Magical mosaics in the garden of Wouterina De Raad, Part 2: Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling


Yesterday I shared Part 1 of my visit to Wisconsin artist Wouterina De Raad’s mosaic sculpture garden, which was the final garden — and my favorite — on the recent Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling. Today I’ll end my Fling series with Part 2 about Wouterina‘s delightful, exploratory garden.

In addition to Wouterina’s fanciful sculptures, the exuberant garden is accented with a half-dozen small structures like this stucco (or concrete?) “little house” with sky-blue trim. They make charming focal points and backdrops for plants and sculpture, like the Statue of Liberty pictured at right.


Check out this supersized fish bench, with a mosaic-tile woman reclining like Jonah in the whale!


In another part of the garden, three human figures are actually chairs themselves.


They even have flowerpot heads.


This one wears succulents in her hair and bracelets on her arm.


Many of Wouterina’s creations wear strings of lights, and this piece looks like an actual lamp. How I’d love to visit her garden at night. I did find this article in the StarTribune that has a couple of photographs of the garden lit up, so check it out.


Another little house — this one colored a rosy salmon. Two sculpted jaguars support a bench by the door.


Wouterina has matched plants to the house color, amplifying the effect.


Peeking in the window of one little house reveals an audience of Wouterina’s creations peering back at me. In a nod to the farm country that surrounds the garden, a rusty old toy truck transports toy horses, cows, and ears of corn!


Behind the house, another arch supports a sculpted snake — who seems to be reading the “Outhouse” sign.


A flock of mosaic crows or ravens occupies this corner of the garden, including one at a birdbath…


…two on an arch, and two more on stumps up ahead.


In a sunny spot, with a big barn as a backdrop, crimson poppies spill over a low fence made of windmill blades.


Behind the poppies, Wouterina grows rows of vegetables, and mesh stars dance along an old section of iron fencing.


I remember asking someone what this plant is, but I forgot. Update: It’s a thalictrum. Thanks, Helen!


Foliage color contrasts


Allium seedheads and a mermaid figurine


A wider view…


…with a mosaic fish sculpture swimming above the garden.


The underwater theme continues with a mermaid and fish sculpture.


What is she holding up, a lamp? Again, I’d love to see this place at night.


Horsetail fills a fish planter at her feet.


I spotted Susan and Layanee sitting on a sculpted bench nearby, engrossed in conversation. What a spot for it.


A glimpse of farmland just past the garden’s edge


A playful bench and table set is another Wouterina creation. The benches are, I think, caterpillars with distinctly cat-like faces. A colorful sculpted bird sits on this one’s head.


And a monkey (?) takes this one for a ride.


Near a chicken coop stand two more sculpted birds.


A mermaid in dramatic repose


Oh, hello!


Tucked amid plants, a sculpted blue jay planter contains a flowering hosta (surely the signature plant of this year’s Fling).


A mosaic planter and pedestal are softened by surrounding grasses.


This chicken throne invites the Chicken Queen — whoever that might be — to take a seat.


Wouterina likes to elevate pots on pedestals in her garden beds, like this one tucked amid white and pink yarrow. Looking on in the background…


…are a sculpted woman holding birds and plants and her companion, a red-crested bird.


In a sunny spot at the edge of a field, I found another small garden room. At the end of the path, arches of rebar stand out against the sky.


Beneath the rebar arches, a sculpted planter draws the eye…


…to a view of the field beyond.


The ground-level view is lovely too, with contrasting foliage colors and textures.


As our visit drew to a close, I lingered near the house, where I found this tiered birdhouse…


…and an alert dog watching from the hydrangeas.


He looks friendly, doesn’t he?


As I reluctantly headed to the bus, I overheard Vicki asking Wouterina about a lovely little euphorbia.


Like giving gardeners everywhere, Wouterina immediately offered her a division. Lucky Vicki!

My thanks to Wouterina for sharing her magical creation with us. And huge thanks to the organizers of the Minneapolis Garden Bloggers FlingAmy Andrychowicz, Kathleen Hennessy, and Mary Lahr Schier — for all their work in putting together a wonderful weekend of garden tours, happy hours, and dinners! If you’re a garden blogger and are interested in attending next year’s Fling, it will be held in the Capital region — Washington, D.C., northern Virginia, and Maryland — and hosted by Tammy of Casa Mariposa (click for early details). Hope to see you there!

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing many of the gardens of the Minneapolis Fling. For a look back at Part 1 of Wouterina De Raad’s Mosaic Sculpture Park, click here. You’ll find links back to all my Minneapolis Fling posts at the end of each post.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
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All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Garden artistry at Wouterina De Raad’s Mosaic Sculpture Park, Part 1: Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling


Each year at Garden Bloggers Fling, there’s at least one garden that moves me deeply, that creates a lasting mood and feels like an extension of the gardener him- or herself. At this year’s Fling in Minneapolis, that garden was the creation of Wouterina De Raad. (As an interesting side note, her garden is located not in Minneapolis, or even in Minnesota, but just across the state line in Wisconsin’s farm country.)

Wouterina sculpts figures, real and imaginary creatures, and even benches and chairs using wire forms and concrete, coloring and adding detail to many of them with mosaic tile. The Dutch artist, who grew up on a coffee plantation in Java, immigrated to the U.S. four decades ago. She fixed up this old farmhouse, which, when she moved in, lacked indoor plumbing but came with a tree growing inside, and began sculpting and planting her 1-1/2-acre parcel.


Today it’s a wondrous place to explore, with paths leading through sculpted archways into garden rooms populated with Wouterina’s creations, and lush with perennials, shrubs, and trees.


Let’s take a tour, shall we? The main entrance is through this large, tiled arch. That’s Janet, ready to explore.


A loosely circular lawn edged with flowering perennials greets you, and grassy paths lead off in every direction, inviting you in.


Seating areas always beckon to me, though I rarely sit in them.


Four paint-flaking motel chairs add rustic charm that plays well with the old barn and field visible in the background.


A sculpted man lifting up a deer head (a mask?) stands amid daylilies, with a dog jumping up on him. I’m sure there’s a story here.


Other sculpted pieces in this area include throne-like chairs, with a wrapped present on a table…


…a planter on a pedestal…


…a woman and child looking up at a bird on a clothesline…


…and a patriotically attired man holding up the other end of the line.


Wouterina’s house sits at the front of the garden, and its colorful wraparound porch looks like a comfortable place to while away the afternoon.


Wire birds — part of a sculpture in progress


From the house, a grassy path winds under a vine-covered arbor topped with a multistory birdhouse.


On the other side, a rustic garden shed…


…that’s decorated with a wooden fish, animal skulls, antlers, and shells: nature’s castoffs.


A shrine to motherly love appears nearby.


Rows of oyster shells, pebbles, and glass adorn the inside of the egg-like dome. I read more about this sculpture on Laura Wills’s blog post. As Laura reports, Wouterina created it during a time of anguish when she feared for her son’s life.


Another mosaic arch, with a Madonna on top


Mosaic detail


Through the arch, the focal point is a sculpted table and chairs with a woman’s head, backed by what looks like an old vent cap on a pedestal.


A closer look reveals a display of ceramic birds on the cap ledge.


Much of the garden near the house is woodsy, with paths winding among large trees.


Wouterina’s sculptures appear along the paths like friendly sprites.


Her characters are frequently holding birds, although fish are also a common motif. This fellow has both.


Squawk!


Flamingo with ligularia


At the rear of the garden, and down a few steps, a sculpted seating area appears, with two long benches, a table, and a fireplace. Plants grow along the sculpted seats and soften them, imparting a sense of age and mystery.


To the left, two metal chairs are backed by a rusty column topped with a cascading plant.


To the right, by the fireplace, a pink-gowned angel lifts a bowl in which a twiggy, real-life bird’s nest is visible.


Wouterina holds concrete-sculpture workshops back here, near another wooden shed and a wonderful example of her work…


…a woman holding a palm tree like a parasol.


A tin man who’s found his heart stands nearby as well.


At the entrance to her studio — in a restored log cabin — a bouquet of red daylilies brightens a table.


Inside the neatly kept studio, Wouterina’s folk-art creations and found objects are displayed against a backdrop of log walls.


Natural objects like feathers and animal bones enhance vignettes of artful creations, old tins, and curio cabinets.


“Graceland”


This diorama in an old cigar box is titled “Last Tango in Havana.”


And here’s the woman who created this magical garden and art: Wouterina, pictured at left holding the notebook. Her friend was there to help guide us around.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my visit to Wouterina De Raad’s garden! For a look back at the Shannon Garden, Guldberg Garden, Vera’s Garden, plus bloggers and Minneapolis sights, click here.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
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Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!

All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Inspired at Squire House Gardens: Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling


Our tour buses took us out of Minneapolis on the last day of the recent Garden Bloggers Fling — an annual event with 60+ garden bloggers touring Minneapolis this year — through St. Paul and on into charming Afton, Minnesota, where we visited nursery and gift shop Squire House Gardens, which operates out of a nearly 150-year-old home.


A formal garden, surprisingly planted with many native plants, flows out from the house/gift shop. Where two paths intersect, a focal-point urn draws the eye, as do giant silver thistles.


A strikingly unusual choice


Elsewhere in the garden, still-blooming thistles proved irresistible to bees.


Nearby, a formal pool surrounded by potted plants adds the cooling music of splashing water.


A small, hedged garden room along one sunny border holds a lawn, a bench…


…and a druid-adorned sundial.


But much of the garden is quite shady, with white statuary and garden decor, like this ram’s head, to brighten dimly lit spaces.


I believe this is black cohosh (Actaea racemosa), a lovely native plant that unfortunately, to my nose, has a strong bug-spray scent. But others didn’t seem to mind it. It lit up the shady garden so nicely.


Another look


A small Zen-style garden offers a quiet place to sit…


…and contemplate life.


At the back of the property, a sunny space makes a perfect spot for a large vegetable garden, formally laid out and screened from a neighboring house with tall junipers.


Tall wood-and-wire trellises add additional screening, structure, and support for climbing plants.


The owners of Squire House generously treated us to beverages and refreshments, and we wandered with our glasses, enjoying the garden and the beautiful day. Here are Ally and Layanee being eavesdropped on by an intent young man.


The Texas bloggers — always the largest group from any state at the Fling — posed here for a group shot taken by the mischievous Barbara Wise (thank you, Barbara!). From left to right: Shawn and Laurin of Ravenscourt Gardens (Houston); Pam (moi) of Digging (Austin); Chris of Watching My Garden Grow (Austin); Vicki of Playin’ Outside (Austin); Andrea of Grow Where You’re Planted (College Station); Caroline of The Shovel-Ready Garden (Austin); Ally of Garden Ally (Austin); Diana of Sharing Nature’s Garden (Austin); Laura of Wills Family Acres (Austin); Susan of The Bicycle Garden (Lubbock); and Rebecca of Rebecca’s Retreat (Buda).

Up next: A snapshot of Noerenberg Memorial Gardens plus the gardens of nursery owners Steve Kelley & Arla Carmichiel. For a look back at Marge Hols’s elegant St. Paul garden, click here.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
_______________________

Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!

All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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