Double Vision Lecture Series: Soulscapes and the Garden After Dark

When: Fri., July 13, 5 p.m. 2012

Lois Dodd's nighttime landscapes of New England on display at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art — Lois Dodd: Catching the Light — don't bear much resemblance to the late-night scenes of Powell Gardens. However, folks can make connections between the mythic painted landscapes and real-life garden goings-on when local painter and printmaker Jane Voorhees and Powell Gardens' director of horticulture, Alan Branhagen, team up for the Kemper's Double Vision Lecture Series. The free lecture "Soulscapes and the Garden After Dark" begins at 6 p.m. with a meet-and-greet happy hour at the museum (4420 Warwick, 816-753-5784) at 5. Admission is free. For more information, see kemperart.org. The Pitch caught up with Branhagen to ask what goes on in his garden after dark.

The Pitch: Are the gardens as peaceful at night as they are during the day?

Branhagen: Yes, the sights and sounds are quite different, and the cycle of the moon plays a big role on what we can see. White flowers and white variegated foliage plants seem to glow, while plants with glossy leaves glisten. Coyotes and owls can add some eerie sounds at any season, with a cacophony of various frog and toad species in spring through summer, and wonderful insect songs (mainly cricket and katydid species) at their peak in late summer into fall.

Which garden has the most nighttime activity?

The Visitor Center terrace garden has a moth border with many flowers that open only at night for moths as pollinators. The Southern and sweet bay magnolias exude intoxicating, alluring fragrance, and their foliage really glistens on moonlit nights.

What types of nocturnal creatures wander Powell Gardens?

Great horned, barred and Eastern screech owls at all seasons; whippoorwills and chuck-will's-widows in summer (all birds of the night), plus coyotes, raccoons, opossum; a huge diversity of moths and other insects.

What do you find magical about gardens at night?

How one sees almost nothing but the Milky Way and the stars during a new moon and a magically lit landscape during the full moon.

Berry Anderson

Price: free

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