History Gallery

Athens Messenger Sat., June 10, 2006
blue.sky.plant (36K)
Messenger photo by John Halley
Lisa Agriesti, of Thyme and Again Gardening, plants flowers near a new sculpture in the traffic island on East State Street, near Bob Evan's restaurant.
Garden Art |
 Organizations install
 sculpture in median
By Megan Tackett
Special to The Messenger

Gardening meets art in the traffic island garden on East State Street, near Bob Evan's restaurant in Athens.

In the median, a sculpture made entirely of recycled bicycle parts stands tall. In the near future, planted mandevilla Red Velvet, a tropical vine that produces large red flowers, will overtake the bicycle parts.

Two local landscaping organizations, Thyme and Again Gardening and Project Plant, take responsibility for the care of the garden.

"I had originally sketched something out," said Christina Deshaies, regarding the sculpture. Deshaies is the owner of Thyme and Again. She then took her sketch to her friend and coworker, Joey Boyle, to "take ot and run with it" because of his experience in welding, she said.

Many of the Time and Again group share somethingin common beyond their love of plants -- bicycling. Both Deshaies and Boyle are members of the Athens Bicycle Club.

Initially, the idea for the State Street garden was to install a bicycle for the plants to grow around, Boyle said. But with so many junk bikes lying around (Boyle is also a bicycle mechanic), he decided it would be "cool to use bikes to make a flower,: he said.

Keeping with the organization's goals of keeping Athens beautiful, the piece also will "hopefully bring a smile to some faces," Deshaies said.

There in one smile in particular that Deshaies said she hopes will appreciate the piece. A friend of the group was recently diagnosed with cancer, and so the piece was designed with him in mind, she said.

"He's a big cyclist," Deshaies said.

The sculpture has caught the attention of passersby.

"I think it's awesome," said Athens resident Mitch Endick, adding that he particularly liked that recycled items were used to make the sculpture.

Describing the piece as "nifty" and "interesting," 19-year-old Lacie Barnett said she watched the building process from the parking lot of Bob Evans restaurant, where she works as a hostess.

"I just don't know what it means," she said with a smile.

When turning the sketch into a sculpture, Boyle said, he "really wanted it to look like a flower, almost as if they (the bicycle parts) were actually planted there."

How does he feel about the end result?

"I really feel good about it. I think they look really great in place," he said about his first "actual piece of art."

The piece will stay in place for a year, as Thyme and Again changes the theme of the garden every year.

"It was kind of fun this year," Deshaies said.

Thyme and Again is a landscaping business that Project Plant, a non-profit organization committed to the beautification of the city, began contracting with in 1998.

Last year, Project Plant celebrated its 20th anniversary.

The traffic island on East State is one of those commitments, and this sculpture is the first of its kind in the garden.

"I was proud of this silly town," Endick said about his first impression of the piece. "Finally, something whimsical."



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You can join in the gardening that helps make Athens such a remarkable place
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Project Plant, P. O. Box 5676, Athens OH 45701.


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