The Artfully Mello Garden

Iconic, as in the art world meaning of following a certain style, describes the West Asheville, North Carolina garden of artist Christopher Mello, where his personal, unique style shines through in every vignette.

As you approach the corner of Waynesville and Westwood, where his garden and studio are firmly entrenched in this funky, creative neighborhood, his infatuation with reddish foliage suggests that this plot of land holds a special magic. This is not a traditional, conventional bunch of plantings and art displays. Oh no, it is not.

The list of adjectives seems inadequate to describe what one will find as they explore and discover what lies along the paths. There are bits of metal reanimated into creatures and fantasy.

There are plantings of vividly inspired brilliance.

There is a playfulness, saying “Let’s not take this all too seriously”.

It is good to get into the proper frame of mind to fully appreciate what is happening here.

This is a beautifully planted garden in an urban setting.

There is whimsy along with horticulture…

…Along with a little romance. (Thanks to Greg and Ashley of The Hop Ice Cream Cafe, scoopers of Ashley’s delicious confections for two of the fling dining events, for allowing the use of this photo taken at Christmas under the enchanted light of the blue bottle tree in Christopher Mello’s garden.)

This garden has been previously written about in early blog posts which can be seen by clicking here and here.

Other posts about Asheville Fling 2012:

Postcards From Asheville, The Fifth Fling

Skulls, Fairies and Fantasy

Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar Inspiration

Garden Art of Asheville Fling 2012


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19 Responses to The Artfully Mello Garden

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I could relate to his “red” phase. I have quite a bit of that going on in my garden too. I like his eclectic sense of treasure.

    Hi Lisa, wasn’t it wonderful? I have lots of foliage that is red, some in the Black Garden, but none as artfully placed as his.

  2. I was sorry I missed seeing this garden, but I did have a chance to talk to Christopher M. later in the weekend about garden tools as garden art. I have yet to put my hoes out in the garden but he has made me think maybe I should…

    I am sorry, too, Carol, you would have loved his shovel collection in the circle of fun. If you have any older, rusty hoes, maybe they should be outside in an artful display. I have hung some old tools on the back of my shed and love seeing them.

  3. Layanee says:

    Such imagination! What fun it is to put one’s own hand print on one’s own garden. This one certainly reflects the interesting person tending and creating this garden. Love it.

    Hi Layanee, I really wish you could have come to Asheville to see the creative folks at work in their gardens, especially in West Asheville. They are the opposite of traditional, being free spirits.

  4. So fun…I’ll bet he didn’t color between the lines as a child, either!

    It was fun, Michaele, and I bet you’re right about the lines! More power to him!

  5. I liked this garden very much. Of course, the red/purple foliage stole my heart, and Christopher Mello was so much fun too.~~Dee

    I am so glad, Dee. This is not a traditional garden and some people might not be open to the free spirits that live within. This is a playful, creative place, the best way to enjoy it is to leave your inhibitions on the bus!

  6. Donna B. says:

    … oh my gosh. I firmly believe that as an artist, I require to need a crazy garden like this.
    I will strive to have it! Unbeknowst to my poor boyfriend…!
    Saw that shovel yard on Garden Rant a couple of days ago, it’s great to place a gardener with it’s brilliance.
    Also, your gardens’ name on the blue metal? I think your site’s in need of a new header banner… and I think it would be perfect!
    I can’t wait to see the other Flings! ♥

    Hi Donna, thanks. What a good idea about the metal letters. I bet there could be a use for that sometime. This garden was incredible, I just love it, and Christopher, too.

  7. Well, lost my first comment, WordPress is being silly again. Loved this garden. Think your poppy picture is one of the best I have seen so far!

    Hi Janet, so sorry about your comment. Unfortunately, WordPress is not under my control! The poppy photos was taken pre-dawn on a foggy morning since I couldn’t ride the buses that morning due to 12 Bones responsibility. The flash went off on that shot and I sort of liked how it came out. Thanks!

  8. That is a truely stunning garden, so full of surprises and interest.

    It really is amazing and very beautiful. The surprise element makes it playful and fun.

  9. Rose says:

    Love the last picture! I wondered what his garden might look like at night; thanks for sharing this, Frances. This was such a neat garden–unique and inspiring in his nonconformity–and Christopher was such an interesting host. I thought it invited playfulness, among other things, and I can see that the playful spirit in you was inspired to participate in the art–i.e, the alphabet board:) I came away with so much inspiration from Asheville that it’s going to take me awhile to process it all.

    Hi Rose, thanks. You are the only one to comment on that last shot, which is a favorite of mine. Christopher has lights strung on the trees and it is a spectacle of blue at night. I know what you mean about being inspired by the fling. Thank goodness we have photos to peruse again and again to help us be inspired.

  10. Stephanie says:

    I love the container planter of succulents and sedum!…Its both beautiful and practical for the hot weather ahead…I would have loved to have visited Christopher’s garden..Theres alot of fun and imagination going on there.

    Hi Stephanie, thanks for visiting. Christopher Mello is both an artist and a true gardening genius. Imagination and creativity rule on the corner of Westwood and Waynesville.

  11. Frances, I loved this garden. I looked at the whole thing as an art installation or giant sculpture. However, the purple-themed perimeter was put together by not just an artist but a true plantsman. Many of the combinations were inspired, especially that area with the succulent container, etc. So fun to meet you at the fling. I really enjoyed the whole experience from beginning to end. You did a great job. Thanks, Carolyn

    Hi Carolyn, thank you for coming to the fling, I am so glad you enjoyed it, and this garden in particular. Thanks too for the little Green Mouse Ears plant! It is happily ensconced in the fairy garden and fits in perfectly. I love it!

  12. I havent seen Christopher in yrs,,or his present garden,,when I first met Christopher he was in a warehouse on the river, and had a home in Little Pine out near Marshall,,the garden at the river warehouse was really pretty and I was exposed the first time to the idea of metal in a garden,,,It was instant love when it came to that rusty stuff,,I have continually used metal in my gardens since,,Mr Mello taught me a lot about not only plants and art,,but how to let my creativity flow out in more than just the plants and planting,,I saw through him how he put himself totally into his gardens. So now as I look out over my own garden I see his influence, especially in my cactus and succulent, bed, and the metal containers of the same on my decks, The ability to see what isnt yet there and noticing little things others often do not see,,,we spent many hrs just mezmerized weeding and playing in the garden, it was the first time I met someone who was as crazy about plants and art mixed as I am,, I remember the first time I saw the blue bottles in a tree,,,It was in Little Pine beside his cabin,,he had a Devils Walking Stick,,,huge thorny creature,,and blue bottles caping the limbs,,,a wonderful waterfall with a black pussy willow at the base,,,huge bolders in the beds, with little surprises all around and everywhere you looked you found something you had missed before,, Truly one of the best gardeners and artists I know and as well as a very sweet individual all around.

    Lucky you, Charles, to have spent so much time with Christopher and seen his gardening and artistic philosophy at work. He is a genius.

  13. Very nice tour, Frances, on every count. This garden was truly a treat of artistic adventure. I so loved the Fling and appreciate all the work that was necessary to put on such a fine event. And the ice cream desserts were a great end to a wonderful meal. Many thanks to Greg and Ashley.

    Hi Donna, thanks so much. Asheville seems to have been a big hit, as was The Hop ice cream. Christopher planned it so well and the others on the committee worked very hard, it was truly a joint efort. I am so glad you enjoyed it.

  14. Cindy, MCOK says:

    I saw your contribution to Christopher’s blue alphabet board, as Lisa called it, and added one of my own! A]s soon as we pulled up, I knew it was my kind of place … I think our whole bus heard me say “Ooooh! Rusty stuff!”

    I knew you would love it at Christopher Mello’s, Cindy. Rusty stuff abounds there. I love the dark foliage, too. A wonderful place!

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