|Posted by Author on February 8, 2014 at 1:25 PM|
Image: Len Matthews
Glass is a material that can be formed and finished for a near-endless variety of purposes. Intricate sculptural pieces, conventional, crystal-clear window panes, and crude, murky slag masses are all variations on the theme of melting sand and cooling the molten substance into a desirable or useful form. From a gardener's perspective, what is interesting here is how each one of these glass types has found a way to intersect with and enrich the landscape.
Images: Alex King, Lynn Harris, Carlo Natale, and Trevor Lowe
Except for volcanic substances, glass is a decidedly manmade material, and over the last two centuries, man has made [italics] glass the basis for inspiring garden works. Landscape-based structures -- from Sir Joseph Paxton's "Crystal Palace" to Philip Johnson's "Glass House" have influenced generations of architects. On a significantly smaller scale, skilled glassmakers, such as Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka, have created painstaking replicas of landscape plants whose form, color, and even life-like appearance have been captured in glass. Chihuly Studio, likely today's most recognized group of glass artists, has realized that the landscape offers the ideal gallery for their wild, vibrant abstract forms. Chihuly's glass works have appeared in several gardens around the world.
Even when it is not composed with elegance or intricacy, it is important, to appreciate glass's value as a material in the garden. Glass can be thought of as a permanent kind of ice, and even commonplace forms of it have a special way of catching sunlight or artificial illumination.
Images: Nathan Kolb and Ahuva Burcat
Glass, as a garden material, often appears in the form of glass mulch or slag "boulder" objects. There is a growing selection of suppliers for these types of landscape glass, and some have realized that there is extra value in offering a "green," recycled product.
Images: Brew Brooks, John M. P. Knox, and Arby Reed
If you are considering bringing a touch of glass into your garden, keep in mind that you are in no way stuck with the vibrant, colorful tones that seem to be the most popular. Mulch and boulders come in many different colors, and at least one of these colors is likely to complement your garden, whatever your aesthetic.
Image: Gardening in a Minute