Jul 212013
 
TILT garden at The Fork
A summer 2013 public exhibition of contemporary art and garden installations

This is the time of year when many Manitoba gardeners cut blossoms for floral arrangements and begin to harvest early vegetables. However, gardens of a entirely different sort are on display in downtown Winnipeg this summer.
Cool Gardens is a public exhibition of six contemporary garden and art installations featuring cutting edge designs. It is presented by StorefrontMB and The Forks. This past week I headed downtown to see the gardens.
100 Elms
 
100 Elms
100 Elms
 
100 Elms by SCATLIFF+MILLER+MURRAY pays homage to the pioneers who planted elms throughout the city. It occupies the boulevard in front of the Fort Garry Hotel, which celebrates its centennial this year. At the end of the exhibition, the trees will be transplanted in locations yet to be determined, to live for the next 100 years. 
 
100 Elms
100 Elms
 
 
Cool Dot
 
Cool Dot
Cool Dot
 
Cool Dot by Ewa Tarsia, a collection of orbs sculpted from grass, represents the resiliency and tenacity of nature, thriving in a world of concrete, steel, and glass. It can be found on the Forks walkway directly behind Union Station, between the two parking lots. I’m not sure how I feel about this garden. I kept thinking about piles of cuttings raked up, ready to be discarded.
 
 
A couple of "dots" in Cool Dot
A couple of “dots” in Cool Dot
 
Beachscape
 
Beachscape
Beachscape
 
Beachscapeby SPMB transforms one of the stepped platforms at the Forks into an urban beach, opening up a pocket for rest and laziness in an otherwise busy and crowded landscape. When I was there, adults rested in the chairs, and children played in the sand.
 
 
Beachscape
Beachscape
 
 
Blue Stick Garden
"Sticks" in the Blue Stick Garden
“Sticks” in the Blue Stick Garden
Blue Stick Garden by CLAUDE CORMIER + ASSOCIÉS debuted in 2000 at the first edition of the Métis International Garden Festival in Quebec. It is an abstraction of the Victorian garden, with its precision and shock of colour, drawn from the hues of the Himalayan Blue Poppy.
I had difficulty finding this garden and asked for directions at the Forks tourist centre. The fellow I talked to said others had been asking too. Staff set out to find it and never did. He suggested I look around; maybe it had been set up since their search. I found it in front of the Variety Heritage Adventure Playground, but it was only partially constructed. There were wheelbarrows and tools on site, but no one working.
I love the peacefulness of blues in a garden and continually search for new blues to add to my perennial garden. I didn’t find the blue in Blue Stick Garden particularly peaceful. Perhaps I need to visit once the garden is fully set up.
 
 
Blue Stick Garden, in progress
Blue Stick Garden, in progress
 
 
TILT
TILT
TILT
 
TILTby ATLRG, at the Forks near the Esplanade Riel pedestrian bridge, is my personal favourite of the Cool Gardens. Finding roots in the formal geometries of the labyrinth and Manitoba camping traditions, it is designed to evoke memories of long summer days. The bright yellow structures, set up amid the greenery of the Forks, seemed cheerful and sunny. Two women sat under the shade of one of the “shelters” with a cooler and watched their sons ride scooters in the area around the garden.
 
 
TILT
TILT
 
 
Carrousel
 
Carrousel
Carrousel
 
Carrousel by BGL is on the grounds of La Maison Des Artistes at 219 Provencher Avenue. It features a handmade carousel constructed of recycled crowd barriers and metal fences attached to an old lamppost. Old shopping carts are hung as seats. A group of teen-aged girls jumped off the carrousel as I neared the structure. As they left the grounds, I heard them say, “That was fun.”
 
 
Carrousel
Carrousel
 
 
Cool Gardens are on display until September 21, 2013.
 
Have you seen the Cool Gardens? What did you think? 
 
 
 

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