The New York Botanical Garden is on a roll.
Its exhibit “Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life,” the subject of an article in WAG’s May “Passion Flowers” issue, drew more than a half-million visitors, setting a record as NYBG’s most-attended art and garden exhibit.
Now The Garden is set to open another crowd favorite, the annual “Holiday Train Show” (Nov. 21-Jan. 18). If you’ve never been, it’s an ingenious transformation of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory into a microcosm of New York City, with beloved landmarks, threaded by G-scale model trains, rendered entirely in plant materials by designer Paul Busse’s team at Applied Imagination. This year’s exhibit features 3,000 square feet of additional space; a short film on the show’s behind-the-scenes magic; new trains, tracks and bridges; and a multi-sensory finale that salutes the 1964 World’s Fair.
Meanwhile, even as The Garden celebrates the holidays, its thoughts are never far from spring, flowers, the superb botanical books and prints housed in its LuEsther T. Mertz Library and, of course, gift-giving, a focal point of the lovely Shop in the Garden.
With all that in mind, The Garden and jeweler Erwin Pearl have created a new collection of jewelry and accessories inspired by The Garden’s landscape, architecture and rare botanical works that makes its debut tomorrow, Nov. 13. The 86-piece collection includes bracelets, necklaces, earrings, pins and charms ranging from $55 to $950.
At the heart of the collection are 12 signature pieces that depict a bouquet illustration from
“Rudiments of Drawing, Shadowing, and Colouring Flowers in Water Colours” by Gaetano Testolini. Published in London in 1818, this botanical drawing manual is housed in the Mertz Library, one of the largest, most comprehensive botanical libraries in the world. Testolini, an engraver, print-seller and framer, created “Rudiments” to appeal to a growing market of customers who were interested in the fine art of botanical illustration.
“Rudiments”-inspired pieces include earrings, bangles, a vintage-style necklace, silk and cashmere blend scarves, PVC and Napa leather totes and clutches and floral sunglasses.
Erwin Pearl’s collection for NYBG marks the five-time Diamond International Award recipient’s third collaboration with a cultural institution or landmark. Pearl also makes collectible accessories for the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and for Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. (Indeed, the jeweler’s bangles and earrings reproducing Grand Central’s vaulted ceiling with its azure zodiac sky are among our favorites.)
Nor is The Garden any stranger to collaborations, having teamed with Chesapeake Bay Candle for a delightful group of lightly scented candles and diffusers designed to evoke The Garden.
Purchases of New York Botanical Garden by Erwin Pearl jewelry and accessories support NYBG’s work in plant research and conservation, horticulture and education. The collection will be available at Erwin Pearl retailers nationwide (erwinpearl.com) and at the NYBG Shop (nybgshop.org). For more, visit nybg.org. – Georgette Gouveia