The most ephemeral

Gardening is the most ephemeral art. A garden is in constant flux, season to season and moment to moment.

— Will & Ariel Durant

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I visited the most lovely ephemeral art gallery this weekend, Bedrock Gardens in Lee, NH. It’s a private garden, owned and loved since 1987 by Jill Nooney and Bob Munger, sculptors and gardeners. It’s open to the public on the third Saturday and Sunday of each month from May through October, and if you are within 2 or 3 hours, it’s well worth the visit. There are 20 acres of gardens on 37 acres of land, but it feels like more, because of the level of detail, in the plants, hardscaping, water, and sculpture. It was about 86F degrees when I was there, which was wonderful, in the sun, by the water bodies, and in the plenteous shade.

There’s a map of the garden, and many docents available to help you find what you’re looking for. The owners were on hand to answer questions. Visitors can buy a salad or sandwich for lunch, or bring a picnic to eat anywhere on the grounds.

PetitPondtrioofwomenpicnicBedrockGarden19July2015

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We strolled, taking our time, through the gardens twice in about 2.5 hours, the second time along the outer woodsy loop behind most of the garden plantings, where debris is gathered. I took about 360 photos and kept 200, all of which I’d like to post but I’ll spare you. Eventually they’ll all be available via my Flickr account.

For now, here’s a mini tour, with as accurate labelling as I could manage. You really have to visit.

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The House Area

entrance from road
entrance from road
closer view of entrance from road
closer view of entrance from road
barn with salvage material
barn with salvage material
whisks in salvage barn
whisks in salvage barn
patio by house
patio by house
Capricorn astrology sign in patio
Capricorn astrology sign in patio
"Preying Mantis" sculpture
“Preying Mantis” sculpture
elecampane and daylilies near studio
elecampane and daylilies near studio
studio with salvage
studio or barn with salvage
tiled fountain near studio
tiled fountain near studio
tree trunk, elecampane in bloom, blue star juniper, near studio (I think)
tree trunk, elecampane in bloom, blue star juniper, near studio (I think)
sculpture and plantings near studio
sculptures and plantings near studio
sculpture with circles around circles, in myrtle
sculpture with circles around circles, in myrtle
Viburnum plicatum (Japanese snowball) with red berries
Viburnum plicatum (Japanese snowball) with red berries, over myrtle
red mobile
red mobile
Chinese wingnut tree (Pterocarya stenoptera)
Chinese wingnut tree (Pterocarya stenoptera)

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The Parterre Garden, enclosed with a yew hedge

 

yew hedge
yew hedge, from Straight & Narrow
pool
pool
Horse Heads sculpture at entrance to Parterre Garden
Horse Heads sculpture at entrance to Parterre Garden
red Admiral butterfly
red Admiral butterfly
great golden digger wasp going into its nest
great golden digger wasp going into its nest
lichenised bench
lichenised bench

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Straight & Narrow Garden, Funnel Gardens

long view from Straight & Narrow
long view from Straight & Narrow
plantings with chestnut tree near house
plantings with chestnut tree near house
blue globe
blue globe
sculpture with wings
sculpture with wings

 

"Tutu Bird" sculpture
“Tutu Bird” sculpture
flicker
flicker
swallowtail butterfly on Mexican sunflower
swallowtail butterfly on Mexican sunflower
totem
totem

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Swaleway

Swaleway entrance
Swaleway entrance
Blue Cohosh plant, Swaleway
Blue Cohosh plant
deck prisms with hosta, Swaleway
deck prisms with hosta
red baneberry, heuchera
red baneberry, heuchera
rocks on rocks on rocks, Swaleway
rocks on rocks on rocks
stacked rocks, Swaleway
stacked rocks
hosta, Japanese painted ferns, bloodroot, ginger, grass
hosta, Japanese painted ferns, bloodroot, ginger, grass
gong near Swaleway
gong in sunlight near Swaleway

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Spiral Garden: “Twirling roof ventilators on spiral poles emphasize the Fibonacci based paving laid in a moss floor.”

Spiral Garden, trees, sunlight
Spiral Garden, trees, sunlight
Spiral Garden
Spiral Garden, closer
ventilators in Spiral Garden
ventilators in Spiral Garden
head resting on rocks, stone wall
head resting on rocks, stone wall

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Baxis: “Three sinusoidal beds (Fountain Grass, Smokebush, and Winterberry) flank the Baxis. The path runs through a high pergola in the shape of a double triangle.”

grasses, smoke bushes
grasses, smoke bushes
pergola
pergola
grasses and pergola
grasses and pergola

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The Dark Woods

creature in chair in Dark Woods
creature in chair and others
mosquito close, in Dark Woods
mosquito close
wood sculpture among birches in Dark Woods
limbed sculpture among birches in Dark Woods
Quetzalcoatl overhead
Quetzalcoatl overhead

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The Pond and Termi. Pond constructed in 1991 and filled with rainwater. Termi offers two thrones for rest. 

pond view to Termi
pond view to Termi
pond view through overhanging trees
pond view through overhanging trees
red dragonfly by large pond
red meadowhawk dragonfly by large pond
Kermit the frog at large pond
Kermit the frog sunbathing at pond
frog beside large pond
another frog beside pond
mating common blue damselflies
mating common blue damselflies
pond view through birch
pond view through birch
male Slaty Skimmer dragonfly over large pond
male Slaty Skimmer dragonfly over large pond
Aesculus parviflora (bottlebrush buckeye)
Aesculus parviflora (bottlebrush buckeye) near the pond
Termi with lions and thrones
Termi with lions and thrones
"Razor's Edge" sculpture
“Razor’s Edge” sculpture, near pond
sculpture family by large pond
sculpture family by large pond
sculpture child with Mom heart
sculpture child with Mom heart
sculpture mom
sculpture mom

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Petit Pond, with entrance framed by the tall sculpture The Acrobats, holds waterfalls, rocks, ponds, hostas and other shade plants, a tea house with a bed. A lot to see in a small space.

Acrobats sculpture
Acrobats sculpture
detail of Acrobats sculpture
detail of Acrobats sculpture
view of tea house
view of tea house
tea house with bed
tea house with bed
hanging circles and colourful sculpture
hanging circles and colourful sculpture
benches at Petit Pond
benches at Petit Pond
frog on lily pad, Petit Pond
frog on lily pad
frogs' eggs, Petit Pond
frogs’ egg
waterlily in bloom
waterlily in bloom
one of many waterfalls
one of many waterfalls
Spirit House
Spirit House
Lizard's tail (saururus cernuus)
Lizard’s tail (saururus cernuus)
flower of lizard's tail (saururus cernuus)
flower of lizard’s tail (saururus cernuus)
view of Acrobats sculpture from tea house
view of Acrobats sculpture from tea house
slanted bench
slanted bench

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Conetown — “A pineturn, of fifty or so dwarf and standard conifers” — and The Pate — “Undulating sculpted privet hedges tonsure a balding prominence”

Conetown arch
Conetown arch
Conetown archway detail
Conetown archway detail
Conetown
Conetown
view to Conetown and arch
view to Conetown and arch
Pate, with view of Conetown
The Pate, with view of Conetown

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The Wiggle Waggle: “A two hundred foot water channel, planted with lotus and lilies, wiggles between the Spring House and the CopTop.”

sinewy Wiggle Waggle
sinewy Wiggle Waggle
Wiggle Waggle, reflections
Wiggle Waggle, lilypads, reflections
lotuses in bloom, Wiggle Waggle
lotuses in bloom, spring house
lotus in bloom, Wiggle Waggle
lotus in bloom
lotus stalk, deflowered, Wiggle Waggle
lotus stalk, deflowered
koi in Wiggle Waggle
koi
frog in Wiggle Waggle
frog
tadpole in Wiggle Waggle
tadpole in Wiggle Waggle
view of Wiggle Waggle through variegated tree
view of Wiggle Waggle through variegated tree
tea house by Wiggle Waggle
tea house (CopTop) by Wiggle Waggle

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 Garish Garden, clashes of flower, paint, sculpture colour:

Garish Garden
Garish Garden
us in the funhouse mirror
us in the funhouse mirror, larch nearby
crocosmia, baptisia, et al.
crocosmia, baptisia, red tuteur, et al.
Garish Garden with blue deck gems
Garish Garden with blue deck prisms
castor bean plant
castor bean plant

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GrassAcre: “Red, green, and blue grasses (Switchgrass, Hanoke Grass, and Little Blue Stem) read as an abstract painting from the barn. SyncoPeaks, a sculpture of layered scrims, evokes distant mountain horizons.”

GrassAcre
GrassAcre
grasses, Syncopeaks sculpture, Belgian Fence of espaliered apples, arborvitae hedge
grasses, SyncoPeaks sculpture, Belgian Fence of espaliered apples, arborvitae hedge
GrassAcre, SyncoPeaks, long view
GrassAcre, SyncoPeaks, long view
GrassAcre with view to CopTop tea house
GrassAcre with view to CopTop tea house
Not strictly in the GrassAcre area, but I love this swath of grasses with a fence-like sculpture
Not strictly in the GrassAcre area, but I love this swath of grasses with its slanted sculpture

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Belgian Fence/Espalier Apple: “Several types of apple trees are espaliered in the diamond-shaped Belgian style to form a hundred-foot fence. A solid wall of Arborvitae ‘Emerald Green’ tops  the ‘HaHa Wall'”

arborvitae hedge with kales, coleus, small sculptures on pedestals
arborvitae hedge with kales, coleus, small sculptures on pedestals
Belgian Fence - apple espalier
Belgian Fence – apple espalier
evergreens and arborvitae hedge
evergreens and arborvitae hedge
"Pavarotti as a Satyr" sculpture
“Pavarotti as a Satyr” sculpture
"Mod Girl" sculpture
“Mod Girl” sculpture
"Just Try Me Guy" sculpture
“Just Try Me Guy” sculpture

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The Outer-Woods Path

some of many large logs, woods path
some of many large logs
some of debris pile along woods path
some of debris pile along woods path
red capped mushroom with little hole, woods path
red capped mushroom with little hole, woods path
fescue and sculpture along outer path
fescue and sculpture along outer path
large-leaved plant along pond on woods path
large-leaved plant along woods pond
Indian or ghost pipe (Monotropa uniflora), woods path
Indian or ghost pipe (Monotropa uniflora)
one of many clumps of spotted wintergreen (chimaphila maculata), woods path
one of many clumps of spotted wintergreen (chimaphila maculata)
Spotted wintergreen (chimaphila maculata) flower, woods path
Spotted wintergreen (chimaphila maculata) flower

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And everything else!

hands in garden
hands in rock garden
"Ring Toss" sculpture and echinacea
“Ring Toss” sculpture and echinacea
sculpture like a juggler
sculpture like a juggler
Hens and Chicks blooming along stone wall
Hens and Chicks blooming along stone wall
variegated maple and long-needled pine
variegated maple and long-needled pine
view through weeping evergreen
view of “The Landing” and rock garden through weeping evergreen

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Hope you enjoyed the photos, but if you’re nearby, do yourself a favour and visit. And make a donation to the Friends of the Garden, to protect the future of this whimsical work of living art. (As the owners say: “‘The Garden Dies When the Gardener Dies’ – a truism always on our mind, since our combined age is 135 years.”)

More on the art and artist, and information about some of the sculptures, here.

More information on the garden at Wikipedia, in the Boston Globe (May 2014), and on Jill Nooney at Avant Gardens’ Garden Foreplay.

A great article in Garden Design Magazine about Nooney’s five suggestions for the placement of art in the garden.

A brief Aug. 2013 YouTube video of the gardens gives a sense of the mood and rhythm of the place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Comments on “The most ephemeral

  1. Looks like you had a perfect day for your visit! What a beautiful place! I’ll have to see how far away we are. I’ve gone on a private garden tour and to the Heritage Museums and Gardens on the Cape so far this summer, and hope to get to a few more before summer ends!

  2. Pingback: The moments when we choose to play – A Moveable Garden

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