Archives for the month of: September, 2013

I was walking around the village park and noticed how pretty the hedgerows are this time of year. The colors are more muted and subtle than the reds and yellows of the Maples.

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Here the purple Asters are growing wild and I’ve seen similar plants in local gardens.

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The Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis paniculata) climbs up all sorts of trees and shrubs, it may ‘appear’ in back yards too, probably from a seed dispersed by birds. By mid September the white flowers have fluffy see heads. In England we call this vine ‘Old Man’s Beard’.

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Who doesn’t love  the ‘Black-Eyed Susan’ (Rudbeckia Hirta)? They are so charming and bloom for about a month, then the yellow Goldfinches visit to eat the seed. This variety grows about a foot tall but I’ve seen them in my friend Robin’s garden growing to five feet tall – spectacular!

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In addition to flowers there a plenty of berries, these red ones are from the Spicebush (Lindera Benzoin) which is host to the Spicebush Swallowtail  butterfly. The leaves and berries have a peppery aroma.

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This is the Gray Dogwood (Cornus Racemosa) – it’s white berries are food for wildlife.

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This huge clump of five foot tall sunflowers is growing along the edge of the road. Tricky taking pictures because every time a car goes past the flowers sway a least a foot. These clear blue skies are typical of the Fall climate here in the Hudson Valley (unless it’s foggy of course!). What are your favorite fall flowers? Leave a comment I’d love to hear from you.

 Click here for another blogger’s take on Asters

Want to know what the Spicebush Swallowtale butterfly looks like? Check out this post (a caterpillar tale)


Ally, the daughter of sculptor Nick contacted Chronogram Magazine and the result was a reception at Rock Star Meadow hosted by Chronogram and KMOCA where people could see the monumental sculpture for the first time. The sculpture is the result of a collaboration between two artists, Nick and Estelle, whilst a third contributor is Lorraine who selected the plant material.

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Mount Tobias is in the backdrop for this ceramic sculpture of a man cradling a bird. Nick greatly admires Irish Cairns and this influence is noticeable  in the stone pedestal.  (Cairns are piles or stacks of stones erected as memorials or markers built from pre-history to the present day).

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Beyond the sculpture is a row of walls. The design gives a sense of colorful vines and flowers, the balls on top represent the flower stamens.

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The overlapping arrangement adds depth.  Nick and Estelle used stucco on the surface and this was a new technique for them.

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As they built the walls, they became aware of the lovely shadows as the light changed.

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To the left  is a stepped wall which includes different elements; brick, stone, mosaic and ceramic. Another of Nick’s passions is Minoan architecture from Crete which has influenced the design of the stepped wall.

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This is a detail of the arch above the doorway which includes a mosaic design of birds.

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Detail from the doorway shows the rich colors and textures of the glass tiles and marbles.

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The rear side of the stepped wall is different from the front, a little more somber.

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Nick explained that when he and Estelle produced the ceramic sculpture, stucco walls and brick wall, they used different construction techniques. This is because they want to challenge themselves by always trying something new.


This Summer thanks to my good friend Liz, I was lucky enough to attend the first open day of an environmental sculpture that has been 20 years in the making. Constructed by two artists Estelle and Nick, who kindly provided some background information.

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This river-stone wall was the first piece built. To Nick, the act of building is important – as is finding the stones and falling in love with the individual stones. Nick is Invited to quarry through a neighbor’s construction site or to visit a stream bed on the property where each stone is individually chosen.

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Within the wall there are windows and niches for sculpture (made by Nick and Estelle).

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At the end of the wall, the Catskill mountains are visible behind the lonely angel.

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This stone pillar stands near the center of the four-acre plot, behind it are two rows of stucco walls representing flowers.

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The second item built was the stone garden. The original design was for two separate stone enclosures each containing a sculptural form, as the building progressed Nick and Estelle realized the enclosures could be connected to make a garden.

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After a long search for the ‘right’ style, the artists located this fountain in California. Here it is, placed on pea gravel in the center of one of the garden ‘rooms’.

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Both Nick and Estelle continue to use new creative approaches and methods when constructing their sculpture. After experiencing some issues with ceramics (cracks and explosions during firing in the kiln) Nick turned to carving. The bust above is a portrait of his granddaughter fashioned from Carrara marble, set within a niche in a garden wall, isn’t it beautiful? I love the sense of stillness.

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Throughout the gardens, on top of walls and in niches, are planters containing hardy geraniums, potentilla and coreopsis. The planters are above eye-level so we see the sunlight streaming through the translucent flowers and foliage. Nick’s wife, Lorraine is responsible for the gardening and certainly has a ‘great eye’.

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This is the first of several posts about the beautiful structures of Rock Star Meadow, more to follow next Thursday. If you enjoyed this post, click the ‘Like’ button!

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