CORNWALL GARDENS: SCULPTURE IN A WOODLAND SETTING
PUBLISHED: 12:41 22 June 2015 | UPDATED: 13:03 30 August 2017
Sculptor Peter Boex creates a woodland wonder in his garden near Helston and Redruth in Cornwall
Gardens make a great backdrop to sculpture but artist Peter Boex has gone a step further, carving imposing artworks from the trees in his woodlands, writes LOUISE DANKS
Art in the garden should be thought-provoking, exciting and deeply personal. In the hamlet of Trenear, between Helston and Redruth a woodland sculpture garden is signposted by a girl waving a flag in each hand. She is made of wood and has been created by sculptor and owner of the garden Peter Boex. The sculpture at Selena Stamps can’t get more personal as it’s all been created by Peter.
Working predominantly in wood, Peter has created a number of large sculptures which are displayed throughout this long, narrow valley garden; each with its own story. Carved from huge chunks of wood, usually sections of tree trunk, the sculptures are imposing and beautiful.
The garden is woodland in style with many trees and gentle clearings which lend themselves perfectly to display Peter’s work. Mature shrub beds now stand where Peter spent time removing dense thickets of blackthorn and hawthorn, allowing rhododendron, buddleia and acers to provide botanical punctuations throughout the space.
A stream running the length of this long and relatively narrow garden gives a further dimension to the garden in the form of a sound track and inspiration for Peter. There is a perfectly placed shoal of wooden fish leaping and twisting out of the water. One sculpture, Celtic Flow, is deliberately placed near the banks of the stream to allow the sound of running water to add to the experience; a further example of how sculpture and its surroundings can work in harmony.
A circular labyrinth with it’s narrow gravel paths set into the largest flat space of lawn in the garden forces the curious among its visitors to walk an astonishing 144 metres in order to reach the centre.
Head further down the valley to where an intriguing building beckons. This hut is a feat of engineering entirely crafted by Peter featuring a dry-stone wall base and conical shingled roof and the sculpted wooden shrimp that sits on top. It’s a sculpture you can enter.
Closer to the house is the most productive part of the garden and where Peter’s wife, Yvonne, can most often be found. A bespoke polytunnel is crammed full of delicious crops and an enviable array of wall-trained stone and soft fruit. The peaches are swelling nicely and promise a good yield and the vine is covered in flowers which will develop into heavy, succulent bunches of fruit. Her beds of tomatoes, salad and garlic show what can be achieved - even in a small polytunnel.
High up behind the house, Yvonne has tended huge beds of soft fruit and an orchard. When asked if the precious fruit is netted to keep the birds away, she says we share’. There appears to be plenty to go around.
Sculpture in any garden is affected by changes in light throughout the day and the seasons; it is also affected by the surrounding vegetation evolving, growing and obscuring or defoliating and revealing. The reflection of strong-coloured leaves or flowers can be picked up in the sculpture depending on the material used. Even the sculpture itself can change depending on what it is made of. Many of Peter’s pieces at Selena Stamp are wooden and as a result are weathering and cracking, sporting lichen and mossy growths that are as unpredictable as they are fascinating to watch. An excuse, if one was needed, for a return visit to enjoy the changes.
You’ll leave Selena Stamps having seen how effective bold artistic choices can be in a garden - and perhaps some new-found confidence in choosing sculpture for your own garden.
Peter and Yvonne Boex
Salena Stamps, Trenear
Helston TR13 0ER