Monday, April 11, 2011

Garden Art and the Art of Gardening

The official start of spring may be the vernal equinox in March, but for us at Shake Rag, crocuses in bloom and Garden Getaway are the true harbingers of spring.

Nearly 150 garden enthusiasts gathered on April 2 and 3 for the 8th annual Shake Rag Alley Garden Getaway weekend packed with informative lectures, demos, and artful hands-on projects.

John Gishnock, from the Madison landscaping firm Formecology taught us how to landscape in a way that is not only pleasing but also sustainable and good for the environment. Bob Klebba from Morningwood Farm Nursery in Mt. Horeb introduced us to some exciting and unusual annuals that can give your garden that extra pizzazz.

Diane Bober of Green Woman Herbs not only shared her secrets for growing herbs but served up some yummy homemade treats that use herbs. Robin Timm from Driftless Market in Platteville showed how to create a kitchen garden that will supply your table with a healthful bounty, and Master Preserver Judy Pincus taught us how to safely can that garden bounty for the cold winter months. And the rain even held off so Master Gardener Roy Anne Moulton's pruning students could get in some real life practice on a few of Shake Rag's overgrown shrubs (thank you pruning students!).

Meanwhile, students were up to their elbows in portland cement making hypertufa garden lanterns and planters, and small mosaic turtles or mosaic birdbaths guided by artisans Judy Sutcliffe and Heidi Dyas-McBeth. Up at Green Lantern Studios students joined Carole Spelic to carve hypertufa slabs into decorative "artifacts" for garden or patio.

Others were bending willow into wonderful trellises or garden gates with willow master John Schakel, or soldering glass and copper garden ornaments with artist Sherry Viktora, or carving gourd flowers with gourd artist Terri Schmit, or using up scrap lumber to make a simple 5 board bench with craftsman Dan Soman. Over in Smeja Studios, plain silk scarves were being dyed with some very unconventional (but totally natural) materials and given the "Shelley Ryan" treatment, more natural materials were making their way into handmade paper in Cheryl Smeja's class, and most earthy of all, worms (!) were finding new homes as Alan Pincus led students in making plastic vermiculture bins.

Spending a weekend at Garden Getaway is just a terrific way to welcome spring and get those gardening juices flowing!


Willow Garden Gate
Willow Trellis

Mosaic Turtle

Mosaic Birdbath

Glass Garden Ornament

Glass Garden Ornamnet
Glass Garden Ornaments

5 Board Bench
Carved Gourd Flowers

Carved Gourd Flowers

Garden Lantern
Paper Making
Paper Making

Canning Demo - Judy Pincus recommends some books 
Pruning - Roy Anne Moulton contemplates the lilac bush

Garden Silk Scarves - Shelly Ryan passes out baggies of "stuff"

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