Re-Tree the Avenue
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens invited me to come down to their garden in Sarasota, FL to document their unique collection that features epiphytes. They heard about my work from my exhibit at The Academy of Natural Science in Philadelphia in 2011. The list of plants developed with Education Director Jeanie Perales, Botany Director Bruce Holst, and Horticulture Director Mike McLaughlin, represented plants found in both Selby Gardens and Florida. I spent a few days in this garden collecting and pressing specimens, and a few days exploring the city of Sarasota collecting objects and ideas related to the culture of Florida. I then returned to my studio to delve further into each plant’s life history, ecology, medicinal uses, folklore, and wildlife value from both a historical and contemporary point of view.
“Florida Fantastica” was exhibited at the Gardens in January 2013. The work from that show is now part of my Plants of Florida series.
Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
In 2011 SCEE contacted me to exhibit my continuing series of plants native to Pennsylvania, along with some additional plants found on their preserve. The results of this research were exhibited at the Center in spring 2011, and titled Natural History of My Backyard. Works from this exhibit now make up part of the Native Plants of Pennsylvania series.
Founded in 1965, The Schuylkill Center is one of the first urban environmental education centers in the country. Envisioning an "island of green" where the city dwellers of Philadelphia could experience and learn about the natural world. Today, the Center is used to discover, explore, and study nature and encourage stewardship of the environment.
Santa Fe Botanical Garden
This series was created in 2011 for an exhibition that benefited the Santa Fe Botanical Garden. Founded in 1987, SFBG was the vision of a small group of local gardeners, botanists and environmentally oriented citizens to establish a local botanical garden that cultivates and conserves the rich botanical heritage and biodiversity of the southwest region through education and environmental programming.
I lived in New Mexico for many years, and it was wonderful to return to the landscape of the high desert, and to work with the SFBG, researching and documenting the unique plants found in this ecosystem. The Selby Fleetwood Gallery in Santa Fe, NM hosted this benefit exhibition in October 2011.
The Academy of Natural Sciences
The Academy of Natural Sciences invited me in August of 2010 to do a solo exhibition in their new Art of Science gallery. They discovered my work through an installation I did in cooperation with the Philadelphia Horticultural Society. The resulting show, Flora Fantastica: The Whimsical Botanical Art of MF Cardamone featured historically relevant plants native to Pennsylvania.
For my exhibition research, I had access to their rare book and folio collection and historic plant specimens. The plant list was developed through conversations with the Director of Exhibits, Barbara Ciega and Botanist Emeritus, Ernie Schuyler. The work included plants specifically related to the early botanical history of Philadelphia and the Academy. These plants were discovered by such notable American figures as Lewis and Clark, and Thomas Jefferson. The pieces shown in this exhibit are now part of the Native Plants of Pennsylvania series.
In 2008 I was invited to document the plants of North America’s oldest botanical garden, located in Philadelphia along the shores of the Schuylkill River. John Bartram (1699–1777), the well-known early American botanist, explorer, and plant collector, founded the garden in September 1728. By the middle of the eighteenth century, Bartram's Garden contained the most varied collection of North American plants in the world. The resulting exhibition My Backyard Plant Explorations, included works featuring 36 plants from Bartram’s Garden, many of them important plants in North American botanical history. Works from this exhibit are now part of the Native Plants of Pennsylvania series.