Putting personality into found objects.
What is a garden without garden art?
Sculptor and garden designer/horticulturalist Jill Nooney is accomplished in both worlds. Her canvas is her own expansive garden called Bedrock Gardens in Lee and her medium is recycled metals, most reclaimed from a long-forgotten function in an obsolete industry. Both take re-visioning of the current state — a barren landscape can become lush, a discard can become precious. As she says, “When you have a lifelong interest in something, it gives you a long time to get good at it — to see what is possible.”
Nooney’s sculptures vary from arbors to animals to her current obsession with metal people. Mixing the metals with other found objects, Nooney has given a whimsical persona to her creatures with a placement of a knob or the somehow anatomically correct curve of an arm with a wrench. As individual as their components, the “metal folk” are filled with personality that surpasses the sum of their parts. Some have found their place in the garden and more are in the photo gallery on her Web site with help from her husband, Bob Munger.
The garden started, like most, as a hobby and a private sanctuary adjacent to the couple’s home. Almost 30 years later their property, filled with unique specimens and curious hardscapes punctuated with Nooney’s pieces, has become a destination open by appointment to garden clubs and the public on specific dates. Next open house
(bedrockgardens.org) is May 22.
— Susan Laughlin