Leaves Of Substance

Some years ago a startling observation was made about the state of the Fairegarden. It was a diagnosis of Little Leaf Syndrome. Because of the mostly sunny, mostly sloping, mostly rocky, mostly dry in summer situation, the plants that grow best here have smaller leaves to help them withstand these conditions. LLS has been mentioned several times in posts, click here-Large Leaves to read more about it.

A conscious effort was made to find those rare plants that thrive in these conditions that bear larger leaves. Some made the cut, like Hosta ‘Sum And Substance’.

Moving onward, the Garden Bloggers Fling of 2011 was held in the faire city of Seattle, Washington. What a cacophony of not only breathtaking views and gorgeous gardens, but the art showcased in every location we visited was embedded in my brain. Especially the glass art. For a taste of what we saw, click here-Glass Art Of Seattle. Above: Seen in the Dunn Garden.

The shape of spikes seemed to appeal to me the most of all of the glass art observed. Tall, thin and massed together, as nature so artfully does, was the vision of my dreams, like the emerging foliage of Hosta ‘White Feather’.

Combining the need for large leaves with the love of glass garden art, in particular the creations of Barbara Sanderson of Glass Gardens NW, whom we met while in Seattle, pennies were scraped together and saved in the best of tightwad thriftiness by cutting costs in meal planning, among other venues. (Dried beans, by the way, are an extremely cheap source of protein and I really did not need/want that new dress or pair of shoes.) After weather-testing the glass mushroom that was purchased last fall, to see how it withstood the extreme freeze-thaw cycle that is a Southeast Tennessee winter, six color-coordinated leaves were ordered. Ms. Sanderson was very helpful in the choosing of the colors that would best coordinate with the ruby and gold mushroom.

Placement was tricky, but at the top of the criteria was backlighting. Still, it seemed not quite right. Ms. Sanderson was again pestered for ideas about how best to group this glass.

She suggested angling the copper pipes that are pushed deep into the ground then moving the leaves and turning them until satisfaction is achieved.

After much pounding of the copper pipe that the glass rests upon with a sledge hammer, then pulling out the length of copper pipe that had been pounded and respacing and more pounding, then going inside to sleep on it, then starting again the next morning, I believe the desired look has been achieved. At least for now. It needs mulch, and decisions made about the planting. What is presently planted will be allowed to emerge and reveal itself. A copper bowl birdbath on a cement pedestal had been located on this spot for over ten years. Various low, flowering perennials and bulbs are scattered around there. I forget what was planted behind the birdbath, it was constantly changing, so we will take a wait and see approach, all the while enjoying the new leaves of substance and the mellow mushroom vignette.


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22 Responses to Leaves Of Substance

  1. Frances these are lovely. In my very cold winter I don’t think they would survive the 100 inches of snow and extreme cold, but I love looking at them in your garden!

    Hi Donna, thanks so much. I don’t know either about leaving them out in your winter conditions, but the beauty of the copper pipe installation method means that the glass can be lifted off the long pipe easily for safe storage. With 100 inches of snow, you wouldn’t be able to see them anyway!

  2. Very nice, F. I admire her work and even have a ‘shroom of my own.

    Hi Helen, thanks. Lucky you with one of Barbara’s mushrooms! I would spend every extra penny on more of her work, if I didn’t have to eat! I believe it is addictive. I also predict you will buy more yourself.

  3. Julie says:

    The leaves and mushroom are gorgeous! I’m with you–I’d much rather add those lovelies to the garden than buy a new pair of shoes!

    Hi Julie, thanks. This glass is much more gratifying than clothes or shoes, I agree! It will be passed down through generations of my family, too, hopefully. It is not fragile, very very thick. It is still glass and can be broken, but should last many years if properly sited.

  4. Carol says:

    Lovely, indeed. And how the light catches them (or how they catch the light) can make all the difference. If you want to see more glass in a garden, check out Nan Ondra’s latest post on Hayfield.

    Hi Carol, thanks. So far, the light is perfect on the glass art here, both in the morning, noon and in the later day, too. I subscribe to Nan’s posts and did see her wonderful reuse of the glass bottles. I would love to see her garden in person.

  5. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    How yummy. What a beautiful display. You are brave having glass in your garden. I think it is an exciting element in that it captures the light and changes it. Such a different texture too. Well done.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. I was unsure at first about the glass, but as I noticed with the mushroom, it is extremely thick glass. That is why I only ordered the one piece first and watched how it reacted to the cold and thaw. This new spot is also well away from any trees, so a falling branch cannot hit it. I think the biggest test will be when the grandsons are here and running around. They are old enough to understand to be careful, though.

  6. Looks like Mr. Chihuly visited your garden! I love how blown glass looks amongst plants. A very nice addition; way better than a new pair of shoes!

    Hi Karin, thanks. I could never, ever afford anything by Mr. Chihuly, but Barbara Sanderson makes affordable and beautiful glass art that I adore. And I do love shoes! HA

  7. Layanee says:

    They look positively perfect. Love the colors you have chosen. I can see them underplanted with Lysimachia nummalaria ‘Aurea’. Well, I can see that but I can’t wait to see what you choose.

    Hi Layanee, thanks. I have loads of that creeping jenny, it is a contender!

  8. My Kids Mom says:

    Small leaves are a problem here too, as well as a green leaf problem. I have trouble convincing my husband that we need plants that are NOT green, or the green ones will just blend into one mass.

    Hi Jill, thanks for visiting. All green, all small, it’s a problem in a garden to try and have four seasons of visually pleasing interest. Keep at it!

  9. sandy lawrence says:

    Simply sublime, Frances. All your ‘cogitating’ and experimenting paid off. The placement is striking, yet natural looking and pleasing to the eye. I’m with you. Every dime I have goes into my garden and home. It is what makes me happy.
    Food? Shoes? Nah … But plants and art? Ah, food for the soul! (As is Fairegarden).

    Hi Sandy, thanks. You are a kindred spirit, plants and art, and the occasional boulder!

  10. michaele says:

    Oh, those leaves are gorgeous…so luminescent. What a special treat to have them add life to the winter landscape although, of course, they’ll be an eye catcher in any season.
    I certainly identify with the self negotiating we gardeners tend to do with ourselves in order to justify an indulgent purchase that our inner “I want it, I need it” voice cries out for. Ah, yes, right now I have an obsession for large metal butterflies that I am collecting to adorn what I am calling my butterfly “tree” …an 8ft tall post made from a good sized cedar tree that came down in a storm. My visions of completed glory are keeping me quite entertained!
    My only concern for your beautiful glass garden ornamentation is when we’re threatened with large hail. I’m sure you have already thought of protective measures just in case.

    Hi Michaele, thanks so much. I enjoyed hearing about your butterfly tree, it sounds delightful! I was ready to grab the mushroom to bring inside when there was a storm forecast. Grabbing the six leaves and the mushroom might be a recipe for disaster if they clank together in my haste. I will have to think of something to cover them, an upside down tub would work, with a brick on top so it didn’t blow away. You know how quickly those storms can form around these parts.

    Yes, it’s definitely worth thinking through possible unintended consequences for whatever protective measure you think to take. It would be positively tormenting to do damage in the attempt to do good!

    So true, Michaele. I have broken more things by dusting than I care to remember, valuable heirlooms, too. Some might consider me clumsy, I definitely have a balance problem. But hail could be bad, thanks for making me think about this possibility and having a plan.

  11. Alison says:

    So pretty! I actually like the very first arrangement, but the final one, with the leaves all clustered together and offset by the mushroom, works as well.

    Hi Alison, thanks. That photo makes the first arrangement look better than it did in reality. Plantings will help anchor it, I hope.

  12. spurge says:

    Beautiful addition to your already beautiful garden. I don’t often like garden sculpture, personally, but I do like this one. I think ordinarily the man-made-ness of it is too jarring and disconcerting for me in what should be a natural space. Your art is so natural in form that the only contrast is textural, and the effect is very subtle and harmonious – lovely! Thanks for sharing the idea.

    Hi Spurge, thanks. I am glad you like the glass art. In Seattle, art like this was shown in nearly every garden we visited. It was amazing and seemed perfect for the spaces. I am hoping this turns out to be the same once the plantings are adjusted.

  13. Ann says:

    The glass art work in your garden is absolutely beautiful!

    Hi Ann, thanks. I am glad you like the new glass art here. I like it, too.

  14. Like Donna, I was thinking my winters were too cold. After all, I have busted more than one rain gauge by leaving water in it overnight-which then froze. But your point about removing them for the winter is well-taken. I already do that with my mosaic bird bath.

    Hi Kathy, thanks for stopping by. This glass is nothing at all like those fragile rain gauges. Those freeze and break here, too. This art glass is super thick, thicker than a windshield, and does not hold water at all. More like a glass electrical cover that used to be used on utility poles. In your climate, I would still take it inside, easy to lift off the copper pipe.

  15. I love how these look, they’re beautiful, but blend in well with their surroundings, rather than detract from them. Definitely money well spent! I probably have a few extra recipes for dried beans if you need them 😛

    Hi CV, thanks. HA to the bean recipes, but thanks. The internet has made searching for recipes pretty dadburned easy. I am old enough to remember only getting recipes from face to face sharings, letters, newspaper, magazines and books. Good thing we like beans.

  16. They are truly lovely my Faire. I love how they are coming out of the ground like a hosta or other plant, and the back lighting is beautiful. I also purchased some leaves recently. Mine are very tall and red and green cause you know how I love the bright and shiny. However, looking at yours makes me also wish for some subtlety. Thanks for showing us your beauties.~~Dee

    Hi Dee, thanks. They do look sort of like real plants, except for the giant mushroom! Your new leaves sound wonderful. Don’t you think a couple of taller ones would look good in this little vignette? Saving up now.

  17. Laurrie says:

    I love the artful way you are using these glass sculptures, and they immediately reminded me of the spectacular Dale Chiluly glass art at the Missouri botanical garden. So beautiful. Those are BIG installations, I like yours low to the ground, lighting up whatever plantings will emerge.

    Hi Laurrie, thanks. I adore the big Chihuly pieces and have been to a museum in Florida designed just for his work. Breathtaking. But so far out of my price range that no amount of bean eating would allow owning anything of his. While Ms. Sanderson’s work is not cheap, it is something I can afford with some scrimping and saving. I already want more!

  18. Gail says:

    Frances, They are such perfect leaves and they compliment the mushroom (and vice versa). You made a great choice~I can’t wait to see what other glasscomes to live at Fairegarden. xxoogail PS They look much sturdier than the glass globe that withstood the huge (quarter size) hail that fell in my garden last Friday. But, I certainly would bring them in if a hail storm was predicted!

    Hi Gail, thanks. My choice was definitely helped by Barbara Sanderson. I had no idea what would look best with the ruby/gold mushroom and she was spot on with the colors. As for the hail, they might withstand it, but if I had advance warning, sometimes we don’t!, I would cover them with a large tub weighted with a heavy rock.

  19. Rose says:

    Your new leaves of substance are beautiful, Frances! I was going through my photo files this weekend of trips to Arizona and had to look again at the pictures I took of the Chihuly exhibit at the Desert Botanical Gardens a few years ago. Your first photo immediately reminded me of his glass sculptures–your final grouping is definitely a work of art! Barbara Sanderson is so talented.

    Hi Rose, thanks. I remember your beautiful photos of the Chihuly works in Arizona, had never seen anything like that before. When we went to Seattle, there was glass art in nearly every garden, much of it by Barbara Sanderson. She is certainly a talent, and very nice, too.

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