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Travelogue Part Two – Vancouver

As promised in my last post, this will be part two of my horticultural travelogue. Five days after returning from Tucson, I left for Vancouver, British Columbia. The weather was different. The plants were different.

The plant people were still the same – good people. But that weather. A little gray and drizzly, even real rain the one night. Thankfully the day we had devoted to touring was sunny and beautiful from start to finish.

Now. Why was I there? In 2013 the Perennial Plant Association (PPA) will hold its 31st national symposium in Vancouver. We were meeting to put together the program and then attend to general PPA business. It’s going to be a great program between the selection of speakers and the tours. The dates are July 21-27, 2013 with the three day core on the 23rd-25th.  Some very exciting tours during,  before, and after. Along with that, speakers with cutting-edge ideas addressing current needs of PPA members.

But let’s get more in travelogue mode.

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Filed under: Horticulture, Road Trip


What’s New?

Well, now that’s a loaded question. Everything and nothing at all.

But I have an idea if the question is about plants.

I went to the OFA Short Course trade show this week in Columbus, Ohio. It’s the biggie. Everybody seems to be there with the latest and greatest in the horticulture world. It is HUGE! Now I fly right past the potting machines, injector systems, greenhouse manufacturers, and so forth. I’m there for the plants. I was only there one day so I could not bog myself down with non-plant booths. I did not make it through the entire show. One of these years I’m doing the whole four days of the Short Course and then I know I can see every plant booth. Traveling companions this year were Jo Ellen Myers Sharp and our own Sue Nord Peiffer – a brand new GWA member.

I’m just going to try to hit some highlights of what I saw. It would take a month of daily blogging to cover it all. Okay, let’s get started.

Echinacea evolution continues. I mentioned in an earlier blog that a new seed strain was coming that included the exotic colors – red, orange, apricot, gold and so forth. I saw them as live plants. I likey. It’s called ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ and was bred by KieftSeedTM. It is already a 2013 All-America Selections Flower Award Winner.

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Filed under: Horticulture, Road Trip


Visitin’ the Relatives

Yesterday (Thursday the 24th) I attended the Region III meeting of the Garden Writers Association. It was, as usual, both informative and fun. We toured three gardens and had an educational session on how and why to blog presented by Indianapolis’ own Carol Michel of the award winning blog May Dreams Gardens.

The host institution was one of our sister public gardens, Taltree Arboretum and Gardens, near Valparaiso (Thank you, Jean Starr!). I’ve been aware of Taltree for years but never visited. It is beautiful with wooded sites, open prairie, and traditional planting beds. Well, they can explain it better than I can. This is from their website.

Taltree Arboretum & Gardens, located south of U.S. 30 between Merrillville and Valparaiso, Indiana, is a 360-acre reserve of formal gardens, woodlands, wetlands, and prairies. Whether hiking the 3+ miles of trails or attending an outdoor concert or special event, visitors have enjoyed Taltree’s quiet beauty interspersed with friendly festivity since 1999. Themed displays include the Hitz Family Rose Garden, Native Plant Garden, Oak Islands, and the Taltree Railway Garden.

Now, about that railway garden. For certain I am not one to overly appreciate train gardens. In fact, I will usually run right past them and go on to the “real” gardens. But I have to say the one at Taltree impressed me. It is both interesting and beautiful. Here are a few shots of it.

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Filed under: Horticulture, Road Trip


Just One Word….Plastics

Last month I went to Paris. I didn’t go to do research at the Louvre, or to attend a special exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, I went to the POPArt Conference, an international symposium on the conservation of plastic materials.  The conference was the culmination of a European Union funded initiative, and like Contemporary Art: Who Cares?, it is another example of the way that European governments are supporting the conservation of contemporary cultural heritage in a way that the U.S. government does not.  The goal of POPArt was to improve the conservation of plastic objects in European museums and to establish recommended practices for exhibiting, cleaning, and restoring these artifacts .

Tara Donovan, "Untitled (Mylar)," 2010. Commissioned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Frank Curtis Springer & Irving Moxley Springer Purchase Fund, Anonymous IV Art Fund, Deaccessioned Contemporary Art Fund. 2010.218A-D. Courtesy of the Pace Gallery.

When people think about plastics, their minds don’t typically jump to museum collections.  But in reality museums are filled with plastic artifacts and artworks made with plastic components.  Artists and designers choose them for their working properties and aesthetic qualities that cannot be achieved with other materials.  Some works in the IMA’s collection that are made with plastics include Tara Donovan’s Untitled (Mylar), Valentine Typewriter designed by Ettore Sottsass II and Perry King, and Rudi Gernreich’s wool and vinyl Dress.  These are just a few examples and our holdings are only growing as we are rapidly acquiring many new objects in our Design Arts, Textile and Fashion Arts, and Contemporary Art departments.

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Filed under: Conservation, Contemporary, Road Trip


It’s in the Genes

Today's guest blogger is Cindy Frey, Associate Director at the Columbus Visitors Center.

Members of the Miller family, in an act of incredible generosity, have donated their childhood home, along with an endowment, to the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  If one examines the extraordinary lives of Mr. and Mrs. Miller, it is easy to understand why the children chose to make this unique work of art, a heralded collaboration between Eero Saarinen, Alexander Girard and Daniel Urban Kiley, available for public enjoyment. It’s in the genes.

Time and time again, the Millers made generous gifts that would enhance the quality of life of the citizens of Columbus, Indiana. While their support of great architecture is widely known, their gifts of public art have made an equally profound impact on their hometown.

Henry Moore’s, "Large Arch," Columbus Indiana, 1971.

Mr. and Mrs. Miller were great fans of English sculptor Henry Moore (1889 – 1986) and his work was part of their personal art collection. In 1971, two years after I.M. Pei completed his Cleo Rogers Memorial Library, the Millers watched proudly as the five-and-a-half-ton Large Arch, by Moore, was lifted off a flatbed truck by a crane and set into place on the library’s plaza. It was commissioned and purchased by the Millers to provide a visual anchor to the plaza. Its organic form offers a perfect contrast to the geometric shapes of Pei’s library and Eliel Saarinen’s First Christian Church. Today, it is possibly the most photographed feature in all of Columbus.
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Filed under: Local, Miller House, Road Trip


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