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  • Greg Graves

Art in the Garden

One of my favorite gardens in the area was the garden of Sharman Owings and Ross Brown. It was a 2 1/2 acre garden in Enumclaw WA. The garden was filled with nice specimen trees and shrubs from the early days of Heronswood Nursery. What really made it remarkable were the sculptures of Ross Brown.

Ross has been a sculptor for  more than 30 years. His primary skill is in metal casting. He works predominately in cast bronze but incorporates a variety of other materials into his pieces. Ross describes his work as ‘Future Primitive’. Ross has extensive experience in metal casting as well as cast cement and terrazzo. He has taught bronze casting at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle, and ran the foundry and welding shop for the University of Washington Art Department for eight years, Ross also taught bronze casting through Bellevue College continuing education program for several years. He is currently teaching art at BC. He is showing his sculpture in galleries in Santa Fe, NM and Palm Desert, CA. He has also shown his work in Seattle and New York.

About a year ago our good friends Sharman and Ross decided to down-size and bought a wonderful 1/2 acre property in Diamond Point  near Sequim. One of their dilemmas was, what to do with Ross’ extensive sculpture collection. Their new garden wouldn’t be big enough to house them all, most are not tiny pieces. They asked us if we would consider placing some of them in the garden here at Old Goat Farm. We thought about it for about two seconds and gladly agreed.

About two weeks ago they had the chance to recover the sculptures from the old garden but had just a small window of time to do it so we spent one day removing several and relocating them to the farm. Many had been in place so long, more than twenty years, that shrubs were growing through them. That’s where my botanical expertise came into play. We were able to cut, saw and prune to get them out and make it look like they had never been there. We spent the next morning removing more for Ross and Sharman to relocate to their new garden. 

I wasn’t sure how it would change the look of the garden, introducing more than a dozen sculptures at once. To my surprise the garden was able to accommodate them with plenty of room to spare. Most, instantly looked like they have been here forever. They seem very organic in nature so blend in well. This being kind of a collectors garden with way too many plants, the sculptures were able to ground everything. They bring structure to a bit of wildness. Quite a nice balance.

Now walking the garden feels like you are also in an art gallery. I can’t thank Ross enough for sharing his talent. I think the garden may also do them justice showing them off to their best. If you would like to check them out in person, Old Goat Farm will be open this coming weekend July 9th and 10th.

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