Art in Bloom 2014; The Final Interpretation

This is the write up we did for the Thursday night event at Art In Bloom, where the artists are available to meet with the public & explain their works.  I found it fascinating that the men attending the event are often more inquisitive and almost always express their appreciation for the explanation.  I even found Carla’s 19 yr old son listening intently to the explanation.  Scroll down for more pics and a detailed account of the process of creating this interpretation.
The Minnesota Herb Society’s interpretation of Merced River in Yosemite
Albert Bierstadt’s Merced River in Yosemite (1868) was of particular interest.  There is a cloudy, foggy aspect to this painting that we noted.  In contrast, a major Yosemite element is rock & this painting subtly shows the rock formations the Yosemite is famous for, as well as the greenery & a soft beautiful use of light.  As members of the MN Herb Society, we use herbs in our interpretation.  In particular, we choose to feature the 2014 Herb of the Year, Artemisia, There are several forms of Artemisia that we have in our interpretation, along with various other herbs.  The following represent the herbs we used in our arrangement.  Statements about the use of these herbs are not intended to represent or imply suitability for treatment of any conditions.
Artemisia; Dusty Miller, Tarragon, & Silver Mound – While Dusty Miller (also called Beach Wormwood & Old Woman) & Silver Mound are primarily used as bedding plants, Tarragon has a definite culinary use, along with some old medicinal uses.  According to several sources, tarragon was used for tooth aches, a digestive aid, a mild sedative, & used to treat poisonous snake bites.
Limonium – While there are many varieties of Limonium, some are powerfully astringent. The roots were often used to treat diarrhea, dysentery, sore mouths, cankers, and old ulcers.  We thought the color of this feathery Limonium was perfect to denote the subtle but present cliff.
Thyme – Used as an Antiseptic & to treat Bronchitis & indigestion.   Poultices were made from thyme to treat skin infections & minor wounds.   It was also used as an incense to cleanse the air.
Spider Mums – A member of an autumn favorite, the chrysanthemum. The Chrysanthemum has been 
used most predominantly in East Asia to prevent sore throats & fevers.  It is also known for making people more alert, treat the eyes, & circulatory problems such as varicose veins.  We thought we might be able to capture the cloudy foggy aspect with the use of spider mums in white & pink.  We incorporated the spider mums to portray the exquisite light captured by Bierstadt & to signify the beauty of the clouds.  
Lavender – Used in Teas & Balms for Antiseptic, Calming & stimulates the healing process.  The fragrance of lavender is thought to impart a feeling of inner freedom.
Bay – Used in Culinary, but also has other uses.  It is used to treat arthritic aches, earaches, & sore muscles.  And of course, wreaths of bay donned the heads of Ancient Greeks.  
Rosemary – A wonderful culinary herb & personally, the scent is a lovely scent in the midst of a grey winter day. In ancient times, Rosemary had a reputation for strengthen the memory.  Burning Rosemary in sick chambers or hospitals was said to purify the air.  Shakespeare wrote “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember.”
Mint – Peppermint is most often used to treat indigestion.  In ancient times, it was thought to clear the voice & cure hiccup.  It is also used to treat gallstones & colds.
Scented Geranium – Use scented geranium tea for a calming sensation.Also used for cleansing the face & as a deodorant because of it’santibacterial properties.  It was also said to reduce stomachaches & dried geranium leaves are used to repel insects in closets & drawer.  The one scented geranium leaf embodies the cave & fire.
The Minnesota Herb Society encourages the study, the growing, & the use of herbs.  We also plant & maintain the Herb Gardens at the MN Landscape Arboretum.    Meetings are held the 4th Tuesday  of January, March, May, August, & October.