Cool Gardens Really Grow On You

In case you missed the handful of articles about it earlier this year – like I did – there’s “a public exhibition of contemporary garden and art installations” called Cool Gardens happening around downtown. (Okay, mostly just at the Forks.) As a fan of both downtown and free art who just figured out all these projects are related, I wanted to give kudos and share my impressions of Cool Gardens 2014.

Blue Stick Garden

Cool Gardens officially kicked off earlier this month but I’m pretty sure Blue Stick Garden has been around a lot longer than that. It actually took me a while to realize that it was part of Cool Gardens, even when I had a map of the installations. It’s absolutely worth taking a walk through and goes to show you that a simple concept can create a weirdly compelling and slightly mind-bending installation.

Taking in the Beachscape.

Taking in the Beachscape.


This is the installation that made me realize Cool Gardens was a thing that was happening. It’s basically an urban beach at the Forks and it’s a great use of waterfront space which I could see becoming a permanent fixture at the Forks. It seems like the best realization of the Cool Gardens concept and I might just take my beach blanket down there before the summer is over.

Zipper Sticks

This may not be in downtown but it’s part of the Cool Gardens project so we checked it out. It’s located at la Maison des Artists Visuels Francophones and, as of the time of writing, it has unfortunately fallen into disrepair. When it was first installed, made from slats of wood held together by blue zippers, it looked like a neat wavy fence. Still, it’s worth heading out to St. B just to check out the sculpture garden.

The view from TILT.

The view from TILT.


I’d seen this one several times while walking over the bridge and I was always bothered by the contrary direction in which a random one of the yellow structures was always pointing. Once I took a closer look and realized that the playful yellow tents could be tilted in either direction for a ready-made bit of shade no matter what time of day it is, I immediately gave the tents a symmetrical orientation and loved the practical, interactive and fun elements of this installation.

Cool Dots

These cute spheres of sod reminded me of little worlds whenever I walked by. They’re so reminiscent of living beings that they have gotten a little shaggy on top and could use a haircut now, but it is a very interesting shape to see grass take.

Anyway, Cool Gardens runs until Sept. 28 and if you needed another reason to take a walk around the Forks you should track down as many as you can share your opinions in the comments or on Twitter.


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This entry was posted on August 20, 2014 by in Parks and Recreation.


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August 2014
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