Welcome to the second of a series of interviews about artists who garden. Today's interview will be with Tina of In the Garden, a garden artist and fellow Blotanical blogger.
1. What is your art, hobby or craft? How did you come to creating it?
My hobby and craft is gardening. I consider my garden the entire outside area of my property here in Tennessee. As such, I try to decorate it with things that make me happy, and are fun and colorful. I use the outside space like an extension of my home, so it has to be 'livable' with comfortable seating, play, and work areas. I also want great views from inside of the house.
I am one of those gardeners who likes outdoor rooms, simply because each area of the backyard is used differently. I try to style that area in accordance with its use and who will be using it. I also like a bit of surprise in the garden. As such, I decorate the garden with special things, usually handmade things or plants that relate to a specific person or memory. This is the art side of the artist in this interview. Some of the things I have made for my garden include: Glass Mosaic Doors, American Flags, garden signs from mosaics, and marker stones, hypertufa pots, and painted gourds, as well as extensive hardscape.
2. What is your inspiration?
3. How does your garden or nature influence your art?
All of my art works in conjunction with nature. I recycle everything from bowling balls to glass shower doors to chunks of concrete and old deck boards. As such, I look at an object and try to figure out a functional use for it that will fit into the garden. It is not an easy thing to make it all fit together, and honestly it all probably doesn't, but works for us.
4. Will you share a picture or pictures of your garden with us?
Yes. I have included two pictures of the garden. I want to showcase the gardens because for me the garden is art and life.
Here we have a picture of the front yard looking toward the state highway that fronts my home. It is a spring picture. To the right of the picture is one of my Japanese maples; which is my signature plant. It is the dark maroon tree sheltering the azalea, verbena and irises. My garden is liberally planted with these wonderful small and colorful trees, though they are all quite small at the moment. One day I can see them being grand specimens and plan for that day.
The second picture is looking west with the state highway behind me. This garden is my Northside Shrub Border and is backed by a privacy fence. On the fence you can see an American flag. I painted this flag on an old window that still had its glass. The glass faces out from the fence into the yard with the paint on the back side of the glass. As such the effect is one that you are looking through a window. While the flag is simple, it reflects my military background and also adds some folk art to the garden. It also adds character-something Mr. Fix-it and I like a lot.
5. Will you share a picture or pictures of your favorite artwork?
Yes. This photo shows one of the glass mosaics I affectionately call the 'Twin Towers'. This one is mounted in the garden. It is the partner to the initial glass door I posted about, though the two towers are not mounted near each other, both can be seen from several vantage points. I took the picture on a cloudy day, but you can see the light shine through. This Twin Tower is mounted next to a new patio I am currently building with brick I received from a fellow Freecycler.
6. Do you have a favorite public garden to recommend?
I recommend all gardens. I haven't met one I didn't find something there to love. The connection between the gardener and the garden is the most special one in nature, besides the familiarial connection. We are stewards of nature and no where is that more evident than in a garden.
But if I had to recommend just one that is not widely known, it would the Schloss Gardens at the Schwetzingen Castle just outside of Heidelberg Germany. I haven't visited all that great a number of public gardens, but I have visited a few and this one is by far my MOST favorite one. There are so many fun features to it, the cost of entry is fairly cheap, and it is pretty accessible for Europeans. I try to recreate not so much the castle gardens at my home, but the European feel of the castle gardens. I like a park like atmosphere here at Tiger Gardens. My husband is also comfortable with this type of garden.
7. What is the best lesson you have learned from the garden or nature?
Be flexible. Don't jump on trends just to fit in and be part of a trend. Set your own trends. Plant the backbone of the garden first.
8. Do you have a gardening tip to share with fellow gardeners?
Yes, find out what best grows in your garden and rely on those types of plants most.
9. Are you creating anything new that you'd like to share with us?
Yes, right now I am building a new patio near our pool. It will have some special weeping Japanese maples growing around it, and will become my secret patio. In the future there will be more glass mosaics as gifts for family members, and some new hypertufa pots to surround the secret patio.
10. Anything else you would like to add to this interview?
Yes, I want to thank Karrita for taking the time to interview me. It was fun! And I know took a great deal of work on her part, plus a go gettedness to carry through.
Tina, I thank you for sharing with us your passion and zest for both gardening and life! I especially enjoyed all of the links you included for great pictures, freecycling and tutorials. May you be an inspiration to all!
Thanks for visiting, please leave a comment if you'd like and stay tuned for the next "Artists in the Garden" interview.