February 06, 2013
Updated 3/17/2017: Glass Gardens NW was sold to new owners in 2016. We have received a number of complaints following this sale, so we are no longer linking out to their website.
Today we are thrilled to announce a guest post from our friend Barbara Sanderson of Glass Gardens Northwest. She’ll be discussing her inspiration and giving us a first sneak-peek at two new designs that will be unveiled for the first time ever at the 2013 Northwest Flower & Garden Show!
My Source Inspiration
by Barbara Sanderson
The source of inspiration for my artwork is found in nature. Walking down a road in the early morning and seeing the dewdrops clinging to the pine needles with the sunlight reflecting off the water. In the woods in the fall, coming across a family of mushrooms sprouting from the decaying leaves on the forest floor. Watching the early growth of bulbs breaking the surface of the soil with frost on the ground. Spying hummingbirds collecting nectar from a large honeysuckle bush. These are images that I treasure and which lead me to create glass and metal art that complements nature. (more…)
June 26, 2012
Glass Gardens Northwest added some amazing sparkle, color & bling to our garden for the recent Sustainable Ballard Edible Garden Tour. Barbara Sanderson, artist and owner of the hot shop, braved the heavy rains the day before the tour to install several of her stunning pieces throughout the garden.
One tourist went so far as to call Barbara while the tour was happening to purchase a vase we had on the information table. He ended up buying the vase and one of the beautiful orbs she had tucked into one of my planters.
I had to have the cluster of oranges & yellow orbs she had installed near my greenhouse. Unbeknownst to Barbara, she had tucked these into a portion of the garden that blooms almost exclusively in these colors. As it happened, the bed was just between blooms. Her colorful art, however, really pops against all of the green.
And, I was particularly thrilled when my partner in gardening crime insisted we keep her largest installation — a combination of spheres on spears and twisty, twirly spikes that intermingle with a Gilt Edge Elaeagnus, lace leaf Japanese Maple, ferns and a Diablo Ninebark. As lovely as they are today, we cannot wait to see how gorgeous they will be in the middle of winter.
Yep! Barbara’s glass art holds up to the freezing cold!
I already miss the swirly red and yellow birdbath with super-swirly float that she had installed beneath our vine maple. I may have to invite her back to re-install that one…or, maybe, you’ll beat me to it.
Truly, as Barbara said it herself, this glass art is like adding jewelry to the garden. It sparkles in the rain & the sun, and it adds pop and color all year ’round!
Get in touch if you would like help selecting, purchasing and designing some of this beautiful art in your own garden!
And, check out more photos of her gorgeous art in our garden… (more…)
April 02, 2012
This gnome is no traditional red-hatted mischief-maker. He’s truly one-of-a-kind!
My incredibly talented & generous step-mom spent months designing and making a garden gnome at her ceramics studio in Southern California. And, she hand-delivered him to me last Thanksgiving when she came to visit. At the time, I wasn’t feeling well, so I kept him indoors to enjoy. Mary swore he was built to last outdoors, so I’ve spent a lot of time deciding where he would go in the garden.
I didn’t want him to get lost among my other pieces of art. And I didn’t want to clutter things up by over-packing the garden with “elements of surprise”. And, ideally, I wanted to be able to see him from inside the house as well as when I’m out in the garden. Balancing this can be tough in a garden the size of ours.
One day while I was brushing Kula near Mr. Gnome, she began to growl and her hackles went up. At first, I couldn’t figure out why. Then I realized she was staring the gnome in the eye. She wasn’t sure she trusted this little guy. So, he clearly wasn’t going into the part of the garden where she hangs out. The last thing I needed was to find Kula and the gnome wrestling in the shrubbery.
Then, yesterday, I saw the spot. I was gazing out the kitchen window while washing dishes and realized there was a small corner tucked behind the greenhouse near our composters and rain barrels. I could spy it from the window. So, I snatched Mr. Gnome up, and popped him into the spot — filling the center of a triangle bordered by an evergreen huckleberry, a Thuja ‘Whipcord’ and a decaying section of Hemlock in which a tiny Japanese Maple grows.
Now, Mr. Gnome (he really needs a better name) gazes toward the house as he guards the greenhouse, compost, back gate and rain barrels. Kula can see him, but a fence separates them, which should be enough to keep them from brawling much in the future. Here he can guard the garden and hopefully not get into too much trouble while he’s at it.
November 30, 2011
Unfortunately, I’ve been stuck inside sick lately, so garden design is about all I can do. Viewing the garden from the inside out is a good design reminder. Yes, a garden should be fragrant and beautiful and experiential when you’re in it. But, it designed right, it should be equally delightful to someone trapped in bed in need of some earthly healing. Fortunately, for me, I’ve got rooms with garden views that — even in on a bare, wet, wintery day — brighten my outlook no matter how crappy I feel.
Need tips to get a better outlook on your garden? Consider these simple ideas:
- Attract Wildlife: Build good soil that worms and beetles love, and you’ll have birds scratching away for them. Add in a water feature, birdbath or dish stone, and they’ll come to bathe and drink. Provide berry-filled bushes like Cotoneaster, and once those berries ferment, the robins will provide hours of goofy, drunken entertainment. Plant fall and winter bloomers like Arbutus unedo and Witchhazel, and you may see hummingbirds year-round.
- Don’t Block Your Views: Remember to think about how big a plant will get as it grows. Don’t plant a big shrub right by your picture window, or soon enough you won’t be able to see your picture view. Instead, build your privacy by planting bigger things further from the house.
- Balance Privacy and Light: While you may want a big, full, leafy garden in spring and summer to provide privacy at times when you’re in the garden all the time, remember that you may want some spaces open in winter to allow in light. Keep this in mind when mixing evergreens and deciduous plants in the garden. A well-placed evergreen will give you winter interest but not block views or precious winter sun. A poorly placed one may leave you in the dark all winter long.
- Art & Structure: A well placed, freeze proof container, a beautiful stone or even some all-season furniture can give the garden substance and an inviting sense of place even on a frigid winter day, viewed from the warm comfort of your favorite reading chair. In summer, when perennials are tall and the garden is full, these artistic elements may disappear from view, hidden by glorious foliage and flowers. But, that’s okay. Forgetting them during summer will only add to your appreciation of them after the leaves have fallen, the perennials go dormant and the snow sprinkles them with crystalline highlights.
Every home and garden has its own set of special challenges. There may be other things you can do to make sure your garden is as equally beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. Don’t hesitate to get in touch to schedule a Garden Mentors session or buy a holiday gift for someone else to figure out how to make your garden as appealing as possible — from every viewpoint, every day of the year!
June 14, 2011
What inspires you?
I really savor those moments when I don’t have to be the authority. Gardening & training others to garden is as draining as it is uplifting for me. Every teacher, every designer, and every gardener needs to take moments to “get out of their own head” in order to continue to grow.
Last weekend I was excited to attend one of my best friend’s container garden business launch parties. Elise’s design sense is simply inspiring. She has years of floral design under her belt, a natural talent for putting color, texture and form together, and she’s studying horticulture to build up her chops — all this as she invests lots of time and love into raising her fantastic daughters with her husband. Her new business is Seattle Container Gardens.
I knew many of the guests at Elise’s “trunk show”, but I didn’t know everyone. As I was snooping about her garden, drinking in all of the beautiful arrangements she had developed, a guest asked, “are you inspired?”
I could have said, “I do this all the time….blah…blah…blah…” But, her question actually made me think even more. Why was I here? Do I really like this garden? Am I Inspired? Or am I just tired? Are plants boring? Did I just come for the delicious Domanico Cellars wine & social hour? Hmmm…
“Yes.” I answered, after what was probably a strange-to-her thoughtful moment on my part. “I am. Definitely! I’m inspired! Elise’s garden is beautiful. She does great work, and she’s done so much with this garden!”
In the end, this same woman and I had a long discussion over one of the container designs Elise had on display. She wanted it; I wanted it. I encouraged her to take it. (I didn’t tell her this, but I could replicate the design on my own, and frankly I doubt Elise would care.) But, she chose another, bigger, more expensive pot instead. And, I got Elise’s all-edible container, which we intend to display on our main patio dining table where it will serve to feed the bees and remind me every day this summer how important it is to find inspiration, challenge and beauty in nature and in the work of my fellow garden designers.