Friday, October 2, 2009

Shirley Watts- Recycle, ReUse, Rejoice

The second garden we viewed that was designed by Shirley Watts was a testament of modern styled sustainable landscape architecture.

So many designs (?) that are seen these days and are deemed “sustainable” look like they were cobbled together by Annie May and Barbara Jo with help from a roll of baling wire and some sad looking cast off shipping pallets.

Not so at Shirley Watts’ inspirational renaissance garden where old materials breathed new life into a small jewel box garden.

I didn’t have a chance to speak with Ms. Watts about where she finds her recycled materials but her ingenious creative sculptural results speak for themselves.

The front sliding entry gate :

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Once inside this small pocket garden you are greeted by a simple round concrete water feature. Upon closer inspection you notice that the gutter from the house is extended over the basin. This must be a wonderful experience to gaze upon on a rainy grey day.

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Looking down the narrow side yard a series of varying textures inspire you to wander down the path.

Recycled billboard signs, repurposed metal cut out screens meld together to create a tactile fence

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Detail shot of one of the screens.

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And of course everybody has a garbage can area. This is how Ms. Watts screened out these garbage cans from view. Clever, resourceful and totally original.

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Phrago said...

Probably not the response you're looking for, but... I quess this is one of those experiences that "you just had to be there" would apply. Michelle, I don't get it. HA! Seriously, I was looking for the attack junk yard dog effigy! The round cement pool is nice. Just for a little drama, You could have spilled your purse to make it look like it had been snatched and then dicarded in the alley. Actually, I like the use of the recycled materials, it looks real inner city ghetto, repaired fencing with the plantings looking more like weeds that sprung forth out of the gravel parking alley than on purpose. A fun place to hang out on a hot afternoon with a keg of beer and some cheap plastic cups. It could only be better if Miss Divine was there... Patrick

Deviant Deziner, aka Michelle said...

Actually Patrick,
This is exactly the response I was looking for.
Honestly is always the best response, and I appreciate that more than any type of sugar coating or green washing. -So thanks !

I believe the reason why I enjoyed this garden so much was the unconventional use of cast off materials.
I thought the designer wove them all together well.

After seeing a few misses, or should I say messes at the recent Late Show Garden , I now appreciate the artistic eye that goes into bringing salvaged materials together in a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing composition.

Thanks for being straight up about your opinion.
I hope others will also say what they really think.
That's the beauty of democracy.

in appreciation,

Susan aka Miss R said...

I visited Dig in Portland this summer and saw some lovely recycled screens similar to the ones you show here. Even though I liked them I couldn't figure out how I would use them in a project. I think they look right in this urban context. They certainly would work in some of the verdant country projects I work on and maybe that's where my creative disconnect came in. I guess I'll have to appreciate them from afar.

Carolyn Parker said...

Well, sugar is what you and Ms Watts gets from me. What a fresh take on screening! Thanks

Phrago said...

Michelle, I will tell you what I like about this artist: There are no accidents in her installations. Everything is very precise, even the funky looking aspects of the fence, are executed intentionally and with an eye to the guality of the execution. I think I would like this garden better if I could see more of it. I looked at your albums and the fence shot showing the plantings in the oppossite direction added a much different take, although I still think the plantings are ment to look accidental. NICE FIG! Also, I cannot fiqure out where the garbage enclosure is, unless it's on the other side of the property, accessable through the tall grassy path. I have actually seen fences like this in Detroit inner city neigborhoods to enclose the back alley areas, hence my reference. I can see through the gate that there is a small raised porch (with a fire place?)of some kind which you didn't show. The angle and positioning of the front entrance sliding gate confusses me when I look back and forth from the outside shot and then look back showing the pool. Interesting, but still, I wouldn't live with it. This would be perfect for a deconstructionist house... Patrick

Kerry said...

I've also been to this garden, in spring 2008.

Here are some photos I took at the time:

You can get a better idea of the trash can placement. There was a more functional deck area at the back of the house that I didn't get any shots of, you can barely see it behind the succulent pipe pots.

I loved all the rusty metal elements and the reuse of the billboards as artwork. I didn't love, love, love it, but I like a lot of the elements that it had.