Tag Archive: stone


Here’s the second  and concluding part of my picture gallery featuring the wonderful textures and artful effects of nature. The pictures were taken mainly at Calgary Bay on the Isle of Mull, Scotland.

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Old School Gardener

'Flight of the Swallow, via Ancient Art of Stone
‘Flight of the Swallow, via Ancient Art of Stone

moon gate

Old School Gardener

ancient art of stone

Pebble art wall by Ancient Art of Stone

I love land art. You can often see it in protected landscapes or the grounds of important buildings. Sometimes, more riskily, it can be found in the open landscape, where it can make a wonderful contribution to an overall scene, aid interpretation of a place or maybe even just define a space that would otherwise be unremarkable.

I feel this way about wind turbines- I know that having them placed up against your plot might be a pain. Their numbers, groupings and locations do need careful thought, but I think we should embrace them more as potentially positive additions to our landscape (as well as out at sea). Rather than try to ‘hide’ them by leaving them creamy white, why not make more of them as land art – a clever paint job or perhaps adding some whimsical ornamentation could actually make them something we look forward to seeing.

Coming back to earth, or rather back to the garden, what about land art in a more domestic setting?

In my opinion, a lot of ‘off the shelf’ garden sculptures and other ‘features’ are just plain dull and many others too sickly sweet or twee to be given house room- or should I say garden room. We also sometimes place small, insignificant items in our gardens which are out of proportion and are soon ‘lost’. We really ought to be thinking big(ger).

Well, enough of my Monday rant, here are a few examples of some superb pieces of land/garden art in stone. What do you think of them and what about more land art in gardens?

Old School Gardener

IMG_8062

The second garden visit on our last day in Portugal took us a little further towards the mouth of the River Tagus, but still within the town of Oeiras. The Gardens of the Palace of the Marquis of Pombal convey an even more prosperous feel and are altogether larger – almost a ‘landscape’ scale. It is easy to imagine these high baroque walks, lawns, borders and water features as the scene of some serious 18th century showing off, flirting and general fun. 

The 1st Marquis of Pombal
The 1st Marquis of Pombal

The Town Council now occupies the former palace. The Marquis of Pombal, one of Portugal’s most famous leaders, was rewarded with the palace, the title (and the title Count of Oeiras) for his service as first minister to the Portuguese King Dom Jose I in the mid- late 18th century. The surrounding gardens are typical of Portuguese landscape art, inspired by eighteenth century European designs but holding to the tradition of the Portuguese stately house. They are richly decorated with marble busts and statues, low walls and marble staircases along with many murals composed from azulejos (glazed tiles).

Here too is the Poets’ Waterfall, with excellent busts of the four epic poets (Tasso, Homer, Virgil and Camoes) looking out over the gardens and carved in marble by Machado de Castro. At the fountain’s centre lounges the figure of a ‘river god’ modelled on the one that existed at the Belvedere Gardens, in the Vatican, Rome. As in the garden we visited earlier at Caxias, the fountain is a fantastic structure made out of pitted stone which conveys a truly antique feel. There are also splendid views of the surrounding gardens from the stairs that wrap around the sides of the construction.

The gardens form one part of a wider estate which is planned to a rigourous geometry and divides recreation spaces, great gardens and surrounding farms, all reflecting the style of the well-to-do families of the age.  The gardens saw cultural events such as theatre, ballet and musical performances, a tradition kept up to the modern day (Roxy Music performed here in 2010!).  Here are some pictures of the formal gardens lying to the side of the Poets’ Fountain, with empty pools resting near to the remains of a ‘bousquet’ (a sort of woodland in miniature) and the wonderful (empty) pools and fountains of a large water garden with some beautiful glazed tiles that must look really vibrant when wet.

Related article:

Portuguese Gardens: Baroque Splendour at Caxias, Portugal

Old School Gardener

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Fire Pit image via Grow Veg

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PicPost: Fire Sculpture #1

Fire Pit image via Grow Veg

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