I live near the Amsterdam Botanic Gardens, a beautiful pocket-handkerchief of green in the heart of the city. Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam as it is officially known, has recreated the original Snippendaal garden. It was originally a place where in the 17th century local doctors and apothecaries could source plants for medicines.
As an artist I researched here for two years, initially on a project studying the life and death of trees but I became enchanted by the whole garden.
As autumn began to close and winter started I fell in love with the dried stalks of the Rudbeckia. It was the simplicity of their form shown in their elemental shapes, the directional quality: a vertical line, a slanting one. The light falling on parts of the stalks, seeming burnished by weak autumnal sunshine, I recorded the slightest tonal variation.
The gardens are very welcoming and over the years I have grown to know several of the gardeners. They will tell me about their experiences with the plants and willingly answer my many questions. I am very grateful for their patience. The Rudbeckia plant marks a point in my life when I made a conversion from being an observer to having a personal connection to plants.
Author: Lilian Cooper
See more of Lilian Cooper’s work at www.liliancooper.com.
“Learning Mom’s Love of Plants” also features coneflowers.