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Garden Design

Camera, props and mosquito repellent

Leon Kluge

Leon Kluge

February 1, 2014

Driving along a corrugated narrow dirt road (if you could still call it that) in the East African Bush, the temperature is a sizzling 41 degrees and the mosquitos unrelenting, fighting each other to get a mouthful of warm blood from my legs. After hours of driving I was still looking for that perfect spot that I have dreamed off for a week now.


Tyre’s skidding and dust all over the old truck and inside the cabin, (the window can’t close). This might be it……yip! This is definitely as close as it will ever be.

rainforest speakers

Stumbling out the truck in a hurry, as the late afternoon sun is about to be perfect for my photo, I grabbed my dust covered sports bag out the back, filled with all my props, new and old, as you never know if you might need them again. Just left from the dirt road about 40 meters inland is a pocket of big moss-covered boulders and between them are densely packed short yellow wood trees. It looks like they are ancient, and there’s a tiny stream of dark water flowing out from underneath the big rocks.

Leaf washing

Leaf washing

I don’t think anybody even notices this small seemingly insignificant cluster of trees next to the road. It’s not really screaming ‘look at me’. But once you enter through the old dwarfed trees and find yourself surrounded by lush green ferns growing alongside flowering clivia, begonia and streptocarpus, the scene stuns you; nothing can be more beautiful. Another undisturbed spot for my photoshoot.

The little spring bubbling underneath the boulders is very shallow, perfect for my colored plastic toy balls to remain stable resting on the rock that’s just underneath the running dark water, but still to give the illusion of bubbles passing you by on the water’s surface. It only took a couple of minutes to set it up, running after a few breakaway balls, but in the end it was perfect…

Bubbles of opportunity

Bubbles of opportunity

This installation I named ‘Bubbles of opportunity‘, the balls representing all the opportunities that are handed to you during your lifetime, while it still remains your choice whether you grab hold of them, or simply let them float by.

This is just one of many installations I have done in my free time, a hobby that I love, and continue to do when time permits me to.

some people's rubbish are other people's treasures

some people’s rubbish are other people’s treasures

It comes to basically taking one photograph and sharing a short life story by mixing manmade objects with the purity of nature.

Grass masks

Grass masks

My mind is a permanent buzz off ideas fluttering around, and taking me to places where I would never have otherwise thought to go, looking for the perfect location fitting the image that I carry in my mind.

From putting masks on grasses on the ice cold highlands of New Zealand, to throwing fake diamonds around in the desserts of west Africa. Each installation unique, each having its own message to tell, and each one taking me on a new adventure.

Seed angels

Seed angels

And how does it happen? Take a look behind the scenes………

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helen mckerral
helen mckerral
9 years ago

Very beautiful and quirky, Leon – thanks for sharing! A friend loaned me two Andy Goldsworthy coffee table books a few years ago – what an inspiration he is!

Peta Trahar
9 years ago

Leon this is fun and isn’t that what horticulture/design/gardening whatever should be?

Peter Nixon
9 years ago

Leon you’re kooky my boet and just the kooky we need in the “planty” industry. Eyes that see thinks differently, your vehicle MUST look like a department store Toy Dept floor by now …. NEVER stop

Leon kluge
9 years ago
Reply to  Peter Nixon

Ha ha! I know, Kooky is my middle name.
You dont wanna see the inside of my car, its like china town in there.
Thank you for the compliments.

Julie Thomson
9 years ago

Some of the best fun in gardening reading I have ever had, thanks Leon. What a wonderful, mad mind you have. Should be more of you in the world!

8 years ago

Love this…