FACT! My mom is originally from Jersey. Born in Passaic, but living her young childhood in Iselin, upon where she owned a dog named The Duke of Iselin. I’m sure this name came from my Papa (RIP) who had also named himself Chief Buffalo Chip. Nuff said.
I only bring this up because I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Jerz and so to feel like less of an outsider I’m flexing my lineage. Kind of like how Felicia makes sure to tell everyone that she was born in Brooklyn before getting lost on Bedford Ave. JUST KIDDING, FELICIA! Long live the shaderican…
To avoid the annoyance of working at a job that is soon to be non-existant, I played hooky yesterday and Butchy took me to the Jersey Botanical Gardens. I didn’t bring my camera because I didn’t know we were going there until about 5 minutes before. And Butch decided about 5 minutes before that to even take me since, despite me yammering on about this whole Floral Design plan for the past 3 weeks, it didn’t occur to him until just then that a Botanical Garden might be relevant. NBD. It’s the (last minute) thought that counts.
So yeah, no pics of my own, but we saw all kinds of awesome nature goodness! This included an amazing coy pond/canal with big lily pads, a Hosta/Rhododendron Garden, other gardens full of beautiful annuals in vibrant colors (with equally beautiful butterflies butterflyin’ around), and one really weirdo Swan-Boy statue. There was also this long field full of apple trees that ended at some majestic looking statues that looked like the perfect scene with which to burst out of the carriage house and gallop down bareback on a dark horse at dusk.
Before my trip I picked up a couple books at Strand for inspiration. One is Beyond Flowers: Collecting & Arranging Natural Objects, by Dutch-born artist Gerd Verschoor.
The official description is “Moving beyond mere flower arranging, an exploration of the art of collecting and arranging natural objects for every season demonstrates how to turn driftwood, dead tree branches, fruit, and other objects of nature into centerpieces for any occasion.” But really, that sentence doesn’t do justice to the creative beauty of Verschoor’s work. He tells this one story of how he was walking in the woods and came upon a barren vineyard and how, as he walked through, the number of wooden posts visible would change depending on his viewing angle. So he went home and made a set of 4 frames with an increasing number of sticks inside the frame, to mimic the posts coming into view. Incredible.
Apparently he’s based in NY, so I’m going to try to look him up. All I’ve found so far (via Google) is a phone # that was listed in the Times in ’89. Not so promising, but if anyone has any other ideas for successful stalking, holla. It would be great to meet him!