Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Art of Gardening


Thought for the day:  Gardens have a way of bringing people together, drawing them from their homes.  [Clare Ansberry]

The Atlanta Botanical Gardens has been drawing a lot of people from their homes lately, and this past weekend, Smarticus and I joined them.




Formal paths through gorgeous gardens? Yep. A raised canopy path through the trees? Affirmative. Also, pond and desert gardens, a children's garden, and multiple greenhouses filled with exotic plants. Lots and lots of stuff to see. But do ya wanta see what's been drawing so many people to the gardens?


See something a tad unusual at the end of that path at the left? That's the Earth Goddess. Ever hear of mosaiculture? This blend of art and horticulture first bloomed (Sorry, couldn't resist.) in Europe as early as the sixteenth century, and has since grown popular all over Europe and North America.





There. See her better now? Talk about statuesque. She's twenty-five feet tall.



Mosaiculture framework is constructed of welded pencil and sheet steel, stuffed with growing medium, and fitted with an internal irrigation system. The plants are plugged into pockets of a special fabric that's stretched over the frame, and it takes several months of growth to achieve the desired sculpture. The exhibit in Atlanta showcases nineteen sculptures, and contains more than one hundred thousand plants.

Atlanta's exhibit, dubbed Imaginary Worlds, was made possible by the International Mosaiculture of Montreal, a nonprofit organization that's staged numerous shows around the world to highlight this centuries-old form of  3-D gardening. Lucky us, this show in Atlanta is the first major exhibition of this kind in the United States. Wanta see more?




Two cobras. Aren't they neat?










Here's a closer look at one of the cobra heads.

And one from the rear. One snake's body stretched out along the ground, and the other's was coiled, but they both featured similar designs.











A pair of butterflies.






A unicorn!







Isn't this shaggy dog adorable?



What's an imaginary world without an ogre? This one has a hole clear through his head, so kids can climb into one ear and out the other.





How about a couple dancing fish?












There were several smiling berries. I was only gonna show you this one, but I've gotta show you one other because...





... he reminds me of the Little Rascals' Alfalfa. Check out that center part. All he's missing is a giant cowlick.








Here's three of the rabbits, but there were quite a few more of them. Several frogs, too.

But I think you've got the idea. There was SO much stuff to see there, but rather than show or tell you any more about that, I'd rather share something else with you.

The International Mosaiculture of Montreal designed and created all of these sculptures before shipping them to Atlanta in fifteen temperature-controlled tractor trailer trucks. Pretty cool, huh? (Literally.) Also, since this non-profit took root in 1998, it has hosted an international mosaiculture competition each year, which is going on right now. This year's entrants will be on display at the Montreal Botanical Gardens from now until the end of September. All I can say is WOW! Check 'em out!


A garden isn't meant to be useful. It's for joy.  [Rumer Godden]

Gardening requires lots of water— most of it in the form of perspiration.  [Lou Erickson]

Gardens aren't made by singing, "Oh, how beautiful!" and sitting in the shade.  [Rudyard Kipling]

                                                 So how does your garden grow?

                                 Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.
                                            May all your weeds be wildflowers.

P.S. In case you missed it, the lovely Janie Junebug conducted an interview with me on her blog yesterday, and will be doing a review of Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade tomorrow. Why dontcha stop by? If you're on the fence about whether or not you wanta read my novel... maybe she'll give you a little push. (Very gently, though, I'm sure.)

117 comments:

  1. I loved this amazing art work , so neatly done, they are looking like real . I liked the shaggy dog most.Such a beautiful post :)

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    1. I'm glad you liked it. The work truly is amazing. We've been to topiary gardens before, but mosaiculture is three giant steps and a hop past topiary.

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  2. Nature always has a way of nurturing the soul, and gardens are sacred sanctuaries of rejuvenation.

    All the photos are delightful. The unicorn, shaggy dog, and big berries are my favorites!

    I love the video - - and especially the music, from the movie "Once Upon a Time in the West" (one of my all-time favorites).

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    1. Lovely. You're waxing poetic again, cowboy. I hope you have a fertile space to create your own sanctuary of rejuvenation at your new place. (And I'm thinking for your new profile picture, maybe a straw hat and a piece of straw in your mouth...?)

      I'm glad you liked the video... and music. The artwork in Montreal is phenomenal. Much more intricate than what's here in Atlanta.

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  3. Hi Susan .. those are amazing and I love the creations - beautiful .. no wonder Atlantans are flocking downtown or to wherever arboreal sculptures are!

    Fun - just great to see .. I haven't caught up yet .. but I'll be over to read you and Janie together sometime soon .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Aren't they wonderful? From what I've seen and read, England has some of the most beautiful gardens in the world, so you may have seen mosaiculture exhibits there before, but it was completely new to me. And even more impressive than topiary!

      Cheers!

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  4. So how does your garden grow?


    My weeds are actually pretty weak this year with all the rain we are getting. No, I'm not confused. My lawn is usually so messed up I have come to take pride in my crop of weeds. Its easier than having to do the hard work to turn things around. Then again, I have never been one to feel the need to break my back over a lawn like some mediveal serf. Yes, that attitude makes me real popular with the neighbors.

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    1. While I may admire a lush green lawn, we've certainly never had one... nor aspired to have one. If it's green, that's close enough for us. Besides, weeds deserve a little love, too.

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  5. So, Walt Disney has a garden too.

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    1. If he did, it would look like this! With an army of Disney characters depicted, of course.

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  6. Who dreams these things up? And what is my (late) dog doing in their garden???

    ***Note to all readers - Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade is worth the read. I'm finishing it up, myself.

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    1. Artists? Dreamers? People with wondrous imaginations and the skills to bring them to fruition. People with a lot more money than I have...

      Thanks for the note!

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  7. Wow I just drove through Atlanta last week and now I wish I'd seen this place. Note to self for the future. It looks amazing.

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    1. It is amazing. The Gardens are always a treat, but this exhibit is only gonna be here until the end of October.

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  8. How in the heck did I miss this garden when I was in Atlanta???? Those statues are incredible!

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    1. I dunno. The Botanical Gardens are right next to Piedmont Park, if you know where that is. If you're coming back this-a-way, better hurry... the statues are only gonna be here until the end of October.

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  9. Wow, what a spectacular place! I love all the art.

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  10. Wow, these sculptures are amazing! I absolutely love the shaggy dog and the bunnies. And even though I'm scared to death of snakes the cobras are really impressive.
    The Earth Goddess is totally awesome. :)

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    1. Aren't they? I'd have a hard time picking out my favorite, but I reeeeeally liked the Earth Goddess and cobras.

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  11. Living in the concrete jungle I always admire the idea of a nice garden. Unfortunately mostly my life is more represented by this idea:

    "Our national flower is the concrete cloverleaf."

    Lewis Mumford

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    1. HA! Great quote.

      One of the things I really like about Atlanta is there's a lot of green space here. LOTS of trees and plants, and parks galore.

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  12. I think I like the dancing fish the best, Sus.

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    1. They were adorable. They're situated atop a rotating base, so it does kinda look like they're dancing.

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  13. Oh, fantastic sculptures. I think I need a goddess in my backyard...well, besides myself. :P

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    1. They really are. I dunno. I kinda think ONE goddess per yard is enough. You need a kick-ass warrior lass. On horseback. (Better than a scarecrow!)

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  14. Those are exquisite, Susan. I want the goddess also.

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    1. I'm glad ya liked 'em. That goddess would make a lovely centerpiece for your garden, wouldn't she? Even if the garden is nothing but rocks and weeds...

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  15. As you know, I am a gardener and I would love to see that exhibition. I am in awe over what garden artists can create.

    My attempt at a meager flower tower (with instructions from Home Depot) looks OK but not the stunner as they showed in their ads. At this point in life I tend to set my goals lower each year as this old body ain't what it used to be, but, boy, would I love to have something more artistic than a garden gnome in my yard.

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    1. You would LOVE the Gardens.

      Another thing they have there you'd like are the living walls. (Much more palatable than living wills...) Like huge patchwork quilts, square patches of herbs grew on one huge wall. Another was covered with various kinds of blooming flowers. Pots of orchids covered others. Just gorgeous.

      Only one gnome? He needs a pal...

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  16. I absolutely loved these pictures. I shared them all over as the exhibit is so unique. I hopped over to your blog when you mentioned your Friday post in a comment on my blog, so I had to see what you had to say about the great state of Texas. LOL I enjoyed that one, too, especially all those crazy laws. Some of them were as absurd as the rain barrel law I wrote about on my blog.

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    1. Cool. I'm glad you liked the Texas post and these pics of the Gardens. The exhibit truly is unique, and we're very fortunate that it came to Atlanta.

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  17. Pretty cool. However, looks like even the goddess has a hard time controlling nutrient-induced algae.

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    1. Indeed. Evidently, she has too many goddess-y things to do to be bothered with a little color in her pool...

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  18. Great photos! I love a garden and wish I could visit this one. Hopefully they do an exhibit somewhere close! :)

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    1. I'm glad you liked 'em. I don't know of any other places in the U.S. that are scheduled to host a similar exhibit, but surely there will be others, right? So who knows? It could happen...

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  19. wow - that is gorgeous. Sherry Ellis - moving to GA - needs to visit this right away for her Gone Gardening.
    Lovely photos.

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  20. Love Botanical Gardens ... am I misreading this to think that this is a temporary exhibit? Mosaiculture ~ I never.

    "The International Mosaiculture of Montreal designed and created all of these sculptures before shipping them to Atlanta in fifteen temperature-controlled tractor trailer trucks..."

    I do wish I had spent more time in Atlanta. These sculptures will be traveling about? fascinating ~ maybe they'll come closer to me.

    Read your interview with Janie Junebug... love that name. I enjoyed it very much. I have Jane Fonda's blog on my blog roll. She fascinates me ~ too old? ouch

    And, yes... that interview does make me want to get your book. I have been so busy with trying to remodel stuff that I haven't read anything in quite a while.

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    1. Yes, this is a temporary exhibit, and will run until the end of October. Atlanta and the International Mosaiculture of Montreal established a "creative partnership" to support the exhibit coming to our Gardens. I really don't know if there are any plans for the exhibit to travel to other cities in the country, though. I know there's gonna be one in Bejing, but I don't suppose that helps any of us here, huh?

      Yeah, I know what you mean about Fonda. She looks younger than she is, but the character in the book is only in her early fifties.

      Cool! So put down and hammer and saw, and read a book, woman! (Um, preferably... mine! HA!)

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  21. I am so coming up to Atlanta to see that! I used to garden a lot. I loved it. Then I moved to Georgia. The plants are different, the climate is different, and all the critters in our rural area eat everything I plant.

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    1. Better hurry! The exhibit ends on Halloween.

      Our yard is mostly clay and granite, so it's a heckuva lot different from the rich black peaty soil we had in our Maryland yard, so gardening looks a lot different here for me, too. (Although I don't have to battle with any armadillos...)

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  22. The cobra heads are impressive but the shaggy dog is my favorite. Thanks so much for sharing these.

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    1. Yeah, that dog is adorable. I was happy to share the pics; I'm glad you liked them.

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  23. so gorgeous! I especially loved the unicorn :) I cannot imagine a more beautiful summer day than one spent at a garden like this one.
    Here in my city in Central Europe, we have a ZOO which is a botanical garden at the same time and it is also a heaven on Earth.
    I also liked the pool in your botanical garden! So lovely

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    1. Well now, first you said you couldn't imagine anything better than a day spent at a garden, and then you came up with a better place... a day spent at a garden PLUS a zoo! Fabulous.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and signing on as a new follower. I do appreciate it, dear sir. Welcome aboard!

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  24. This is topiary X 1,000,000!! I've always wanted to climb through the head of an ogre, But my husband won't let me in!!

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    1. Yes, exactly! We've been to a topiary garden before, but it wasn't nearly as impressive as these creations. HA! Great line about your hubby.

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  25. I love the ogre. The goddess's arm looks like . . . never mind. I'm happy to push around anyone who visits my blog. Tomorrow (Wednesday) I review Hot Flashes & Cold Lemonade.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. The ogre isn't quite as cute as Shrek, but still pretty darned cute. What's kinda neat about the Earth Goddess is the water runs through her hand in a miniature waterfall.

      HA! No pushing allowed. Maybe a teensy nudge, but no hard shoves.

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  26. Wow! Now I'm inspired to go out into my backyard and do something great. But its too hot. Maybe I'll just hose off the patio for now.

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    1. Going to a fabulous garden is uplifting, but I can't say that it inspires me to do more in our own yard. Our yard is graced (?) with clay and lots of granite, and besides, like you say, it's hot. And with all the rain we've had, nature is doing a pretty good job of washing things off without me having to drag out a hose. Life is good.

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  27. Dear Susan,
    such an impressive show, thank you! I know mosaiculture only in a different way: at Lafayette in Berlin and Dussmann (a huge bookshop) the filled walls the same way as they did in the stuffed animals - only abstract. Also a lovely effect - and good for urban environment.
    The link you gave I will look up soon.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Britta. The mosaiculture walls sound wonderful, too, and certainly not what you'd expect to find in a bookshop. (Not in the U.S., anyway!)

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  28. Have always enjoyed topiary and formal horticultural effects, but these are a creative step beyond. Wonderful photos. What a treat!

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    1. I actually thought of you when we were looking at the gardens. You're the only professional gardener I know, and I wondered if a pro would see the garden's beauty with the same appreciation as the casual (and impressed) observer, or if he'd see it differently. Like maybe notice what work needed to be done to make it better. Or hyperventilate over the astronomical work it'd take to maintain the grounds. At any rate, it was fabulous, and I think you'd enjoy it. Dude.

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  29. Great photos! I love plants. It's a good thing husband has a green thumb. Mine is black.

    Loved your interview at Janie's!

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    1. What a deal you've got going there! I can see it now: you get to sit under a shade tree with a cool drink like a princess... or Earth Goddess... while your hunky Coast Guard hero employs his green thumb, eh? Having a black thumb ain't all bad. (wink, wink)

      Seriously, my mother had a black thumb, too. Before I got married, I had quite an array of plants in my room, including a Venus fly trap. (SOOOO cool! I fed it little bits of ground beef.) I went away for two weeks, and asked my mom to please take care of my plants while I was gone. When I came home, all the plants were kaput. Even the fly trap. But I couldn't get upset with her. She simply didn't have a way with plants.

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  30. They would sure be a sight to see
    But what? No kitty?
    Just a shaggy mutt
    Maybe it sniffs the unicorns butt haha

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  31. Leave it to you to notice that
    The lovely Gardens had nary a cat!
    They had dogs, and frogs,
    And ponds with logs,
    But no rat, no bat, nor cuddly cat.

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  32. I've never seen a garden like it. How extraordinary!

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    1. Yes, it's definitely extraordinary, but you have some pretty doggone extraordinary plants (and animals) there in New Zealand, even without the mosaiculture stuff.

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  33. The sculptures are fantastic. I enjoy visiting gardens. I barely have basil in a pot.

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    1. Yes, they sure are. HA! Maybe you should try rosemary in a pot. It's even easier to grow.

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  34. I love these fascinating pictures. Gardens are a prolongation of the soul.
    My garden is growing well, Susan.
    I will check the interview soon!
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful post...

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    1. I'm glad to hear your garden is growing well. This is the time of year, our garden usually starts to peter out, but with all the rain we've had this year, it's still going pretty strong.

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  35. This was lovely, seeing all the animals that were made out of foliage and such... just incredible:)

    We have a Public Gardens here in Halifax, not nearly as detailed but oh so lovely to go spend a beautiful sunny day, looking at all the different trees and lots of ducks.

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    1. I'm glad you liked it. They really were incredible.

      Public gardens are the best. You get to enjoy all the beauty without having to worry about any of the upkeep.

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  36. This exhibit is amazing! I kinda have a brown thumb myself.

    Like Jon from the comment above, I absolutely loved the video and the music. I am heading to Amazon next to download the song.

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    1. Yeah, it really is amazing. Maybe something similar will come to Orlando sometime.

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  37. Thanks for the fascinating tour! Loved the unicorn and the dancing fishies! Love the Kipling quote. I am a gardener, and I haveta say, every year when I'm dripping with perspiration and scrubbing dirt from my finger and toenails, I wonder what on earth has gotten into me to pursue such a hobby! However, I take great comfort in all of the stats that say that gardeners live longer than most folks. Probably the fresh air, exercise and home grown food...

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    1. Gardening is one of the things that may cause aches and pains in the short term, but lots of rewards later on. What's better than seeing all those springs bulbs start to peek through the ground? Plus, it's a great stress reliever. (All the sneezing is probably good exercise, too...)

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  38. That is fantastic. I think about how much trouble I am having just to get a few vegetable plants to grow in my garden (we are talking LOTS of trouble) and I am astounded. It is a good thing they didn't entrust me with any part of this project. That is all I have to say about it!!!

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    1. HA! Saying there's no greenish tint to YOUR thumb, huh?

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  39. That is THE MOST AMAZING GARDEN! Mosaiculture...I'd never heard of it before, but I love it. I'm going to find a way to contact our Adelaide Botanic Garden and direct their attention to this post. They have to see it. They just have to!
    I love the shaggy dog, I want to scratch behind his ears.

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    1. Wonderful! It would be awesome if your Gardens can make arrangements with the organization in Montreal to set up a similar exhibition there, would't it???

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  40. In my dreams I have gardens like those. But only in my dreams. Awesome pictures! Thanks for sharing them. :)

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    1. In my dreams, I look like I did thirty years ago...

      It would be nice to have picturesque gardens like that in our yard, though. (As long as somebody else does the weeding!)

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  41. Our botanical gardens here have something similar, albeit just one. Or at least there was only one last time I went; it's been a while so who knows what new stuff they've got. Darn, now I really have to get over there!

    Don't you wish your gardens could like even a tiny bit like theirs?

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    1. Oh, very cool! You'll have to take your camera with you (HA! As if you WOULDN'T!) to show us what Maine has to offer in the way of mosaiculture.

      Yeah, I sure do. It's be nice to have the staff of full-time gardeners to keep it that way, too.

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  42. Those are amazing! And LOL at the shaggy dog. He's cute. :)

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    1. Aren't they? Yeah, that dog is adorable. Almost looked like you could scratch him behind the ears.

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  43. Oh, that is absolutely gorgeous!

    A reason to go to Atlanta for sure!

    Pearl

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    1. For sure! But better hurry... they're only gonna be there until Halloween.

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  44. pretty dang amazing living sculptures!

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  45. Amazing!! My daughter is moving down to Atlanta in August, maybe we can find some time to see these.
    Thanks!

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    1. Oh, that's right! Cool. I hope you can fit it in; you'd really love it.

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  46. Bee-u-ti-ful!! I'm semi-ashamed to say that I've never been to the St. Louis Botanical Garden. Ouch! BUT, I have been to other lovely places...in addition to the Cardinals baseball stadium, and the Rams football dome! :)

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    1. Hey, why be semi-ashamed? We've been here since '71, and this was the first time we went to our Gardens. Besides, the Cardinals and Rams (and Braves and Falcons) need some love, too. There's all kinds of "culture", right?

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    2. Awww, thanks Susan! You always know the right things to say! :D

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  47. That is really, really neat! All I got are weeds.

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    1. Weeds aren't all bad. If we put weed-killer on our "lawn", there wouldn't be anything left. We figure as long as it's green, that's close enough for us.

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  48. I would love to see that garden. Your pictures stirred the child in me. Good idea to show some people and kids next to the Ogre to get the size if the thing. I liked the cobra from behind too.

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    1. That's just it! You're right; this exhibit stirs the child in everyone. Looking at those sculptures makes you want to grin.

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  49. I have never seen such a glorious garden. Wow.

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  50. I'm wondering why I've never heard of this garden. It's much more impressive to me than the well-known ones (e.g., Butchart Gardens). I love it all. Who knew what could be done with plants and flowers? Thanks for the amazing tour, Susan.

    xoRobyn

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    1. The permanent gardens are really nice, but probably not any nicer than any other big city Botanical Gardens, so I don't think it gets much publicity outside of our area. But, boy! They sure do host some fantastic temporary exhibits!

      I'm glad you enjoyed it, Robyn.

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  51. Thanks for sharing these amazing photos! What lovely artwork!

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  52. Hey Susan,

    I noticed you "down under", as in you ended up in New Zealand on the lovely Wendy's site. Gidday, y'all n'stuff.

    Ah yes, I love gardens, botanical gardens are very nice. You have made me think of all the public gardens I've been to. That one you have showed us in Atlanta, along with your accompanying muses, is right up there with best. The botanical gardens and your musings, of course.

    I have been to Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island and it was well neat. Nothing like a nicely trimmed bush.

    The lawn ranger rides again....

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    1. Hey, Gary. Gidday, ol' bean.

      You have quite a few formal gardens in England too, don't you? Of course, most of them don't have nearly as much magic as the one right there in your own yard. (There's no place like gnome.)

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    2. Susan, bonus points, or a bag of chocolate chip cookies, at least, for commenting at almost three thirty in the morning. Bloody time zones!

      Yes we sure do. My garden is an enchanting world of magic, for sure. Even got a elf or two. I was at Trentham Gardens just the other day. About ten miles west of where I live.

      http://www.trentham.co.uk/

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    3. Who needs points? Unless they're brownie points, of course. But chocolate chips will definitely do.

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  53. Oh my goodness, this is awesome! It's like a magical dream garden.

    Madison:-)

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    1. Yes! That's exactly what it was like. I'm glad you liked it.

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  54. I loved your book!! Just left a 5-star review on Amazon!!

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    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm so glad you liked it, and reeeeally appreciate the terrific review.

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  55. Ahhh these photos are amazing! I love!

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  56. Wow! Amazing!! Such talent at work, designing, planting, caring for them... Thanks for sharing this, Susan. :-)

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    1. You bet! Takes a little more planning and upkeep than my weedy little patch of flowers. I'm glad you liked it.

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  57. Thank you so much for the nudge. Ooh and aah. I would love, love, love to see that. Mind you (because I am not reasonable) I am wondering whether I could/should try and work on something similar...

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    1. I'm so glad you were able to check out this post; I had a feeling you'd really love those sculptures. And YES, by all mean, give it a try. Maybe not a 25-foot Earth Goddess, but something sweet and distinctly you. And if you do... I expect to see pictures of your creation on your blog!

      Take care.

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