Get Creative with Garden Color
Whenever my wife Karen and I visit a new city we always try to check out the local public gardens. It’s a great way to get ideas for our own garden and to see new plant varieties that may or may not grow in our climate. Over the years, we’ve visited some truly fabulous gardens in cities as diverse as Brooklyn, New York; Santa Barbara, California; Boothbay, Maine; St. Louis, Missouri; Victoria, British Columbia; Chicago, Illinois; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Tucson, Arizona; Miami, Florida; and Des Moines, Iowa.
That’s why this year we were excited to be invited to a wedding in Atlanta. Not only would we get to spend time with our close friends, we’d schedule in an extra day to tour the Atlanta Botanical Garden. For years we’d read glowing reviews of this facility, and once we saw it for ourselves we were blown away by the beauty and creativity on display throughout the gardens.
During our visit, the facility was hosting a show called The Curious Garden. A magical experience, this art installation highlighted bold, and often unexpected man-made and altered natural materials throughout 11 different parts of the garden. The mastermind behind it all was artist Adam Schwerner who currently works for Disney, but previously was the Director of the Chicago Park District’s Department of Cultural and Natural Resources.
Our favorite exhibit was the spray-painted trees. I know that sounds odd, but Mr. Schwerner spray painted dozens of dead trees with pastel colors and placed them strategically throughout the beds and borders. Not only did the trees add color and vertical interest to the garden, they also provided support for climbing vines, such as mandevilla.
Smaller painted trees were also used as “thriller” elements in large containers and planters. It’s a simple and effective way to add color and drama to any setting.
You can do it at home, too. All you need are a few dead saplings or branches and a few cans of spray paint. You can even do it indoors by placing a few painted branches in a large pot to provide support for climbers such as pothos, philodendron, monstera, or arrowhead plant.