Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Stained Glass Solution

If you had the means to create the garden of your dreams, what would it look like? I asked myself that a few years ago, except it wasn't phrased so politely. Staring down yet another garden disaster, I vaguely remember throwing my shovel into the grass in disgust and shouting to myself, "What the heck do I want?" But, honestly, I don't think I had phrased it that politely, either. What I do remember vividly is sheer frustration, words that rhyme with ship and truck, and a river of sweat that had glued my underwear to my butt.



What I wanted and what I had were complete opposites. I wanted a garden that had somehow blended an English cottage garden with an American prairie swirled with a cool art house vibe. What I had was a hot mess. I spent that fall redesigning my garden, only to redesign a few sections of it again the next spring. I added beds, bought plants, and slowly chipped away at creating a garden that matched the one I dreamt about.

But I wasn't sure how to add art into the garden without the pieces looking out of place. I started slowly by adding a mosaic pot and a metal sign and this winter, when it was too cold to garden, I went shopping online for whatever caught my fancy. I attempted to stick to a budget and down the rabbit hole I went.



One of my favorite pieces is a large stained glass window custom made for me by The Stained Glass Works Design Studio in California. Because this was out of my budget, I sent them a check once a month and slowly paid it off. I used it to fill a rather rotten spot in a boring corner of my garden. I discovered them on Etsy.


This spot has been the death knell of many plants. I have no idea why since there are happy, healthy plants nearby. Glass marbles, geodes, and small metallic leaves give this piece a three dimensional effect. Small empty spots around the geodes allow for air circulation and help keep the piece upright in windy weather.


I placed the glass in a decorative metal easel and mounted it in a ceramic pot from a discount home store.


Spigelia marylandica, a native southeastern wildflower, grows nearby.


Spieglia is sometimes called Lipstick Plant because of it's red tube like flowers and attracts hummingbirds.


'Moonshine' pulmonaria are thriving in front of the pot.

 
This photo is too bright but shows the entire bed. Despite the filtered shade, blackberries grow well under the canopy of crepe myrtles and a 'River Mist' sea oats has been planted near the spigelia. I bring the glass inside during bad weather and will keep it inside all winter. The glass brightens up a section of the garden that is tremendously green once the spigelia stop blooming.

40 comments:

  1. Well there you go. Art in the garden. So pretty and interesting. I go mostly metal and rock. Heavy stuff that won't blow away.

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    1. Thanks. I bring it in on windy days. I'm pretty careful with it. Metal and rock sounds like a radio station. :o)

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  2. I think that is a question I ask myself everyday! My problem is I like too many different styles! Hey that art piece is just outstanding! Not only is the stained glass amazing but the light that it reflects is perfect! I really like the Spigelia marylandica...what zone does that grow in??? And I sure do love that quote...so true!!!

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  3. Spigelia is hardy to zone 5. The sun hits the glass in the afternoon and just lights up that whole area. I really love it. I'm very comfortable around crazy people. It's boring people that I'm slightly suspicious of. I think they're hiding their crazy. I prefer people who have it on display. :o)

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  4. I think you've once again found a creative solution to a garden problem, Tammy. The stained glass piece is lovely in its current placement - and, as you clearly spend a good portion of your time in the garden, you're probably able to enjoy it more there than if it was collecting dust in some corner of the house. What gardener in her right mind (or not) spends spring and summer in the house anyway?

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  5. I hate to tell you this Tammy, but putting that stained glass window into a flower pot aint gonna make it grow none. No Sir ee.

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  6. The stained glass you have is very special and it adds a new dimension to the light. We use it in the garden from time to time, using it mainly within trellis, so that it almost looks like a window. Yours is a commissioned piece which makes it very precious and relevant to you, whilst ours are old pieces , art deco or older if poss We spend many happy hours in Reclamation yards, Antique shops and even Car Boot Sales. So often people are having lovely old stained glass ripped out so they can install UPVC windows.

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  7. Your stained glass piece is lovely and helps set off that area. At least what you are growing in this difficult area looks lovely. Always a pain to have an area that it seems you have to keep redoing but you seem to have found the answer.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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  8. Fabulous art and if I could have whatever I want it would be some lovely sculpture that could withstand our weather. Love where you placed your stained glass.

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  9. Stained glass to catch the light in a deep corner of the garden is an inspiration. Yours is beautiful, and really is a work of art, not just kitsch. (I linked to you in my post today. Well, actually it was a reference to your gorgeous spigelia!)

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  10. "a river of sweat that had glued my underwear to my butt".....dem is fighting words, but I identify totally. You always make me laugh out loud, and this time was no exception.
    Loved the stained glass piece, and the fact that you knew what you wanted, and put it on a layaway plan....good for you.
    It really lights up the garden bed very nicely.

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  11. I'm so glad to finally see your stained glass in its new home. A lovely addition to the garden!

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  12. Love the stained glass piece in the garden! What a perfect solution.

    I've got to go along with Gardener on Sherlock Street, though - it wouldn't work out here, unfortunately. Every day is likely to be a windy day on the prairie. My garden art tends toward the radio station variety (rock and metal) also!

    Your Spigelia is fantastic. I love that plant, having seen it when we lived in Mobile. I tried to grow it there - and it grew, but never thrived like yours obviously does.

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  13. I love the way it catches the light and I love your turn of phrase - we are left in no doubt about the extent of your frustration. A fab addition to your garden-it looks great!

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  14. You have got an interesting piece of art in your garden, it lightens up the place by catching the sun light. The Spieglia is a beautiful plant . This plant is unknown here.

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  15. That is a beautiful solution to your orblem. I do not know the Spieglia plant. It's probably one that wouldn't grow here, but it is lovely in your garden, as is the Pulmonaria. You are a very creative gardener!

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  16. I'm carefully following your thought processes for the addition/design of the stained glass. It is not just looking pretty, it has purpose and artistic depth. It has also made me think about different types of art. You've got me toying with a print of Landseer's 'Monarch of the Glen".
    Thank you for the new word-I'll incorporate funliness into my everyday conversation fron now on.

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  17. The garden you want is the garden I want, though I think I'm less interested in the art house vibe. We share also a similar expostulatory vocabulary. Your stained glass window is gorgeous. I think stained glass makes for a great element in garden art. A few years ago, we bought some garden art that included stained glass - it was a metal sunflower with stained glass petals and leaves. Sadly things kept falling on it and a couple of pieces were lost. It's still out there, though. Unfortunately the store in Michigan where we bought it is no longer in business. I do have some garden art, though, such as our concrete chicken and our dragonfly made out of a wrench.

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  18. Love your stained glass! What a gorgeous thing for a garden. And I love that you paid for it monthly. So many times, if I can't afford something, I just pass it up. I now will start asking about making monthly payments! Your stained glass looks so beautiful there with the light shining through it.

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  19. Here's another thumbs up for stained glass in the garden. I am only now beginning to experiment with art in the garden (other than the cheesy garden ornaments and statues so beloved by my husband, but that's another story). I love your spigelia - do you ever see hummingbirds at it, though? In my yard they seem to go into hiding until July, no matter what is blooming.

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    1. I have seen hummers although I've discovered that plants lower to the ground are towards the bottom of their feeding preferences. They'll go to my red salvia 'Maraschino' before the spigelia because it's up so high (big pot on the top of the patio steps).

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  20. The garden I want doesn't fit my wallet. But I am finding cheap solutions that works and I keep on dreaming! Your stained glass is wonderful, and so appropriate in your garden. I also have a dreaded space where I have killed more plants than the rest of my garden put together. It is the bottom right corner and I have been thinking of getting a tall statue to put there, but statues cost money too...I'd love to have a naked Greek, full size man :-) Not sure what my neighbours would say to that, I think they definitely would object! Anyway, the corner is up for renewal next year I think.

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    1. A life sized naked man in your garden? GO FOR IT!! Just make sure the weather was warm when the modeling was done. ;o)

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  21. I love the stained glass art piece and I think it's a great idea to place colorful pieces of art in areas of the garden when your plants have finished blooming. I'll have to make a note of it.. Great idea!

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  22. What a beautiful addition to your garden! Everything is really coming together! The Pulmonarias really look healthy. Great combinations!

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  23. I think your stained glass piece is quite lovely. With me the challenge is editing- I like too wide a variety of ornaments. Recently, I was in a garden where the homeowner had a metal chicken next to a laughing Buddha. I like both of these types of ornaments, but together side by side, they were just odd. It was a great lesson on what not to do. I never seem to restrict myself, but at least I try to group ornamental things in my garden.

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  24. A lovely piece of art for your garden. I would never have thought of putting stained glass in my garden, but it is a unique idea. Like the lipstick plant. I've heard of it, but don't know much about it.

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  25. Hello, thanks for visiting me. I'm glad you did because it has led me here to your lovely blog. I love the stained glass idea, it does add an unusual beauty to this corner of the garden. I'm fascinated by the Lipstick plant and the Hummingbirds, too.

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  26. dear Tammy, it was worth the pain of the rabbit hole, because you have worked out a neat solution. Unusual, interesting, arty look that really works.

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  27. Tammy, what a wonderful idea! I love this stained glass, the colors, composition.
    I have the same corner in my garden where don't grow nothing and thought to install there a mirror. Your idea is better1

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  28. lovely glass! i have a hard time with garden art: so much of it is so very very tweee, and frankly it's hard to find things that you don't see in everyone else's yards. BUT we do have a granite turtle (Oliver Grendel Holmes) who moves around the back yard (in my nusband's family, a house is not a home without a turtle). AND we have Margaret T. Rex, a copper Tyrannosauris Rex who oversees the front yard and more specifically The Stone Circle and miniature dolmen that Mulch Boy built. Oh, and there's Sneezy, Sleazy, and Carl, the flamingos, but perhaps the less said about them the better. :-)

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  29. Garden art--we're not there yet, but I have ideas of what I like and don't like. In general. I never would have thought to put stained glass in the garden, but it looks great!

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  30. Hi Tammy, garden art is a very iffy topic for me. Very often I find what you usually get here in America just looks like kitsch, overly sweet, cheesy or plain tasteless. So, so far I have mostly stayed away from it. You stained glass window is a different story though :-)! It is beautiful and I love how it breaks up the light.
    Christina

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  31. I like the stained glass art you purchased. I do stained glass and have quite a bit in my own garden. I think it is a natural for the garden because of the way it throws light around. In a way it is like the dappled leaves of the trees and the translucent membranes of insect wings and flower petals.

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  32. Really nice piece of design, but your garden is already so beautiful and nice, why do you need these? And, why are you sad? Man! I never bringing you to my garden :-P...you will hate it...

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    1. I'm not sad! It has taken 9 years and multiple redesigns later to get my garden to the point where it looks the way I want it to. My garden looked very different when I started this blog. This is just a difficult spot and the stained glass was a solution that didn't involve water or fertilizer. I don't hate anybody's garden. :o)

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  33. Hi Tammy, I really like the stained glass, it looks amazing with the sun coming through it. I think if we tried something like that here, the birds wouldn't give it two minutes before they added their own special touch!

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  34. Finding the right art for a garden is, well, an art I suppose! Your stained glass works really well, great way to add colour and form and without the static quality a lot of sculpture has too.

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