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Ephemeral Sculptures with Invasive Species

  • Date: October 7, 2018
  • Time: 9:00am - 12:00pm

Phragmites australis is a fast-growing perennial grass with hollow woody stems. Like many cosmopolitan plants, it has a reputation for choking out native species and thus providing inferior habitat for native fauna. Still, labeling any living organism—plant or animal—as “invasive” is not entirely uncontroversial. After all, every invasive plant is also an uprooted native plant, making its best effort to survive after having been carried far away from its home.

Phragmites grows in in dense stands in our meadow in spite of our gardeners ongoing efforts to control it, sometimes reaching 15 feet in height. We’ll discuss the intersection of botany and globalization at Bartram’s Garden and weave a giant phragmites sculpture together, working with materials available in the garden. Join us early for discussion and instruction, or come late to add on to what others have already begun!


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Our Artists’ Workshop series is rooted in the rich history of Bartram’s Garden, the oldest botanical garden in America. Following in the tradition of pioneering American explorer and botanical illustrator William Bartram, teaching artists Heather Rinehart and Alina Josan approach fine art through their love of nature and history. Heather Rinehart has a professional background in illustration and design and a deep interest in nature and storytelling. Alina Josan studied painting at the Tyler School of Art. Her work has been commissioned by several notable historic institutions in Philadelphia. As highly knowledgeable Bartram’s Garden enthusiasts, these artists are in a unique position to offer their students instruction in multi-disciplinary place-based art.