In the Garden:
Mid-Atlantic
January, 2011
Regional Report

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Peter Trout Gard's Revolve is an aluminum sphere suspended over the pond in the outdoor sculpture exhibition at the Jenkins Arboretum and Gardens in Devon, PA.

Wind Through the Trees

The enticement of a winter garden is subtle yet intense -- green clouds of azaleas and rhododendrons, reddish-brown-barked red cedar trunks, snow-laden arborvitae branches, a thin-leafed feathery blanket under the bald cypress. Without the color-noise of summer flowers, winter's sounds are magnified. A branch snapping, a squirrel's "kuk-kuk-kuk," a cardinal's falsetto "tweet-tweet-tweet," leaves crackling underfoot.

At the Jenkins Arboretum and Gardens in Devon, PA, the woodlands also hold flashes of stainless steel and aluminum, mirror glass and painted gourds, chain and antique keys. Walking the paths you'll see constructed forms and hear random musical sounds - chimes, bells, pipes, guitar strings, brass tubing.

These delights are outdoor sculptures, included in a sound and motion exhibit called "Wind through the Trees," in celebration of the Jenkins' 35th anniversary. Sixty-five one-of-a-kind sculptures are tucked high and low throughout the 15-acre arboretum. Part of the fun is spotting them and discussing their materials and meanings. Next comes imagining where to put favorites in your (or my) gardens.

All works are for sale. Prices range from $110 to $100,000. Whether or not you find and can afford your heart's desire, visiting the arboretum and exhibit is free. Exceptional, accessible art in a welcoming, strollable garden with pond? Why not come, enjoy and pretend it's all yours?

One of the most colorful, clever pieces is just outside the new Gold LEED-certified John J. Willaman Education Center. Janet Bauman's "Picnic in the Park" is an impressive, somewhat whimsical, 144-piece "mosaic-like quilt" of recycled salad plates, bowls, and silverware. Bauman handpainted each plate with images representing the arboretum, its plants, and art from other exhibits. Bauman designed the quilt with 36 vertical "blocks" of connecting plates. The blocks can be rearranged or hung separately.

My favorites? The filigree-like steel saw blade of Ralph Berger's "Captured Flight," strung high between trees along Jenkins Road. Berger fashioned this fascinating, intricate, whirling design of positive and negative space with a plasma cutter and mig welder.

Suspended over the pond is Peter Trout Gard's "Revolve," an aluminum sphere painted as if hugged by the scarlet, yellow, orange, brown, and ivory-colored autumn leaves of oak, sassafras, maple, tulip, and redbud. The sphere and its reflection in the water are framed differently from various angles around the pond.

Rory Mahon's "Wind Chime Pods" sits on a corner southeast of the Bog Garden. Using bronze, sandstone, cable, water and branches, Mahon created a self-standing auditory and kinetic sculpture. Three bronze "seed pods" create bell tones as they bump each other in the wind. They hover over a small, rectangular pool that adds an underwater sound to the tones.

The Jenkin Arboretum is located at 631 Berwyn Baptist Road, Devon, PA, and is open 365 days from 8AM to sunset. The education center is open from 9AM to 4PM. Parking and entrance are free. "Wind through the Trees" will be on exhibit through June.


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