Opening today in the gardens of Cheekwood in Nashville is a whimsical new exhibit called Trains! Tennessee in G. Members got to take a sneak peak last evening. It is marvelous! A definite must-see for spring/summer 2011.
The Model Railroad Garden is the creation of Paul Busse who has numerous installations in both private and public spaces including the New York Botanical Garden, the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Composed primarily of organic material, you will find models of nineteen Tennessee landmarks including the State Capital, Franklin’s Carter House, the cantilevered barn from Cades Cove, the Parthenon, Graceland, and, most appropriately, the Casey Jones house.
Seven different trains ride the rails which go over and around you, through tunnels, across soaring trestle bridges, and past over 2500 tiny trees, shrubs, groundcovers and flowering plants in 250 varieties. I enjoyed spotting cars I recognized from my girlhood when we would be held captive by a train on our way to church. Children were excited to see Thomas in command of one of the trains. I am told Percy is there as well, though he was out of humor last night. The little Lady Bug train is strictly whimsy. We loved her, especially when her lights came on later in the evening.
The exhibit lights up at night. You will have several opportunities this summer to visit in the evening. I highly recommend it. The whole garden takes on a different aspect by moonlight.
While you are there, be sure to visit the mansion and see the Modern Masters Exhibit, on loan from the Smithsonian. Pictured below is one of our family favorites from the installation. Also, if you have never seen the delicate loveliness of the Faberge collecion, you must go soon. After five years at Cheekwood, the collection will be moving on to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York On June 5th. Special events over the next few weeks will give them a fitting send-off.
Finally, anytime is a good time to visit the gardens at Cheekwood. Each season brings its own peculiar gifts. The air is heady just now with the scent of violets and fragrant snowballs. The peony-like blossoms of Angelique tulips nod on impossibly delicate stems. Slender branches of redbuds are singing their swan song just as pagoda like dogwoods flaunt glorious effusions of pink and white. Children can’t seem to keep their feet and hands out of the many ponds and creeks. And the Japanese garden weaves such a spell that everyone seems to feel the need to whisper.
Treat yourself to a bit of beauty and whimsy. It will feed your soul.
*Final photograph in the post taken by Joshua.
**Also, on an artistic note, WordPress and I are somewhat at odds this morning. I can not get the vertically oriented pictures to mount themselves in the center despite many attempts to do so. Forgive me for being anal enough to mention it, but in a post given to beauty, it is troublesome in the extreme. Try to imagine it other. Thank you.