Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Under Sea Worldness of Chihuly-like Pumpkinery

Cucurbita Female Pumpkin Flower

The strange, fluid, other-worldliness of the pumpkin patch looks far more like it belongs under the sea than under my kitchen window

Sea Anemone or Landlubber Flower?

The flowing openess of the flowers. The languid look of the large petals. The coiling tendrils. It is all very, very fluid.

Ready to Swirl and Sway In the Ocean?

These are more like plants I would see on a scuba dive - ready to swirl and sway in an ocean current - than plants exposed on a dry, rocky outcrop.

No Elvis Here, Just Ringo

Some people see Elvis; others see fractals; I see sea anemones. The garden sets off free association imagery like dominoes knocking one image down against another image of experiences and pop culture, (and now add to it blogs,) in my head. In the days of hodden grey, the church and nature provided imagery stimulus so folks saw the Madonna in the tree bark. Nowadays of mass media culture people see Elvis in a gherkin or an Octopus's garden in a pumpkin patch.

...Or , how about Chihuly...

Picture of Chihuly's Persians - Photo credit unknown

Dale Chihuly is an artist whose glass sculptures - the Persians series - drift through the other-world of my pumpkin crevasse. No, I haven't eaten Datura, but I have blown glass .

Pumpkin Visions Come From My Blowing Glass...Not From My Eating Datura

Every time I look at the pumpkins I am stunned with images of Chihuly's Persians I have seen in Victoria, Seattle, Las Vegas, galleries and museums. See fer yerself - thar ain't no denyin' it...


Godly Gourd - The Good Pumpkin - Served At The First Thanksgiving
Canada we have Thanksgiving in October Whilst Our American Neighbours in November

The Garden Brae pumpkin patch is actually more of a pumpkin crevasse. Pumpkins need a sunny, well-drained site. I planted mine in a crevasse on a hot, rocky outcrop and left them to fend for themselves. Nope, I didn't get involved in their sex life either. I left the male and female flowers to co-mingle with whatever bee - go- betweens that happened upon them.

And yet, with this neglect, they still graciously rewarded me with the beauty of their special world! Because of their location up on the rock and the sun shining through them I had a wonderful vantage of being below them looking up into their pumpkin realm, almost like I was floating through them. I feel kinda guilty though ....

Terry and Lisa (my sisters) Portraits in Pumpkin

The pumpkin abuse isn't over a couple of weeks they will go under the knife for pies and for my pumpkin art!

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Genius Loci thought: Pumpkins are kin to the spirit of the place. They thrived against the odds and settled in to the natural beauty of the landscape. Next year they get care, attention, and a wee bit of coaxing in their sex life.


Steve said...

Good Lord, are those portraits of your sisters done in real live true pumpkins? I have done a great spider or two with those fabulous pumpkin carving tools, but those are truly amazing. I mean worthy of some sort of "classic" status. Wow!

Kanak Hagjer said...

Beyond me! Left me speechless, totally agree with Steve. Your photos of pumpkin blooms are stunning! There's a very magical-children's- story-book-in-pictures kind of quality about them!! Loved my visit here!

Crafty Gardener said...

You captured lovely photos of the pumpkin flowers.

West Coast Island Gardener said...


Those pumpkin tools do work great. Bet your spider-kins were very cool.

I was missing my little sisters who lived away from home and I had an enormous pumpkin and voila! I am so glad you think it is classic.

It's kinda eerie how the pumpkin flesh glows with a candle and gives the carvings quite a life-like presence.


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I never thought of the children's story book aspect before.

What a lovely perception.

Thank you.

* * *

Hi Crafty,

Shooting flowers is fun.


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Northern Shade said...

First it starts one year with some pumpkin seeds carelessly thrown on a hillside. The next year you decide to tend them. Next thing you know, you will be hooked, and entering the biggest pumpkin contest at the local fair.
I enjoyed the pumpkin imagery, both blossoms and carvings.

Steve said...

I just wanted to add something, if I may. The Chihuly glass work is always otherworldly.......I have seen every single bit of his work I could possibly get my hands on. I feel that he is a monstrous huge figure in Modern American Art and I adore all his work. Huge kudos to you for using him - and with unique (to me) works of his to boot!

West Coast Island Gardener said...

Northern Shade-

More like the biggest bumpkin with the littlest pumpkin award - and I would be so proud of it, too.

But you are too, too right. I am already delving into last year's seed catalogues for the grand, the gorgeous, the groutesque - lords of the gourds - pumpkins!

And you just know I'll be able to count on fellow blogger wisdom for pumpkin growing ways.


* * *


Thanks so much for adding about Chihuly. He is indeed one of our contemporary greats.

It is living art - not the dusty-for-museums-only art (Disclaimer: I really do enjoy a bit of art dust myself).

It is a thrill to see his glasswork pieces in public spaces - I feel lifted. I think, yes - civilization still does exist!


Linda Lunda said...

Hi there! Lovely artwork!!!
Can I link your blogg to mine? It´s that ok?

West Coast Island Gardener said...

Linda Luna

I would be honoured Linda.

Love the creativity of your ceramics and beautiful photos.

Philip Bewley said...

What a delicious treat this post is, as is all of your blog!
You have such a witty way of looking at the world. Each post is a long awaited surprise, like marzipan in a stocking!(Thank you for your comments, very appreciated)
Those pumpkins and those images!
Chihuly,sea anemones and I am reminded of Rafflesia, those huge flowers, only these are not stinky!
Not at all, and I enjoyed your pleasure of observing them from above their crevasse.
Just marvelous, and a wonderful way to start my day by reading Garden Brae!
Best regards,

My Mother's Garden said...

Another wonderful post!!!
I love the way you showed the similarities of the pumpkin flower to Chihuly art. I had always associated them with the anemones and am now delighted to see blooms too. And your carved pumpkin is amazing! I wonder what you will carve this year?
It is always a pleasure to visit your blog!
Have a beautiful day~

nefaeria said...

Absolutely gorgeous!

West Coast Island Gardener said...

Philip -

Again, you have expanded my world in wonderous ways - Rafflesia? Hmmm what could that be?

Only "Tenko", Raffles Hotel & Singapore Slings sprung to mind as I had not heard of that plant.
Had to investigate that stinky flower and had Google gander...

Fascinating, bizarre, queerly beautiful and it truly does look like it belongs under the sea.

"...the distinction of being the world’s largest flower, reaching a diameter of about three feet..."
I just know that tidbit of knowledge is bound to help me beat TV contestants on Final Jeopardy

...and lo what's this "...gets its name from Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of the British colony of Singapore"

I'll always think of this plant while Sling sippin'


* * *


The pleasure is truly likewise!

Still not sure and open to suggestions ..was thinking of Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins for a little carved pumpkin fun this year because I love '60's "Dark Shadows'.

* * *


Thank you for visiting and the lovely comment.

camellia said...

Who would have thought that pumpkin flowers could be so beautiful! Lovely pics!
Greetings from a fresh blotanicalist (or what IS the term? :-)

compost in my shoe said...

What a fantastic post....I love the comparisons with Chihuly's work. Was lucky enough a few years ago to visit his studio, the one with the art in the pool. Pumpkins are my favorite done them proud!

True Girl said...

Beautiful, beautiful photos! Thank you for sharing them. Lovely blog.

West Coast Island Gardener said...

- Swedish garden grump, fresh Blotanicalist, graphic designer living in horticultural harmony in England - all of them terms of intriguement.

I am delighted you popped by my blog!

* * *

Compost In My Shoe
-Lucky you to have been to Chihuly's art pad - as if living in Charleston isn't blessings enough!

* * *

True Girl
- Happy to meet you, thank you for such nice comments.

I see you like blue - my house is blue and my dog is, too. Your little pooch is adorable - I like her blue bow.

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H a P P y T h A n K S g I v i N g
to all you Canadians out there!

Lets all V O T E on Tuesday!

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Oh WOW! Thank you so much for leaving a comment at my blog--so that I could come here and find yours in return. That I couldn't wait to get to the next paragraph here says a lot... because I have typically rolled my eyes at all of the praise heaped upon Chihuly. But you make a very compelling case to counter my usual contention that he is overrated. :)

West Coast Island Gardener said...

Kim & Coco

From one eye-roller to another.
Thanks for the great comment. So glad you visited.

I expect the bull***t and hype of an artist is the major part of their body of work...and it often does turn out to be the only creative thing about it;)

Best Regards

Eden said...

Can´t find the words I want to say so WOW.....

James Golden said...

I see I'm very late. I love Dale Chihuly's work. Thanks for pointing out the similarity to your pumpkin flowers, vines and fruit. Last time I was in Seattle, he had so much work visible he was practically part of the natural landscape.

West Coast Island Gardener said...


I am so glad for your comment as it introduced me to your blog.

WOW upside down spells MOM. WOW I thrilled to see your posts about Ireland, my dear Mom is from Dublin.

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I can't imagine how you can pull yourself away from the majestic paradise you are creating at Federal Twist to do anything else but be in your garden.

Late is the overdue library books I took out on Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury.

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