Organic Sculptures by Steve Tobin at the Houston Botanic Garden

Organic Sculptures by Steve Tobin at the Houston Botanic Garden

February 22, 2023

Once I fled to Houston through the aftermath of the Austin ice storm in early February, I paid a household go to to Houston Botanical Garden. Even in Houston’s Zone 9, winter has not spared palms, grasses and lots of different vegetation. Nonetheless, an artwork exhibition by Steve Tobin referred to as Tangled: Exploring Nature’s Websalong with the refined winter fantastic thing about the backyard, excellent for a pleasing stroll.


Tobin’s Clouds sequence was my favourite of the exhibition. Mirrored metal capsules on plinths float on the yellowed grass, reflecting the blue sky and cottony clouds.

Seen from the entrance, it takes on anthropomorphic qualities. I see a human determine on its abdomen, with its head within the foreground, mendacity on the grass and searching up on the sky.

dry backyard

Whereas we’re within the dry backyard, let’s take a second to understand the grass in its winter yellow hue, with horn-like cholla past.

Golden barrel cacti including some winter colour

Wheeler Sotol, yucca rostrataprickly pear and huge blue agave perched like mermaids on the rocks – a stunning quantity of desert backyard goodness in swampy Houston!

Among the prickly pears crumbled from that chilly spell in December, however they’re going to be high-quality. Frozen palms? Unsure about that, however I hope so.

Many bristly spherical vegetation

Another salute to Wheeler’s sotol

An oval pond, with unhappy palm bushes

bronze roots

One in every of Steve Tobin bronze roots sculptures add tentacle vibes to the dry backyard.

One other makes a rooted focus within the culinary backyard. It’s underplanted with minty Aztec grass (or variegated liriope) and red-flowered bromeliads for an echo of colour.

culinary backyard

The mint-green water wall of the culinary backyard, with water-loving papyrus rising on the base

Alongside the again of the wall, painted pink, fruit bushes are strewn throughout a bamboo grid. Within the raised beds, the lettuces look able to be become salads.


a monumental steelrootsone other of Tobin’s sculptures, seems to bounce on the garden on the finish of a driveway.

shadow arcade

It wasn’t significantly sizzling on this early February day, however I all the time respect the House Age design of the lengthy shadow arcade. Inexperienced planted pockets within the creamy stone wall.

Fern Ming and ‘Mushy Caress’ mahonia make a textural pairing.

another view

The butterfly vine exhibits off its butterfly-shaped pods.


Within the backyard, one Youngster Tobin’s sculpture has the standard of a globe, making a enjoyable selfie.


Tobin’s Twisties provides colourful, vertical doodles to an open garden. The black-stained construction is a hands-on, exploratory place for youths referred to as the cupboard of curiosities.

cupboard of curiosities

Inside, minimize grass, low vegetation and seashells supply a tactile nature expertise for kids.

In one other closet we discovered animal bones, horns and even a tiny framed bat.

Many fascinating gadgets to select up and look at


Tobin’s Syntax sculpture—1000’s of metallic letters embedded in a vortexing orb—caught my consideration.

The verdigris letters appear to spin within the vortex.

What’s he attempting to say – or spell?

What an fascinating physique of labor! Steve Tobin’s Intertwined Exhibition on the Houston Botanic Backyard runs by means of August 13.

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going deeper

Come study backyard design with the consultants at backyard spark! I personally host talking engagements with inspiring designers, panorama architects, and authors a number of occasions a 12 months in Austin. These are restricted attendance occasions that promote out rapidly, so ensure to enroll in the Backyard Spark e mail record to be notified prematurely. Simply click on on this hyperlink and ask to be added. You’ll find this 12 months’s lineup of audio system right here.

Make plans to attend Sale and festival of sprouting plants on March 18 at John Fairey Backyard in Hempstead, Texas. Uncommon and distinctive vegetation will probably be supplied, in addition to artwork, ceramics, jewellery, meals, drink, music and different leisure for the entire household. Members have early entry and might be a part of without spending a dime. Admission for non-members prices R$5. Youngsters as much as 12 years previous are free.

strive the Surreal Garden at Zilker Botanical Garden, a fascinating neon artwork show all through the gardens, that includes foods and drinks, music and dancing, surreal performers and interactive artwork sculptures. Surreal fantasies inspired! 25% of occasion proceeds profit the Zilker Botanical Backyard Conservancy. It takes place on April 6 (VIP Night time), April 7-8 and April 13-15, from 6:30 pm to 11:00 pm.

All materials © 2023 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized copy prohibited.

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