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Art in the garden

By Sereba Agiobu-Kemmer
08 April 2017   |   4:04 am
Gardens are natural backdrop to showcase an array of art forms and decorations. Whether they are precious antique finds, traditional, contemporary or creations...

The Nature of Art
Gardens are natural backdrop to showcase an array of art forms and decorations. Whether they are precious antique finds, traditional, contemporary or creations out of found or recycled objects, you’d be amazed what can be garden art: unique garden sculptures, art pieces in metal, like wrought iron ,copper, bronze, steel; bird houses, garden bells, wind chimes, pet memorials, humming bird feeders, ornaments, wall decorations, ceramics, marble, clay, recycled materials, solar garden art. Garden art features varieties of works and scope, from the ephemeral to whimsical; from abstract to Zen in art mediums from acrylics to fiber arts, sculpting, photography. You can enhance your garden and outdoor spaces with art and decorative ornaments and craftworks. All are accents to transform, your garden into a tranquil and relaxing space. You can personalize and show off your garden style adding finishing touches to your landscape with art to suit your garden design: from cottage garden to classic, contemporary, rustic, whimsical and electric!.

When placing ‘accent’ in your garden, the garden accent is just that an accent because ultimately, the whole garden is a work of art. The garden accent serves as a small part of the bigger picture. Some art works are used as focal points bold and showy and some are just whispering attention tucked in among the flowers and shrubs. While some people like the art in the garden to dominate the landscape as focal points; others believe garden art speaks best when whispering in the shadows of the foliage and flowers.

A kaleidoscope of Color for Wildlife.
The garden border of perennials is a kaleidoscope of color waiting to attract butterflies, humming birds and bees. These winged visitors are attracted to the colors they see. Many studies show that butterflies are attracted to the color purple, humming birds to red and bees to yellow. Once in the garden, the plants will keep them there. But like all perennial beds, the plants will wax and wane through their cycle of growth and production. By adding accents to the garden, this keep the color constant and so, keeping the birds and bees and butterflies interested in coming to the garden. Having said that, garden art are not limited to attracting wildlife to the garden. They are at home in any garden, including formal, informal, cottage contemporary, electric and more. This is where the fun begins. Garden centers, art galleries and studios, crafts and waste- to- wealth markets, art fairs are all great resources for garden art and decorations. You will find artists who make new stuff into new like birdbath from the traditional grinding stone or ‘art’ from recycled vehicle tyres and trash from the garbage heap. There is a variety of stuff with personality to match your own. There are stepping stones, baths, houses. There are gates, benches, gazebos. There are animals, bugs, gnomes and fairies.

One should mention some gardens have the splattering of spiritual figures of saints and angels as quintessential garden accent! Placing empty bottles in the garden began as a superstition about catching evil spirits. These days a ‘bottle tree’ is an easy way to create one-of-a-kind garden art, make for special occasions or to add color to a quiet spot in the garden or for edging beds. They can be hand painted for a rustic or abstract finish. Feeling crafty? With a little know-how-you will be off to the flea market for objects for low budget DIY Art or even a once dust collecting knick-knack can have new life in the garden. With a little imagination, found objects can be re-purposed into garden art. Truly easy low budget DIY garden art.

What About Art In Public Gardens?
Adding beauty is primary objective of public art but it is so encouraging people to widen their perspective. Some state like Lagos, recently embarked on installation of art works in public gardens and spaces. There are people who critiqued this project and the sculptures harshly. Others attack the State’s government for wasting money on art instead of some poverty alleviation programs and other activities for children. One agree there should be more opportunities for children, but the thing is one should see art as a valuable experience for children and adults alike. Children getting exposed to art early in life can help them understand abstract concepts and ideas. Now one would ask that viewers of art, especially contemporary art, consider that the message that they gathered from a work of art may not be the only perspective. When we dictate what is not acceptable for others to view, we are treading a slippery slope. The truth is apparent all artists leave their work open to interpretation. In most cases people interpret art based on what they bring to it.

If Art like an open ended statement is considered a threat, it may well be that the interpreter sees everything in life as a threat. If the art works; creation of many commissioned artists being displayed now in public gardens to commemorate Lagos State at 50 are removed, the world will be the poorer for it. As much as we need programs to alleviate poverty (designed for ‘stomach care’); there is need for cleaning up the environment and beautifying it with gardens and art; appealing to people’s mind, thus awakening a sense of beauty and admiration for creativity in nature and art. Enjoy the garden and its art forms. Help plant love of art.

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