John Tan and Raymond Toh of Malaysia SINGAPORE took top honors in the Show Garden Division yesterday winning both the Gold and Best of Show awards. They ecstatically accepted their awards in front of the Huis Ten Bosch Palace at an elaborately staged event complete with orchestral fanfares much like the Oscars.
Their exhibit, “Timeless Tropical – Peace with Nature”, featured a rusted metal pathway and fence leading to a petal-like seating pavilion within lush sweeps of orchids, peace lilies and sansiveria.
Leon Kluge of South Africa took the Gold in the Home Garden Division for “Breaking Free”. He’s shown here sharing the honor with his construction foreman and family.
Leon’s conceptual exhibit depicted the time period shortly before the release of Nelson Mandela from prison.
The red carpet night was filled with black tuxes, gorgeous kimonos and exquisitely served delicacies .
Capped the evening with a ear-thumping fireworks/laser show over the canal.
Prejudging took place under rainy skies this morning. This year’s judges (from left, Pascal Garbe, Drew Becher and Bob Sweet) along with note takers and umbrella holders questioned each designer and then sent them off while they discussed their creations. “A Prayer for World Peace through Gardens and Flowers” was this year’s theme — fitting for this green oasis so near Nagasaki.
The expected post typhoon clearing was not in the stars today. Rain fell heavily and made garden photography nearly impossible. Rather then sip tea at the hotel, a few of us ventured out towards nearby Sasebo a twenty minute train ride, searching for a taste of real Japan.
Once there, we aimed for the old city perusing fruit markets and fish stands trying to decipher menus. Found this gent feeding his costumed ferret at a busy intersection of alleys. We both tried for conversation but didn’t get far.
My first day here at the Gardening World Cup and the display gardens are well underway. Designers from South Africa, New Zealand, France, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, U.K. and the U.S. are franticly raising walls, moving mulch and planting trees with local crews. While Typhoon Danis didn’t rip anything apart, it did delay some installations and they will be working through the night getting ready for the judging tomorrow. There’s also a team of Ikebana experts filling the Hotel Europe (where I’m staying) with over the top arrangements. The back drop for all this is Huis Ten Bosch, a Dutch inspired theme park that is so far beyond description, it deserves a post of it’s own – maybe later this week.
Leaving tomorrow to cover the Gardening World Cup outside Nagasaki. Hope to see some traditional gardens and temples in the area too. I’ll be there for about a week and will post on FB and other social media. Gotta get packing!
Way before the movie Hugo, I’ve been fascinated by those mechanical arcade gypsies who moved, blinked and delivered a fortune when you dropped a coin in the slot. I fell upon a treasure trove of them this week along with ancient pinballs, hand cranked animated stereographs and creaky orchestrions in the Musee Mechanique by Fisherman’s Wharf. My inner ten year old was in heaven…
My reward for finishing the taxes was a day trip to NYC to see the AIPAD show. The Association of International Photography Art Dealers annual show brings together dealers, collectors and just plain lovers of fine photography at the romantic (and slightly dilapidated) Armory at 67th and Park. Seventy galleries display hundreds of gorgeous prints from all the masters — Kertesz, Adams, Cartier Bresson, Weston, Avedon, Mapplethorpe – I came to pay homage and to be stimulated. I was especially taken by the Robert Bergman series from his trips out west in the late 80′s. Armed only with a 35mm film camera, a fast lens and an enviable ability to get very close to his subjects, he created these emotionally charged portraits of some of life’s less fortunate travelers.
Roseville Cottages, Truro, Joel Meterowitz 1976
I studied with Joel Meyerowitz last spring and admire both his street and landscape work (two very opposite disciplines that I also embrace) but I’ve never seen one of his prints at this scale. I think it’s from his seminal Cape Light book which I remember pouring over in a store unable to buy it as a college student. Working with a view camera and available light, his landscapes from this period are brilliantly profound and artfully nuanced — masterpieces that still yield a salty air of serenity even 35 years later.
Kafue National Park, Zambia, (Elephant), Sebastiao Salgado 2010
Salgado is mostly known for his haunting social documentaries of third world workers and displaced populations. His powerful images pull back the veneer of a world economy that often depends on exploited peoples in hard surroundings. His more recent work focuses on endangered wildlife and ecosystems. This timeless elephant portrait (only $14,000!) leaves me breathless.
Several works from Broken Manual, Alec Soth
Finally, Alec Soth, an artist who finds rich narratives in the everyday. Every picture asks a dozen questions and his style is fluid and unpretentious. His Sleeping by the Mississippi portraits from a decade ago were so powerful and unnerving that I never thought he could go much further or deeper. But he has. The show runs through this Sunday and is the best $25 ticket you’ll ever spend.
I’m here on Cape Cod just about to speak to the local chapter of the American Rhododendron Society. Been inhaling so much wonderful salt air and filling my toes with soft, soft sand. Here’s a snap from Skaket Beach last night. Using my little Canon G10 for a change. Still too many buttons to work with and there’s also a slight lag time between press and click. But it sure beats hauling my D3s!