Mobile and mobility

I didn’t know I needed a red mobile in my garden.

Susan Cohan came to visit on a recent Saturday. She saw a sign for exhibits of local sculptors. We were passing John McDivit’s place on River Road and and Susan suggested we stop to take a look.


I was intrigued. I’ve had a circle of red logs in my garden for several years (love the red against the greens of the garden). We talked. I emailed John from North Carolina last week to ask about the durability of the steel and finish (very durable) and how to hang the mobile from high in the trees. We both agreed we don’t climb trees. 


So still in North Carolina, I emailed Bruce Gangewar, who owns a fabulous nursery and garden design business–Paxson Hill Farm–just across the Delaware in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Bruce said, “Sure, Jim. No problem.”


It did take several hours to get the cable in place, time for Bruce return to Paxson Hill to get a 15-foot step ladder.


While he was away, Randy Harris, a photographer for the New York Times, arrived to shoot the garden for an article to appear on Thursday of this week. Randy’s a great guy, funny, fully ready to recount his many adventures with grizzly bears and other wild men.




After he finished his work, we all set out on the terrace, had cups of powerful coffee–it was a beautiful, cool, breezy day– and talked for about an hour as the sun dropped toward the horizon and the shadows grew long.


Then today, I spiffed up the garden for a group of 17 from the Williams Township Garden Club in Easton, Pennsylvania. Another beautiful day, and I think everyone enjoyed visiting the garden.

All this just the start of a very busy week … Thursday, 35  visitors arrive from the Master Gardeners of Mercer County in the Princeton area, then Saturday the Garden Conservancy Open Days tour will take place from 10 am to 4 pm. Last summer we had over 200 visitors.

I don’t know what to expect this time. I think I’m the only garden open in New Jersey or eastern Pennsylvania, and it’s getting late for garden tours (something I don’t understand; it’s the perfect time of year to see gardens). But the Times article may bring a flush of unexpected people.

I certainly wouldn’t mind a touch of frost one night this week, a quick shock of cold to bring on more autumn colors.

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19 thoughts on “Mobile and mobility

  1. James- I agree the red look stunning against the green foliage and the mobile suspended in air really makes the place more magical if that’s possible! Look forward to the article in the Times. Don

    1. It really blends in silently and, as it turns in the breeze, disappears entirely at times (when the red circles are seen on edge). It also suggests new ideas for planting beneath it.

  2. So happy to have been the catalyst of this wonderful addition to your garden. Art are gardens are completely sympatico and the mobile not only will add a counterpoint of color and form to what you have, but will also add another layer of movement and vertical interest. BRAVO for getting it!

  3. They look amazing. I have never really been one for art in the garden until I visited gardens in San francisco back in July and was completely won over.

  4. The red is a powerful statement. Well done! It looks amazing. I believe one has to be cautious about art in the garden ( as I wrote about on ofgardens when I put a sculpture in my garden) but here is nothing cautious about your red mobile and it looks amazing

  5. Jim,

    I saw the article on your place yesterday in the NYT and really enjoyed it. I have always had wild-looking gardens, not on purpose, and have seen some beauty in them when others didn’t. Your garden gives me hope that maybe my plot of weeds can someday turn into something.

    Jeff Marcin
    Issaquah, WA

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