Tag Archive | sculptures

A Hidden Gem in Marion

During our visit to Marion, Illinois, a couple of weeks ago we decided to take a chance and visit a place called Mandala Gardens.  I had read a brief review of the Gardens on TripAdvisor which sounded promising but the Mandala Gardens website itself mentioned something about calling ahead, and like many of the side-trips that we make, this one was rather spontaneous.  When we got to the privately owned Gardens early in the morning the gates were closed and I gazed longingly through the bars at what looked like an intriguing vista. I was just about to get back in the car when a lady came out of the adjoining house and walked down to greet us.  I explained that our visit was rather a last-minute idea and were sorry to turn up unannounced but she told us that it wasn’t a problem and ushered us in.

You immediately feel the peace and serenity that emanates from this tranquil setting.  Diana Tigerlily (pictured below) and her husband Greg Reid have lived at the property on North State Street for 20 years and during that time have put a lot of effort into making it the lovely place that it is today. Diana kindly allowed us to wander around and enjoy the Gardens and of course I made the most of this great photo opportunity.  For more on Diana and Greg’s story go to ABOUT

There are several interesting structures to explore at the Gardens one of which is The Infinity Arch created by Thea Alvin.

Another feature, also created by Thea Alvin, is Moongate which stands at the end of the pond. Here at the Gardens Diana holds Yoga practice sessions which are named Blue Heron Yoga and just as I was about to walk around the pond the blue heron, for which these sessions are named, flapped lazily away. Unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough to get a shot with the camera but luckily the pond and Moongate were still there.

Looking through Moongate you catch a glimpse of the sandstone labyrinth, a quiet place to meditate, or take a walk through the trees just beyond and return to the garden via the bridge. Both the labyrinth and the bridge are the result of Greg and Diana’s hard work.

 

Back among the flowers, there are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the various pieces of artwork than can be found at Mandala Gardens, including Talisman, a metal sculpture by Carey Netherton and some delightful little stained-glass windows which are part of the potting shed.

If you are ever in the Marion area of Illinois, I can highly recommend a visit to Manadala Gardens.  Diana was most welcoming and made us feel right at home.

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Gardens

The topic for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is Gardens and do I have the garden pictures!!  Wherever we go on our travels we always look out for a pleasant public garden in which to spend some time and over the years we have found a multitude of gorgeous places.  Rather than overload the post with too many images, I’ve narrowed it down to just a few of the more memorable gardens that we’ve visited.

Closest to home is the Chicago Botanic Garden and probably my most favorite spot to sit and look at the flowers is the Circle Garden.

The Frederik Meijer Sculpture Garden in Grand Rapids, Michigan, provides a delightful blend of art and nature.

Although the reason we went to the Missouri Botanical Garden in St Louis was chiefly to see the Chinese Lantern Festival, we went back again to take in everything else that the garden had to offer and it was spectacular!

Another place that really impressed us was the garden at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. The perfume in the rose garden was heavenly!

Green Bay Botanical Garden in Wisconsin is another one of my favorites.  We have spent many hours wandering around here looking at all the beautiful flowers and plants.

Back to Illinois and the gardens at Cantigny Park in Wheaton.  Immaculately kept, these gardens are a must-see for anyone visiting the area.

Also in Illinois, Anderson Japanese Garden in Rockford is a little different in that it doesn’t have a huge display of flowers but makes up for it with tranquil settings amid lush greenery.  Make sure you visit the waterfall and perhaps feed the koi fish swimming in the pool.

For more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge visit https://ceenphotography.com/2017/05/23/cees-fun-foto-challenge-gardens/

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – Flights of Fancy

This week, Cee invites us to post images of sculptures, statues or carvings for her Black & White Photo Challenge.  I have quite a large number of statues etc. in the photo files but after my recent post about the hawk I thought I would share some rather more light-hearted pictures of birds.

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When, even as a young child, a feather on a pillow would give me screaming fits, I find I can tolerate being close to these kinds of birds; sculptures. This piece, entitled Stork-like Bird, made of wood, steel and copper, was sculpted by Thomas Hill.

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This display of avian art was captured indoors and outside in the gardens at the Lee Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin, last year.

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The Dance, sculpted by Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein, uses saplings and plastic bags to recreate two giant sandhill cranes, a real flight of fancy, while the diminutive Common Redpoll, carved by Josh Guge, is life-like in every detail.

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For more on Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge go to https://ceenphotography.com/2017/01/12/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-sculptures-statues-carvings-2/

North Carolina Arboretum

As a prelude to our planned visit to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville last week, we decided to make a side-trip to nearby North Carolina Arboretum.

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Set in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, the facility, which is part of the University of North Carolina, was officially designated as an arboretum in 1989, although the idea for an arboretum near Biltmore was originally conceived by famous landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted in 1898.

The arboretum also includes a beautiful botanic garden and since we only had a limited amount of time to look around, we concentrated our efforts on this area.

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To view the Quilt Garden to its best advantage you have to stand on the stone overlook. From there you can easily see the patterns laid out in the flower beds, butterflies being the motif at the time of our visit.

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On the far side of the garden is Blue Ridge Court which features a pool and a splendid statue of Frederick Law Olmsted, known as the father of American landscape architecture, sculpted by artist Zenos Frudakis, which was unveiled just two months before our visit.

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The Baker Exhibit Center includes a greenhouse and indoor display area. Outside, in the gardens, bees and butterflies are definitely encouraged to stop by.

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There was a certain amount of restructuring going on in the garden area and parts of it were inaccessible to visitors but there was still quite a lot to see.

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I may have been tempted to wander further afield, down one of the many trails in the arboretum, but after I spotted this sign I figured enough was enough!

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The Ribbit Exhibit.

Every year in early spring I love to visit Morton Arboretum to see the gorgeous naturalized daffodils in bloom. This year, as an added bonus, there was an intriguing display of sculptures called The Ribbit Exhibit and since it featured one of my all-time favorite creatures, the frog, I couldn’t resist trying out my new camera and capturing a few images for the picture files.

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These whimsical statues are the work of artist J.A. Cobb and are made from sheets of copper. There are 23 of these delightful characters scattered about the gardens surrounding the visitor center and Meadow Lake.

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This adorable young lady is Sasha. Cobb draws each frog piece on a sheet of copper, then hammers and folds the sheets into shape. Sasha looks as though she’s patiently waiting for her dancing lesson to begin.

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Bentley and Tortuga the turtle in the Children’s Garden. A chemical patina gives the frogs that nice green color.

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Skully looks right at home in Meadow Lake.  There were  plenty of real frogs too, down by the water’s edge. Even the turtles were climbing over each other to check out the Ribbit Exhibit.

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It seems as though once you make eye contact with frogs they stay absolutely still.  I was sitting only a foot or so away from these guys.

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Emerson the caffeinated croaker taking a coffee break and soaking up the sun outside the visitor center. The Ribbit Exhibit is on display through September 25th so hop on over to the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois, and take a look.

The Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

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On a recent trip to Iowa we were thrilled to discover a new treasure, (new to us, anyway) The Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. What a beautiful place this is! Opening in 1980 the gardens have continued to flourish and now feature such delightful areas as the hosta, English, Japanese, herb and rose gardens to mention but a few.

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They have a wonderful collection of daylilies as well as many other perennials and a colorful display greeted us at every turn.

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I was especially drawn to the English garden, of course, and having arrived at the Gardens early in the morning, we found this secluded spot very peaceful.

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There are more than 1200 hostas thriving in the shady areas of the garden and because slugs like hostas and wrens like slugs there are lots of little wren houses scattered about. These tiny birds seem to have done an excellent job of protecting the plants.

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There are several pieces of artwork in the Gardens, sculptures ranging from whimsical to traditional can be found under the trees and among the flower beds.

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Among the flowers blooming in the Gardens are many gorgeous varieties of roses and some splendid dahlias. And wild flowers have their own special area too.

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And everywhere you look you’ll these little chipmunks dashing about.

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Down by the lake in the Japanese garden we could hear frogs calling to one another and I was rewarded with an excellent opportunity for some quality one-on-one time.

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If you are anywhere near the Dubuque area, and even if you’re not, I can highly recommend a visit to the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. They are an absolute delight and what’s more there is no charge for entry which in this day and age is amazing!