Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Letter from a PAFA Grad

Laura Jean,

There is so much good to say to you about the quality of your response to me that it reminds me of every time I have viewed the Barnes Foundation collection of paintings.
For there is a moment when I must pause and catch my breath, as I am struck speechless
by the quality of what I have seen in such a short span, and with more to go and see.
Now I am compelled by your site to appreciate your show not just on the internet
but to go and see the result of your power of generation, artofthegarden, bringing unity to civic expression (the town and its awareness expressed in this undertaking); what it is to garden, and make things grow; the institution of library and its possibilities, its garden-like potentiating of awareness and spirit, all through the human expressiveness of your art and  embracing reach across the region -- as well as offer of connection to all beyond it.  Your website is seamlessly artful in its weaving of these elements. Your website artofthegarden is rendered in light, deservedly proud, touches that take care through its translucent background to never stray from very clear content and purpose that is ever on point.  

How can I not come to Haverford?  And I cannot leave without mentioning great regard for your photographs which deserve separate comment all by themselves.  They make me want to paint.  And to assist you with your program if you ever wish it.

Thank you for writing. And, best of success in your continued work. 

Robert Dromboski,
PAFA alum 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Peony's Envy Flower farm in Bloom NOW

Peony's Envy Nursery and Display Garden

The Herbaceous Bloom Begins
Events at the Farm
Wet Weather Diseases

PEONY GARDEN & NURSERY OPEN May 1 - June 15, 11-5 Daily

The herbaceous peony bloom has just begun.

The varieties currently in bloom include the coral cultivars - 
Coral Sunset, Coral Charm, Pink Hawaiian Coral and Silver Dawn. 
Blooms will continue popping for the next few weeks with peak
 anticipated after Memorial Day into the first week of June - 
warm weather will accelerate this, cool cloudy weather will slow it down.

Along with the beginning of the herbaceous bloom a few varieties 
of tree peonies are still in bloom. These include some of our most
requested varieties: the dramatic white and purple crown form
Gansu Tree Peony called Budding Beauty; the yellow peony High Noon,
and the gold and orange peony Golden Pavilion.

An outstanding selection of herbaceous PEONIES ARE FOR SALE
at our nursery. Tree peonies are sold out for the season and will be
 available again in the fall.  

Click here for details and to view the latest pictures of the garden.
Click for information about visiting the farm & directions

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Article in News of Delaware County Tuesday May 17, 2011

News Of Delaware County

Haverford Library art exhibit captures garden beauty

By Lois Puglionesi
Published: Tuesday, May 17, 2011

HAVERFORD TWP. — Garden enthusiasts and art aficionados alike will find much to enjoy in Haverford Township Free Library’s second annual art show and sale, Art of the Garden.

Running April 8 to June 21, this ambitious exhibit includes some 250 paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculptures and pottery entwined with garden motifs.

Displayed throughout the building are representations of flowers in all their glory as well as more surprising pieces, such as Elizabeth White’s untitled mixed media sculpture of Barbie wearing topiary tresses.

Presented by Friends of HTFL, Art of the Garden is a professionally curated and juried show.

Harvard University honors graduate and accomplished photographer Laura Jean Zito served as curator, while a panel including impressionist painter Alan Fetterman, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts board member Barbara Greenfield and Philadelphia Flower Show chairwoman Melinda Moritz had the difficult task of judging.

Painter Susan Stefanski of Havertown won the grand prize for her oil painting "Azalea Hill Path." Priced at $2,500, the four-foot-by-four-foot canvas now hangs in the library's main window on Mill and Darby Roads. Stefanski said she based the picture's azalea-lined path on a scene at Jenkins Arboretum in Devon. "I love painting and it was a joy to do," Stefanski said, adding that she was "thrilled and very surprised" by the grand prize award.

Linus Coraggio's pastel and watercolor "Fire in the Woods" took first place, followed by Rose Marie Cuniffe's pastel and collage, "Pool." Elizabeth Heller's "Reflections in the Phoenixville Canal" placed third.

All art is available for purchase, with 20 percent of proceeds benefiting Sow the Seeds of Our New Library fund. HTFL Director Christine Faris says she has a long wish list, including a new building, additional parking and expanded collections.

Prices range from $75 to $20,000 for Gina Michaels' seven foot tall bronze sunflower sculpture, "Shiners."

HTFL president Tom Woester said the current display has roots in Friends' annual garden tour, scheduled June 18 this year. Because the art show is sandwiched in between the Philadelphia Flower Show and garden outing, "We decided to have art of the garden as the theme," Woester said

Friends also arranged a three-part Gardener's Gathering lecture series. The final session on bees is slated for June 3 at noon.

Since its founding in 2003 the Friends have gifted over $100,000 to the library, used to purchase furniture, a flat screen monitor, annual movie license and more. Friends sponsors a summer reading program and annual Open the Book fundraising gala.

Last year's inaugural art show and sale featured work by Haitian artists.

About 300,000 visitors pass through HTFL's doors annually. Sow the Seeds will contribute to the library's upkeep, severely curtailed by budget cuts over the past two years.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Visit the Gardens at Peony's Envy

Peony's Envy Nursery and Display Garden
Visit the Gardens - This Week Gansu Tree Peonies
Visit the Farm
May Events

PEONY GARDEN & NURSERY OPEN May 1 - June 15, 11-5 Daily

The fragrance alone is worth the trip.

Come visit one of the largest collections of Gansu Tree Peonies in the country.
These plants are some of our favorites. Deep purple flares extend from the center of lacy petals of pink, white, purple and magenta. Come see for yourself why they are some of the most exquisite tree peonies.

An outstanding selection of herbaceous PEONIES ARE FOR SALE at our nursery. Tree peonies are sold out for the season but the inspirational bloom is the perfect time to make a wish list for fall.

Click here for details and to view the latest pictures of the garden.

Click for information about visiting the farm & directions

Friday, May 6, 2011

Peony's Envy For Mother's Day

Peony's Envy Nursery and Display Garden
Happy Mother's Day from Peony's Envy
May Events

GARDEN OPEN! May 1 - June 15, 11-5 Daily

The fragrance alone is worth the trip.

Early blooming tree peonies are expected to peak
the end of this weekend with late blooming trees, including
Gansu Tree Peonies, peaking the end of next week
 through the following weekend. It is turning out to be a luxurious long
and beautiful bloom that is not to be missed.
Come see how the gardens have grown - meander the trails - sit and be at peace for a minute in this stunning garden.

Herbaceous peonies are for sale at the garden.
Tree peonies are sold out for the season but the inspirational bloom is the perfect time to make a wish list for fall.  

For details and to view the latest pictures
of the garden and for information about visiting the farm & directions, visit

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Press release ART OF THE GARDEN 2011

1601 Darby Road
Havertown, PA 19083                   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Laura Jean Zito             Curator and Exhibition Coordinator      

                        “ART OF THE GARDEN”


Opening Reception and Awards Ceremony on Friday, April 8th, 2011 5:30 – 8:30 PM    Free and Open to the Public
     and  Master Gardener Lecture Series  Fridays at Noon

The Friends of the Haverford Township Free Library ( announce  ART OF THE GARDEN (,  an exhibition by 100+ artists, curated by Laura Jean Zito, to  “Sow The Seeds of Our New Library”  for The Haverford Township Free Library (  Haverford Township’s only library is an essential social hub to an active and cultured population of all age ranges, with over 800 visitors a day and 300,000 people a year, more than a small museum! The “Sow The Seeds of Our New Library” fund will contribute to the library’s annual upkeep, seriously curtailed in the last two years by a 33% budget cut of more than $300,000.00.

ART OF THE GARDEN is a juried group exhibition of over 100 artists:  painters, photographers, printmakers, sculptors, potters and jewelers, from local artists of suburban Philadelphia to national and international artists.  All works will be available for purchase, with 20% of sales benefiting the “Sow The Seeds of Our New Library” fund.  
The show will open on Friday, April 8th with a reception and awards ceremony from 5:30 to 8:30 PM.                    
Come join us for a glass of fine wine from AUBURN ROAD VINEYARD & WINERY of Pilesgrove, NJ ( and hors d’oeuvres by KAYA’S FUSION CUISINE of Havertown, PA (  
Art of the Garden Grand Prize Judges, Melinda Moritz, chairwoman of The Philadelphia International Flower Show,  Alan Fetterman, renowned Bucks County Impressionist painter and Barbara Greenfield, PAFA Board member for over 45 years, will be on hand at the opening reception to present the Artists’ awards.  Sponsors include, Peony’s Envy of Bernardsville, NJ  (, Merion Art and Repro ( ), Artist and Craftsman Supply (, Orner Garden Center of Havertown, Robertson’s Flowers  (, Frames and Company  (, Ring of Roses  in Havertown, PA, Mayfield Florist  in Upper Darby, PA, Presidential Florist (, The Bouquet Shop (, Overhill Flowers (, (, Whole Foods Market, Lou Testa's Bakery, Havertown Pizza, Sampan Inn, Presidential Flowers, The Photo Review and others.                                              

The GARDENERS’ GATHERING lecture series Fridays at Noon between March and June.
April 15 - Shade Gardening - presented by Master Gardeners Janae Alberts and Joe Daniels.
May 6 - The Gardens of The Historic Grange Estate - presented by Master Gardener Jay Trolley with Elizabeth Mellon from The Grange
June 3 - The Bees - presented by Master Gardener and Grange beekeeper Hazel Delikatny.
"ART OF THE GARDEN" runs through June 21, 2001.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


ROSE ©2007 Laura Jean Zito
Roses by George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)
You love the roses - so do I. I wish
The sky would rain down roses, as they rain
From off the shaken bush. Why will it not?
Then all the valley would be pink and white
And soft to tread on. They would fall as light
As feathers, smelling sweet: and it would be
Like sleeping and like waking, all at once!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Alexandrian Library History

Bringing in the Catch in Alexandria ©1983 Laura Jean Zito

I found this most interesting account on the internet about the Library of Alexandria. I believe it was on Wikepedia, and I will go back and find it again to see who wrote it. I wanted to share this history with all interested viewers, as it is most fascinating and enlightening and further reinforces why we should support the Haverford Township Free Library by all coming out to buy the artwork of the artists in "Art of the Garden."

In ancient Egypt, the great city of Alexandria represented a golden era of education, understanding and knowledge.  The ancient city, in its most fundamental form, represented new and profound ideas, a harmonizing of many diverse cultures, and a synthesis of ancient wisdom and modern ways.  All of these attributes were manifested during a time of great transition in the ancient world.  As our modern world encounters its own time of great transition, the spirit of the greatest city of the ancient world is once again needed.   
(9/9/10) It might be noted in passing that, according to Georgios Papadupolous, the word, Alexander (from whichAlexandria derives), has a very specific meaning in the Greek language.      
Alexander derives from two ancient Greek words, ?λεξ + ?νδρος . ?λεξ means protect and the other word means man. So Alexander means protector of man. What you may find interesting though (and maybe never heard of) is that the word human (homo + man = soil man ), in Greek is translated as ?νθρωπος which means the one who has the appearance of a male human being (man). This word for the first time is heard in the Oedipus Tyrant ancient drama, at the stage where Oedipus answered the famous riddle of the Sphynx (in Greek means to struggle). This is why in English we have man as the male and woman= womb+man a.k.a. the man who bears a womb .  
The city of Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great in 332 BC.  The city itself had been created by adding to the ancient Pharaonic city of Rhacotis, a suburb called Neapolis to the west.  The two cities together came to be called Alexandria.  The apparent plan of this was to provide Alexander with a naval base for his assault on Persia, and at the same time, provide a link between Macedonia and the rich Nile valley.  At the same time, however, tradition has it that after conquering Egypt, Alexander was radically transformed from a world conqueror into a world harmonizer, and was, in fact, so moved by his experiences in Egypt that he founded a new city to link the Macedonian and Egyptian heritages.
In 323 B.C.E., upon the death of Alexander, one of his generals, Ptolemy, took Egypt as his share of the spoils of Alexander's legacy and brought Alexander's body back to Alexandria for entombment.  Ptolemy and his heirs subsequently made Alexandria the most sophisticated, cosmopolitan city in the ancient world.  The library not only held over a half million scrolls of the most profound history and philosophy, but the library and its extensions formed a core for scholars from every religion and region in the civilized world to congregate in the world's first truly ecumenical gathering.  In one area, Sarapis -- a combination of the Greek Zeus and the Egyptian Osiris -- reigned.  Alongside the many gods of ancient Egypt, early Judaism flourished in what came to be known as the greatest Jewish City in the world.  In fact, the Septuagint was produced in this atmosphere, while at the same time, Gnosticism and Coptic Christianity received their initial birth at Alexandria and subsequently flourished.
The city of Alexandria is known for the Pharos lighthouse, the Sarapeum (a temple to the Greco-Egyptian god, Sarapis), and the Mouseion and Library of Alexandria (the latter which incorporated most of the literary treasures of the ancient world). The Pharos was a beacon of truth and wisdom amidst the darkness of the ages in which it existed, a guide to a safe harbor where travelers were invited to visit and then return with their new wisdom to their own lands, and an active, energetic force dedicated to ordinary men and women.  
The city and its driving force meshed the new ideas of the classical Greek civilization with the older wisdom of ancient Egypt, while at the same time synthesizing contributions from a wide range of other cultures and traditions.  The city, with its basic common denominator of tolerance, was known both as a center of Hellenismand Semitism, and is believed to be the birthplace of the Gnostic Christians.  Some have suggested that Jesus Christ may have visited Alexandria, as well.  
The Library of Alexandria, conceived by Demetrius of Phalerum and constituted during the reigns of Ptolemies I and II (323-246 B.C.), was the first truly universal library in history, attracting the most eminent philosophers, scholars, and visionaries of the entire civilized world.  These a host of great thinkers including Euclid, the inventor of geometry, Erastothenes, who calculated the circumference of the earth, Aristarchus and Dionysius Thrax, who codified grammar, Herophilus, who established the rules of anatomy and physiology, Claudius Ptolemateus, the founder of cartography and one of the developers of astronomy, and Hero, who wrote several books on geometry and mechanics.  Many of these scholars lived nearby in the royal palace, acting as “living books” whom the rulers of Alexandria could call on for advice at any time.  
At its height, the Library contained 30,000 works in 400,000 to 700,000 papyrus scrolls. An overflow of some 42,800 scrolls were housing in the Sarapeum (Temple of Sarapis). Complete universality was the goal, as the Library curators sought copies of all existing manuscripts in their original languages (e.g. Hebrew, Babylonian, Buddhist, Sumerian, etc.), and at the same time, embarked on a massive translation program. The Library also established the first set of rules for classification and inventory of its collection.  This cataloguing was compiled by Callimachus, in the form of “pinakes” (a method of retrieving the work, together with a synopsis or critical appraisal).  Unfortunately, these listings have all been lost.           
The Library of Alexandria formed part of a larger complex, The Mouseion (“Museum”, or temple of the Muses), a research institute which opened its doors to the arts and sciences, and contained an astronomical observatory, a zoological and botanical garden, and numerous meeting rooms.  Inasmuch as the Muses were the guiding forces of music, dance, theater, Poetry, prose, history, astronomy and Astrology, it seems likely that these practices were also included within the Mouseion.  But, by the end of the fourth century A.D., the Library, Mouseion, and Temple of Sarapis were all destroyed.  
The first known library, thought to have been built at Memphis, was reputed to have welcomed its visitors with the words, “Medicines for the Soul”.  In describing a sacred library of Ramses II, one visitor referred to it as “The place of the cure of the soul.”  Such is the essence of libraries, and the extent to which all can aspire to reach.  In all respects, the library was but an extension of the School of Alexandria.  
Historically, the Alexandrian Library and the learning center (the “school”) were truly a place to cure the soul.  When Demetrius transplanted the spirit of Aristotle to the soil of Alexandria, it was based on his master’s conception of a community of learned men isolated from the outside world and equipped with a complete library and retreat where they could cultivate the Muses.  The more practical rulers recognized that if one were to rule, it would be essential to understand one’s subjects.  This could be done most readily by collecting and translating the books of conquered subjects.  Sacred books of the subject people were then given special preference, because the religion of a ruler’s subjects was considered a gateway to their souls.  
The Temple of Alexandria, the Sarapeum, housed a smaller library of duplicate copies of books from the museum, and was intended to provide access to these books to the entire city of Alexandria.  It was destroyed by Christians in 391 A.D. as a pagan temple.             
The Sarapeum was built to Parmeniscus’ design at Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy I.  As a temple, the Sarapeum was dedicated to the god Sarapis, whose worship as a new deity was inaugurated to mark the beginning of Ptolemy’s dynasty.  Sarapis was conceived of as a composite of the god Osiris, the Egyptian lord of the dead, and Zeus, the Greek sun-god.  Sarapis was also associated with Asclepius (god of healing), Dionysus (fertility), and Poseidon (god of the sea).  The all-encompassing nature of this Greco-Egyptian deity symbolizes the holistic nature of the Temple of Alexandria.
For almost three centuries, the Library of Alexandria was supreme.  In 47 B.C.E., however, the Roman legions ofJulius Caesar carelessly (and/or stupidly) damaged the library.  The city recovered from this initial insult, but then suffered a general massacre in A.D. 215 at the hands of the Roman emperor Caracalla (Marcus Aurelius Antoninus), who was responding to insults from the inhabitants.  The city again recovered a portion of its former splendor, only to have the main library destroyed in the civil war that occurred under Aurelian in the late third century.  Meanwhile the "daughter" library, located within the temple to Sarapis, was destroyed by fanatical Christians in A.D. 391.
The destruction of the Library at Alexandria was one of the most notorious crimes of history, taking the greatest collection of literature, philosophy, and history and putting it to the torch in the name of narrow-minded politics and ignorant religion.  Alexandria has been one of world's greatest legacies, and constituted a golden moment in the history of the ancient world.
The modern day Halexandria Foundation has modeled its Library of Halexandria after the ancient Egyptian prototype, but utilizing the Inter Net as its initial, primary focus.
Today, Alexandria is still an important city in Egypt.  But it is also:  
            A journal published in book form devoted to exploring the philosophical, spiritual, and cosmological traditions of the Western world,
            A meeting place for people interested in ancient and modern cosmological speculation and what the humanities have to contribute to contemporary life, and
            A humanities forum and Garden of Discourse without walls.
 According to, Alexandria, the journal <>:
 “In ancient Egypt the city and Library of Alexandria was the meeting place where philosophical, spiritual, and cosmological teachings flowed together to create vital new syntheses and a flourishing cultural environment.”
 With any luck the Spirit of Alexandria will continue in its soul-full quest.