What’s Growing at the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens: Botanical Art

What’s Growing at the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens: Botanical Art
By Melanie Priesnitz, Conservation Horticulturist

This season the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens is celebrating the beauty of native plants as seen through the eyes of botanical artists. We have a variety of events taking place that bring together art and science in beautiful and unique ways.

First off, we are hosting a regional art show featuring native Nova Scotia plants by members of the Botanical Artists of Nova Scotia Association. ‘Nova Scotia Native Flora in Art’ opens May 18 at 10:00am and runs until June 1 in the main lobby of the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre. This regional show is part of a simultaneous art exhibition called Botanical Art Worldwide: Linking People with Plants through Botanical Art that is opening around the world on May 18, 2018. This is a global initiative uniting botanical art organizations and cultural institutions on six continents. In this simultaneous exhibition, countries around the world are celebrating the earth’s precious plant diversity by creating exhibits that feature plants indigenous to their home regions. This celebration of the beauty and diversity of indigenous plants features national exhibitions around the world with 700 artists and 1000 works of art showcasing the native plants of 25 countries. The national exhibitions can be viewed online at botanicalartworldwide.info. We’re so pleased to be a part of this international exhibit and very proud of our local artists who will be one of five groups representing Canada at the national exhibit in Ottawa.

To further our celebrations we are partnering with Uncommon Common Art to host a workshop called Species at Risk in Stitches on May 25 from 10:00am to 3:00pm. The lucky 15 participants of this free workshop will learn the basics of embroidery from UCA’s artist in residence Alex Mann while completing a piece that features one of Nova Scotia’s species at risk, rockrose (crocanthemum canadense). Acadia Biology Professor Dr. Rodger Evans will give a brief talk to participants on his current research investigating this unique endangered plant. Spaces are filling up quickly so register today by emailing Alex at amdoesart@gmail.com.

If you want to try your hand at botanical illustration and watercolour, we have three workshops this summer with Twila Robar-DeCoste using the Botanical Gardens as inspiration. All three are taking place in the greenhouse at the K.C. Irving Centre. Dates are June 15, July 20, and August 11 from 10:00am – 3:00pm. Each workshop costs $70 and includes all materials. Registration is through Twila directly at robardecoste@ns.sympatico.ca.

No one is looking forward to this summer of art more than our horticulture assistant and educator Adrien Rawley. When Adrien is not gardening or adventuring, she’s drawing. If you’ve seen our new full-colour habitat signs in the Gardens you will have seen Adrien’s work. She provided the illustrations for two of our panels including the beautiful drawing of the Newfoundland provincial flower, the pitcher plant (sarracenia purpurea.) This drawing shows the pitcher plant and its invertebrate associates, and includes minute details such as the downward pointing hairs that are part of these carnivorous plants’ ingenious methods of trapping insects. We hope you will join us in celebrating the art and beauty of native plants this summer. The art exhibit is free and the building is open daily to the public.

Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens
Acadia University