What? Garden Art at a Sewage Plant!
Amazing Hidden Grotto In Waste Water Treatment System Park
People give me quirky looks when i sing the praises of a local wastewater park's public art. With each visit I find it more enthralling.
This is just a snippet of one of my favorite parts of the park. Below you'll fine my favorite photograph from the artwork, which comprises the lower grotto and the uppermost platform and stone brook.
This park is incorporated into the project of reclaiming runoff water from this urban area.
The mechanical part of the park pretreats the water and then it runs naturally through ponds and streams until it exits the park into a nearby river. Walking around inside and outside the park is a delight.
image credits: All photos are mine, unless otherwise credited.
Inviting Entrance to Wastewater Park - looking eastward
Walking along the sidewalks that border three sides of the park, even glancing eastward at just the right point, it is unlikely that anyone would imagine what might be found by taking the branch that leads away from the street. This is the view around the first bend, that maintains seclusion.
See the far end of the curving bench (below) at mid-right of this shot.
Curving Bench Hugs Enclosure Walls
Vision of Grotto Pavers Looking East - curving bench above is at the right side of the grotto floor
Refreshing Raised Fountains - on the right as you enter the grotto
There are fountains and pools on either side of the enclosing grotto, giving one a feeling of being surrounded by tiny waterfalls. The sounds encircle the visitor in muffles of water..
Looking Back Through the Grotto - looking westward
Once inside the grotto space I can't resist turning directly around to see the view behind me. The street is completely closed off from sight.
Imagine how warm and enfolded one feels when standing in the middle of the grotto. From this view we look back at the entrance, and see some of the benches and cave-like hollows with fountains on the north side of the grotto.
The space extends back behind the close barrier wall at the right front part of the picture. And on the left side it also expands to form a semi-curcular area, where the raised fountain sits. Some day I'll take my video camera and do a 360 degree shot.
Loveseat Sized Sofa - right side of grotto, past a raised fountain and pools
The artist managed to give the sofa a feeling of softness and warmth. She has draped a pebble afghan across the top of the back edge.l
The curving planter on the loveseat's left end holds a planter. You see only the outside of the arm, with the inside wrapping around like the actual curved upholstery of a living room sofa.
Mosaics Abound Everywhere
Curving mosaic motifs undulate through the grotto space. This is a photograph of the back walls of a bench, on the walls opposite the loveseat.
Sourcebook for Beautiful Mosaics
More and more homeowners are learning to incorporate mosaics in their yards. Do it too.
Top Entrance With Running Brook
The irregular brook is actually an illusion made of an open metal weave, but it sits over a freely running stream of water. It's thrilling to experience on a hot summer day.
Sentinels Surround Upper Paved Brook Entry
Tall stone pillars punctuate the borders of the stonework paving the top entrance.
Water Wetlands and Trails - in Waterworks Garden
Now it is impossible to see this vista because the trees and bushes have grown up to give the place a real feeling of wildness and spontaneity.
Plants such as those shown below color the landscape, and make the grounds dwelling spaces for a variety of fauna. The trail winds around two-thirds of the park, the other sides bordering on the mechanical side of the working reclamation project, a part of King County's Water Treatment facilities.
The Public Art creator is Seattle artist Lorna Jordan, in collaboration with Jones & Jones, the landscape architecture firm.
A Forest of Snake Grass
Memories of an Alaskan childhood come flooding back in whenever I see a patch of snake grass. This plant flourishes along the park's trails.
To me, this plant, with its warm embracing global forms, is a metaphor for the grotto
Let's Have some debate about Public Art.
Is public art a waste of time?
No, I like it even when I don't understand it.
This is a companion piece to the horse's hoof. I love the contrast of velvety soft new-growth green moss with ancient rusty iron.
Waterworks Remnant of Construction
To my mind this is a hoof of the mammoth horses used to construct this park of many pools and fountains. It sits alongside the path that runs on the east side of the complex.
Learn More About Waterworks Garden
Wastewater Park Poll
Did you like my tour of this Public Art Garden?
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