Park Slope Garden Exhibit Teaches History of Human Interaction With Plants

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    Did you know that tobacco was once used as currency?

    Every plant has a story — that’s the crux of “Garden of Discovery,” a container-plant exhibit in Park Slope on view from September 15 through October 30.

    Sponsored by Groundworks Inc., a 14-year-old Gowanus-based garden design, installation and maintenance company, the exhibit will feature nearly 30 plants.

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    Groundworks co-founders Alice S. Marcus and Carmen DeVito. (photo by Michelle Arcila)

    “It’s an opportunity to see, touch and learn about some plants that you don’t see every day,” says Groundworks cofounder Alice S. Marcus.

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    Featuring rice, cotton, tobacco, fucshia, tradescantia, maples, and begonia, among others, the exhibit will provide homeowners and garden enthusiasts examples of how to use these plants ornamentally — as well as providing each plant’s origin story.

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    “The aim is to connect our living environment to the historical and cultural aspect of plants,” says Marcus.

    Groundworks’ specialty — creating gardens for historic residential and commercial properties — can be seen at the 9/11 temporary memorial chapel at the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME); Washington Mews, a landmarked alley occupied mostly by New York University; the entry garden for City Harvest’s receiving facility in Long Island City; and the Brick Presbyterian Church on Park Avenue.

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    Marcus, along with her cofounder Carmen DeVito, also hosts a radio podcast, We Dig Plants, a seasonal program on Heritage Radio Network.

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    DeVito says that the podcast, the garden installation, as well as The Thistle & Fig Tales — their illustrated graphic novel for young adults — share the same core mission.

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    “It’s about getting people interested and excited in all things budding.”

    The exhibition is located at 550 11th Street (between 7th and 8th avenues) in Park Slope (Marcus’ front garden). For more information about the “Garden of Discovery” exhibit, please contact Groundworks through their website and be sure to check out their podcast.

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