Sign up for our newsletter
Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
Northwest Flower and Garden Show 2012
Resonating Sounds of Nature — A Beat of a Different Drum
by Debbie Teashon
Anyone who spends time in nature knows how the stress melts away when surrounded by the sounds, smells, textures, sights, and tastes of nature. Heidi Skievaski, owner of Sublime Garden Design, created this display garden, which marches to the sound of a different beat. Her approach is to engage the five senses in the garden. Edible plants tucked into the landscape, textures made from cast shadows, simulated sounds of raindrops upon drums, fragrant flowers, and other delights tingle our minds, and relax our souls.
A melodious sound of water droplets falling on drums carry through the garden. The sounds remind me of my visit to the Rain Drum Courtyard of the Cedar River Watershed, east of Issaquah. Drops of water play on 21 drums in a native plant garden at the education center—a worthwhile visit for anyone living in or visiting our region. This watershed installation was part of the inspiration behind today’s display.
The sounds kept bringing me back to the garden in the Washington State Convention Center. From the steel backdrop for the fireplace to a large Douglas fir used in the arbor, many of the materials used in the garden were salvaged finds. The instruments by metal artist Steve Farris, were made from snare drums and salvaged steel strappings. Craig Penner, City Rain Sprinkler & Drip Specialist, explained to me how he utilized a computerized controller to run the program that turns on an electric water valve, which releases droplets to tap out a beat.
Penner admitted he didn’t know how to play the drums, so he engaged the help of Stefan Grunkemeier of Simply Rocks—a wholesale / retail rock yard. Stefan spends time drumming when he isn’t working with rocks on the job. You can literally and figuratively say he rocks! Craig set up the controller and Stefan worked out the beat we hear in the garden. The short video I took gives a small idea of how it works.