Cascading fullness of ginkgo leaves

Cascading fullness of ginkgo leaves

The sidewalks of New York’s East Village are lined with ginkgo trees which add a bright and welcome yellow to the street scenes there.  I’d never seen such large, mature ginkgo trees.  The ones I’ve seen in the parking strips of Seattle streets are spindly in comparison.  A label on a tree near Gramercy Park identified these ginkgos as “Maidenhair” trees.  I guess the cascading leaves do put me in mind of curly locks and tresses of fairy tale maidens.

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It was uncanny how I kept encountering ginkgo trees and leaves on this visit to NYC.  I saw ginkgo leaves carved into a pillar at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens . . .

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. . . and a miniature, groomed ginkgo in the bonsai exhibit there.

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And then when I wandered through the “Beyond Love: The Robert Indiana Retrospective” at the Whitney Museum of American Art, I saw that he created a piece of ginkgo art:

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So it’s probably no wonder that all of these encounters inspired me to render my own watercolor sketch of some ginkgo leaves.

My watercolor sketch of gingko leaves from the trees in the East Village

My watercolor sketch of ginkgo leaves from the trees in the East Village

The Brooklyn Botanical Garden

The Brooklyn Botanical Garden

New York’s train/subway system makes it so easy to get around.  I took the No. 2 train to the stop at the Brooklyn Museum Station, which was just a few yards from the Eastern Parkway entrance to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.  The garden was a green oasis of quiet on a November day, such a contrast to the busy city streets.  Some trees still held on to their colorful fall foliage, and I couldn’t help but tuck away a few fallen leaves to take back to the apartment and use as models for more watercolor sketches.  I swear I am like a squirrel driven to forage before winter!  (I had to make sure I removed my stash of leaves and acorns from the apartment before I left, or my niece would have wondered if a squirrel had come in through the windows while she was away.)

The well-ordered gardens and paths, conservatories, pools, and arbors provided restful vistas for the eyes.  Lots of photo opportunities here.

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Cut-leaf beech

Cut-leaf beech

London plane tree

London plane tree

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In the Steinhardt Conservatory

In the Steinhardt Conservatory

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From the special bonsai exhibit

From the special bonsai exhibit

“When I design each individual tree, I try to communicate the spirit of that tree and, hopefully, evoke the imagery of a special, natural environment.”
–Curator of the Bonsai Exhibit, Julian Velasco

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Watercolor sketch of scarlet oak and ginkgo leaves

Watercolor sketch of scarlet oak and ginkgo leaves

Watercolor sketch of front and back of fallen leaf

Watercolor sketch of front and back of fallen leaf

Watercolor sketch of oak leaves of NYC

Watercolor sketch of oak leaves of NYC