Bench that became a sculpture

Mother Muse

There are times when I feel like I am being guided by unseen forces. To be more specific, I feel like I am being pushed along by Mother Muse, her large hand on my backside. I have this project form in my mind and it will not go away as long as she keeps patting me on the behind. This time it was to construct the largest focal point I have built to date.

All the materials were already here either in the garden or on the property; a plant here, a plant there, an unused container, that log we stumbled over for years. A word from my wife, a new way to see the old, and away Mother Muse and I went.

The bench that became a sculpture

The story

A friend saved a cedar log that fell across a driveway during a storm. He topped the log of branches and then sliced the log long ways, added hinges and created a bench. He gifted the bench to me and I was always going to have legs put on the bench, then get help moving it into the garden. One day my wife again looked at it and asked when, and if, I was ever going to moving it into the garden. I made my indistinct mumbling excuses and she remarked “why not just put it in the garden vertically and call it a sculpture?” She had unleashed Mother Muse upon me.

A tree died in the garden opening a perfect place to create a focal point using the cedar “sculpture.” I cut and removed the old tree, amended and worked the soil getting a new bed ready. It took two men, but the log was moved to the garden and I was ready to begin.

A foundation was created with a stepping stone, the log raised and settled on the stone with the halves opened and locked into place. Another stepping stone was placed on the base forming a shelf for a container. The location of the new bed was in the curve of a wet weather stream bed where I constructed a stone retaining wall.

Wood Sprite, Log Resident

Wood Sprite

Once the log was held open a wood sprite living within was exposed to the light of day and could no longer remain hidden. I will admit that, while it did take some convincing, the wood sprite agreed to remain on display becoming a part of my focal point.

Wood Sprites tend to be on narcissistic side and this one was no different. Once I realized and acted upon that realization, all I had to do was convince him of how many gardeners would walk by and admire him and his log.


The eastern side of the log is wooded hillside and gets little sun.  Only a narrow strip between the stone wall and foundation for the log provides room for two Arborvitae ferns (Selaginella braunii).

Coming around the upright log and following the ferns is a clump of Hakone grass (Hakonechloa m. Solar Flare). I had plenty of Hakone All Gold which is a favorite, but wanted to try the Solar Flare for the mahogany over gold coloring in the fall.

Aconitum, Monkshood seedling in garden

Following the Solar Flare mound is a stand of upright Monks Hood eventually reaching almost the height of the log. I had transplanted several seedlings from Barkers Variety scattered about in the garden that reliably provided late blooms of a rich blue.

The stand of Monks Hook was followed by another mound of gold Hakone grass. Now the front of the log and there is a mahogany colored square container in with a Praying Hands hosta brushing the chin of Wood Sprite.

Heuchera Red Lightening continues the gold color but adds a punch of red veins as it meets a dwarf hosta drift of Feather Boa, then more blue bloom is added with a drift of dwarf arching form of Monks Hood.

Gene’s book now available on

I am truly enjoying this project and looking forward to seeing it mature.

*Due to heat some plants have not yet been transplanted.

If you garden with limitations You are in my latest book.