Saturday, September 28, 2013

Part II - Mosaiculture - Montreal

And now for the second installment of our trip to the Mosaicultures Internationales at the Botanical Gardens in Montreal, Canada.  The day grew darker as it went on - but thankfully the rains held off.

As a P.S. to this post at the beginning - for whatever reason, the links to recipes on my BITE page are no longer active.  I'm not sure when or why this happened, but will try to address is as soon as I can - sorry about that!

While compiling pictures for this post, I realized that I should have planned on four posts of this event rather than three.  Please forgive how long this one is - some of the creations can simply not be shown with one photo - I think you will see why! Caption information for today's post, as well as last Wednesday's come from the signs alongside each display.

It often felt as though we were walking through an enchanted forest!

"The Boars of Sally Island" Sally Matthews created this display, using her love of animals as her inspiration. She desired to create and impart life and motion to her five boars using dead plant matter found on the site.

"The Boars of Sally Island"

"The Boars of Sally Island"

I'm sorry to say that I do not have the stories that accompany the photo above and the two below.  I have no doubt that they are grand!

"Hope and Odyssey" While not strictly a mosaiculture piece, this represents a new trend of so-called ecological works, made from organic materials and inspired by nature.

"The Uffington White Horse" With a length of 123 meters, the "White Horse of Uffington" stretches out below the ruins of Uffintgon Castle in Oxfordshire, England. A recent analysis of the actual structure puts its creation at about 1,000 B.C.

"Sharing the Riches of the Land" 

"Sharing the Riches of the Land"

"Born with the Sun" Here, father-bird pays tribute to the universe, while mother-bear sows seeds of Earth's future. They do this for their child, who will thereby remember his roots and grow up in harmony with all his kin.

"Mother Earth" A perfect example of how one photo simply cannot do it justice. Mother Earth, as named and celebrated by North America's First Nations - she is universal and transcends nationalities and ages.  She is the basis for everything: living beings, plant life, minerals, textiles, technology, food.

"We are part of the Earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters, the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers.  The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man, all belong to the same family."
"Mother Earth"

"Mother Earth"

"Mother Earth"

"Mother Earth"

"Swan Song" The swan represents Finland, the country's national bird. Evoking grace, elegance and beauty, the swan is also a symbol of the fragility of life on this planet.

"Butterfly" The first-ever figurative mosaiculture piece, this is credited to one Mr. Comesse, a gardener whose inspiration came from his drawing resembling a paint-by-numbers canvas.  It is comprised of 3,000 individual plants.


"Hands Up!" Borneo, with its great biodiversity, is home to 1,000 different animals species, including the orangutan. The word "orangutan" comes from the Malay and Indonesian languages meaning "man of the forest".

"Gorillas at Risk" In the southwest part of Uganda lives the only population of mountain gorillas in the world, with no more that 800 individuals.  They, along with all species and sub-species of gorillas are either endangered, or critically endangered.

"Practically Family" Chimpanzee populations are declining everywhere.  Thankfully, efforts have been made to reverse this.

"Ambassadors of Hope"The giant panda is perhaps the world's most powerful symbol of species conservation.

"One Small Bridge for Mankind, One Giant Leap for Biodiversity" Through cohabitation with the natural environment and their actions, humans generate an interrelationship between themselves and the surrounding nature to preserve the vital, yet fragile biodiversity of their environment and foster harmony among the various ecosystems.

"Gypsy or Gaia?"  Gypsy or Goddess of the Earth?


"Planting Plane Trees to Attract the Phoenix"  In Chinese legend, the Phoenix is the king of birds. People today still consider it the bearer of happiness and a symbol of peace and harmony.

"Small Clownfish and Anemone"

"Title Unknown - sorry!"

"The Bird Tree" This structure was more than six years in planning and creation, and weighs nearly 100 tons. It is just awesome - that's the best way for me to describe it!  The Bird Tree's branches transform themselves into 56 birds species, while its roots change into a Kakaps and six species of amphibians and reptiles. 

"The Bird Tree"

"The Bird Tree"

"The Bird Tree"

"The Bird Tree"

"The Bird Tree"

While I have a few more generic Botanical Garden pictures, I will end here.  Thanks for hanging on till the end of this post - I know it's long!  I have no idea when Mosiaculture will return to Montreal - it has been 10 years since it was here last!  I'm just so happy that we had the opportunity to see it!

On Wednesday I will share the shots of flowers - an amazing array for so late in the season!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Part I - Mosaiculture - Montreal

We have recently returned for a weekend with two of my sisters and their significant others.  First, we gathered at my sister Robin's home outside of Burlington, Vermont.  It's such a beautiful part of our country! The following day, we all drove up, over the Canadian border to the Quebec city of Montreal.  While I have been to Canada numerous times, I have never been to Montreal.  Seeing and hearing French everywhere was a wonderful experience!

The purpose of our trip was to visit the Mosaicultures Internationales at the Botanical Gardens.  Fortunately, the prediction of a 80% chance of rain never came to be!  I know that I use the word "amazing" a lot in this blog - and I promise to come up with some alternatives in the future - but for now - I'm just going to say that this trip was amazing!

"Mosaiculture is a refined horticultural art that involves creating and mounting living artworks made primarily from plants with colourful foliage (generally annuals, and occasionally perennials). The colourful two- and three-dimensional drawings, designs, sculptures and reliefs thus created employ a wide variety of flora. This multifaceted and complex discipline, an ornamental art, draws on numerous practices: on sculpture for its structure and volume, on painting for its palette, and on horticulture in its use of plants in a living, constantly changing environment. Mosaiculture should be distinguished from topiary, which features mostly shrubs pruned to create different shapes."
"The Man Who Planted Trees"
"The International Mosaiculture event is back in Montréal after a ten-year absence. Around 50 stunning works created by horticulturist-artists from 25 countries will be displayed at the Botanical Garden from June 22 to September 29, 2013.

These striking plant sculptures will line a spectacular 2.2 km path through the heart of the Botanical Garden. The Montréal Botanical Garden has been offering its millions of visitors an unforgettable experience for over 80 years. The mosaiculture sculptures will complement its vast collection of 22,000 plant species and cultivars, some thirty thematic outdoor gardens, cultural gardens, Tree House and 10 exhibition greenhouses."

I am going to divide our trip into three separate posts over the next week and a half.  The first two will be devoted to the sculptures, with the third covering the flowers that we saw along the way!

"All in a Row"  The lemurs of Madagascar - because of deforestation on the Island, nearly 90% of lemurs are faced with extinction.
"Water, Source of Life"  The work represents water's importance to man, flora, fauna, and the planet as a whole.

"The Living City" Representing Ville-Marie, the economic, tourism and cultural hub of Montreal.

"Coexistence" Symbolically represents the Korean city of Busan, which has made it a priority to maintain harmony between development and conservation.

"The Family Tree"  A tribute to family, which is the foundation of our society.

"The Man Who Planted Trees" It represents the positive impact that man can have on his environment.
"The Man Who Planted Trees" 
"The Man Who Planted Trees" 

"The Insect's Garden" More than one-third of the fruits and vegetables that we eat come from a pollenating event involving an animal - either an insect, bird or other.

"Fragile Frogs" As with all amphibians, frog populations are in decline all over the world.  Habitat destruction, chemical pollution, deteriorating ozone layer, as well as a disease caused by a fungus - all threaten the extinction of more than a third of the species.

"Fragile Frogs"

 "A True Story" This took place in China in the late 1980's. Xu Xu Juan, a girl born in a city in northern China, had loved red-crowned cranes since childhood.  After graduating, she travelled far to Yangcheng Nature Reserve to care for these cranes.  One day, when she tried to save an injured crane, she slipped into a swamp.  The crane was saved, but the girl never came up to the surface again.

 "A True Story"
"A True Story"

"Hachiko, the Loyal Dog"  Inspired by a true story, Haichiko belonged to Hidesabro Ueno, a professor.  He would accompany his master to the train station and wait patiently for his return each day.  One day, his master died at work.  Haichiko went on to wait for him at the train station for the next 10 years.

"Hamamatsu, City of Creativity:  Looking Forward to the Future Through a Symbiosis of Man and Nature"

"A Dove for Peace" This works depicts a dove, a recognizable symbol of peace. Each year, on August 6, the mayor of Hiroshima reads the Declaration of Peace and then thousands of doves are released, bearing wishes for peace to the heavens.

"Little Turtle Making the Sun" The turtle is a powerful symbol in Aboriginal culture: it is associated with the creation of the world.

 "Neat the City of Gold" This work depicts each aspect of bio-diversity through its use of mosses and lichens.  Abitibi, an area in northern Canada, has the largest acreage of vegetation in the country.

"In the City of Gold"

 "Guardians of the Island" - Easter Island

"Guardians of the Island"

Tune in Saturday for Part II of this fabulous trip!