We’ve all seen sculptures, but garden art in the form of growing sculptures are spectacular. Mounds of mud mixed with grass or other plants sometimes make for weird yet wonderful works of art. Most of these living green sculptures are simply marvelous.
At the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens in Vancouver, Canada, art and culture are combined into living sculptures. Some of these growing works of art might spur your creativity as you tinker in your yard this spring and summer.
This spectacular living sculpture was created by sculptor Kathryn Jordan and artist Cliff Wright. Entitled, ‘In Our Hands’, it grows on the front lawn of St. Peter’s Church in Brighton, England. The sculpture was made using drought tolerant plants and peat free compost. The partially submerged head has brass eyes mixed into the foliage.
Part of the sculpture are a human torso emerging from the ground and an arm outstretched in front. A tree grows in the middle of its palm. It portrays our relationship with the environment. “We are from the earth and in contemporary society we seemingly hold its future in our hands.”
Image: Bart van Damme
The Beelden aan Zee, “Pictures to the sea”, in Scheveningen is the only Dutch museum devoted exclusively to sculpture. The diversity of sculpted and incredible art by Wim Quist architects include this Sleeping Grass Man.
Image: late night movie
Among an interesting mix of rare and ornamental trees in Bute Park, Wales, this mud beast was spotted. Maybe this mud mound is a warthog? Whatever this mud and grass sculpture is supposed to represent, it’s weird, wild, and somehow still wonderful.
This organic octopus lives along a trail between Sequim, Washington, and Port Angeles. The octopus sculpture is made of mud, moss, roots, and a variety of other succulent plants.
Image: Peter J Dean
Sue Hill and her brother Pete create masterful mud and grass sculptures. Here is the marvelous Mud Maid which can be found sleeping on the woodland walk at the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, UK. She changes with the seasons. This mud maiden has a sister, The Dreaming Girl, which was displayed at the Chelsea Flower Show.
The Mud Maid was built as a hollow framework of timber and windbreak netting, then completely covered with sticky mud. Her hands and face are a mixture of mud, sand, and cement which were first coated with yogurt so lichens would grow. On her head, Woodsedge and Montbretia were planted while Ivy was trained to grow as her clothing.
Image: Walt Jabsco
The Lost Gardens of Heligan are one of the most popular botanical gardens in the UK. It was once a family estate, but then the gardens and forest lay buried for almost a century, overgrown with plants, broken trees, and hidden under blackberry brambles. Sue and Pete Hill were again commissioned for another in their series of earth and plant sculptures there.
The Giant’s Head can be found on the Woodland Walk. A tree had fallen, leaving a huge root ball at its base. This root ball became the Giant’s Head. The tree root was plastered with mud to make the face. Sycamore twigs were scattered through and stuck into the top of the head.
The Giant’s nose was supported by metal stakes before also being formed and caked with mud. His skin was coated in Cornish plants like Baby’s Tears, while his hair started as Montbretia. Although the ears were cemented to give them stability, a colony of bees moved into holes behind them.
Image: fat dad
The passing of time and the changing of seasons make the Giant’s Head appear slightly different to nature-loving visitors.
This stunning living sculpture was at the heart of the garden during the 2006 Chelsea Flower Show in London, UK. The Dreaming Girl is a mud and grass sculpture also created by Pete and Sue Hill. This sister to Mud Maid was placed in the Garden of Dreams.
At the garden show, it was written that “The Dreaming Girl bears witness to the soporific effects of color, scent, texture, birdsong, water, and reflective light.” After the show, this sculpture was purchased by Olivia Harrison, widow of George Harrison, and now has a permanent home in a large Victorian garden at Harrison House in Henley-on-Thames, UK.
Eve, seen here, was sculpted from soil by Sue Hill, Artistic Director at the Eden Project, and her brother Pete. This is the first version of Eve which originally sat in the apple orchard at Eden.
The new version of Eve is now placed in the part of Eden that is dedicated to Plants and Myths in Folklore. The “new” Eve has a galvanized steel frame but is filled out with clay from the local pit.
Image: Rose Robinson
The Eden Project in Cornwall, UK, is the world’s largest greenhouse. These artificial biomes have plants collected from all around the world. The Eden Project includes environmental education about plants and people depending upon each other.
Lidköping, Sweden, is located on the southern shore of Lake Vänern. It’s amazing what someone with a little time and creativity can do, such as molding the mud and planting the seeds for this green goddess. The grass and floral garden art grows in a public park.