Sculptured Steel on a Sculpted Hillside

One of the lovely Toronto gardens we visited during the June 2015 Garden Bloggers’ Fling is something of an engineering marvel, composed of highly sophisticated plantings in retained beds that flank hairpin paths traversing a steep slope on the western shore of High Park’s Grenadier Pond. I have visited this garden on tour in the past and have a renewed appreciation for people whose passion for gardening plays out on a site better suited to mountain goats than humans.

Stone stairway & path-Swansea

Coupled with the physical difficulty of getting up and down the paths is the effect of heavy rains, which can – and do – wreak havoc on plantings and stone walls. And then there are Grenadier Pond’s beavers, which have a taste for pondside trees – thus necessitating a wire wrap on young, valuable trees.


But let’s start up at the top of this property, where I have a chat with sculptor Wojtek Biczysko. A friend of the owners, his works and that of his sculptor wife Ania Biczysko, are featured throughout the garden.

Wojtek Biczysko-Toronto Sculptor

Here’s is Wojtek’s sinuous, iron terrace railing.

Railing-Wojtek Biczysko

This is a nice touch: the railing embracing the remnant trunk of an old tree.

Railing detail-Wojtek Biczyskol

I love this combination of Phantom petunia and ‘Illusion Emerald Lace‘ sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas).

Phantom petunia & Ipomoea batatas 'Illusion Emerald Lace'

And this! Nothing like a gorgeous gentian (Rocky Diamond Blue Heart – a Gentiana scabra introduction) in a glazed turquoise pot!

Gentiana-Rocky Mountain Blue Heart

This property has long been a beautiful outdoor setting for the Biczyskos’ work. I photographed this piece in 2010.


And this shimmering, kinetic hanging sculpture captures the light and the surrounding greenery and sky beautifully.

Hanging sculpture2-Wojtek Biczysko

I remember when the same sculpture was installed on an old tree leaning out over Grenardier pond – now gone (beaver casualty, perhaps?) There is something mesmerizing about watching the scenery reflected back from each of those little panels….

Hanging sculpture-Wojtek Biczysko

I love these pendulous metal flowers on the slope on the way down to the pond.


At the base of the slope, just beyond a little sailboat hull, is an installation by Ania Biczysko featuring a steel panel with a foliage cut-out in front of a blue panel.

Screen-Swansea garden-Wojtek Biczysko

As Austin, Texas blogger Pam Penick pointed out in her blog on this lovely garden, the background panel can easily be changed to another colour.

Screen detail-Swansea-Wojtek Biczysko

At the shore of Grenadier Pond across from High Park is a welcoming fire pit with candles in lanterns.  What fun it would be to sit here on warm summer evenings!

Fire pit-Swansea garden

Thanks to the gardeners for making us feel so welcome here, and to Wojtek and Ania Biszysko, for being on hand to discuss their sculptures.

11 thoughts on “Sculptured Steel on a Sculpted Hillside

  1. This was a wonderful garden to begin our “Flinging” journey! The sculpture work was certainly special. I could have spent hours there, taking it all in. The neighborhood had the feeling of being very special and expensive, yet down-to-earth and not ostentatious.

  2. Janet, I also enjoyed Wojtek’s sculptures. The one at pond side with the cut-outs and blue background was by his wife, Anya. I don’t have her card with me so I’m going by memory, but I think that was her first name. Her last name escapes me entirely.

  3. How lovely to see this garden again via photos! This was on of my favorite gardens and Wojtek was very interesting to talk to. I would love to be able to work with him and his wife. The art totally suited the setting and was just right! Great post!

  4. You’ve captured this garden beautifully, Janet. So here I am, a month after visiting this garden and still learning something new – I had no idea that the wire wrap was to protect the trees from beavers. Around here, it’s the bunnies that necessitate tree trunk protection.

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