Healing Garden


The Olson Family Garden at St. Louis Children’s Hospital
 
In recent years, outdoor garden spaces at hospitals have become more common, and are often included with the construction of new health care facilities. They are usually referred to as therapeutic or healing gardens. Studies have shown that access to nature in hospital settings can reduce pain and relieve stress, which in turn enhances the immune system and speeds healing. Patients aren’t the only ones to benefit; their families and heath care staff can attain relaxation in these spaces as well.

In October I had the pleasure of visiting the Olson Family Garden at St. Louis Children’s Hospital (in St. Louis, Missouri). The staff horticultural therapist kindly gave me a tour of this delightful space. Built in the late 1990s, this 8,000-square-foot rooftop garden is dominated by a lush array of greenery, mostly in raised planters, and also seasonally in movable pots. An abundance of plant materials is important in any type of outdoor healing setting. This space also includes winding paths; stepping stones through a shallow pool; fountains; interesting and fanciful art pieces; a goldfish pond; various resting spots; movable furniture; and telescopes for viewing a large park near the hospital grounds. Furthermore, the garden is lit for nighttime access and viewing.

This garden isn’t just for passive enjoyment, however. Horticultural therapy sessions are facilitated in this space, where patients engage in gardening and associated activities. These sessions have many social, psychological, physical, and cognitive benefits. In addition, programs involving crafts, puppet shows, music, and storytelling brighten the spirits of the children.


This beautiful scene in the garden is in springtime, viewed from the entrance. A rolling sphere fountain can be seen in the foreground. Blooming Redbud trees are situated in front of a circle of columns topped with translucent leaf-shaped panels, symbolizing nature.


This miniature garden appeals to all ages.


Stepping stones cross a wading pool…


…and continue between two raised planters.


The garden’s goldfish pond


A restful nook with playful windows overlooking Forest Park


A custom-made planter with kid- and adult- level kaleidoscopes


In the foreground is one of several fountains in the garden (turned off for the season). Long-range telescopes, in the background, allow visitors to view Forest Park.


A wonderfully whimsical art piece

First four photos by Gary Wangler, Horticultural Therapist, St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Remaining photos by Alice Webb, blog author

Planting Fields: A Historic Arboretum

A grand estate built in 1904 in Oyster Bay, Long Island, Planting Fields is now a public arboretum owned by the State of New York. This spacious site includes a restored mansion with adjacent sweeping lawn areas bounded by large specimen trees; formal gardens and fountains; extensive plant collections; numerous woodland trails; tropical greenhouses; and other structures and spaces of historic value. There were several designers involved in planning this property over the years, including the Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm of Brookline, Massachusetts, who oversaw projects from 1918 until 1944. Below are a few images of the property that I took during a visit this summer.


Colorful blooms at the Arboretum Center


Vegetation covers a wall near the Rose and Pool Gardens


The Italian Blue Pool Garden


Perennials at the Pool Garden


Perennials at the Pool Garden


A pleasant, shady trail


Parrotia persica in the Synoptic Garden


The Synoptic Garden includes an extensive plant collection.


Coe Hall (north side)


Coe Hall (south side)


East Lawn near Coe Hall

Photos by Alice Webb