Singing Ringing Tree

singing ringing treeHere’s an interesting sculpture from northwest England I’d love to emulate. It’s made of galvanized pipes, some of which are strategically placed to catch the wind and make intersting, droning music. You can hear it in the YouTube below.

Hat tip to Dark Roasted Blend for this one. Whenever I can’t digest any more words on the the screen, I turn to DRB for the most fun and compelling visual content on the ‘Net.

‘Miniature Landscapes’ – Fungal art at its best

Update [2/10/2008]: Nice article in the Cornell Chronicle this week featuring a picture of Kent at work with his borescope.

Marasmius rotula borescope photo by Kent LoefflerOn the way home from work today, I stopped by the new gallery in Mann Library for the opening of Miniature Landscapes, an extraordinary exhibit by Kent Loeffler, one of three photographers who have served the Department of Plant Pathology at Cornell over the last century, and Kathie Hodge, a faculty member in that department who blogs at the Cornell Mushroom Blog.

Kent is a treasure and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He toils all day shooting diseased leaves and other mundane subjects. But he’s a great artist and photographer who is as quick to share his expertise as he is to share his smile. If you’re in the neighborhood, you owe it to yourself to view these photos.

Marasmius rotula borescope photo by Kent LoefflerKent used a borescope to get right down into the the world of fungi. He describes it as “a bit like having a fisheye lens on the end of a stick.” You can see more examples of this technique and some of the technical details at his photo lab website. Kathie’s equally fascinating videos of growing fungi and decaying fruit are running on continuous loops on retro Macs in the center of the exhibit.

Some of my favorite work of Kent’s, though, are at the other end of the spectrum — his panoramas. (You can drag yourself around Minns Garden outside my office 360 degrees.) Many have graced the homepage and some 6-foot-long prints of his decorate the halls of the office where my wife works in Collegetown.

Many of Kent’s works are online, but scattered all over like the spores he’s often called on to shoot. Check out these:

Interesting note: If you google image search Kent’s name, you don’t get his great art. But you do get a great image we comissioned Kent to do of viburnum leaf beetle larva for our viburnum leaf beetle website.

Now what excuse can I think up to borrow Kent’s borescope?

Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa borescope photo by Kent Loeffler
Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa borescope photo by Kent Loeffler

Mudman plans

mudman pile and beaver pond

Careful observers may have noticed a big black blob in the background of images of the water garden. Above, you can see it behind the bench, echoing the beaver lodge in the background. (I take no credit for any intentionality in the echo. The beavers came after the pile.)

The pile is what came out of the ground when I built the water garden. I hesitated digging the garden for a long time because I didn’t know what to do with what I excavated. What little topsoil I have floats on top of sticky gray clay subsoil, better suited for making pots than growing plants.

But I decided to proceed with the water garden project when I saw these images somewhere. (Apologies that I don’t know who to credit. They came from two different sites and ended up in a folder I keep of design ideas and I lost the links to the websites.)



The pictures are from a garden somewhere in the British Isles. (If anyone can point me to the garden or additional images, I’d appreciate it.) It looks like the base is mostly moss with perhaps daylilies for the hair?

With mine — which I’ve dubbed ‘Mudman’ — I plan to make concrete or hypertufa nose, eyes and ears, and grow ornamental grasses in a ‘Mohawk’ hairdo over the center of the scalp.

Meantime, I’ve wrapped the bottom in leftover scraps of pond liner, and last summer I got a good deal from my friend Marguerite at MotherPlants on some seconds of green roof plants. From the looks of it, the creeping sedum is going to form the foundation of the planting, seeing how the plugs I put in have thrived so far. Some of the others are hanging in, and I’ll be looking for others that might provide contrasting colors. Any suggestions?