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Decorate Your Garden: Antique Garden Furniture Fair at The New York Botanical Garden

Two of the Four Seasons – Winter & Autumn – purchased at The NYBG Antique Garden Furniture Fair 

The air Thursday evening at The New York Botanical Garden was filled with more than just a rainbow of sensuous spring blossoms. Looking oh-so-glamorous on such a sterling night were the shimmering Chihuly artworks that delight the landscape and the Conservatory. Don’t miss this exhibit — it’s brilliantly curated: the glass art works and the plant art works are displayed in a potent and rare appearance.

The display gardens are redolent and as captivating as a dream…

Me and my plus + one, Maria, had to focus on the signature event we were there to see!

The New York Botanical Garden’s 2017 Antique Garden Furniture Fair: Antiques for the Garden and the Garden Room opened with a Benefit Preview Party and Collectors’ Plant Sale May 4th. NYBG’s Fair is America’s only show for authentic garden antiques and rarities for the garden and the garden room.

Internationally renowned event designer Bronson van Wyck is the Designer Chairman for this year’s Antique Garden Furniture Fair. He created a design based on Édouard Manet’s painting Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (Luncheon on the Grass). It’s a whimsical delight – you want to curl up with that picnic basket and just sip some champagne and nibble on the grapes and cheese.

Bronson van Wyck’s entry design inspired by Manet’s “Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe”
Amid 600 guests from the philanthropic, interior and landscape design, architecture, and art worlds, Preview Party attendees indulge in an exclusive Silent Auction and NYBG’s renowned Collectors’ Plant Sale, which features hard-to-find beauties, beloved varieties, and horticultural treasures propagated from NYBG collections, all chosen for their rarity and charm. Striking tree specimens that create year-round living sculptures and exciting new horticultural introductions of timeless garden favorites, such as dogwoods, magnolias, hydrangeas, peonies, and hellebores, are among the unique offerings that will be available exclusively to Preview Party guests.

The Preview Party presents enthusiasts and collectors the opportunity to examine the plants, to peruse thousands of garden antiques from leading exhibitors from across the United States offering their finest pieces for sale, and to make early purchases, while enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, in advance of the Fair’s opening to the general public.

Plus, there’s always the added excitement of meeting and seeing fellow garden and horticulture enthusiasts. Throwing off winter’s hibernation and/or travels, guests catch up on the garden season’s promise and — each other.

Two of my garden “she-roes” Martha Stewart and Lynden Miller.

Sigourney Weaver is a great supporter of NYBG. Love her!

Martha was sourcing the show with Kevin Sharkey. Here with Garden friends.

Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran was not shopping for anything aquatic!

Me (center) with garden friends: Stephen Orr, Editor in Chief, Better Homes and Gardens and Francisca Coelho, NYBG.

Marc Hachadourian, Director of the Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections, NYBG — and the Orchid Whisperer, (L) and Stephen Orr, Better Homes & Gardens

The Illustrated Book of Edible Plants author Jack Staub.

Gregory Long,  Chief Executive Officer and The William C. Steere Sr. President of NYBG, (second from L) with Preview Party Chairs

The Antique Garden Furniture Fair continues at NYBG from Friday, May 5 through Sunday, May 7, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The Fair is a must for leading collectors and designers, as well as purchasers seeking advice from professionals. Included are outdoor sculpture, fountains, sundials, bird baths, gates, garden benches, antique wicker, urns and planters, botanical prints, and architectural ornament, displaying centuries of classic design inspiration gathered from America, Europe, and Asia. These antiques are not only great for the garden, but also for the garden room.

And the BEST part is that Maria’s keen eye for art and antiques and all things beautiful — snagged the incredible Four Seasons statues! Maria was engaged with the vendor from Milne’s At Home Antiques and asked what I thought… Be still my heart. Those cunning faces and and sweet expressions makes you deliriously happy just looking at them.                                    

Winter and Autumn

That they are in near-perfect condition made the purchase all the more garden kismet.  

Maria with Spring and Summer

We learned the Season sculptures are aggregate stone; their provenance is most likely the 1940’s, “born” in Surrey, England (where Judy Milne often travels for her acquisitions, she told us). Having all four pedestals is very rare. Often owners break them up and use and/or sell separately. And more likely than not, the Seasons have had but one or two owners which is why they look so pristine. But of course — seeing these magical creatures it’s no wonder owners do not want to part with them…

So just like that, Maria was making arrangements to bring her brood to where else? The Garden State, where they will be ensconced in her magical garden for another generation – or two.

Summer in her new home in the Garden State! Welcome precious beauty…

Throughout the evening, I led friends to admire Maria’s purchase.

Admiring the Seasons: Maria with Winter & Autumn — and NYBG’s Charles Yurgalevitch, Ph.D., Director of the Garden’s School of Professional Horticulture

And near the end of the evening, I noticed two ladies coveting the Seasons so I asked if they’d like to meet their new owner. We had a lovely chat — but they couldn’t help conceal they were pea-green with envy!

Satisfied with the coup and good fortune of the Seasons acquisition, we were able to scout the rest of the show.

We admired Barbara Israel Garden Antiques display. I enjoy catching up with Barbara and seeing her latest discoveries. Turned out that many years ago, Barbara had visited Maria’s former home in Rumson to acquire some pieces. Love the “Six Degrees” in the garden world!

Barbara Israel with the Blanchard sculpture art

Barbara had a lovely Blashfield statue – Diana de Gabii – representing the goddess Artemis. Another statue put the lovely lady on pedestal – where she no doubt belongs! The original pedestal base is again, a rarity. Plus it boasts a lovely laurel wreath on the base. This English piece is a Blanchard, from 1815.                                                                                    

Two lions — from the Medicis were powerfully pretty.

Loved these 1735 botanical prints and their pedigree – and the union of botanical art with science.

The coasters here were charming. I learned that the cut fruit art was rare and difficult to produce at that time — which explains their cost.                                            

Weekend visitors to the Antique Garden Furniture Fair can browse and purchase unique items of the highest quality and provenance and enjoy a program lineup that includes tours, talks, and eclectic live musical sets.

There will be exhibitors offering an array of interesting ways to bring the outdoors inside by creating garden rooms in your home.                                       

Experts will be on hand to answer questions on current decorating styles. They will also discuss trends in the acquisition and appreciation of garden ornament, as well as assist buyers looking for the perfect piece to complement a garden, landscape, or interior.        

I loved this glamorous flower petal table at the Preview party. And was reminded of the table we saw earlier in the day.

The Kips Bay Decorator House showed its own petal blossom, glamourous cocktail table. Plants inspire…

On-site shippers are available to facilitate Tri-State New York and New England deliveries during the Fair and other shipping needs in the weeks following.

Plus you can view all that Chihuly art!

Chihuly glass art at night!

One of my favorite displays — glass art mimics the plants – like yucca and iris

All proceeds benefit NYBG’s Fund for Horticulture, directly supporting the work of the curators and gardeners who are responsible for making The New York Botanical Garden one of the most important horticultural showplaces in the world.

The Antique Garden Furniture Fair takes place in a tent amid flowering trees, plants, and shrubs, with The New York Botanical Garden’s landmark Enid A. Haupt Conservatory as its glorious backdrop. It is the ideal venue for learning about garden antiques and building personal collections. Admission to the Fair on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, May 5 through 7, is included with the All-Garden Pass, which also provides access to the Botanical Garden grounds, seasonal gardens, attractions such as the Haupt Conservatory, and Tram Tour. Advance tickets for the Fair are available for purchase online at


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"Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art."
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 I adore plants. Plants are my muse ~ they are my paramour… I’m a garden artist; a nature lover, & horticulturist. I’m an author & writer. My passion for culture & beauty, along with my trait curiosity, brings you an authentic celebration of life. I’m a storyteller ~ weaving the artful gifts of horticulture, garden design, tablescape decor, floral design, cocktail culture, garden-to-glass recipes & their glamorous garnishes, homegrown edibles, food & drink; & cooking, to bring you my flair & what I’ve been told is an avid elan ~ as well as the stories from those who inspire me ~ to pursue an elegant, enduring, & joyful, entertaining lifestyle. It’s an honor & a privilege to do what you love.

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