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Carol Gangemi is a professional graphic designer and illustrator and a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists. She has exhibited her work in galleries and at the Philadelphia Flower Show, and has instructed art classes at the University of Delaware, Wilmington College, and the Moore College of Art and Design, as well as at Longwood Gardens.
Q. What is your background?
A. I grew up in and got my BFA from Moore College of Art. My major was advertising design—now they would call it graphic design. Right out of college I went to work for the John Wanamaker department store. I designed shopping bags, newspaper ads, menu covers, posters…all kinds of things. It was an interesting period and our team got to do some excellent work.
Q. How long were you in that business?
A. I worked for thirty-five years as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. What happened was that when I got married we moved to Wilmington, and when my son was born I decided to freelance so I could work from the house. I worked for many of the big corporations in the area, Du Pont, Hercules…some of them aren’t even called the same thing anymore! Freelancing allowed me to plan my time, so when I had my daughter I continued working that way with advertising agencies in Philadelphia and Wilmington. I also illustrated some educational materials for Doubleday, and I taught for eight years at Moore.
Q. I understand you were able to combine teaching with travel.
A. Yes, for four years I taught two or three times a year on Crystal Cruises. I went to the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, through Norway, even up through the Baltic Sea and Russia. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work. I had to address the projects to wherever we were traveling, making them relevant to the cruise. You have to bring all the supplies with you, plan the assignments, and set everything up. I never knew quite how many people would show up. Crystal is a very exclusive line so I was very careful to maintain the caliber of service that they give on their ships. At the end of the cruise, we had a show in the main lounge.
Q. How did you get into botanical illustration?
A. I always loved flowers and painted flowers on my own, and I have taken a couple of botanical master classes. I proposed teaching a beginner’s class for Longwood Gardens and they hired me to do that.
Q. What is your Introduction to Plant Illustration class like?
A. No experience is necessary. We start with color theory and drawing. Mostly we work in watercolors, but if students want to use graphite, colored pencils, or pastels they are welcome to do so—the basic design principles still apply. We get a large assortment of plants brought in from the greenhouse, and the students can choose what to paint. Students who want to continue learning are welcome to repeat the class; I guide them as they move on at their own pace.
Q. You have a very caring approach. Beyond the art itself, what else does this class mean to you and your students?
A. I have a wonderful group of students and I’m enjoying it. I’m retired from everything else and have a 94-year-old mother to think about. I’m thrilled to be here. It was one of those happy accidents.
I’m excited about the direction Longwood Gardens is taking to bring people into the garden and to encourage interest in children, our future visitors. One new thing that’s been nice for my students is to be able to display their work in the Gallery Room in the Terrace Restaurant.
We really have a good time. I try to make the class kind of a refuge for people. I want them to be able to come and relax and put their mind on quiet for a few hours. Painting can be like meditation, you can really lose yourself in it. When you focus on getting that flower or plant just right, you’re not thinking about anything else.
Introduction to Plant Illustration with Carol Gangemi, Mondays, September 20–November 1 (no class Oct 11), 9-11:30 a.m.; $135 Garden pass member, $150 non-member.
Advanced I Floral Design
with Jane Godshalk
DATE: Tuesdays, September 14-October 19
FEE: $375 Garden pass member, $338 non-member
By studying historical and international floral design, students will expand and refine their floral design skills. Designs completed in this course include: vegetative style landscape, sheltered, Phoenix, New Convention, abstract, and cascade or waterfall. Many techniques, such as basing, wiring, taping, using chicken wire, binding and banding are taught, as students work with a variety of plant materials. The instructor will demonstrate each style and the elements and principles that guide it. Students work with increasingly challenging concepts and a broad variety of material to create exceptional designs.
Paired Altar Arrangements
with Jane Godshalk
DATE: Saturday, September 18
9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon
FEE: $122 Garden pass member, $135 non-member
Master the techniques to create beautiful altar arrangements. This course will cover the ordering, conditioning, and arranging of flowers for use on a religious altar. You will work with a partner in this session to make two complimentary arrangements which you may then take home or to your place of worship. Bring a partner for arranging or join up with someone in class.
Plant Science: Understanding Plants
with Jeff Jabco
DATE: Mondays, September 20-October 25
1:00-3:00 PM or 7:00-9:00 PM
FEE: $162 Garden pass member, $180 non-member
Understanding the botanical system of plants names and how the plant kingdom is organized is important “groundwork” for anyone hoping to become a successful gardener. Students will become familiar with living organisms’ two-name system and the often confusing additional plant names used for cultivars and subspecies. The second part of the class will focus on the outward structure, or morphology, of plants during the growing season. We will look in detail at the methods and terminology of plant identification through a diverse study of leaves, stems, flowers, and fruits.
with Cres Motzi
DATE: Saturday, September 25
9:00 AM -12:00 Noon
FEE: $90 Garden pass member, $100 non-member
Herbs are a diverse group of plants, ranging in size from the low-growing, to shrubs and trees. They have a wide range of uses in every culture. They add flavor and aroma to our food, fragrance to our cosmetics, and health benefits to our bodies. We will use the bounty of the season to create an herb wreath that can be used as a table centerpiece or door decoration. As a bonus, herbs dry beautifully, and you will have an extended enjoyment of your arrangement.
Inspired by a Garden
with Antonia Bellanca floral and perfume designer creator of Antonia's Flowers, Sogni del Mare, Floret, Tiempe Passate www.antoniasflowers.com/index.asp
DATE: Sunday, September 26
FEE: $90 Garden pass member, $100 non-member
By selecting the right flowers you can create an experience as well as a beautiful design. Antonia Bellanca will share her own floral experience and how it shaped her fragrance company, Antonia’s Flowers. Flowers reminiscent of her perfumes will be the focus of your basket design. Your creation will be complimented with one of her perfumes to complete your arrangement. Be inspired by Antonia, flowers, and fragrance!
One of the cornerstones of Longwood’s Integrated Pest Management program is officially called “biological control” or “the use of natural enemy insects,” but what it really boils down to this: encouraging good bugs to destroy undesirable ones.
“Wherever possible, Longwood attempts to use natural pest management techniques,” says Casey Sclar, Plant Health Care Division Leader. “In the greenhouses and Conservatories we often use the periodic release of natural enemy insects to control pest populations. Some of the houses that rely on biological control for the bulk of the `heavy lifting’ are the Tropical Terrace, Palm House, and Fern Passage. Most of the time it’s mealybug, spider mites, or armored scale we’re targeting. We use mealybug destroyer (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri), predatory mites (Phytoseiulus persimilis), and green lacewings (Chrysoperla rufilabris).”
According to Sclar, there are three major ways that biological control works:
First, classical biological control. This refers to a one-time release of an insect, or an insect relative, for the purpose of controlling an undesirable organism like a weed, disease, or destructive insect. Ideally, the helpful organism gets established in the environment with as few releases as possible.
“Longwood Gardens is active in that area,” says Sclar. “We have hosted researchers from the USDA and are currently working with the University of Delaware, studying the success of a weevil that controls mile-a-minute weed (Persicaria perfoliata).”
The second realm is the ongoing (periodic) release of beneficial insects in conservatories or displays. “These can be bugs that eat other bugs, or lay eggs in other bugs,” Sclar says. “We have released predators, parasites, and parasitoids that attack Mexican bean beetles and aphids. For grubs that live in soil, we’ve used entomopathenogenic nematodes to give them a disease.”
The third prong of biological control is the one that Sclar says has the greatest impact, and is of most value to homeowners. “It’s what I call `conservation biological control,’” he explains. “It takes advantage of the natural enemy insects and relatives that are out there right now in the natural landscape, and employs sound management tactics to give them the upper hand.”
Avoiding broad-spectrum pesticides is a good place to start. Instead, opt for a more selective one like a horticultural oil. “You can spot-treat,” says Sclar, “and if there is persistence, it’s a week as opposed to three months.”
Promoting natural enemies also bolsters this approach. At Longwood, for example, gardeners might eliminate spider mites with a method that doesn’t affect desirable predatory mites.
“The best way to practice conservation biological control is to consistently put the right plants in the right spot to exploit their natural advantages,” Sclar says. “For example, put azaleas and rhododendrons in the shade for optimum performance. Where possible, choose a plant that is resistant to pests. To prevent infestations, avoid growing monocultures.
“We plant flowers to attract beneficial insects not just for pollination, but also to encourage biological control,” he adds. “Flower flies look like bees, but in their maggot stage they feed voraciously on aphids. It is a good example, because it’s one people will see here. It looks like bee but has only two wings. We rely on these for aphid management in the Main Conservatory area. A bunch of them come in when the chrysanthemums are in bloom.”
Longwood purchases some “good bugs” commercially, while others are reared on site. “One is a little tiny ladybeetle that feeds on cottony cushion scale,” Sclar says, “which is a major citrus pest in California and which Longwood has. That falls into the category of classical biocontrol, rather than augmentative. We are building up the population of lady beetles with the intent that we won’t have to release them anymore.”
One helpful bug seems to advertise its search-and-destroy mission on its back. “Minute pirate bugs (Orius insidiosus) are small insects that prey on thrips, spider mites, scale, and aphids,” says Sclar. “They have unique coloration that looks like the Oakland Raiders’ symbol.” Sorry, Eagles fans!
For an overview of Longwood’s Integrated Pest Management strategy, visit http://www.longwoodgardens.org/IntegratedPestManagement_1_3_2_3_3_4.html.
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Meet the arborists and gardeners that care for our trees and flowers throughout Spring Blooms, and see demonstrations throughout our Conservatory and outdoor gardens.
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Get ready for an evening of oohs and ahhs, as Longwood presents spectacular Fireworks & Fountains shows guaranteed to make your summer memorable.
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Registration is now open for our 2013 Continuing Education courses!
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