Our Paradise

When we bought our 20 acres of woodlands it was bare of man-made features.  Robin and I cut down what trees were necessary to make room for the building of our home, studios, storage building and eventually barn.  Other than making art, our real passion has been the landscaping of the site.  Though we had professional help in the building of two ponds, the rest of the labor has been largely our own. We’ve made use of most of the existing native hardwood trees (oaks, maples, hickory, walnut, ash, tulip poplar, ironwood, hackberry, cherry, sycamore, black locust, sweet gum) while  encouraging along native volunteers also such as the dogwoods, redbuds, 2 varieties of sumac, creeping charley, trumpet vine, violets, woodland and prairie wildflowers, honeysuckle, red cedars, witch hazel, sassafras, etc.  In addition we’ve added white pines, chocolate mimosa, hemlock, golden raintree, Japanese maple.  We’ve created many different themed gardens.  Each is a unique creation using the varying elevations of the land, additions of stone, sculpture, shrubs and flowers to provide the space with its own privacy and feel.

We always have several projects on-going, some of which take years to complete.  It’s just amazing to watch it grown and evolve.  And some of it is not what we hoped for, nor expected, but you learn to accept it and move on, preferably finding an unseen benefit in the making.  Like when an ice storm took out our most prized dogwood.  We mourned the loss and then moved on to a chocolate mimosa for the same site—a delightful choice for its color, exotic nature and dappled shade in the heat of the summer.  Though it’s not a particularly long-lived choice we enjoy the drama of it.  We’re in the market currently for an old brass bed, preferably with the steel springs for one of the gardens.  We are particularly captivated with the use of sculpture in the garden that allows the plantings to become part of the story as seen here with Sharon’s clay sculpture, “The Old Dancer”,The Old Dancer 3 that stays out year around, allowing the Cardinal vine to grow up around and actually through her open vessel.

The Old Dancer 4

Robin’s Summer

Aside from snake charming, Robin’s kept busy this summer getting the sets ready for the new shoots of The Spiel with Angie & Julie and he’s made a little time for two small projects in his studio.  He’s been working on a 4′ x 3′ piece which he’s now hung in the Zen Courtyard Garden for maturing a little, before he decides if it needs more patina work and/or other elements.

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Glorious Redbud

We prize our Redbud and Dogwood trees.  A redbud that has graced our west great room window for 15-20 years is dying–possibly from verticillium wilt.  I’ve decided to document its demise as a way of paying homage as well as demonstrating how you just gotta make lemonade sometimes when  you’re served up sour lemons.  I don’t know how long it will be before we take it down completely, but in the meantime I’ve used it as part of a garden sculpture that I’ve been contemplating for sometime.  Here’s the first photo I took yesterday morning before I broke out the electric chain saw.  Red Bud dying

I selectively pruned some of the lower and central dead growth. After trimming some of the dead branches here’s what was left.

Trimming

Next I got to work with some 80 lb test fishing line.  And walla!

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detail

Nice days work.  Next I’ll make a wire spider for it.