Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Courtyard Gardens at Grounds for Sculpture

On every visit to the Grounds for Sculpture I'm astonished by its beauty. Formerly a state fairgrounds, the place has several sterling Art Deco buildings. My favorite is the Domestic Arts Building, which is put to good use as the focus of several courtyard gardens.

Enigmatic sculpture

Spatial transition

Feel it?

Water garden

Hakonechloa macra

Conversation - or more?

Camperdown elm

Maple courtyard




and bambu

and bambu and maple


You can see many other photos of the visit here.


  1. Beautiful building. Some nice pieces,I particularly like numero uno, the enigmatic one.

    Hakonechloa macra would work well in your city garden?

    1. Yes, indeed. Hakonechloa macra was suggested by Thomas Rainer, but I haven't been able to find a ready source of the plain jane green version. Perhaps next spring, when I'll have to rip out the things I've put in as placeholders.

  2. Very cool! In a few of the shots, it looks like there is some mist hanging in the air...was that for dramatic effect...or were they just watering? Either DOES make it more atmospheric!

    1. They use misting machines rather profusely in several areas of the grounds and it's very effective. I wonder what kind of maintenance they require.

  3. James, you are concerned, I know, about America's direction. Looking here, though, I'd say you have nothing to fear. America is brave. This garden raises its head, as America does, against all the shadows of the past, with daring attitude.
    A beautiful place to be, here and now, and in the future. Who else but America can do this?
    I especially love the 'Enigmatic sculpture'.

    1. Faisal,

      To paraphrase Walt Whitman, we are large, we contain multitudes. However my feelings about this country are, at the moment, in the midst of a bitter election, less than comforting. But regardless of the rising proto-fascist movement, I hope we'll remain free to pursue the new and transformative. And there will always be the moments of brilliance, however dimmed by the times.

  4. I also like the Enigmatic sculpture and my brain saw a crucifix first, and could not shake that image. As far as Conversations go, they can be had on several different levels.

  5. a crucifix never entered my mind, but there's a lesson in the power and ambiguity of symbols. A lesson applicable to gardens too, I think. As for conversations, I see what you mean.

  6. I'm so sad I didn't travel even more within the US while there - now I'm not sure when I will return. I missed so many places I know I would have loved, like this. But at least I can tour through your beautiful photos; thanks, James.

  7. Thanks, Liisa. Now that you're in Shanghai, we get to see it through your eyes. I was just reading about the Quarry Gardens, which I'm sure you'll visit in coming months.

    1. Oops... Correction. I know you're in Singapore; the Quarry Garden is in Shanghai.

  8. I'm a first time visitor from DC. Where is this amazing garden? New Jersey? I will have to google it. The foliage / plants used are really stunning. As are some of the sculptures. The bronze figures under the canopy of that tree is really dramatic. I would love to visit this garden. Thanks for the introduction.

  9. Glad you enjoyed the gardens. This is the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ, just outside Trenton, NJ. I've shown only a tiny part of a very large (over 40 acres) sculpture garden. I had heard of it for years but always dismissed it as probably over rated. It's not. It's an extraordinary place.



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