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      Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

      Friday, August 23, 2013


      Join me on Sunday Oct. 6 from 10-1:30 at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden where I'll be teaching a collage workshop titled 'Branching Out'.
      The class description reads as follows:
      Whether you choose to create a forest, a copse, or a single tree, each student will make a collage to take home. Found natural materials like bark, twigs, pressed leaves, and specialty papers and photos will allow for individual expression. The starting point for your collage could be abstract or realistic: a tree of life, a favorite tree you climbed as a child, or a collection of trees here at the Garden.

      To learn details about registering, go to https://classes.bbg.org/CourseStatus.awp?&course=13FAEARTBOC

      The collage at the top is made of two images of tree bark, crape myrtle @ the BBG and allspice (Pimenta dioica) @ the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, plus bark peeled from a river birch on my roof, white birch from VT, and sycamore bark from a street tree on E. 80th St., NYC. It's 9" x 9"on paper.

      This collage will be exhibited next month at the Alaska Pacific University's ConocoPhillips Gallery, Anchorage in a drawing show with a botanical theme. I can hear the multitudes roar, YOU CALL THIS A DRAWING? Well, turns out that artists have a lot of leeway, so yes, the writing on the bark qualifies.

      Tuesday, August 13, 2013


      The Crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia) are in bloom all over New York City, just when most flowering trees and shrubs have lost their color and green foliage abounds. (above, the Conservatory Garden and below near the Boat House, both in Central Park)...
       by the side of the General Theological Seminary in Chelsea, masquerading as a lilac...
      and welcoming us to the New Leaf Cafe, Fort Tryon Park, Upper Manhattan.
      I started my gardening life in Zones 5 and 6 and considered Crape myrtles as plants only for Southern Climes;now realize I must have one, two or three for 'my' NYC rooftop.
      Flowers range in color from white to red, pink, coral, purple and all shades in between. 

      I've just seen pictures of a potentially interesting new introduction with 'black' leaves, 'Black Diamond' t.m.. growing only 10-12 feet tall and 8' wide for smaller garden spaces. This cultivar is being introduced in five flower color choices. Hope to see it live at the Garden Writers symposium in Quebec starting this week.
      Crape myrtles look great in winter as well as summer, with incredably smooth but exfoliating bark, seen here in two specimen trees at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
      My last Crape myrtle sighting, just yesterday, on a terrace at the Time Warner Center, Columbus Circle, and me on the 31st floor of a nearby building caught without my telephoto lens. Look carefully for a splash of pink in the terrace garden.

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