The next Kentucky Muse, “Tracks of Imagination,” is a behind-the-scenes look at Paul Busse and his crew of creative artists, botanical architects and landscape designers at Applied Imagination in Alexandria, Ky. The program premieres Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 9/8 p.m. on KET and Monday, Dec. 24 at 9/8 p.m. on KET2.
Shortly after the G-scale train, also known as “garden railways,” was introduced in 1968, with $180 in his pocket at the time, Busse purchased a $175 model railway. Feeling his trains deserved better than to snake through a plastic-housed city, this landscape architect began transforming real plants into three-dimensional, miniature buildings. Using mimosa leaves for shutters, cork bark for roof shingles, and little sticks for windows panes, Busse’s dreams grew into Applied Imagination.
Busse and his garden railways have been featured on the Martha Stewart Show, and his firm’s nationally recognized and award-winning whimsical cityscapes can be found in museums, private yards and botanical gardens all across the country. Each year, more than 100,000 people visit the New York Botanical Garden to view the G-scale model trains weave in and out of more than 140 iconic New York City landmarks created by Busse’s team in Campbell County.
“It’s a wonderful combination of art and architecture, botany and horticulture, and all done with respect for the original designers,” said Andrea Schepmann, director of Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati, where Applied Imagination’s holiday-themed installation of the local cityscape is now on display.
“Our bottom line is happiness. I’m so blessed that I found a job to make people happy,” Busse said. “I sell happy art. It can’t get better than that.”
Kentucky Muse “Tracks of Imagination” is a KET production, produced by Frank Simkonis. Teresa Day is executive producer. More information about Kentucky Muse is available at ket.org/muse.