PEACE RIVER BOTAN­I­CAL & SCULP­TURE GAR­DENS

Grounds to fea­ture world sculp­tors, opens in Oc­to­ber, Punta Gorda set­ting

Gulf & Main - - Home & Garden - BY ANN MARIE O’PHEL AN

Agiant crane in June 2014 was used to care­fully place lava rocks on a plot of land in Punta Gorda with­out dis­turb­ing the nat­u­ral marsh set­ting. The rocks were part of a 5,000-pound metal sculp­ture fash­ioned by Turk­ish artist Ke­mal Tu­fan, a first phase in a $30 mil­lion project. Tu­fan’s Keel is one of a dozen sculp­tures that will be placed in the Peace River Botan­i­cal & Sculp­ture Gar­dens sched­uled for open­ing in Oc­to­ber.

Peace River Botan­i­cal & Sculp­ture Gar­dens is be­ing as­sem­bled by Roger and Linda Te­trault, whose home rests on prop­erty fronting the Peace River in Punta Gorda. Roger Te­trault is the re­tired chief ex­ec­u­tive of a large in­dus­trial firm. The cou­ple’s idea was to build botan­i­cal gar­dens with sculp­tures and an art gallery on their prop­erty while re­tain­ing the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment. They formed a non­profit, en­dow­ing funds to­ward the project. Their water­front gar­den will fea­ture sculp­tures, flow­er­ing trees and plants

A U.S. Naval Academy grad­u­ate, Roger Te­trault has a back­ground in space aero­nau­tics―he was an in­ves­ti­ga­tor in the 2003 Space Shut­tle Columbia dis­as­ter.

and board­walks to view the river and marsh. “We have a di­verse sculp­ture col­lec­tion with works by in­ter­na­tional artists from Turkey, China and In­done­sia, and na­tional artists from Cal­i­for­nia, Boston, New Or­leans and Detroit,” says Roger Te­trault.

A U.S. Naval Academy grad­u­ate, Roger Te­trault has a back­ground in space aero­nau­tics―he was an in­ves­ti­ga­tor in the 2003 Space Shut­tle Columbia dis­as­ter. He re­tired as board chair­man for McDermott In­ter­na­tional. Linda Te­trault has ad­vanced de­grees in in­dus­trial psychology. Busi­ness pur­suits and personal adventures took them around the world, where they de­vel­oped a pas­sion for botan­i­cals and art, par­tic­u­larly sculp­tures. Their Punta Gorda es­tate was in­tended as a re­tire­ment home, the cou­ple says, de­cid­ing to add what would be­come the Peace River Botan­i­cal & Sculp­ture Gar­dens. The fi­nal phase will cover 27 acres.

Art­work and sculp­tures in their exhibit are ex­ten­sive and will in­clude work by Dan Sater, Ich­wan Noor, Ja­cob Kulin, Lin Emery, Yu Zhaoyang, Carole Feuer­man and Tu­fan. A sprawl­ing sculp­ture of steel rods en­ti­tled Tree Trel­lises is fash­ioned by a team of Michi­gan met­al­smiths. Kulin’s Glass Fronds is of glass, alu­minum and steel and lies near the Te­traults' home. The project’s logo is in­spired by a palm frond fos­sil. The Peace River Botan­i­cal & Sculp­ture Gar­dens will be one of the largest such projects in Florida.

In ad­di­tion to the sculp­tures, nat­u­rally, there are also an abun­dance of beautiful botan­i­cals, such bromeli­ads, hi­bis­cus,

or­chids, and 16 cathe­dral oaks that are planted in rows out­side of the Gar­dens Com­mu­nity Cen­ter, where pri­vate events will be held. The cen­ter will also fea­ture a café and cas­cad­ing ponds.

Join­ing in the project are com­mu­nity mem­bers of­fer­ing botan­i­cal do­na­tions from their own col­lec­tions. A 20-year old staghorn fern, weigh­ing roughly 200 pounds and one of six staghorn species in the gar­den, for in­stance, was do­nated by Joni Thomp­son of nearby Port Char­lotte.

Strolling the gar­dens will be an ex­cep­tional ex­pe­ri­ence, thanks to board­walks that will al­low guests to en­joy a view of the river and the marsh. Al­though the gar­dens are well in the works, and open­ing day is set, the ac­tual com­ple­tion date is some­what in­def­i­nite. “We have ac­tu­ally only worked on 11 of the 27 acres, and the gar­dens will con­tinue to grow year af­ter year,” ex­plains Roger Te­trault.

Even­tu­ally, the Te­traults' pri­vate res­i­dence and the guest­house will serve as a fine-arts mu­seum. “We hope guests will come back again and watch us grow,” adds Roger Te­trault.

We hope guests will come back again and watch us grow.” —Roger Te­trault, co-founder Peace River Botan­i­cal & Sculp­ture Gar­dens

Steel Palm (above) by Boston met­al­smith Ja­cob Kulin rests at the high­est point on the grounds that will cover 27 acres at com­ple­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.