Pages from a Dialist's Notebook - The Shadow Garden

    Instead of putting a sundial in your garden . . .

    Why not put a garden in your sundial?

    My Laser Trigon will project the lines and curves of a sundial onto any surface including highly irregular surfaces. I intend to assemble a group of interesting objects and project a sundial onto them. I am hoping the result will be a fascinating and unpredictable garden of objects, some bearing hour lines, some numerals, some both, many neither. As the sun defines the day, its shadow will wend its way among them, anointing those it chooses with the power to tell time.

    The first step was to make a working model.

    I needed to get a feel for the relationship between the position of the gnomon and the west-facing board fence. The model consists of two planar dials, a horizontal dial joined to a direct west. These surfaces will not be as obvious in the finished dial, as the lines and curves will be located on the objects lying within the dial. The time shown on the model is a little before three.


    Next I installed the gnomon, which is made of fencing tubes and hardware. I temporarily located hour and half hour indications by marking piles of whatever I could find at the appropriate local solar time. The timing for this was done with The Dialist's Companion, a computer program written by Fred Sawyer and myself recently published by the North American Sundial Society.

    A few of the found objects I have found to date (along with much pre-existing trash) are shown within the dial. The time shown is a little before four-thirty.

    I will be updating this page as the dial is built, so please come back and watch the progress.

    This page was originally constructed August 31, 1996


    October 23, 1996. I have to rethink this dial. If you take a look at the full size photograph, I think you will agree that the scale of the found objects is too small for the size of the gnomon and the overall area contained in the garden.

    I am going to have to find larger objects, or settle for a design that includes less shadow receiving surface. Stay tuned.

    Proceed to Page 2Wherein a hot tub becomes a found object.