The blogging machine is chugging right along! On August 17 my friend Amy (not to be confused with my other friend Amy) and I took a day trip to Columbus, Ohio. We swung by Franklin Park Conservatory (which I'll cover in the next post), plus the Columbus Topiary Park, the grounds at Ohio State University (OSU), an unexpected garden in Schiller Park, and the Whetstone Rose Garden.
I'll admit I'm not big into topiary for the same reason I'm not big into bonsai — I prefer plants in their natural form. However, the Columbus Topiary Park changed my mind! On the grounds of the old School for the Deaf, this public park covers seven acres near downtown.
The garden recreates Georges Seurat's painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grand Jatte. I've seen the painting a few times at the Art Institute of Chicago (waves to Chicago-area blogging friends!), and it's impressive! The colors are very vibrant and it's huge, about 7 by 10 feet (and took him two years to complete)!
"If an artist can paint a picture of a landscape — art mimicking nature — then why not a sculptor creating a landscape of a work of art — nature mimicking art?" — James T. Mason, sculptor and creator
Mason constructed the bronze frames and planted the shrubs, and his then-wife Elaine was the first topiarist. Today the park is maintained by Columbus Recreation and Parks and by the Friends of the Topiary Park.
There are topiary figures of 54 people, eight boats, three dogs, a monkey, and a cat. They are made of yew (some still has to fill in, as you can see).
The pond (which represents the river Seine) is very cool, figuratively and literally as this doggie demonstrates on the sweltering day we visited.
The sails of the boats will fill in with clematis.
Next we swung downtown to see the capitol building (which oddly has no dome; if I were a normal Ann Arborite, I'd now be making disparaging jokes about the intelligence of our southern neighbors, but I think it's fair to say I'm not normal!) and made a quick trip through German Village, which has very nice brick buildings and an overall quaint feel. I'd been there a few years ago on a home and garden tour.
I wanted to swing by Schiller Park as a way to start heading north on High Street, when, almost out of nowhere, this gorgeous garden pops up! (You can barely see Schiller's statue at the top center of the photo, or at least the white pedestal on which it stands. Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet and playwright working in the last 1700s, probably best known for his poem Ode to Joy, which became the basis for the fourth movement of Beethoven's ninth symphony, which you've heard even if you didn't know what it was!)
Even though it was very, very hot that day, lots of people were walking through this public park, and why not? it's truly a treasure for the city. It's maintained by the German Village Society.
I love the pink flowers of kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos gabrielae).
They had a lovely color of flowering maple, which I first learned about this spring over at Dirt Therapy.
Aren't the flowers gorgeous?
I also loved this interesting flower, statice (Lemonium dumosum). It has the bushy look of baby's breath, but the branches seemed stiffer and almost woody, somewhat reminiscent of heather. I'd heard of statice, but never seen it. (Many thanks to Bert Stevens for IDing this, the kanagroo paw, and a few others I didn't show in the post!)
In addition to the long flower bed and statue, Schiller Park also had really cool sayings engraved in stones on the walkway, in German and English.
And of course it had plenty of benches!
Next we headed to see the official gardens at Ohio State University. The Learning Gardens contained these amazing trial gardens, which were quite colorful and inviting. I thought they looked like a wonderful quilt laid out in front of the buildings.
There was also a small bamboo garden, tucked into a concrete corner that I would have missed altogether if it weren't for Amy's eagle eyes. I was amazed at this tiny bamboo, only a few inches tall. Normally they get well over 10 feet!
I really liked this planter; the colors matched the surroundings perfectly.
At Lane Avenue Gardens, there was a cool labyrinth, which doesn't look like much at first glance, but it takes quite a bit of time to walk from start to finish and I think it would be quite relaxing for stressed out students.
I admit I was a little disappointed with the Chadwick Arboretum, however, which I don't feel reflects the fact that OSU has a world-class horticulture program and it's the state's land grant college. The trees were not labeled, there was no clear path through the trees, and the turf was long. Its "prairie" was anything but. At first I thought I was trespassing on research grounds (the first time I was at the arb a few years back, I didn't think I was even in the right place), but it was indeed the public arboretum.
Heading north on High Street, we visited the Park of Roses in Whetstone Park. It's no secret I'm far from being a rose aficionado, but this garden impressed even me. There was even a separate garden of "earth-friendly" (low-maintenance, low-chemical care) roses, interspersed with interesting evergreens, which was a really cool planting style.
I loved this delicate pink hybrid tea rose, 'Audrey Hepburn' (even though Kate is still my favorite Hepburn!).
Even though yellow roses are the least hardy (thanks to local expert Nancy Lindley, I'm not a complete rose cretin!), I love the color of grandiflora rose 'Gold Medal.'
Check back Monday for more. Chihuly fans won't be disappointed!