Thursday, 13 May 2010

National Botanic Garden of Wales (5) - indoor art

The great glasshouse is full of beautiful plants, but scattered amongst the plants are pieces of art, which are typical of the continents the plants come from. This little arrangement reminded me of Arizona and Mexico.

A close up of the 'seed pod'.

In the Australia area, there are painted stones, reminiscent of Aboriginal art, but not so detailed - a beautiful lizard -

- a kangaroo -

- a turtle -

and others which you will have to visit the garden to see for yourself!

As well as the art in the great glasshouse, there is a gallery in the cafe and shop area, which has several interesting exhibitions each year, and glass corridor between the gallery and shop which houses some more permanent pieces, including several hanging stained glass panels with a botanical theme.

These large vessels, made from a mosaic of crockery pieces, is quite spectacular.

The current exhibition, running until 25th May, is absolutely unique and the pieces on display are stunning. Each piece is created by a jeweller, who incorporates botanical elements and metal in the pieces. I would have been happy to have taken any of the items on display home with me!

A 'ring' made from a skeleton seed pod.

Fabulous 'trees', made from lichen, mounted onto textured silver 'hills'. Beautiful.

This neckpiece is made from nylon line, and has seaweed 'pods' attached to it. Amazing!

I love the tree topped hill pictures, and the matching sculptures on display below.

A closer look at the 'trees' and rocks.

These rings were all made with cubes of lichen. Click on the photo for a better look.

Each of these brooches is made from glass mounted onto a disc of wood in a silver bezel, and a tree image. They are beautiful, but sadly (for me, not for the artist!) they had all been sold.

This final piece is about 2 feet wide by 3 feet tall, and is a beautiful pattern in a frame. Closer inspection reveals that the pattern is made from wild flower seeds...

The gallery at the garden has some pretty amazing exhibitions, I have seen art made from printed aluminium drinks cans, and also elaborately decorated and designed 'clothes' made from layers of paint and paper. I must go back in June to see what's on next!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

National Botanic Garden of Wales (4) outdoor art

In a pool alongside the main path, sits a water lily. No ordinary water lily, but one sculpted in metal, about a metre in diameter.

In the walled garden, a series of pieces, some more solid than others! This is a beautifully airy piece - an arrangement of white wood stems with white feathers tied to the top.

Nearby is a similar arrangement of natural coloured stems tied against a wall, with more feathers , ready to support a growing plant.

This ball of spheres within spheres creates interesting shadows, and invites the viewer to try rolling it!

Entwined bodies carved in stone - displayed on a pile of building blocks. It is beautiful enough to deserve a proper plinth!

Pram wheels held together with sculpted hands.

There is more art in the garden - both in the great glasshouse and in the gallery - and I will post about that tomorrow.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

National Botanic Garden of Wales (3) - water features

The National Botanic Garden of Wales has many lakes, pools, ponds and water features. This is a spectacular indoor/outdoor water feature in the entrance foyer of the gardens. It must be 12 feet from top to bottom, and as well as looking very attractive, it lets light into the building.

A little way into the garden is the first of the lakes - there were either 7 or 13 originally, but they were filled in during the second world war, as German bomber planes were using them as navigational aids during bombing raids on nearby Swansea. The Garden has restored the first 3 lakes, and hopes to restore the remainder in due course. There is landscaped terracing with seating so that people can sit in a sheltered area to enjoy looking at the lake and the life within and upon it.

Somebody got a bit enthusiastic with their gesturing - this bracelet is on the lake bed, about 6 feet from the shore!

The main path through the garden leads from the entrance to the education centre, cafe, gallery, theatre and exhibitions. It is slightly sloping, and has a pebble lined rill snaking from the top of the hill where the buildings are to a pool with fountains near the entrance, a distance of around a quarter of a mile. The rill starts from a small pool at the top of the hill...

... runs past the education centre...

...on down the hill...

...where the water disappears underground....

... and bubbles up from another hole...

... before running down to the fountain...

There are several other formal water features in various locations around the garden - in the double walled garden, in the great glasshouse, along the main pathway, and this one near the cafe.

The garden also has sculptures, and art on the gallery, but more of that in the next post.

Monday, 10 May 2010

National Botanic Garden of Wales (2) Glasshouse plants

There are many unusual and beautiful plants in the glasshouse, this is the furriest and fuzziest plant I've ever come across!

This is from the Africa zone, a 'red hot poker'.

No idea what this is, but it is pretty.

This reminds me of the pink and white 'kaffir lilies' I have in my garden, but what a gorgeous shade of apricot!

Grasses are interspersed with the flowers.

These flower buds were about 2 cm long, none were open, so I am not sure if this is as good as it gets, or if I should try to go back next week to see what they look like!

This fabulous silver succulent caught my eye in the America Zone.

Not far away were these Californian Poppies, the colour is set off by their grey green foliage and the grey gravel.

Also in the America Zone was this beautiful Aquiliega, or 'granny's bonnet'. These are familiar flowers in my garden, in a range of sizes and colours, I didn't realise they were an American native.

Kangaroo Paws in the Australasia Zone. I love these tall strong plants, the long hairy flower buds open into starry flowers, often a completely different colour on the inside to the outside. I've seen them in red, green and yellow, I wonder if they come in other colours too?

I think this was in the Australasia Zone, but it was where the Africa Zone and America Zone border the Australasia Zone, so I'm not absolutely sure it's Australian, but I love the way it looks!

This Bottlebrush is definitely Australian, the flower is stunning but I also love the seedhead.

This is one of life's mysteries - I've seen many flowers which people claim are black, but they are usually deep red or purple - this was really black, with some yellow parts. Quite stunning.

This is a pretty climber with small flowers.

These three beauties were in the Mediterranean Zone.

This is the prettiest carnivorous plant I have ever seen.

Finally, the Africa Zone has some splendid Proteas, and some other flowers that look quite similar. Maybe they are part of the same family.

I hope you enjoyed that quick trip around the Glasshouse, next blog entry will be about the water features of the garden.