Gardens - Featured Gardens

The art of gardening

By
Joyce Glasner
Photography by
Dan Callis

Discover the horticultural masterpieces of three Nova Scotia artists

Carved niche

Gail Logan, a sculptor and landscape designer, didn't have any particular vision in mind when she started her sprawling country garden a few kilometres outside the town. Her main objective, she says, was to create a space filled with "positive energy," a pleasant place to spend time with family and friends. It took her just three years to transform what was a derelict farmyard into an inviting haven that is part of her One Sky Now Gallery and Garden Centre. A proponent of organic gardening, Gail raises all the plants for the garden centre.

There's nothing formal, linear or geometric about Gail's 2,000-square-metre garden. Like her personality and her art, the design is natural and unrestrained, with playful flourishes here and there. Gravel and flagstone paths wind around the lavish perennial beds. Woven willow fencing and trellises provide structure and support, and comfy driftwood chairs and loveseats invite lounging. In the centre of the garden is a small, heart-shaped pond filled with duckweed, water hyacinths and lilies. The gurgling and splashing of water created by two waterfalls adds to the serene atmosphere. Then, of course, there are the sculptures. Gail's own creations, as well as those of friends, are artfully arranged throughout the garden. The pieces are often witty and provocative. For example, near the pond is her latest installation: three heads of varying sizes emerging from the soil, a work entitled "The Coming Out Party."

For Gail, art and gardening are intricately intertwined. Creating a new perennial bed is as much a part of her artistic expression as sculpting a new stone piece for the garden. Like most visual artists, she loves playing with colour and texture. Striking contrasts, such as 'Blue Butterfly' delphiniums planted next to bright yellow Coreopsis ‘Moonbeam' or the handful of crimson poppies scattered among a drift of delicate white musk mallow (Malva moschata), are visible throughout the garden. Contrasting sizes and textures, such as towering eulalia grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Variegatus') behind monkshood (Aconitum x cammarum 'Bicolor'), add drama. Many of Gail's unusual plant choices, including bristly headed Fuller's teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) and giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum), reflect her sculptor's sense of shape and form.

Most of Gail's sculptures are designed for and created in the garden. In summer, she sculpts beneath a massive, old apple tree that dominates one end of the property. "This is a big place in my life," she says. "It's where I work, where I carve stone, where I live ... It's just a wonderful, sweet, spiritual place to be."

While it may not be a requisite for an artist to have a gardener's soul, for these three Maritime artists, their gardens inspire and nurture their other creative endeavours.

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