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RE: Acanthus
  • Subject: RE: Acanthus
  • From: "Johnson, Cyndi D Civ USAF AFMC 412 CS/SCOSI" <cyndi.johnson@edwards.af.mil>
  • Date: Mon, 3 Dec 2012 08:29:20 -0800

I have acanthus growing in a northerly corner next to my house. I'm always
surprised it does so well because it looks like a plant that doesn't like
heat. But it's done very well for almost 20 years, getting bigger. It
flowers regularly, then the foliage dies out in late summer for a brief
period. Starts growing again in the fall and now it is quite lush. The
freezes don't make it look good but they don't seem to kill off the foliage.


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-gardenchat@hort.net [mailto:owner-gardenchat@hort.net] On Behalf
Of Aplfgcnys@aol.com
Sent: Saturday, December 01, 2012 7:20 AM
To: gardenchat@hort.net
Subject: [CHAT] Acanthus

Yesterday we were taken by a younger couple to see the newly opened Matisse
exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum.  Chet allowed himself to be pushed in a
wheelchair, and I took advantage of benches when I could.
It is a fantastic exhibit which shows paintings of the same subject but in
different stages or forms side by side, with several showing photographs
of the developmental stages.      
In his later life, Matisse had used many botanical motifs - most frequently
palms, but in his late book illustration period other leaf patterns.  At one
point the explanatory signs said he was using Acanthus.  My friends asked me
what an Acanthus flower looked like.  I could not immediately call to mind
what the flower was, but assured them that it was the foliage that was a
standard feature of ancient columns.  I guess my art history education goes
back farther than theirs.
I have now checked and confirmed that Acanthus is what we popularly call
Bear's breeches, and I'm still not certain that I have ever seen its bloom.
It was very interesting to compare the classic examples I remembered to the
abstracted forms conceived by Matisse.  But as ever, botany is a major
element in art.

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