Appreciating Nature through Gardening

Slide Show

Duet by Thomas Sayre

At the end of a long, mysterious lane winding through a southern wood, the monumental works of Thomas Sayre emerge from clearings in the trees.  Fellow Garden Vistas travelers, Marty and Alan, host an extraordinary collection on their large property  in the countryside near Raleigh, North Carolina.  The couple met the artist in 1992 through a connection to their architect, leading to a fruitful creative partnership.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A pair of earth-cast concrete ellipses mounted on fixed axles, the eight foot tall forms move with gentle pressure from the wind or human touch.  Iron oxide colors the material, giving it an organic warmth that recalls the red clay of the region. Contrasting sides of rough texture from the ground and smoothly polished terrazzo alternately absorb and reflect the natural light.    The highly polished surface reveals a  random mosaic of fine pebbles divided by four stainless steel bands, forming a sleek, sophisticated face.  The reverse holds an imprint of the soil womb, with a coarse, raw face pocked where the earth gave shape to the formless media.   On this side, the integral steel bands become skeletal, lying beneath protruding layers of concrete.  The ten-inch thickness at the center of each piece tapers to less than half an inch at the edges, giving a sense delicacy to an encounter with the work that invites  touch.  According to Alan: “Turning one of the pieces requires a bit more force than the other such that in light winds they become randomly aligned; whereas with strong winds, they stand parallel to each other.”   Duet strikes me as a parallel for positive human relationships standing aligned in rough weather, but able to rotate individually as “the spirit moves.”

More to come from this amazing location…


Hakone: Part II

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands features over a thousand species of wild herbaceous and woody plants. Our visit in early November coincided with a display of alpine plants, but few other things were in bloom.  Gorgeous blue gentians grew freely even beside the parking lot — an object of envy for a Midwestern gardener.  The stunning pitcher plants would be an unique addition to my stream area…