To accommodate out-of-town visitors and others who would like a chance to view their current exhibit over the Fourth of July holiday, Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum has extended Dibbles and Daisy Grubbers: The Art of the Garden Tool through Sunday, July 8.
The exhibit, which was featured in The New York Times antiques column on April 27, contains a fascinating array of antique garden tools — both the unusual and the ordinary.
“I thought it was wonderful--an extraordinary collection beautifully displayed, and fascinating (and amusing!) text panels!” said Deborah Wye, Chief Curator Emerita, Department of Prints and Illustrated Books, The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). “I especially loved the quotes. My favorite was Emerson's: ‘All my hurts my garden spade can heal.’ Also, ending with the stunning watering cans was a great touch.”
Featuring more than 100 objects from the collection of landscape architect Mark Morrison, RLA, FASLA,GRP, the display contains tools made in Europe and North America over the past three centuries, some handmade by blacksmiths and other craftsmen, and others made by machine. Primarily composed of wood and metals, many of these tools can still be used today.
Morrison, who has been collecting garden tools for 35 years, says, “I love to tell the story of how the tools evolved. The older tools are much better weighted and much sturdier. They were built to last for centuries, if cared for properly. The antique tools are beautiful — true pieces of art.”
The tools are presented in sections according to their function: prepping the soil, planting, cultivating, pruning, controlling pests, harvesting, and watering. City Island resident and BPMM board member Barbara Burn Dolensek, who curated the exhibit, says, “Many fabulous gardens have not saved their old tools. Until recently, they were not considered important or valuable, and people didn’t collect them. Mark Morrison has done a huge service to the history of gardening.”
The exhibit can be viewed when the mansion is open to the public on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 4 p.m. Mansion admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and students, and free for children under six. For directions and information about Bartow-Pell and upcoming programs, visit www.bpmm.org or call 718-885-1461. For more information about Mark Morrison, visit www.markkmorrison.com.
Bartow-Pell, an 1840s Greek Revival mansion and a National Historic Landmark, is owned by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, operated by the Bartow-Pell Conservancy, and is a member of the Historic House Trust of New York City.