By: Lisa Briggs | May 31st, 2019
The beauty of any garden isn’t in the eye of the beholder. It’s in the eye of the garden’s creator. As I stroll through my neighborhood or drive from one place to another, I am often amazed by what constitutes a garden. And I don’t mean this in a manner that is judging good ideas from bad ones, but from the point of view that any place that a gardener has arranged began with a kernel of an idea and a desire to share it with passers-by.
In its most basic form, a garden is a place shaped by the inspiration of the gardener. This bit of land could soothe your soul. It could excite your senses. It could weird you out. I write this with a particular landscape in mind that features silk flowers and plush animals. The location will forever remain nameless. I will say that every time I drove by, I was charmed and always meant to stop and ask the gardener for the story behind it.
I came across The Garden of Cosmic Speculation in Dumfries, Scotland when I was searching the internet for information on a topic that was immediately forgotten once I discovered this amazing landscape. The 30-acre, private sculpture garden was created by a landscape architect named Charles Jencks. This garden does not celebrate plants as Mr. Jencks is inspired by mathematics and science, but the resulting sculptures do harmonize with the landscape’s natural features. The Garden of Cosmic Speculation is open to the public one day a year and a visit has been added to my personal bucket list. You can get more info by following https://gardenofcosmicspeculation.com/
Much closer to home is the whimsical Bookworm Garden in Sheboygan. Local gardener Sandy Livermore’s intent was to celebrate some of the world’s best-loved children’s books. You’ll find gardens inspired by Where the Wild Things Are, Goodnight Moon and of course, The Secret Garden. Bookworm Garden will delight everyone’s inner child and is open to the public from May 1 to October 31. There is no fee for admission. Learn more at http://www.bookwormgardens.org/
I’m not sure why Sheboygan, Wisconsin is home to so many odd, yet wonderful gardens, but as long as you’re making the trip, plan a quick stop at the Tellen Woodland Sculpture Garden. The Kohler Foundation has collected the cast concrete statues of James Tellen from all over the Midwest and displayed them on a property near Lake Michigan. The surrealistic sculptures are situated along a walk through a beech forest and were influenced by topics ranging from temperance to figures of history. The Fallen Log, a 65-foot long fence that borders the front of the property has to be seen to be believed. http://www.kohlerfoundation.org/preservation/preserved-sites/tellen-woodland-sculpture-garden/
But please don’t think that this is an exercise in mere admiration. On a trip to the Pacific Northwest, I was intrigued by a visit to the many mossy Japanese gardens and since have often looked at my yard and wondered if I could create my own. I started one a couple of summers ago on a small knoll in my front yard and it’s finally coming into its own. So the lesson to learn is that garden inspiration can be found in the most magical places. Or the weirdest.