Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New York In Bloom 2011, part one

Phaelenopsis orchids, part of a display of specimens organized by the Northeastern New York Orchid Society.

New York in Bloom, the New York State Museum's annual fundraiser for its after-school programs, was held on 25-27 February 2011. Over 100 floral arrangements designed to complement the exhibits were installed throughout the galleries, a temporary flower shop was set up in the lobby, and flower arranging and other tutorials were held in the classrooms.

Posting New York in Bloom photos is a bit of a tradition on this blog, and in past years I've posted them on the day I took them. However, it just wasn't in the cards this year. I was on the road on the 25th and missed the opening day, staffed the State Archives public reference desk on the 26th and got to spend less than 30 minutes in the State Museum galleries, and felt compelled to post about the death of Frank Buckles and its significance yesterday. As a result, this year's going to be a little different: for the remainder of this week, I'm going to alternate posts about New York in Bloom and posts about electronic records -- lots of interesting stuff has come my way over the past few weeks, but I simply haven't had the chance to post about any of it.

All of the arrangements pictured below were set up in the New York State Museum's West Gallery and West Hall. They were taken down on Sunday, and New York in Bloom 2011 is now a memory. However, its evanescence is part of its charm . . . and within a few short weeks, New York truly will be in bloom.

Exhibits in the West Gallery change frequently. At the moment, it's home to Not Just Another Pretty Place: The Landscape of New York, which "explores the many ways the landscape of New York State has been recorded, romanticized, utilized, and imagined" (and closes on 3 March, so now is a good time to visit!) Evan Euripidou of Anthology Studio created an arrangement of curly willow, Italian ruscus, Florida cedar, sword fern, African boxwood, aspidistra, lemon leaf, rush, tulips, freesia, safari sanset protea, ornithagulum, and trabellium that beckons visitors to venture within.

An arrangement of alstromeia, iris, hydrangea, delphinium, seeded eucalyptus, schefflera, asparagus fern, roses, bamboo and spikes created by Reneta Benenanti of the Garden Club of Kinderhook perfectly complements Albert Pels's Tar Beach (ca. 1938) and Thomas McKnight's Brooklyn Bridge II (1981).

Joan Reilly of Henry Clas Florist used solidago, pittosporum, dianthus, bells of Ireland, trachelium, hypericum, and curly willow to complement a folk art panel and other furniture produced in New York State.

A simple but striking arrangement of strelitz reginae, bird of paradise, oncidium orchid, and New Zealand flax, created by Mary Bohnet of the New York State Capital District Sogetsu Study Group, nicely complements wrought iron fencing and furniture.

Blondin Crossing the Niagara Falls for Lloyd's News, a two-part 1896 lithograph produced by Sir Joseph Caston and Sons, is visually compelling. This arrangement by Erin Brady of Crazy Daisy Florist, which consists of iris, monte casino, thistle, curly willow, and pussy willow, complements both the lithograph and the wrought iron bench sitting beneath it.

Connie Strong Wilbur of the Bethlehem Garden Club produced a landscape of lemon leaf, tulips, ruscus, iris, heather, spider mums, and trachellium that fits perfectly among a series of landscape paintings.

The birds perched amongst the yellow Asiatic lilies, white alstromeria, purple gladioli, and aspidistra arranged by Laurel Rice of Laurel's Flower Shop look as if they might have flown out of J.W. Hill's Adirondack watercolors.

At present, the Research Gallery section of the West Hall is home to Beneath the City: An Archeological Perspective of Albany, which highlights some of the artifacts that came to light when a section of the city's waterfront was partially excavated in preparation for construction of a parking garage. (Yes, in their infinite wisdom, our state and city leaders decided against attempting to capitalize upon Albany's unique past -- never mind that Jamestown, Virginia is attracting more than a few tourist dollars by doing so -- and focused on solving parking problems.)

Above, the remains of an 18th century rum distilling vat, with protea, aspidistra, tulips, bergolia, grape vine, and Spanish moss arranged by Yetta Teo of the Greenport Garden Club.

The stoneware jug that holds the arrangement of lillies, Gerbera daisies, stock, waxflowers, and pittisporum that Donna Vincent of the Schenectady ARC created echoes the adjacent display of crockery fragments recovered from the excavation site.

The Country Florist's Jan O'Brien assembled a very spring-seeming collection of flowers: alstomeria, aster, carnation, daffodil, liatris, roses, croton leaves, moss, myrtle, and sea star fern.

This arrangement by Sue Dillhoff of the Greenport Garden Club sits in a transitional space between the Beneath the City exhibit and the permanent Adirondack Wilderness exhibit that occupies most of the West Hall. At the moment, this space highlights the State Museum's holdings and research activities, and the Asiatic lilies, alstromeria, Gerbera daisies, snapdragons, leather leaves, lencodendron, asparagus fern, and antique-looking jug and glasses bring into it the oranges and yellows of Behind the City.

This simple but dramatic arrangement of hydrangea, lilies, roses, wax flowers, and bear grass was created by Michelle Peters of Ambiance Florals and Events.

The space outlining the State Museum's holdings and research activities quickly gives way to the vast Adirondack Wilderness exhibit. This wintry exhibit of green and purple trachelium, quince, ming fern, foxtail, flowering branch, curly willow, gypsophilia, and star of Bethlehem, created by Emily Pecora of the Albany BOCES, marked one point of entry into it.

Tomorrow's post will highlight some essential electronic records readings, but I'll post more photographs from the Adirondack Wilderness exhibit on Thursday.

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