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Garden Photo of the Day

A 3D Celebration of Garden Art in Canada

By: Kim Charles

Nova Scotia Fisherman

Maria Fleming gives us a glimpse into the art of the MosaÏculture event that is currently taking place in Ottawa.

"Canada is celebrating their 150th birthday this year and one of the events is called MosaiCanada. It takes place in Ottawa and will run until mid-October. The 3-dimensional plant art celebrates the different provinces and important figures or events in Canada's history. China gifted 2 installations as well and shows their talent in the 'mosaïculture' art form. Every morning gardeners come in and water, replace and sculpt where needed. One photo shows the process of a metal frame which is the art shape, filled with growth medium and a drip hose. Some pieces have a plastic frame holding the plant plugs, or landscape cloth is used to cover the metal frame and is then punctured with a dibbler to make the hole for the plant."

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Mother Earth

China's gift: Joyful celebration of the nine lions

Algonquin birchbark canoe

Remembrance Day poppy

The Prospector, Yukon

Train 374–The first train to the west coast in 1887.


Wisakedjak and the creation of the world

Sample of the framework and internals

View Comments


  1. frankgreenhalgh 09/28/2017

    Hi Maria - The plant art work is absolutely amazing. Thank you so much for showing us the fabulous creations - they are all outstanding. Cheers from Oz

    1. Quiltingmamma 09/28/2017

      You are welcome Frank. I was trying to remember if Australia participated in the international exhibit I attended in Montreal 3 years ago. I don't recall. So not sure Oz has embraced the mosaiculture opportunities yet. One would think with the exotics at hand, it could be a new garden art form - though heat and intensive maintenance might be too much of an investment.

  2. user-6881358 09/28/2017

    Beautiful!! Thank you for sharing.

  3. tennisluv 09/28/2017

    Maria, thank you for sharing photos of the 3-dimensional plant art celebrating the Canadian provinces and important figures or events in your history. The Atlanta Botanical Gardens did a similar display several years ago that was fascinating (Butterflies, giant cobras, shaggy dogs, romping rabbits, and Earth Goddess). I was amazed at what could be done with plants. Your descriptions and last photo of how it is done explains a lot. The Earth Goddess mosaiiculture overlooking a fountain is permanently maintained at ABG. I'm going to try to attach a picture of her.

    1. Quiltingmamma 09/28/2017

      Thanks Sonya, 'your' mother earth is lovely. I posted photos here 3 years ago from an international Mosaiculture installation in Montreal. They didn't have a demo piece, so I appreciated seeing how they worked it all and knew my GPOD peeps would like to see that.
      I understand there are a few permanent pieces in the U.S. Certainly having them in botanical gardens allows them to have proper maintenance. This MosaiCanada installation is in a public park which makes me think that once it closes it is all gone. People are signing a petition to have it return every year, but as it is free, I can't see how it would be financially feasible.

    2. user-6536305 09/28/2017

      Very cool. Thanks for sharing!

  4. User avater
    meander1 (Michaele ) 09/28/2017

    WOW, YOWZA, KABOOM, KABANG! HOLY COW, BATMAN (Maria) these are so amazing!! I love their majesty and storytelling...truly remarkable. Happy 150th Birthday to our exceptional neighbor, Canada!!

    1. Quiltingmamma 09/28/2017

      Thanks Meander1.

  5. User avater
    treasuresmom 09/28/2017

    Wowzer!!!!! Just amazing!

  6. Chris N 09/28/2017

    Amazing was the first thought I had and I see I'm not alone. Thanks for sharing these.Nicely photographed as well.

    1. Quiltingmamma 09/28/2017

      Thanks Chris. I was trying out my new to me 30 zoom point and shoot. Also kept the image size large for good viewing. Evening lighting helped.

  7. user-7008920 09/28/2017

    Fantastic, amazing, no words to adequately describe how spectacular this is. The Mother Earth exhibit is my favourite, so moving, brings tears to my eyes...

    1. Quiltingmamma 09/28/2017

      Toni, you aren't alone. Everyone seems to love Mother Earth. This is only about 60% of the display for her too. There is another section with horses and more deer, but difficult to photo well. Though the grasses for the horses' manes is fantastic! Of special interest was the comment that as well as having to refresh the plants frequently, the challenge is also to keep the 'facial' expressions on the pieces. As a gardener, I bet that was a satisfying undertaking.
      If these ever come your way, do make a point of visiting.

  8. user-4691082 09/28/2017

    I can't even comprehend all of this Maria! My favorite is the Chinese one. I WI

    1. Quiltingmamma 09/28/2017

      There were 2 from China - both fabulous and extremely detailed. Lighting decided which to include :-) I expect there are Google images of this event one can drool over too. Glad you enjoyed it.

  9. Cheryl A 09/28/2017

    Maria, what a mind-bending way to start the day! In the past I'd seen other photos of this type of artistry, but never the number and intricacy that you have sent. The motion of the lobster fisherman piece, with the ocean swells is captivating, but I also love the lions with their fierce and fanciful manes the most. Thanks so much for your great photography, and happy 150th to our long time friend and neighbor!

    1. Quiltingmamma 09/28/2017

      Thanks Cheryl. It is all amazing. I appreciate that Kim included so many. I had to send over several emails and I think she has picked the best.

  10. Dvngardener 09/28/2017

    Maria I loved seeing this. Thank you for sharing this, you saved me the trip!

    1. Quiltingmamma 09/28/2017

      Hi Lily, you really should try to make the trip. This is only about 20% of the installations and you can't grasp the size and individual components as well in photos.

  11. user-6536305 09/28/2017

    Beautiful and meaningful! Thanks for sharing! I was wondering what type of plants that assembled the Remembrance Day poppy?

    1. Quiltingmamma 09/28/2017

      Lilian, I honestly have no idea. I don't 'do' houseplants or exotics, and I think many of these would be considered exotics for Canada - but I might be wrong. All the plants in that poppy are similar with fine texture and planted close together to create that velvet effect. If you researched terrarium plants, you might find something similar. I keep thinking it had a sort of juniper texture rather than an irish moss texture.
      I actually might have taken a close up of that display, now that I think of it. When I am back home, I'll check and post it here.

  12. user-7008353 09/28/2017

    These displays are so amazing and creative. I love them.

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  15. edithdouglas 09/28/2017

    Amazing! We live in Canada, and it's the first I've heard of this! Thanks so much for posting, or would have missed it altogether.

  16. Schatzi 09/28/2017

    Wow! Absolutely amazing!

  17. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 09/28/2017

    Thanks so much for sharing these. Amazing. I think the nine lions piece is one of coolest use of the 'dead' sedges ever!

    1. Quiltingmamma 09/28/2017

      Tim, did you notice the dead sedges on the Prospector's beard? And I think it is also used but trimmed on the muskrat (only see it's back end, but you can see the trimming). Horse manes are also often this 'dead' sedge....and it looks great!

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 09/28/2017

        I did notice those, although I didn't notice the Carex in the prospector's steam. Those red, orange and brown sedges are one of those plants that don't photograph well. It wasn't until I saw a couple of great photos with really eye-popping combinations that I considered trying them. Now I love them, although only have two that have been successful. I have a couple of young Carex 'Red Rooster' and the color really doesn't get captured in photos, but in person: wow. The other day I noticed how they became even more vibrant wet. They may look dead in photos, but used well-coolio!

  18. Sheila_Schultz 09/28/2017

    To be able to see the ongoing gift of this incredible creativity with plants and sculptural artistry continues to blow my mind. We were fortunate to see a MosaÏculture installation in Toronto at least 15 years ago... probably longer truth be told. It boggled my mind then and even more so now. The details are beyond extraordinary. I'm now wondering if the competitive beauty of MosaÏculture only exists in Canada? Thanks so much for giving me the chance to see the 2017 installation!

  19. swindiana 09/28/2017

    So COOOOOOOOOOOOOL! Thanks for sharing!

  20. user-7008735 09/28/2017

    Very cool, Maria! The City of Burnaby, BC, assembled a carousel pony a few years ago that was graceful and lovely. These plant mosaic sculptures take a lot of work, but are such fun to see. Thank you for sharing!

  21. user-7007498 09/29/2017

    Maria, I sure wish I could see this in person, but your pictures are fabulous. I love them all, but am especially drawn to the one from China. Are they all in one location, or are they spread around Ottawa? Thanks for sharing.

    1. Quiltingmamma 09/29/2017

      Kevin, they are all in one area in a large city park. Attendance is free and the city has put on some shuttle services because parking is limited and expensive. It is meant to be temporary for this year - as clearly it won't over-winter, but they did have a petition at the exit asking for this to be annually presented. As I mentioned to Sonya that it might not be feasible, as being in a public park, there is not maintenance budget. They are sprouting up in a variety of botanical gardens and there are global events. Google 'mosaiculture' for more information.
      It was nice to have China offer 2 displays and they are beautiful, but I am torn, as this was meant to celebrate Canada, and they somewhat overshadow the adjacent displays. They do represent good wishes, however.

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