Garden Photo of the Day

A Seattle Sculpture Garden

Brilliantly colored glass livens up a dreary winter day

Jeanne Cronce had this to share:

“Hi GPODers! Here is a bit of color to brighten up your day! Seattle has a Chihuly exhibit which seemed to scream color! This was a wonderful relief from our dark and dreary days here in the pacific northwest. Enjoy!

I love these photos because, though most of us don’t have giant piles of glass sculpture to put in the garden, color combinations are universal. Looking at the way the colors of the glass and plants work together can give you ideas you can deploy in your own garden.

Bright orange sculptures echo the color of red trig dogwood (Cornus sericea, Zones 3 – 8) and New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax, Zones 9 – 11).

Garden sculpture doesn’t have to be bright to work. The subtle colors of these glass sphere complement a rich green fern perfectly.

Lavender pillars of glass contrast with the glowing red tones of a mahonia (Mahonia sp.).

The contrast between yellow glass and black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' Zones 6 – 9) is a lesson in garden design: Use dark leaves plants to make lighter colors like yellow pop.

Swan-like lavender glass sculptures among white ornamental kale (Brassica oleracea ‘Peacock White’).

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View Comments


  1. user-7007498 01/10/2018

    Hi, Jeanne. Thanks for the beautiful photos. I love Chihuly sculptures. The color and shape of the glass is so fascinating. I love how they always seem to pair the sculptures perfectly with plant material. The yellow sculpture with the black mondo grass is a perfect example.

    I love the Mahonia. What awesome fall color. I keep meaning to add one to my garden. Maybe this will be the year.

    Great day here in Harrisburg. It was the first day over 25 degrees since Christmas Eve. The sun was shining. I was ready to get into shorts, put on some sunscreen, and get out in the garden (the high was 39 degrees, but it felt fabulous),

    1. frankgreenhalgh 01/10/2018

      Crikey Kev. - shorts in 39F conditions?

      1. user-7007498 01/10/2018

        It was a crazy thought, but I didn’t follow thru on it. It did feel warm today, however.

    2. Chris_N 01/10/2018

      We hit 45 degrees and I saw lots of people here in shorts. I guess after you get used to 15 below, 45 becomes the new 60.

    3. greengenes 01/10/2018

      Hi Kevin, I have been seeing pictures and newscasts of your weather back there! Iam so sorry! So it is warming up, 25 degrees? Wow! At least the sun is shining! Yes, Mahonia is a wonderful plant and well worth hunting down for your gardens. The humming birds love their flowers too. Have a warm day!

  2. frankgreenhalgh 01/10/2018

    Wow, Jeanne - these look great - actually fantastic! Lovely colour combinations and integration with selected plants. Works a treat - thanks for sharing. Do large hailstones cause any damage to the ornamental glass in gardens? Cheers from Oz

    1. sheila_schultz 01/10/2018

      Frank, the Denver Botanic Gardens had a major Chihuly show a few years back and my first thought was how the fragile looking pieces could survive a major hailstorm that is common to the area. I was told that they are 'hail proof' and indeed they were! We had several hailstorms that summer and the delicate glass wasn't as delicate as it appeared!

    2. greengenes 01/10/2018

      Good morning Frank! these are fantastic for sure. There was so much more inside which was backed up with dark walls and the colors and forms just popped! We really dont have hail storms here too much but if we do the size isnt any thing to measure really.

  3. Jay_Sifford 01/10/2018

    I was enthralled when I was at that garden. Glass is such a magical medium, the way it absorbs, refracts and reflects light. My favorite was the purple spears with the decaying log and the mahonia. I kept returning to it. Now I've ordered some similar pieces for my sculpture garden. I have 7 more coming this week, but here's what I have currently.

    1. user-7007498 01/10/2018

      What great vertical elements, Jay. They look great when the dappled light hits them.

    2. User avater
      meander_michaele 01/10/2018

      Beautiful, Jay. Did you have an idea before ordering them where you wanted to situate them?

      1. Jay_Sifford 01/10/2018

        The purple and teal ones I did. The red and green ones kind of ended up here by accident. I had a client cancel an order so I placed them in the Japanese fern garden that is adjacent to the sculpture garden. I liked them so much that I ordered more!

    3. greengenes 01/10/2018

      Hi Jay, These are very nice! What a treat to have them around 24/7! Are you planting mahonia too? It would be great to see your sculpture area, well all of your gardens! Your glass echos the shapes of the wonderful trees!

      1. Jay_Sifford 01/10/2018

        Thanks Jeanne. I do have 'Winter Sun' mahonia planted near some of the glass. RE echoing the shapes, the sculpture garden is all about shapes... so glad it reads that way.

    4. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 01/10/2018

      I always enjoy seeing your garden, Jay, with your well placed artwork.

    5. Maggieat11 01/10/2018

      Very cool elements for your gardens! Please send more pics when you get your others placed. How exciting to add these sculptures to your garden!

    6. user-7008735 01/11/2018

      The way the light catches the tips of the lavender spikes makes them look like candles, Jay. Lovely!

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 01/10/2018

    Yowza, who needs a cup of strong coffee to shake off the sleepies. I feel positively electrified looking at these Chihuly creations. Your pictures are absolutely gorgeous, Jeanne ...what a thrill it must be to see these in person. I love the graceful shapes of the swan like ones and they have been placed in such an interactive if it really is a flock of birds taking some time on the ground.

    1. greengenes 01/10/2018

      Hi Michaele! So glad this brightened up your day! There was so much more and they have a building filled with massive displays against dark walls which made the colors and shapes really pop, almost floating like. They had pink flamingos against black and it was spectacular!

  5. tennisluv 01/10/2018

    Jeanne, Chihuly glass exhibits are always so amazing. The colors are so
    vibrant and the placement of the art in the Seattle exhibit is spot on;
    each one brings out the beauty of the glass work, the play of the sun on them, and the plants
    around them. Like Jay, my favorite is the purple spikes shooting up from the mahonia clothed in its winter orange. The deep purple glass shapes on the bottom right are almost otherworldly, like a small group of alien creatures investigating the beauty of our planet. Thanks for sharing such a pretty, bright spot to start the

    1. greengenes 01/10/2018

      You are very welcome Sonya! They are kind of alien arent they!

  6. cheryl_c 01/10/2018

    Crystal Bridges, a world class art museum with fabulous landscaping (leaning toward natives) in Bentonville, AR had a Chihuly exhibit this past summer and fall. After seeing the one in Seatle in 2016, I just had to see this one. No disappointment! The museum toolk a popular vote to purchase two - but not theses:

    Thanks, Jeanne, for prompting such wonderful memories!

    1. greengenes 01/10/2018

      Good morning Cheryl, Thats great you were able to see an exibit at another location. It certainly is not to be missed. So many amazing colors and forms. Wouldnt it be fun to be able to afford just one piece of his work! Your photos are great and love the last picture with them in the tree! It so echos nature!

      1. cheryl_c 01/11/2018

        Yes, that last one is titled Chandelier, and is different from any I have seen elsewhere. The whole display was in the woods and areas surrounding the art museum. So, you would walk a ways between each grouping - kinda like the idea for the museum, where each period is separated by a glass walkway (the so called Crystal Bridges) before you get to the next period. It is likened to taking a sip of water to cleanse the palate before starting your next course at a meal.

    2. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 01/10/2018

      Thanks for the photos, Cheryl. Love the glass balloons in the tree.

      1. cheryl_c 01/11/2018

        That was one of my favorites also - especially with the green ones on the ground at the base of the next tree. If I remember, this exhibit was titled "Chihuly in the woods" and was the first time his works had ever been installed in a wooded setting. Lots more walking than in Seattle, but fun to see the sculpts so far in advance and from several angles before coming up on them.

    3. User avater
      meander_michaele 01/10/2018

      Oooh, I totally agree with Linda and Jeanne...those unexpected balloons on the tree are sheer delight. I'm so glad you included that picture, Cheryl. The different sizes, shapes, colors and subtle textures are pure genius.

      1. cheryl_c 01/11/2018

        I tried several shots of this grouping, and finally got this with some cropping. I love the 'balloons' also, and the way the green and blue ones on the ground play with the native grasses in front of them.

        1. User avater
          meander_michaele 01/11/2018

          Yes, the green and blue ones are magical also...their quiet soothing colors are the yang to the more vibrant ying of the ones on the tree.

  7. Chris_N 01/10/2018

    These are very well situated. I've gotten kind of jaded on Chihuly. It seems every public garden has to have some. And there are many times I've seen pieces and they don't really add to the scene. They are just there saying "Oh, look, I'm a Chihuly!" These, however, are great. Thanks for cheering up a dreary (but at least not frigid) day!

    1. greengenes 01/10/2018

      Hi Chris! Yes his work seems to be everywhere. Iam not sure who decides where they are placed and how. It sure makes a difference where we place plants in our gardens too. Have you seen this exibit in Seattle?

  8. user-4691082 01/10/2018

    This was a treat this morning, Jeanne. Have you taken the cruise on the pamphlet? If so, how was it? I guess I’m not jaded yet by Chihuly because I’ve only seen them at the Philadelphia Flower Show, and the Bellagio in Las Vegas. I’m with Michaele on the swan ones- some of them remind me of Medusa!!!! I went to pick up my grand dogs this morning in my bathrobe and slippers. It is a balmy 25 degrees and ?! Look mommy, a crazy lady!!!!!

    1. greengenes 01/10/2018

      Good morning Rhonda, I didnt take any cruise. This is in Seattle, Wa. at the science center. That is great that you were able to see his work in other places!

  9. NCYarden 01/10/2018

    Fantastic! Awesome elements in the garden. Thanks for sharing, Jeanne.

    1. greengenes 01/10/2018

      You are so welcome NC Yarden!

  10. user-6815519 01/10/2018

    This is delightful.

    1. greengenes 01/10/2018

      You are so right, Beverly! They make you feel happy!

  11. sheila_schultz 01/10/2018

    Hey Jeanne... Laurel and I went to the sculpture garden the last time we were in Seattle for the NWF&GS. It is amazing and so thoughtfully presented. We loved it!

    1. greengenes 01/10/2018

      Hi Sheila! That is great that you were able to see these in Seattle. Iam not sure how often they change out the displays. There is a lot of glass floating around the world for sure! Do you see any glass art down in Mexico? Sure wish i was there right now!

      1. sheila_schultz 01/10/2018

        We haven't seen much glass art in our area, not that it isn't here. We're going to be heading back to the Puerta Vallarta B G soon when a friend is coming to visit... I'll be curious if there are any stray pieces there! I'm getting ready to pull out my camera again... so I'll be taking some pics. The PVBG is a garden unlike any I have seen before. You'd love it!
        Have a fun time at the NWF&GS if you go!

        1. greengenes 01/10/2018

          I can imagine that place! Been there years ago to sun but didnt know then of a bg! Iam sure its fantastic! Some day i will go back!

  12. perenniallycrazy 01/10/2018

    Thanks Jeanne. Love love love Chihuly Garden and Glass! Been there twice and would like to visit again.

    1. greengenes 01/10/2018

      Cherry my friend, Hi! Best wishes to you and your family! So glad you were able to see it! You have spent some time down here and experienced a lot of different places! Are you heading to the Garden show in Febuary?

  13. btucker9675 01/10/2018

    Several years ago, there was a Chihuly installation at the NY Botanical Gardens and it was extraordinary. Thanks for these beautiful photos!

    1. greengenes 01/10/2018

      Hi Beth, I can imagine the display for there! So wonderful you were able to visit it! I would love to travel there to see the gardens! Glad that you enjoyed these!

  14. greengenes 01/10/2018

    Youre welcome Diane! Hope it brightened up your day!

  15. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 01/10/2018

    Thanks, Jeanne, for sharing your trip to the Chihuly garden. As Chris said, we get a little jaded since so many people are now selling Chihuly style glass for the garden, but this is still a magical place and we’re lucky to have it so close to us. I especially like the purple in the mahonia.

  16. mhebb 01/10/2018

    Perfect post for snowy winter day in Syracuse. Thanks for sharing these, Jeanne. Love the colors and shapes in the garden.

  17. Maggieat11 01/10/2018

    What an interesting and fun exhibit to attend! I especially like the lavender "swans" with the white ornamental kale. Lovely! Thanks for sharing, Jeanne!

  18. [email protected] 01/10/2018

    Thanks for the pix. Have been to the gardens a couple of times recently- always fun to take visitors there. Also, in Atlanta BG several years ago, many Chihuly pieces were featured. Love them!

  19. user-5117752 01/10/2018

    SO FABULOUS!!! Word has it that there will be a Chihuly exhibit here in Asheville NC at the grand Biltmore Estate sometime this coming summer! Can't wait!!!

  20. user-7007140 01/10/2018

    Several years ago when visiting Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio (I live fairly close) my friend and I found that our visit coincided with the installation of the Chihuly exhibit. It was an education to watch the crews fixing together the huge frameworks for the enormous chandeliers etc. Every piece was numbered previous to fitting. We were mesmerized. Many of the pieces remained in the Conservatory so I get a kick out of seeing them quite often.
    I even attempted a painting to have a permanent reminder!
    Glass of many types finds a home here.
    Thank you Jeanne for bringing back a happy memory.

  21. user-7008735 01/11/2018

    Wonderful images, Jeanne! I love glass and Chihuly's work is beautiful and fantastical. The lavender pieces among the ornamental kale appear to be moving like the giant bull kelp that grows under water along the Pacific Coast, but I'm afraid the dark bulbous pieces below the lavender spikes with the Mahonia look too much like giant slugs. Our slugs get pretty big, but thankfully not THAT big! Thank you for sharing these images that cause our imaginations to fire, Jeanne.

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