Local Plant Society Hosting State ‘Floribunda’ Art Show

By Lauri deGaris

The mission of the Florida Native Plant Society is to promote the preservation, conservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Florida. The Florida Native Plant Society has 6000 members in 33 chapters around the state. The Ixia Chapter serves the northeast Florida counties of Clay, Duval and Nassau.

The Ixia Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society will host “Floribunda,” an exhibition celebrating Florida’s unique biodiversity on April 27, 2024, 6-9 p.m. at CoRK Arts District, 2689 Rosselle Street in Jacksonville.

This invitational exhibit of artwork in various mediums highlights Florida’s native flora and wild places. Works will feature some aspect of Florida’s natural history, flora and fauna. Several local artists will be featured in the exhibit. They include:

Betsy Harris, a resident of Amelia Island and Ixia Chapter Vice President. She and her husband operate Surf Asylum, a surf camp for island kids. Betsy creates botanical reliefs that celebrate Florida’s unique diversity.

Jolie Schlieper, the naturalist supervisor for the city of Jacksonville, a taxidermist and a jewelry maker. Jolie makes jewelry pieces from Baptisia alba (wild white indigo) seed pods with gold-plated brass beads, gold-plated brass wiring, and a vermeil chain. She has been making jewelry with found natural objects since she was a teenager living in rural Virginia.

Kate Dolamore, a native Floridian who grew up exploring the great outdoors and creating art. Kate began doing field guide paintings to become better at identifying birds. Kate’s use of watercolor and tiny paintbrushes creates detailed fine art.

Deanna Derosia, an illustrator and biologist from the Treasure Coast of Florida. Her curiosity about the natural world has helped her tell the story of critters living next door. Her studio “Sealacanth” is a play on the word Coelacanth, a living fossil once assumed to be the missing link between sea and land dwellers. Sealacanth Studios strives to be a link between the science and art. Deanna believes “the Coelacanth reminds us that even though extinction is a possibility, we don’t know all the things nature hides from us. There’s always potential to reverse the harm we’ve done if we still have hope.”

The Ixia Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society meets at 6 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month at the Garden Club of Jacksonville at 1005 Riverside Ave. Meetings are also simulcast virtually using Zoom.

Photo courtesy of Ixia Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society.

The Ixia Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society is named after the lovely wildflower of the Iris family. Bartram’s ixia (Calydorea caelestina), a native North Florida wildflower, is found in only seven counties. It flourishes in open, wet flatwoods and prairies that are subject to fire regularly. They bloom only a few hours early each morning, from mid-April to June — or one to two months following fire. To catch a glimpse of this beauty, you must be an early riser as the flower begins to wither away from the summer heat by late morning.

Bartram’s ixia is endemic to northeast Florida, meaning it is not found anywhere else in the world. It is an endangered species in Florida. There are about 60 known populations of this brilliant flower in our region. Most of these populations are found in conservation areas with an open canopy of longleaf pine.

Naturalist William Bartram described this plant as follows:

“Behold the azure fields of cerulean Ixea. The colour of this most delightfull of flowers is a lively blue reflecting a slite cast of purple. The delicate texture of these Flowers is admirable beyond anything that Vigitation presents besides.”


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