Flourish at Ladew Topiary Gardens
While exploring Ladew Topiary Garden’s 22 acres of gardens and the historic Manor House, sculptor-in-residence, Laura Amussen found herself reminded of Mother Nature’s unwieldy propensity to consume abandoned or unattended structures and objects. In the Oval Library, a single sprig of ivy creeps through a grate on the floor. Visible through the window—just beyond the threshold—the ivy blankets the ground. Its presence threatening to overtake the inlaid drop-leaf gaming table and side chairs before making its way to the oval partner’s desk. One can easily imagine—if given time—the ivy swallowing these interior relics whole, as Mother Nature creates topiaries of Her own. Amussen’s piece Checkmate brings this playful fantasy to life. Artificial ivy spreads across the floor and over the furniture, leaving visible only traces of the structures beneath.
Taking cues from the ivy infiltrating the Oval Library, but also inspired by the follys, gardens, and topiaries found in Ladew’s gardens, Oval Library Topiary Folly, delightfully brings the inside out, a merger of both landscape and architecture. A large oval gazebo provides the framework for this structure, as again artificial ivy and flowers overtake the building. Most of these artificial flowers were bought second-hand, a deliberate choice by the artist. By using artificial plastic plant material Amussen hopes to draw attention to our worlds ecological concerns regarding plastic consumption and pollution.
Inspired by the abundance of seedpods that blanket Ladew’s Wildflower Meadow, Amussen renders the seed larger than life and draws parallels between nature and femininity, in her piece, Embedded in the seed is the blossom waiting to unfold.