Posts Tagged ‘Handmade Gardens’

Michael Petrie Prepares a Garden for the Gods

February 6, 2012

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“Unusual” is a word with many implications, both good and bad. But when we talk about the Flower Show exhibits created by Michael Petrie, unusual is meant as the highest form of praise. Michael has exhibited at the Show for years, first for other nurseries, and more recently for his own landscape design company, Michael Petrie’s HANDMADE GARDENS.

With a background in art and horticulture, Michael has managed to make exhibits that are a cross between a garden and a museum installation. (See the slideshow above.) In the process he’s garnered a cache of “Best-in-Show/Landscape Design” trophies.

This year, however, Michael says he may well be facing his biggest Flower Show design challenge yet: an exhibit inspired by the Garden of the Gods on the Hawaiian island of Lanai.

Garden of the Gods? How difficult could that be, you ask, picturing lush vegetation, fragrant blossoms, and a beach fit for deities? But here’s the thing: there are next-to-no plants in the Garden of the Gods.  In fact, the Garden of the Gods is a high desert area with a strange, lunar-like landscape composed primarily of…rocks.

Who knew?

Legend says ancient gods created Garden of the Gods by dropping boulders from the sky while clearing their gardens. Another story states that two priests (kahuna), one from Lanai and one from Molokai, had a contest to see who could keep a fire burning longest, and the Lanai priest burned up all the vegetation in the area in the process.

So what kind of garden can Michael and HANDMADE GARDENS make out of this fantastic story and stark landscape? You’ll have to come to the Flower Show to find out.

Michael Petrie’s Approach to Garden Art

May 23, 2011

Who can forget Michael Petrie’s fabulous exhibit at the 2011 Flower Show? Known for his beautiful creations comprised of objets trouves (found objects), Petrie’s works are one-of-a-kind and blur the line between trash and treasure.

You can see his affinity for found objects at Michael Petrie’s Handmade Gardens, located in Downingtown, PA. You can also learn more about his aesthetic approach in this article.

As he says, “Art is put into a garden because you have a connection to it. Garden art should have soul. It should have personality. You can’t just go out and buy stuff and plunk it in your yard.” Read the article, and check out past blogs on this renaissance garden artist!

Monet Meets Handmade Gardens

March 12, 2011

This exhibit from Michael Petrie’s Handmade Gardens (320 W. Uwchlan Ave., Downingtown, PA 19335) is inspired by the “Water Lilies” paintings of Claude Monet, Impressionist works that are almost abstract murals of light and color.

A layout of crossed paths and boxwood-lined beds act as a frame for large painted canvases that lay on the ground like diaphanous veils of color. The installation includes paintings on scrim that mimic how a garden softly changes in the light throughout the day.

Since they say an image is worth 1,000 words, we’ll let the photos of Paris’s artistic side to the talking.

Take a Green Tour at the Flower Show

February 7, 2010

PNC's green wall in Pittsburgh.

The Philadelphia International Flower Show is an opportunity to learn how to protect the environment and play a part in sustaining its natural resources.

As principal fundraiser for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the Flower Show generates $1 million in revenues for its nationally renowned urban revitalization program, Philadelphia Green.

Visitors can learn about some of Philadelphia Green’s key initiatives, such as its entrepreneurial City Harvest effort, at the PHS Village display. City Harvest is a partnership with the prison system, community gardeners and food cupboard operators dedicated to ensuring fresh produce for under-served communities and nurturing urban agriculture in the region.

PNC Bank, the Presenting Sponsor of the 2010 Philadelphia International Flower Show, will express its environmental message with a 16-foot-high by 20-foot-wide “living wall” of plants and recycled materials.


Michael Petrie Loves Bamboo

January 5, 2010

Kyoto Bamboo

Fifteen years ago Michael Petrie planted black bamboo behind his Swarthmore home.

Today, the 20-foot-tall plants not only create a nice mass of shade and dramatic backdrop, but they also  make a wonderful sound in the wind and rain.

“There is a bit of a stigma attached to bamboo in American gardening,” said Petrie, owner of Michael Petrie’s HANDMADE GARDENS in Chester County. “In other parts of the globe, bamboo is used as lumber, flooring and paper. It’s really an under-utilized resource in the western world.”

Bamboo requires persistent maintenance so it may not be for everyone, but  good old-fashioned green bamboo will be the front and center of his exhibit, “Bamboo” at the 2010 Philadelphia International Flower Show, “Passport to the World.”

The Painted Tree

“We’re doing a bamboo grove. There will be plenty of surprises,” he said. (more…)

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