The Garden House Welcome Center is the permanent home to a variety of art and rotating exhibits.
Francine Levy: Connecting with Nature
July 2 – October 28, 2021
“My type of art consists of design and a realistic form of pastel paintings,” said Levy. “The concept is impressionistic to convey the beauty of nature that I see using the medium of pastel with its vibrant pigments. Inspired by our delicate and endangered environment, I focus on the extraordinary nature that surrounds us and try to capture the essence of the moment that inspires me and convey it to others.”
Levy admires the beauty in nature and the aura it elicits in creating an idyllic setting to draw or paint. When not surrounded by nature, she paints in her studio from photos of her visits. Levy sees nature as a spiritual retreat, painting landscapes, seascapes and historical sites. Florida’s ecosystem is a precious subtropical climate that offers a plentitude of nature preserves and ‘living waters,’ serving as shelters to an abundance of birds and animals. She is intent on sharing these images to continue the conversation and out of necessity to protect our fragile environment that is affected through changes in climate and from natural habitats lost to construction
Mulford B. Foster
A self trained naturalist he traveled throughout Mexico, discovering 200 new species of bromeliads in addition to species of amaryllis, cacti, palms and peperomia. His discoveries include Aechmea fosteriana (bearing his name) and Aechmea orlandiana, named after the City of Orlando. Mr. Foster introduced the Tabebuia tree to Orlando and their large yellow blooms can be seen blossoming around many Orlando lakes. He was awarded the Herbert Medal in 1951 for his work in promoting amaryllis.
He published articles in National Geographic, The Smithsonian Annual Report and The Journal of the Bromeliad Society. He was the leading figure of the formation of the Bromeliad Society in 1948 and served as its president for twelve years. He died at the age of 89 as the “father of Bromeliads” and a world-renowned horticulturalist.
These abstract works of M.B. Foster earned him the name “passionate plant philosopher” and have been on display at the Maitland Art Center and shows in New York and Pennsylvania before finding its permanent home at Harry P. Leu Gardens. The Foster Estate presented the paintings as a gift to the City of Orlando in 1992. Eight Paintings: Acreage, Cycadaceae, Orchidacae, Polypodiceae, Palmae, Cactaceae, Pencil Cactus and Mexican Landscape Oil on Canvas
Flowers For Janette is a six-foot by ten-foot piece by artist Frank Farmer in 1995. Frank Farmer’s pieces are well known in Miami, Philadelphia and New York. Created by painting enamel flowers on aluminum, this piece resembles an impressionistic rendering of flower groupings, yet the colors are strong and bold.
Other artists in the Garden House Welcome Center include:
Bill Rollo – Camellias Watercolor
John Catterall – Grove Diptych
Chrissie Mervine – Tree of Life Mosaic
As you wind your way through the gardens, you will encounter many different sculptures commissioned for Leu Gardens. These permanent collections have become guests’ favorites including the seven whimsical pieces in The Otfinoski Collection and the Citrus Workers.