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December 27, 2012 / Rick Swann

Garden Art and other added features

I’ve been lucky enough to visit many school and community gardens this past year. I have to admit that while all of them were functional, the gardens that have added art or other features have a way of standing out. They really invite you to spend time in them and to just hang out and enjoy the spaces they create. I’ve seen sculpture, topiary, outdoor ovens, and structures for vines to climb up creating enclosed spaces and loved them all.

I’ve been starting to incorporate more features into my own beds. I don’t have a lot of space where I live. The backyard hardly gets any sun at all. I’ve put in several raised beds in the front, but a year ago tore up the strip between the sidewalk and the street to garden. It gets full sun all day long. It means washing the fruit and vegetables well since they grow so close to the street, but the added bonus is that it has become a public space. I put a path through the bed that weaves between the rhubarb, blueberries, lovage and bean tent that is always being used by young children who love to jump from stepping stone to stepping stone. Last week I added a Little Free Library so that  I can pass on all the great children’s books I’ve collected over the years working as a children’s librarian which I can’t wait to surround with plants once the growing season starts again.

I’m already wondering what I can add next.

Kids' Book Exchange

Kids’ Book Exchange

Topiary at Children's Play Garden, Seattle.

Topiary at Children’s Play Garden, Seattle.

Garden oven at Garden for the Environment, SF.

Garden oven at Garden for the Environment, SF.

Wood and marble sculpture at the Lifelab garden, Santa Cruz.

Wood and marble sculpture at the Lifelab garden, Santa Cruz.

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