sculpture in the garden

9.20.23 ~ North Carolina Botanical Garden

A year ago we were enjoying a different outdoor sculpture exhibition by the sea in Connecticut: Open Air 2022. This September we visited the 35th annual Sculpture in the Garden at the North Carolina Botanical Garden. It also features the work of local artists but it has many more installations! We didn’t even see all 86 of them but I am sharing a few of my favorites here. It was a lovely walk.

“Forest Magic” by Anna Schroeder
milkweed seed pods
“Bearded Dragon” by Mac McCusker
blue mistflower
(thanks to Eliza for the identification)
“Angel Whisper” by Nana Abreu
tall swamp marigold (?)
“World Peace” by Gordon James Benham
tall swamp marigold (?)
“Contemplation” by Jason Heisley

Because I’m so drawn to them I bought a little guide to dry plants in winter called Winter Weed Finder by Dorcas S. Miller, illustrated by Ellen Amendolara. It will be fun to learn about pods, capsules, siliques, calyxes, bracts and burrs.

“Cicada Maple Seed” by Sam Spiczka

I noticed how similar the shape of a cicada wing was to the shape of a maple seed. In this sculpture I decided to merge the two. The result is a subtly whimsical form that appears more delicate and fluid than the industrial rebar would seem to allow. I love the unexpected and even paradoxical result.
~ Sam Spiczka

part of “Northern Saw-Whet Owl Totem” by Tinka Jordy
three-lined salamander

My favorite sculpture is “Cicada Maple Seed.” Something about it captivated me; finding the figure hanging from a tree was an unanticipated pleasure. I’m also fond of maple seeds. You may remember how many pictures I post of them every spring!

20 thoughts on “sculpture in the garden”

  1. I’m glad that you went back to the NC botanical gardens, Barbara. I hope with kids back in school it wasn’t crowded mid-week.

    My favorite was the “Forest Magic” by Anna Schroeder. It looks like it might be made of resin. I don’t know.

    The owl with its green eyes is cool. It looks like it might be made from wood. Perhaps a carving. But I have no idea on what the eyes are made.

    All of these art pieces look wonderful in the flower gardens.

    What a wonderful book you have found too!

    1. It wasn’t too crowded, mostly other retired folks taking advantage of the midweek lull in activity. I loved “Forest Magic” too, even got down on my knees to photograph it. 🙂 I think the owl was wooden, it was part of a totem pole with several owls on it. I tried to get a picture of the whole totem but the sun was so bright it got washed out and blended in with the tall grasses surrounding it. So I zoomed in and got one of the owls by itself. I’m glad they’re having this exhibit in the fall so we can enjoy seeing it in the cooler temperatures!

    1. Thanks for the ids, Eliza. As it turned out, the day after I posted this the botanical garden put a picture of blue mistflowers up on their Facebook feed with the id. They also put some tall swamp marigolds which looked a lot like the ones I photographed, but maybe I’m missing something. They weren’t growing in a swampy area, but in a sunny area, so maybe they are actually some kind of sunflower. 🌻

  2. I love that owl!! The lizard probably would’ve made me jump, thinking he was real. I’ll bet it will be interesting to learn about dry plants, too.

    1. So glad you love the owl, Debbie! 🙂 One of Tim’s cousins keeps a bearded dragon as a pet and as far as I can tell it seems to have as much status as a dog would. Not my cup of tea, I have to say.

  3. The adage of “good things come to those who wait” comes true for you and Tim. All the waiting while moving/unpacking/settling in and awaiting cooler weather paid off! “Forest Magic” and “Northern Saw-Whet Owl Totem” were my favorites in this post – what an interesting walk and chance to use the camera for some fun shots. The swamp marigolds are beautiful. I bought a book on Michigan wildflowers last year – hopefully I make use of it in 2024!

    1. I wish you luck identifying your wildflowers! I’m finding it very difficult, even with a field guide. And I’m not sure I’ll do any better with dry flowers, but since we’ll be doing most of our walking in the winter I’m sure we’ll be coming across lots and lots of them. “Forest Magic” and the owl seem to be the most popular favorites. 🙂 I can’t wait to get back there and see the rest of the sculptures in the other parts of the gardens. Still lots of beauty to enjoy there before winter sets in.

      1. I bought a bird guide for Michigan birds and a flower guide for Michigan flowers and when I have birds or flowers I can’t identify, do I page through either of them? Sadly, no – I do a Google Image and upload my photo and find the answer in a matter of seconds. We are going to have a warm October, which is nice and yes, now is the time for you and Tim to enjoy the walks with the cooler and more refreshing weather.

        1. What is a Google Image? I wish I could find a Facebook page for wildflower identification that works like the one I use for birds. I found one for bugs but there isn’t much consensus on that one. I’ve got a good list of walking possibilities — this is going to be fun!

          1. That Facebook bird I.D. was good – everyone knew that Juvenile Starling right away when I posted its picture. I will put the link in another comment in case it goes to SPAM. It works well. As a result I’ve not used the bird or flower book yet.

          2. Here is the link and when you get there, to the right you will see a small camera (next to the search icon). Click the camera and you are directed to another window, then upload the photo from your computer (or drag and drop the photo there). I prefer to upload. Google images will instantly provide you with the best possible match and sources to check it out (to verify it if you want). I just tried it with a flower image I wanted to look up and two seconds later I learned it was a “Dense Blazing Star”. Here you are:


          3. Thanks, Linda! I tried the first picture in this post and it came back with clouded skipper for the butterfly, although NC seems to be out of its range. But I’ll go with it! 🙂

          4. Glad it worked for you Barbara – it shows so many pictures the same as the one you uploaded, it can’t be wrong! As to the butterfly being in NC and maybe out of its range, you probably heard on the news there are flamingos appearing in eight states, including Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, after the wrath of Hurricane Idalia made them “escape” to a safer venue. I hope this Google Image search will work for the dried flowers you see as well!

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