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Fleeting Beauty

Early spring wildflowers appear briefly to dazzle



On the morning that the Bedford Audubon group sets forth on its field trip, blustery winds and cold temperatures are conspiring. Ephemerals in bloom the day before appear to have shut up, tight as drums. Then the sun comes out and so do the flowers.

The group, outfitted in parkas, mittens and hats as they scale the hillsides, are treated to meadows of trillium and foamflower, wild ginger, ginseng, and Solomon’s seal. There are Jack-in-the-pulpits, May apple, blue cohosh, and five varieties of violets—in all, some 55 natives of early-spring flowers.

Naturalist Carol Gracie leads the group, urging everyone to slow down and look closely at the feast spread out like a picnic before them. Ephemerals—those early-spring wildflowers—have evolved to take advantage of the sunlight that reaches the forest floor before the tree canopy has leafed out. In general, people must take to the woods to find them.

Gracie’s passion for wildflowers was kindled on childhood hikes with her father. As time went by, learning the names of native flowers was not enough. “I wanted to know more about them, why they lived where they did, what insects visited them, how they got their names,” she writes in Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast. “As with people, plants become both more interesting and more memorable once you get to know them.”

Temperament, interest, and natural ability would lead to a career at The N.Y. Botanical Garden and, later, to a burgeoning career as a writer and photographer. Gracie ran NYBG’s children’s-education and adult-travel programs for many years and still exudes the patience and enthusiasm of any good teacher. Along the way, she obtained her degree in botany and spent 25 years traveling and working in remote places with her husband, Scott Mori, a tropical botanist at NYBG.

In Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast, hot off the press in March, Gracie takes us on an armchair excursion as unique as actual excursions she’s led to exotic places. Her new book follows on the heels of a field guide she coauthored with Steven Clemants and focuses on some of the Northeast’s most iconic species.

Gracie’s book is a blend of natural and social history as well as an overview of how wildflowers figure in folklore, literature, and art. She reports on pests and pathogens, explores medicinal applications, and distills current findings from scientific journals into nuggets accessible to laymen. Because Gracie herself is a visual learner, she feels it is crucial to use photographs to tell the story. For many of the more than 500 color photographs, she employs a special macro lens to capture a natural world not visible to the naked eye.

As Gracie leads the Audubon group through the woods, she points out the serendipity that might otherwise be missed—fallen, moss-covered logs supporting exquisite random wildflower arrangements and microclimates where specific ephemerals flourish. Very soon these wildflowers will disappear for another year and Gracie will be moving on as well, this time to a book for the summer season.

“I’ll get a call telling me such and such is going to be in bloom for two or three days. Come on up,” she says of spotters in disparate parts of the Northeast who scout the woods for her. And she’ll grab her camera and notebook and be off on her next adventure.

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September 2018

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
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Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

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Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
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The Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce and the Connecticut Giant Pumpkin Growers Club will host the 6th Annual Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off on Sunday, September 23, 2018 from 10 am to 3 pm in Ballard Park,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ballard Park
Ridgefield, CT  06877


Sponsor: Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 203-438-5992
Contact Name: Jen Mulhern
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On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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Somers Women's Club, a not-for-profit community service organization, will hold its major fundraiser on Sunday, September 23, 2018 at Reis Park on Route 139 in Somers. There will be a huge sale...

Cost: 0

Where:
Reis Park
182 Primrose St
Katonah, NY  10536
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Sponsor: Somers Women's Club
Contact Name: Jodi Hu
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Gunn Memorial Library in Washington, CT is pleased to welcome back literary scholar Mark Scarbrough as he leads a five week course The Soul Ajar: An Emily Dickinson Literature Course.  The classes...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
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Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

MARGARITAS FOR MOCKINGBIRDS A Bedford Audubon Fundraiser Bedford Audubon Society will host its first annual fundraising event at TRUCK Restaurant on September 24, 2018 from 6-8pm.  Tickets are...

Cost: $125.00

Where:
Truck Restaurant
391 Old Post Rd
Bedford, NY
View map »


Sponsor: Truck Restaurant

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Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

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This presentation, led by Martin House member Bryan Stern, will help small business owners understand key tax law changes that may affect their 2018 business tax returns so that they can plan ahead...

Cost: Free

Where:
Martin House Workspace
69 Westchester Ave.
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
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Sponsor: Martin House Workspace
Telephone: 914-764-3128
Contact Name: Erin Trostle
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Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Facilitated by Nina Bertolino This program will meet every other Wednesday from 10:30 - 12:30 on the following dates: September 12th & 26th, October 10th & 24th, November 7th & 21st, December 5th...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
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More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

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Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

On Thursday, September 27, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich will host its first-ever Oktoberfest celebration. Featuring German beer from Paulaner USA, Oktoberfest at the Bruce...

Cost: $30 for Bruce Museum members, $40 non-members

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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Hospice of Westchester (HOW) will host its annual “In Celebration” Gala Cocktail Reception on Thursday, September 27, 2018. This year’s event will honor Joan and Michael...

Cost: $300

Where:
Westchester Country Club
99 Biltmore Avenue
Rye, NY  10580
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Sponsor: Hospice of Westchester
Telephone: 914-682-1484
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Laura from Olive My Skin will be joining us to talk about her lovely natural soaps, wood wick soy candles and skin care line, all proudly made in Connecticut. All Fair Trade, paraben free,...

Cost: free

Where:
The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
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Sponsor: The Smithy
Telephone: (860)868-9003
Contact Name: susan
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The 57th Annual Armonk Outdoor Art Show is September 29-30  10am-5-pm, Rain or Shine Newly Ranked #2 Best Fine Art and Design Show in the Country! (Sunshine Artist, 8/2018) 185...

Cost: $12 General, $10 Seniors, 18 and under: Free

Where:
Community Park
205 Business Park Drive
Armonk, NY  10504
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Sponsor: Friends of NCPL
Telephone: 914-629-7529
Contact Name: Anne Curran
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Evocation of light is ever present in the romantic and experiential landscapes of Ira Barkoff. His recent works convey the spontaneity and the maturity of the artist’s hand and dedication to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
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Sponsor: 1953
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
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On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

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