Friday, February 28, 2014

Start Your Spring Gardening with a $25 Prize: The New York Botanical Garden features exclusive, fun, Garden Glamour Quiz Challenge

Gardens are romantic, blissful, glorious, and empowering.

Consider gardens a prism through which we can view our world – be that our window box, stoop containers, yards, rooftops oasis or farms, community gardens, parks -- or in the bigger scheme of arcadia -- the Rainforest or Pine Barrens.

Here is where we can touch Nature, grow our food to get healthier and stay fit, nurture glamorous florals that will accessorize our homes and offices, walk through our landscape designs of beauty, sustainability and mystery, and be inspired to write about and photograph our transcendent, Edens.

But wait, you might be thinking...
Is your head reeling thinking about all the dizzying, green possibilities?

How do you know how to get started?
Or take the next step on the garden path to botanical bliss?

Don’t fret.

Guess what?
You're in clover!

The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) is your Garden Concierge.

Yes, think of the Garden’s Adult Education program as your gateway; guide.
They’ve curated all that’s important in the world of gardens so that you can choose with confidence and esprit to engage and learn from a community of fellow garden enthusiasts. And with more than 500 classes to choose from, you know there will always be a new garden adventure just waiting to be discovered. 

Ahhh. Sweet…

How Sweet, you may ask…


Garden Glamour & NYBG Garden Quiz Challenge 

The cool Garden Concierges at NYBG reached out to Garden Glamour readers to offer you a special fun way to earn a $25 credit toward your next class with an exclusive Garden Glamour/Garden Quiz!

This is a fantastic botanical contest and a quick way to earn some “green” for your next greening class at the Garden.

So let’s “dig in” and get started.

It’s easy.

Take a look at the Plant Photo here. (Or gaze at it.  With botanical abandon.) 

And correctly answer the five questions posed by the NYBG staff botanists. 

Garden Glamour Botanical Quiz

1. What is the scientific name of this plant? You can include the common name if you wish but we are looking for the scientific name.

2. Name one state to which the plant is native. (Hint: North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia)

3. Does it thrive in sunny sites or shady sites?

5. Would it grow best in a dry, arid environment, or a moist one?

6. When does this plant bloom?

           A. Early spring
           B. Early summer
           C. Mid-summer
           D. Late summer
           E. Autumn

Email me your answers and I’ll select the winner. (
Be sure to include your email for prize notification.

Now that your Hortie curiosity is geared up, you can skip over to the online NYBG Adult Education catalog to sign up for any of the intriguing class and lectures that seduce you – just in time for your Spring Fling – in the Garden!

In fact, the garden gurus at NYBG have a class for gardeners at every level – from beginners trying to grow their first plants to advanced gardeners looking for the best plants and techniques to keep their garden flourishing.  

You can take a one-time class, or dig deeper and start a prestigious NYBG Certificate class.  
I earned a Certificate in Landscape Design from NYBG and am honored to share with you that it is a rigorous, stimulating program that will change your life.
It did mine – in all the best ways.

Clients and horticulturists alike recognize the Certificate program as a benchmark achievement for any of the seven disciplines offered by the Garden, including:
·      Floral Design
·      Landscape Design
·      Horticulture
·      Horticulture Therapy
·      Botanical Art & Illustration
·      Botany
·      Gardening

The NYBG Gardening Certificate Program includes topics such as current gardening techniques, soil science, plant propagation, and garden maintenance and design. Regional experts teach the program and trains students in ecologically sound gardening practices.

Check out these suggested class offerings. And just follow the link to enroll.

·  Integrated Pest Management

·       Container Gardening 

 You can browse all classes at

The New York Botanical Garden has just released a new season of classes for Spring-Summer 2014.  
And the butterfly collage on the website and catalog cover sets the tone.

NYBG is on a mission to help people garden more efficiently and sustainably and to train you to be the best gardener possible.  
This term, NYBG is renewing their focus on eco-friendly gardening practices, with classes on sustainable pest control, watering smartly, planting pollinator-friendly and native plants in the garden, and more.
Sounds so “you,” doesn’t it.

Garden Friends

See, the other thing about taking classes at NYBG is you will find a community of garden friends – others just like you who are passionate about plant beauty and gardens and a healthier, more sustainable life.
You can bring a friend and make new Garden friends.
Speaking of Friends – You can start right away and "Like" Facebook page (NYBG Adult Education) 
Tell your new Garden Friends there you just entered the Garden Glamour contest!

Need more reasons to enroll?  I don’t think so, but here goes:
·      NYBG just released a new season of gardening classes, which start in March

·      There are classes for urbanites and city slickers, too.  Check out the container gardening and kitchen gardening classes to learn how to manage a garden in a small space, or even indoors.

·      You also have a choice of where you want to take your classes.  I most enjoy going to the Garden’s 250-acre landscape in the Bronx.  Its unsurpassed beauty is so inspiring.  Yet, I also frequent the NYBG Midtown Education Center on 20 West 44th Street in Manhattan.  If you North, you can attend satellite locations in Dutchess and Fairfield counties

·      You can take a one-time workshop-style class, or get your Wellied feet wet with an introductory certificate class, like "Fundamentals of Gardening I" and "Soil Science for Beginners."

·      Designing a Bird- & Pollinator-Friendly Garden 

·      Making Small Meadows 

·      Native Plant Garden Saturday 

·      Grow More with Less 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

"Artful Collage from Found Objects" Inspires Creation of Visual Biographies, Memories and Dreams

I don’t know about you but I can go to a very special happy place when I read of famous, acknowledged style icons engaged in the same enterprise as the experts I know and love.

I was reminded of this recently when I read that interior style icon Charlotte Moss has been scrapbooking with abandon since she was a child.
Her latest book, Charlotte Moss: A Visual Life: Scrapbook, Collages, and Inspirations details her dedication to what she terms are a “fingerprint, a visual diary, a photo-autobiography.”   

That House Beautiful Magazine feature triggered how I’d been remiss writing about the antecedent to Moss’ publication.
Not that long ago I was honored to have been given the opportunity to review the Artful Collage Found from Objects book written by my garden friend, Ellen Spector Platt. 

What is the difference, you may ask, between Collage and Scrapbooking?
Not much.
A quick Google search yields:
Art journaling is focused on the creation of a visual journal or diary using your artistic skills and techniques, whereas scrapbooking is focused on the collation and presentation of memories, photos, small keepsakes and memorabilia, using creative techniques to enhance these.
A scrapbook is focused on capturing memories, photos, keepsakes, and memorabilia. The goal is to preserve these for generations.

The line between art journaling and scrapbooking can be blurred depending on an individual’s preferences and creativity. 
There are simply no fixed rules about what you can or can’t do in an art journal or when scrapbooking.

Journaling is based on a visual journal or diary, using art supplies, collage, stamps, markers, recycled paper, photos, etc. It’s a place for you to write your thoughts and dreams, ideas, personal reflections, future plans….philosophies.  It’s for the happy side of you and the sad, angry side. It’s a vehicle for spilling out your feelings… It’s a place to save ideas, quotes, and observations of when you are at home, work, or travelling.
So it is that Collage and Scrapbook -- thoughts of the personal, memory-inducing autobiography honors a not dissimilar style of art.

I put forth that Collages lean more toward the personal vs. a diary or journal's scrapbooking. 

Plus the collages as Platt helps us create, belong more to the “fine art” world.  

And no doubt, these kinds of Collages are given places of honor in our homes or offices – on the wall or perched on the desktop, mantle or other places of “eye-candy” distinction. 

And in the spirit of collage-as-art, you have to respect Platt notation that Picasso used newsprint in his collages.
She writes, “Now brown in tone, Picasso knew newspaper turns brown but used it anyway.”  Plant asks rhetorically, “Who am I to disagree?”

I think this notion of a visual autobiography is heightened with the gateway to a more public or “accessible scrapbooking” -- otherwise knows as: Pinterest.

See, it seems that we’ve all had the pent-up passion for collage and now its unleashed.

Collage and scrapbooking and Pinterest render memories and dreams in an artistic way.

And to enhance our private and public collage, scrapbooking, and Pinterest board-postings, we can all use the guidance and expertise of Platt.

The Artful Collage is Platt’s first published work on scrapbooking.
Platt has authored 11 books on garden plants and craft design.  A favorite is her best-selling Lavender book: Lavender: How to Grow and Use the Fragrant Herb (

Her design cred is well established.

Artful Collage is a full-color, full-sized, step-by-step, detailed How-To and inspiration.   

The book embraces nearly 50 sample Projects that are Platt’s hands-on, real-world, collage art process.

Platt provides a succinct overview of what you’ll need to collage in the Basics chapter. 

Here, there are all the materials used in Collage and that you probably have, including, scissors, glue, brushes, pencils, and rulers. 

And then, there are the suggested “Found” materials.

It’s almost a liberating discovery to learn you can create collage artwork “from junk and treasured objects and keepsakes” according to Platt.

Artful Collage provides 10 Project chapters featuring Collage project suggestions.
Here are a few examples:
·      Remembrances of Things Past
·      My Landscape
·      My World
·      Vacations
·      Seasons of the Year
·      Holidays, Hobbies and Gifts

Nested within each Project chapter include three to six examples.

Key to successful, artful project completion is Platt’s How to Do It chapter
Platt advises Collage Art is a six-step process:
·      Gathering
·      Imagining
·      Manipulating
·      Designing
·      Adhering
·      Displaying

Plat says: “Steps do not always follow in that order – one can imagine or dream before the gathering…"

Platt suggests staring with a theme in your world and "ideas will come pouring in.” 

If life is an amalgamation – artwork is the same also. 

Art is all about telling stories. 

A Collage Q & A with Author Ellen Spector Platt:

Q How did you start Collage/What got you started? Do you continue to collage?  

A. I started by accident when I was between herb books and looking for an interesting course to take at Cooper Union. My editor wanted a craft book just around the time I was falling in love with the process of Collage.

Q. In your opinion, is this a "hobby" for folks of certain age or does it run across all ages and demographics?
A. Collage art is now my third career, and it can be enjoyed seriously by kids and adults alike.  In fact, I’ve worked with my grandkids – now 13 and 11 – and they make collages for gift sometimes.  I teach collage at Brooklyn Botanic Garden and other places.  I also show and sell my Collage work.

Q. How did you come up with the collages featured in the book?

A. I was trying to illustrate various styles and techniques to give readers a guide on how to get started.  In my own work, I now use lots of my own photos printed at home on regular paper, cut or torn, with other found elements.

Q. What has been the feedback on the book? How has it changed your world  -- your approach to found objects?

A. I notice everything in my surroundings in greater detail. All objects in the city are potential art materials.  One day, leaving a diner with a friend, I saw a perfect, green, roundish piece on the pavement and bent down to pick it up and save for some future collage.  Only after I got quite close up did I recognize this green piece as a slice of pickle. Not quite something I wanted to save…

Q. How has the garden influenced your collage?
I use many twigs, pressed flowers and leaves, pods and cones – even when the subject of the Collage isn’t botanical.  The shape, color, or texture of natural objects lend themselves to Collage and are readily available, even on the streets of New York City.  

Q. What book or project are you working on now?

A. I'm doing my own art – showing and selling my work.  My last group show and sale was at a Gallery in the Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage.