August 17, 2012

Curate an Art Collection in Your Home Garden

In Dan Johnson's Denver garden, art work is everywhere - surprising, unconventional and always unique.
I promise - really my last post from Denver - but the artwork that I saw in two Denver gardens inspired me - and as an artist myself, I started to feel a little guilty as I do not have any art in the garden. I think it's time to start - thanks to Dan Johnson ( Curator of Native Plants for the Denver Botanic Gardens) and garden writer, Marcia Tatroe. Just check out these photos from their gardens. Art is personal, and the these two creative gardeners clearly have two different styles, yet both enhanced the garden environment. Typically, I don't even notice garden art, and much of the time, I feel that it conflicts with the natural aspect of a garden - probably why I try to keep my design talents separate from my gardening skills. Don't ask, I just struggle with being an artist and a plantsman, although I am sure many could argue that I combine both talents - in my little crazy mind, I know that I am not even trying to combine them. If I did, all Hell would break loose. But these gardens prove that thoughtful curatorial work can be effective, as long as you have the confidence and the eye.

Dan Johnson's garden combines colorful containers with interesting textures and plant material. I think many of us could add containers into the garden, rather than just placing them on decks.

The hand-crafted gate in the garden of Dan Johnson hints of what awaits inside. It provides excitement ( you just know that whatever you will see, it will be special). 

Dan Johnson's back yard

Marcia and Roger Tatroe's garden is full of the most interesting artwork - often assembled and displayed with great care, such as these blue ceramic pieces. I just love this collection.

These ceramic cacti caught my attention, especially combined with real cacti.

Cast iron crows

A 'poison' sign on a cedar fence, transforms this garden space into a conceptual installation. 

This is  'steal this' idea. Marcia Tatroe shows us her walk paved with plant stand tops, set into gravel.

Blue Bottle Tree's are everywhere, but I still want to make one


  1. The pictures are great but I was blown away by Dan Johnson's garden when I saw it in person. Pictures just couldn't convey how dense his garden is in plants, art, atmosphere. It is truly inspirational.

    I haven't seen Marcia Tatroe's garden in person yet but her book has been a great resource.

  2. I am not ready for you to finish up with Denver: more! More! I love it! You have captured my state and really done a scoop on our local scene. Thank you, Matt!


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