Cool Plants and Summer Heat

By: Andrew McGivern, curator of exhibitions on July 5th, 2012

By Andy McGivern, Curator of Exhibitions

Cattleya Orchid
I’ve always enjoyed working with and caring for plants. My first jobs included working in greenhouses and a plant store before I turned my attention to art. At the Woodson Art Museum, my colleagues often bring me their sick and dying plants to bring back to life, and my office windows are filled with orchids, succulents, and cacti. My philosophy is pretty simple: water them regularly, fertilize them occasionally, and try to provide an environment similar to where they grow in nature.
Paphiopedilum Orchid
When summer rolls around, my wife and I take our house plants outside, including plants that we’ve cared for throughout nearly four decades. Our Norfolk Island pine and tree cacti are a challenge for us to move outdoors because they’re nearly ten feet tall.
Norfolk Island Pine
This summer, instead of growing a lot of vegetables in our garden, I’ve started well over a hundred variegated hosta from seed and have just transplanted them into the garden. They love the summer heat and humidity.
Tree Cacti
As I drive through town, I’m amazed at the number of yards with lush gardens filled with colorful annuals and perennials. Only a gardener can appreciate the amount of time and effort it takes to make a truly memorable garden.

Tree Cactus Flower
With recent high humidity and record-breaking-heat, stepping outside can feel like entering a sauna, making it difficult to spend any length of time in the garden.
If you miss your plants, I suggest stepping into the cool and quiet sanctuary of the Woodson Art Museum galleries. On view through August 26 are three botanical art exhibitions that offer beautifully illustrated images of common and exotic plants by an international cast of artists.
Take advantage of the Museum’s cool galleries, and check out the amazing artwork on view. Art Park is in full bloom too, and always is fun for young visitors and the young at heart. While you’re here, check out the progress on the Museum’s new addition, scheduled to open this fall, and enjoy the lush flowers and greenery in the sculpture garden.

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