Going to the NW Flower & Garden Show yesterday recharged my gardening batteries. Inspiration was everywhere, but mostly in the people I met and those I reconnected with. Landscapers, horticulturists, welders, sculptors, painters–artists all, whose ingenuity and skillful craft lit my fire for spring and for my own creative process.
So many artistic mediums spoke to me as I took in the garden vignettes and vendor booths but one of the most intriguing expressions came from the show garden done by West Seattle Nursery. Cleverly called “Birds Do It…Bees Do It” (the overall show theme is Romance Blossoms), the garden focuses on welcoming our winged friends and features several charming insect hotels.
For many years I have been drawn to these functional works of art meant to provide habitat for beneficial insects and spiders. Fashioned from reclaimed materials, twigs, rocks and whatever strikes the creator’s fancy, insect hotels are a mass of tiny, protective nooks and crannies. The tenants are encouraged to deliver pollination services and natural pest control. The garden display’s insect hotels were imbedded in a rock wall, garden steps and mounted on a tool shed.
Magazines and blogs of late have shown incredibly beautiful insect hotels, both diminutive and massive, as the concept has become more popular. I saw at least one nursery selling them at the show. Most of these art installations play on the contrast between hard and soft materials such as clay roofing tiles and moss, or difference in scale, as between bundles of thread-like twigs wedged next to slices of wood with age-telling rings. Pattern repetition plays in, along with surprising repurposing of materials. What a wholesome and exciting trend: art as habitat.
©Colleen Miko, 2015