Huntington to expand Chinese Garden


Spring seems only around the corner at Liu Fang Yuan, or the Garden of Flowing Fragrance, at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino. Delicate pink cherry blossoms have begun to appear on trees, and dappled sunlight warms the stone walkways.

There are other changes in the air at the Chinese Garden, as it is more informally known. Workers are putting finishing touches on new pavilions, walkways and landscaping as the newest garden in the Huntington’s collection of more than a dozen readies its first expansion since its 2008 opening.

On March 8 (March 7 for members), the Chinese Garden premieres three major new architectural elements as part of its second-phase expansion: two pavilions and a rock grotto with a waterfall that visitors can walk under. Still to come for the planned 12-acre site are a small gallery for Chinese art, a hillside pavilion and a penjing (a style of horticulture similar to Japanese bonsai) court. About half the $22 million needed to complete the project has been raised so far.

via Chinese Garden expansion at the Huntington includes new pavilions –

Stanford’s New Guinea Sculpture Garden celebrates 20 years

In 1994, ten master carvers were flown in from Papua New Guinea by anthropology department graduate student Jim Mason, and asked to engage their remarkably otherworldly work with one of our natural California landscapes. Over the course of their four month residency they created the sinuous carvings you can still see today in the aptly named Stanford New Guinea Sculpture Garden.

via Stanford’s New Guinea Scuplture Garden Celebrates 20 Years – Foliage Finder – Curbed SF.

MoMA to provide free access to sculpture garden

Peace and quiet can be hard to come by in the middle of Manhattan. Maybe, if the ice ever melts, you might balance a lunch burrito on your lap in the sunken plaza outside the McGraw-Hill Building. Or park yourself in a hotel lobby and pretend to be a guest.

But for many people the oasis of choice has long been the sculpture garden at the Museum of Modern Art, a soothing half-acre of stone flooring and spouting fountains that provides a brief respite from the madness of Midtown.

For a price.

Access to the garden required a $25 admission to the museum.

Now, though, as part of an expansion plan, the museum is talking about opening the gates to the sanctum for no charge, a prospect that some find positively horrifying.

Read more via MoMA’s Proposal for Sculpture Garden Pleases and Riles –

Dream Window: Reflections on the Japanese Garden

“Rough standing stone… a stream meandering…a dream without end,” wrote the 14th century priest and garden designer Muso Soseki. “How lovely, the setting for elegant play and serene pleasure.” 

Dream Window: Reflections on the Japanese Garden – YouTube.

For more than a thousand years, the Japanese garden has been a haven of tranquility and a preserve of natural beauty, a vehicle for contemplating life and a wellspring of artistic inspiration. The garden today remains a place apart, serene, symbolic and sensual.

“A place like this is a device that takes you from the world that you’re actually living in and removes you. It was designed to create a mood, to bring one to a state of poetic creativity.” - Makoto Ooka, poet

“More than being an influence in my work, gardens give me energy. It’s a kind of self-affirmation and what I like most about gardens is that they don’t exclude people, just as music must not exclude people.” – Toru Takemitsu, Composer

“One should just sit quietly and look at a garden. What you see depends on what you bring to it.” - Sobin Yamada, Abbott of Shinju-an



Chagall mosaic moves from private garden to National Gallery of Art’s sculpture garden

Chagall mosaic moves from private garden to National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden - The Washington Post

Photo: Washington Post

Evelyn Nef was a patron of the arts who loved the way that painting, sculpture, music and dance could capture the joys and sorrows of life, and so it was not surprising that when she died widowed and childless in 2009, at the age of 96, she would leave her choicest artworks to the nation.

The National Gallery of Art became the recipient of a mosaic by Marc Chagall, 31 drawings, 46 prints and 25 illustrated books by such artists as Auguste Renoir, Wassily Kandinsky and Fernand Léger, along with early prints and other paper works by Chagall and Pablo Picasso.

Transferring the paper art from Nef’s home in Georgetown to the gallery was a straightforward if meticulous undertaking by the institution’s art handlers and carpenters, experienced in packing and ferrying priceless pieces. Moving the mosaic from a garden on 28th Street NW to the Mall became a 31 / 2-year journey of epic challenge by a legion of conservators, mosaicists, carpenters, handlers, masons, engineers and architects.

Now installed in its new location in the National Sculpture Garden, the mosaic has been given a fresh and public incarnation, fittingly as a quiet monument to a woman who became the master of sparkling reinvention. Sitting sweetly in a sylvan corner of the sculpture garden near Ninth Street and Constitution Avenue NW, “Orphée” speaks to Chagall’s friendship with Nef and her husband, John Nef, and to the avant garde artist’s lifelong exploration of surreal figures and disjointed mythical and sacred themes.

John Nef, an economic historian and art lover, had known Chagall before the Nefs married in 1964. When the artist first proposed a mosaic for their Georgetown garden, Evelyn “Evvie” Nef imagined a small plaque for the garden wall. The next year, they went to his atelier in the south of France, where Chagall unveiled his marquette of “Orphée” and informed them that the resulting mosaic would be a jaw-dropping 10 feet high and 17 feet wide. The creation was a gift, but the Nefs had to build a 30-foot-high brick wall to house the piece. It was unveiled with the artist in attendance on a balmy evening in November 1971.

Guests found a scene of Chagall’s typically desultory but enchanting images: Orpheus (but no Eurydice), the Three Graces, a couple lying under a tree, a huddle of immigrants and skyscrapers and Pegasus and an angel floating around a golden sun.

Chagall’s powers as a colorist are evident: The work glows in its blocks of yellow and blue, becomes more intensely hued close up, and carries a transcendent luminosity. Assembled by a legendary Italian mosaicist Lino Melano, who also executed mosaics for Picasso, Georges Braque and Léger. “Orphée” is composed of countless thousands of hand-cut pieces — tesserae — of colored glass and an array of stone. The stone absorbs the light, the glass reflects it.

via Chagall mosaic moves from private garden to National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden – The Washington Post.

A South African stone garden named as heritage site

Nukain Mabusa’s rocky ‘Garden of Flowers’ – News – Offical site of Kruger Lowveld Tourism

South African artist Nukain Mabusa, buried1981 in a grave that had nothing but a reference number engraved on it, is posthumously receiving due recognition. A self-taught artist, he became known for his “Garden of Flowers” which became a tourist attraction during his lifetime.

His “garden” – more rock than blossoms – consisted of boulders that he painted with bright colours and geometric shapes. Mabusa described how, if one stood on the crest of the mountain, the rocks look like flowers tumbling from heaven – hence the name, “Garden of Flowers”.

Since his death the garden has been recognized as a highly unusual and important work of art. Now weathered by the strong African sun over the years, it has been selected by the South African Heritage Resources Agency to be restored to its former glory.

via Nukain Mabusa’s rocky ‘Garden of Flowers’ – News – Offical site of Kruger Lowveld Tourism.

The hills are alive… with koi at the Portland Japanese Garden

Koi at the Heavenly Falls

It is wonderful to think about creatures so smashingly colorful as the koi amidst the monochromatic landscape of an unusually cold Portland winter (although the koi themselves might be in warm, watery seclusion right now like the rest of us). It’s almost like thinking up a piscatory version of those winter mood improvement lamps.  Here are the latest tidbits on these beautiful aquatic denizens at the Portland Japanese Garden, as verified by PJG senior gardener Adam Hart:

Q. How many koi currently live in the garden? There are 35 koi in the lower pond and 16 in the upper pond. There are also 12 koi currently off-site, which we expect to return to the garden by the spring of 2014.

Q. Where did the koi come from? The koi in the upper pond came from a group that survived a large winter storm in 2008. This group includes koi from Niigata (the primary source of prize koi in Japan) and other koi whose age and origin are unknown.

We added ten new koi to this group in 2011. These koi were bred from Japan and obtained through a local koi dealer (All Japan Koi). Another batch were released in 2012 (see photo) from the Kodama Koi Farm in Hawaii.

The current school of fish in the lower pond was added in the summer of 2013. These koi were donated from a private collection in Portland.

Q. How old are the koi in the garden?  They range in age from 3 to 25 years old. In the Northwest, the average koi life span is approximately 30 years. In general, koi can live anywhere from 25 to 100 years, depending on their quality of life. The longest living koi on record lived 225 years.

Q. What do the koi eat? The koi in the garden are fed specially formulated, nutritionally balanced koi food pellets. These pellets are made primarily from fish meal and wheat germ. Koi can eat a variety of food like melon and greens but we do not feed our koi such things because of enhanced water quality issues. At the height of their activities, they are fed five times a day.

Q. How do you keep predators away? Occasionally, we have predators visit the garden such as raccoons, blue herons and hawks. Most of our koi are too big for the birds to carry away. The pond edge is steep and the ponds are deep which makes it difficult for the raccoon to wade into the water and catch the koi. Providing hiding places, such as under bridges and rocks, is also helpful in keeping predators away.

Q. What time of the year do the koi spawn? Spawning occurs during early summer. The ideal temperature is 68 F. Most of the eggs and the young will be eaten up by the larger koi, which is natural. We do, however, expect to see some of the young survive in the future.