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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22 Responses

  1. Great photos, Pam. I immediately zipped from Part 1 to Part 2. Nice to relive that wonderful garden again, and as always happens other Flingers see things that we miss on our peregrinations through the garden. That plant you can’t recall is Thalictrum. And, no, I can’t grow it either — my garden’s too dry as well as shady.

  2. Beautiful garden and delightful post! This was my favorite garden, too. I wanted to spend more time there and take a class! Btw, did you catch the headband of lights on one of the female sculptures?~The one with the red crested bird!

  3. Alison says:

    Even more wonderful than yesterday’s post! Matching the plants to the building’s color is such a brilliant move. Love the snake reading the outhouse sign.

  4. ks says:

    I enjoyed all your Fling posts Pam, as always you excel at the virtual tour guide gig ! For those of us who were unable to attend you have crafted a nice series of posts to help us be there from afar.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      I’m so glad to know you enjoyed the virtual tour, KS! Writing about the gardens is helpful to me too. I use the process to better understand each garden I visit, and I like having a “scrapbook” of my journeys to enjoy later. —Pam

  5. Carolyn says:

    Really interesting photos and garden! Wow, so many beautiful plants and so much work was put into the creation of this garden. The Star Tribune article was informative also. So funny that you mentioned wanting to see the garden at night, I was thinking of how scary the garden would seem in the dark with all those characters and animals!! I often wonder about the decor inside some of the homes you visit and this one especially makes me wonder! Thanks for the tour :)

    • Pam/Digging says:

      I would love to have seen inside her home too, Carolyn, but she understandably wanted to keep that private. We weren’t allowed access to the porch, even. But I get not wanting to have people peering into your windows. It’s enough work to get a garden ready for tour, much less a house too. —Pam

  6. This garden is simply exciting. Seeing a garden like this makes me want to “do” something in my garden. Not that I would create sculptures like these but mercy they do get the creative juices churning. I can see why she would want to be buried there. Her heart and soul is on display there. I can imagine her grandchildren playing through out the garden. Their own wonderland.

  7. You’ve really captured the essence of this amazing garden so well, Pam. I’d love to see this garden at night, too! Amazing photos!

  8. Melody McMahon says:

    Pam, you really did save the best for last! Wow! What a truly beautiful garden Wouterina has created. I’ve enjoyed all of your posts from the Fling but this was the “icing on the cake”! Thanks for giving me something pretty to look at while I’m inside hiding from the Texas heat!

  9. Kris P says:

    If you’d told the story of this garden in words without pictures I’d have assumed that the garden was overwhelmed by statuary but, although there’s certainly a LOT there, it blends perfectly in with the plants, adding to the garden’s energy and beauty rather than distracting. It’s a wonderful creation!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Kris, I agree completely. It’s much more than a sculpture garden. It’s a true garden, accented beautifully with her art. And it’s all about wandering and exploring from room to room, which is what I love above all else in a garden. —Pam

  10. Rose says:

    Thanks so much for these two posts on this amazing garden, Pam! I saw so many photos on Facebook of Wouterina’s garden that I was intrigued. Your posts are the next best thing to actually being there. What a fantastic place–both the sculptures and the garden. It’s not necessarily my favorite piece, but I’d love to have the sculpture holding up the clothesline–I think I would start hanging out all my laundry if I had one of these:)

  11. That place was so amazing! Definitely the cherry on top of another amazing Fling! Thanks Pam!