Years later, enter Graham Laird Gardner,
whose landscape design business, The Native
Plantsmith in Saunderstown, Rhode Island, specializes in native plants. He was so enchanted
by Peckham’s watercolors that he made them
the focal point of an outdoor gallery he created
for the Newport Flower Show in June.
“I’m passionate about native plants,” says
Gardner, who one might say works with the
muse of art on his shoulder. He studied fine art
and art history at Vassar College, graphic design
at MassArt, and landscape architecture at the
University of Rhode Island.
Gardner first saw Peckham’s botanicals in 2009 while working on a master plan
for a native-plant garden at the Rhode Island
Historical Society in Providence. The society
owns Peckham’s “Collection of Watercolors,
Illustrating Plants and Wildflowers in and
Around Rhode Island,” a five-volume set of
nearly 500 pieces painted between 1843 and
RU TH A B CLEGG, ANGELL FINE AR TS, LTD.
gardner’s display for the Newport Flower Show featured a gallery-like setting with the Peckham
botanicals mounted on living walls, and stone and metal artworks by contemporary Rhode Island
artists forming a centerpiece around a sculpture by Sean James Harrington.