Sunday, March 15, 2020

Gardens and Art--Ribbit the Exhibit

J.A. Cobb sculpture

Putting art displays in public gardens is trendy. It adds novelty to familiar vistas. I like both plants and art, but often it seems to me that the relationship between garden and art is strained. But I was delighted by J.A. Cobb's fanciful statues, "Ribbit the Exhibit" seen at the Mounts Botanical Garden of Palm Beach County, Florida.

Mounts Botanical Garden was a lovely place. It was broken into a series of gardens with different themes. I liked them very much. For example there was a butterfly garden, a native (Florida) plant garden, a vegetable garden

winged beans

winged beans
artichoke or close relative

And presiding over the vegetables, Cora the Gardening Frog
J.A. Cobb sculpture
Cora the Gardening Frog
The frogs were about 4' tall, the sculptures 7' high if the frogs were reaching.

Farther on we encountered Trevor trimming the hedge
J.A. Cobb sculpture
Trevor the Hedge Frog
And Diana, hunting
J.A. Cobb sculpture
Diana the Huntress
One of the gardens was a low wet area where they had built an interesting metal walkway. Florida's rains are seasonal (summer) and often the ground doesn't drain well, so temporary wetlands are common. Here they made the wet spot into a garden featuring semi-aquatic plants.

I was there in the dry season. The white sand will be under water in a few months.

And there in the rushes and reeds, a frog
J.A. Cobb sculpture
Zenny the Meditating Frog
(close up of her at top of this post)
Some of the little gardens were quite spectacular:

Other gardens showed me interesting plants, for example, stevia (also called sweet herb of Paraguay, Stevia rebaudiana)  the source of the sweetener stevia
stevia plant, Stevia rebaudiana
stevia plant, Stevia rebaudiana                                      
and a vanilla orchid (Vanilla planifolia) in full bloom 
vanilla orchid Vanilla planifera
vanilla orchid (Vanilla planifera)
Then beside the path, there was Jacques Emile Blanchet, Painter in Plein Aire, at his easel.

J.A. Cobb sculpture
Jacques Emile Blanchet, Frog and Plein Aire Painter
The garden had a sign

So I looked the direction Jacques was gazing and snapped the photo below, which I edited imagining Jacques was painting in the style of French impressionists.
garden photo
"Visiting the Garden"
What Jaccques might have been painting
One last frog, in the insect garden.

J.A. Cobb sculpture

Gardens--and life--benefit from whimsey!

Comments and corrections welcome.

Note: these are only some of the frogs in the Ribbit the Exhibit. See the exhibit through May 31 at Mounts Botanical Garden, check A. J. Cobb's website to see where it is after that. 

Kathy Keeler, A Wandering Botanist


  1. I am a member and a volunteer at Mounts Botanical Garden. There are 25 specialty gardens on the 14 acres. We call Mounts a "garden of gardens." And, yes, through 5/31/20 there are also 23 fanciful frog sculptures to enjoy. Thank you for this wonderful survey highlighting this gem of a botanical garden.

  2. You are lucky to volunteer there. Its a great place. I would have liked to have stayed all day.

  3. Hello and thanks so much for this wonderful review of your experience at the Garden! This is Melissa, the marketing manager. We're working remotely now and always looking for great pics to post on social media. Would it be OK if I posted your pic of what Jacques might be painting? I love it and will give photo credit of course!

    1. Yes, sure. Sorry you have to work remotely--I see the Garden is closed to visitors. I'm happy to contribute to promoting your lovely garden and to participation in art in this anxious time.You may certainly repost my silly photo.

  4. Thank you for your awesome page