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Note: Over the next few weeks, we will bring you updates on the progress of the Patrick Dougherty stick sculpture installation at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. We are calling this 3 week transformation of the Anderson Meadow  a “Meadowmorphosis.” We will celebrate the completion of the fantasy-like structure with a naming ceremony at Spring Fling on May 22nd. When the work is complete, you will be able to walk through it and peek out openings. The sculpture will be part of the Garden’s landscape as long as Nature allows, so look forward to enjoying it with seasonal changes (and even lighted at GardenFest!)  To get an idea of the type of structure he is building, take a look at some photos of Patrick Dougherty’s other work.

by Randee Humphrey, Director of Education, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Day 3: The final day of harvesting

Volunteers loading the Sticks in the Davey Tree Expert Truck 

 

 

Volunteers loading the Sticks in the Davey Tree Expert Truck

 

 

Volunteer Hugh Rooney
Volunteer Hugh Rooney

I can’t even begin to describe the many moments of harvesting heroism during this morning’s downpour: let’s just say that Mother Nature did not dampen the spirits of the stalwart Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden volunteers working with artist-in-residence Patrick Dougherty and Andy Lynch at Boxwood Farm in Hanover County.  Soaked through their clothes, weighted down by wet boots, and handling huge bundles of heavy sweet gum sticks with clammy, clumsy gloves, our harvest crew continued to tromp through the brush, cut stick after stick, bundling them and lifting them onto the Davey Tree dump truck (with driver William Paige’s steady hands packing them down in the truck). By the end of the morning, we had filled that big truck and all piled into the Groome Transportation van to reconnoiter at the Garden, dry out, and warm up for the afternoon assignment. The drenched but still smiling volunteers were Hugh Rooney, Ralph Ashton, Gary Savage, Tim Rhea, Lisa Watts, Chris Corsello, Tom Riddle, Jay Greiner, Lydia Frost, and Catherine Tyler, working alongside Patrick, Andy, Hanover Department of Forestry staffers Dave Terwilliger and Kathleen Ogilvy, our Groome van driver Grady Chavis, and myself. Hugh even thoughtfully brought a pop-up tent so we had brief opportunities to seek shelter from the rain. After a lunch break at the Garden, we headed back to Hanover to take advantage of the afternoon sun. Even after the extreme conditions in the morning, Hugh, Tim, and Gary continued to work, joined by Joe Terry, Polly Anderson and staffer Laura Lee Folman.  By 4 p.m. the (possibly) last dump truck load of saplings was hauled to the Garden and added to the growing Stick Mountain at the rear of the Anderson Meadow. See the attached image—it might explain where Shane Tippett was last seen! So, after four dump truck loads and one massive tractor trailer load delivered to the Garden, tomorrow the fun begins again bright and early down in the Meadow—once the site is mowed (that couldn’t happen today because of the rain), Patrick and Andy will begin to layout the design, and the auger will be put to use to drill the post holes for the biggest saplings that form the structural outline. Stay tuned!

Shane Tippet, the Garden's Director of Finance, assisting with the unloading of sticks.

Shane Tippet, the Garden's Director of Finance, assisting with the unloading of sticks.

Day 4: The Start of the Build

A quick summary of the day’s progress & events with a few photographs & a quick video clip:

 

Patrick Dougherty and Andy Lynch arrive on site with a proposed concept for the sculpture The Anderson Meadow gets mowed early in the morning by TruGreen.

Patrick Dougherty places the first few sticks of the sculpture.

Patrick Dougherty places the first few sticks of the sculpture.

Volunteers get a quick lesson in stripping leaves from saplings

Volunteers get a quick lesson in stripping leaves from saplings. Around 100+ saplings are stripped of leaves by volunteer “strippers.”

By 4:30 p.m., every posthole is cradling at least one towering “pier”

By 4:30 p.m., every posthole is cradling at least one towering “pier”

Randee and Patrick retreat to solve some auger and scaffolding issues

Patrick returns to the Meadow, sees its revealed topography and revises his drawing slightly with a special gummy adhesive offered by Andy.
With long lengths of power cords and spray paint, Patrick and able assistants measure and mark the outline of the sculpture.
Survey flags are placed where the post holes will be.

1 “Groundhog” auger + Andy + three volunteers (including VCU Art Ed students Erin and Justin) = 76 holes in two hours

1 “Groundhog” auger + Andy + three volunteers (including VCU Art Ed students Erin and Justin) = 76 holes in two hours

All in a day's work. The structure starts to take form, and confused visitors ask why we are planting trees that have no roots.

All in a day's work. The structure starts to take form, and confused visitors ask why we are planting trees that have no roots.

Confused mockingbirds and robins perch in naked saplings, wondering “what’s next?!”

 

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One Response to “Pick up Sticks — Like You’ve Never Seen it Before!”

  1. Cathy Tyler says:

    Great summary of the Meadowmorphosis, week one! A pleasure to review such a large exhausting effort from the comfort of my recliner. Thanks!

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