A garden makes the perfect venue for sculpture. Think of the Wurtzberger and Levi sculpture gardens at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Think of the Hirshhorn in Washington, D.C.
Besides being lush settings for sculpture, gardens themselves often have sculpturesque qualities. Such is the case of the world-class garden of Jean and Sidney Silber. Ten acres of gardens in Baltimore County flow around the Silbers’ house to create a well-integrated, gigantic piece of organic sculpture.
Sidney Silber is an engineer turned commercial real estate developer turned sculptor/artist. His keen eye for design has informed the overall design of the garden and the artistic juxtaposition of plants that create a harmonious flow of texture and color.
Several of his own sculptures are strategically placed on lawns or in spots among the roses or the trillium, boxwood and perennial begonias. Many others, including those by Maryland artists Mary Ann Mears, Ruben Kramer and Freda Sohn appear along the many paths that wind through the gardens. Then there is a nude the Silbers found in Paris, one who looks as if she has just bathed in the fishpond by the rose garden.
The plants themselves have sculpturesque qualities. Hostas do, of course. Also Japanese maples, of which the Silbers have several dozen cultivars, and outstanding varieties of mature rhododendrons, unusual hydrangeas, numerous varieties of boxwoods (globular and columnar), more than a dozen statuesque Stewardias, not to mention all the weeping forms, including a weeping Alaskan cedar that stands near an antique French garden bench painted blue.
If well placed, garden furniture adds a sculptural touch. And at the Silbers’ even discarded pots and old garden implements hung on a toolshed look like garden sculpture.