The Crafty Gardener
Art makes a Chadds Ford garden bloom with the totally unexpected.
(page 2 of 4)
To the right of the front porch, next to a rhododendron with lavender blooms, is a series of 6-foot copper flowers by Jeffrey Thomas Bell of Expressions In Metal in Kennett Square. “The flowers were treated with chemicals to survive outside,” says Bell. “But they will always be changing slightly.”
The fact that there are six flowers is unusual for Hess. “I prefer odd numbers,” she says. “I don’t like matching things.” Note the shrubs at the front entrance, one a Hinoki cypress, the other a Japanese andromeda. “I think it’s important to surprise your eye at every turn of your head.”
Also in front are hand-blown globes by Douglas and Renee Sigwarth of Sigwarth Glass in Wisconsin. A few glass squiggles purchased at a local art show snuggle against a stoneware ceramic bench by Eric O’Leary of Tariki in New Hampshire. Hess met O’Leary during his show at Carspecken-Scott Gallery in Wilmington.
The bench, part of a family whose siblings live in several museums, was glazed and fired in a kiln. Hess surrounded the bench with begonias to bring out its reds. Begonias thrive in the summer sun.
The bench blends well with the delicate structures around it, but to further soften the piece, Hess used planters with more begonias and spikes.
“Spikes add an airy look,” she says. “The ground cover is pretty solid, as are the bushes. The spikes give you a much lighter feeling. And I’m one for looking through something for something else.”
The small ceramic cat in front is a decorative ground spout given to Hess by her daughter Diana. Such whimsical down spouts are hard to find. Try a flea market or visit fountainsunique.com.
The backyard meadow is planted with flowering viburnum shrubs. At its right stands “Damusi: The Mesopotamian God of Agriculture,” by John Dickinson, a Wilmington native. Ordained a god by Hess and Dickinson, Damusi is a metal and glass piece made from old tractor parts. Its head is a cultivator wheel, the arms are plow blades, and the pelvis is a tractor seat. Behind Damusi is a cedar totem pole carved by Steve Jensen. Hess discovered Jensen at the Philadelphia Furniture and Furnishings Show in 2003.
Ceramic cats, designed by Sara Meadows of Kennett Square, guard O’Leary’s 9-foot ceramic tower on the deck. The trees are fake, but there’s nothing phony about the two pots beneath them.
Page 3; The Crafty Gardener, continues...