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Saturday, February 9th at 4 p.m and Wednesday, February 20th at 4 p.m.

For fans of Chicago’s Lurie Garden, New York’s High Line or any of Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf’s other revolutionary garden designs, the Essex Library will screen the new documentary, “Five Seasons” twice in February.  Award-winning filmmaker Thomas Piper captures Oudolf’s “New Perennial” movement designs through the year and immerses viewers in his creative process including the beautiful abstract sketches, theories on beauty and ecological implications of his ideas in this 75-minute film. Viewers will enjoy discussions taking place through all fours seasons in Piet’s own gardens at Hummelo, and on visits to his signature public works in New York, Chicago, and the Netherlands, as well as to the far-flung locations that inspire his genius, including desert wildflowers in West Texas and post-industrial forests in Pennsylvania.

As a narrative thread, the film also follows Oudolf as he designs and installs a major new garden at Hauser & Wirth Somerset, a gallery and arts center in Southwest England, a garden he considers his best work yet. Piet Oudolf has radically redefined what gardens can be. As Rick Darke, the famous botanist, says to Piet in the film, “your work teaches us to see what we have been unable to see.” Through poetic cinematography and unique access, Five Seasons reveals all that Piet sees, and celebrates all that we as viewers have been unable to see.

Many thanks to the Essex Garden Club for their support with these screenings.

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Sunday, September 16th at 3 p.m.

Author and gardening expert Tovah Martin tells us our gardens could be so fulfilling, if we plugged in. Created to coincide with the publication of Martin’s latest book, The Garden in Every Sense and Season, this lecture explores the garden on all levels. Learn to garden with eyes wide open, ears to the ground, and hands outstretched. Tailored to the current season to make the experience dynamic, this lecture will lead attendees through an odyssey of exploration to awaken the senses and arouse their abilities of perception. Sharing advice and ideas to deeply enhance the gardening experience while also incorporating a “Smellathon” to help get nostrils in gear, this lecture is beautiful and fun as well as highly practical.

An accredited Organic Land Care Professional through NOFA, Tovah gardens fanatically and organically both indoors and throughout her seven-acre Connecticut garden. People, Places, Plants magazine called her “one of the top 10 most influential educators in gardening” and the Massachusetts Horticultural Society honored her with its Gold Medal “for extraordinary service to horticulture, especially greenhouses and indoor plants.” Martin has written more than a dozen gardening books and served as garden editor for Victoria Magazine. In addition, her articles appear in a broad range of magazines and periodicals. She is a repeat guest on the CBS Sunday Early Show. She also teaches houseplant cultivation to Master Gardeners and lectures extensively throughout the country.

Copies of The Garden In Every Sense and Season will be available for purchase and signing.

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Thursday, September 13th at 7 p.m.

The Essex Library is honored to welcome back James Benn in celebration of the release of his 13th Billy Boyle mystery, Solemn Graves.

In Benn’s latest Billy Boyle WWII mystery, US Army detective Billy Boyle is called to investigate a mysterious murder in a Normandy farmhouse that threatens Allied operations.

July, 1944, a full month after D-Day. Billy, Kaz, and Big Mike are assigned to investigate a murder close to the front lines in Normandy. An American officer has been found dead in a manor house serving as an advance headquarters outside the town of Trévières. Major Jerome was far from his own unit, arrived unexpectedly, and was murdered in the dark of night.

Copies of his books will be available for purchase and signing.

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Wednesday, August 15th at 7 p.m. in The Cube at Centerbrook Architects  

Christopher Buckley’s father, an avid sailor, once owned a wooden sloop named Panic. In describing a few of William F. Buckley’s adventures at sea in the memoir “Losing Mum and Pup” he adds that his Mum often commented, “Bill, why are you trying to kill us?” In a special Essex Library event, Christopher Buckley will share details about a lifetime of sailing with his father: on Long Island Sound, across the Atlantic twice and Pacific once. Expect tears, laughter, the whole schmear.

Christopher Buckley is a novelist, essayist, humorist, critic, magazine editor and memoirist. His books include Thank You for Smoking, The Judge Hunter, and The Relic Master. He worked as a merchant seaman and White House speechwriter. He has written for many newspapers and magazines and has lectured in over seventy cities around the world. He was awarded the Thurber Prize for American Humor and the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence.  Copies of The Judge Hunter will be available for purchase and signing.

This event is free and open to the public. Please call (860) 767-1560 to register.

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Friday, April 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Essex Library

Augie Pampel will describe his work as the Tree Warden of Essex including planning and planting of trees around town. In addition, and just in time for planting this spring, Augie will talk about best practices for selecting and planting healthy, beautiful trees in your own yard. Bring your tree questions!

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Have you ever wanted to share the stories of your life with your family but don’t know where to start?  Research has shown that sharing your lifestory can bring an increase in self-esteem, resolve past conflicts and promote successful aging.  The Sharing Our Stories presentation reviews the different lifestory methods of Reminiscence, Life Review, Guided Autobiography, Memoir and Personal History to help you determine how you want to tell your story. The goal of the program is to help people see how sharing stories can help to make sense of the past, gain insight for the future and connect generations.  This informational meeting will be presented by Ellen Luby, a gerontologist, on Monday, April 16 at 10:30 a.m.  Sharing your unique LifeStory can be a wonderful, meaningful and fun experience!

This presentation is free and open to all. For more information, please call the Essex Library.

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Want to invite more wildlife to your yard? Join a park ranger and a wildlife biologist on Wednesday, April 11 at 6:30 p.m. for a how-to presentation on simple ways to bring birds, butterflies and other colorful creatures to your home. Learn what to feed birds, how to provide nest materials, which flowers to plant for butterflies – plus much more. With spring just around the corner, this is a great time to start planning! Free informational booklets and handouts will be provided to all attendees.

Kris Vagos works at Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge as a Wildlife Biologist.  She grew up in southern New Hampshire and attended Boston College for her undergraduate work in Biology and Environmental Studies.  After school, Kris volunteered and worked throughout the United States and other parts of the world.  She was a research assistant at the University of New Hampshire and got her Master’s degree in Natural Resource Management.  Her thesis project focused on what makes non-native shrubs invasive in New England.  Before moving to Connecticut, Kris lived along the southern coast of Maine and worked for the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge.

Shaun Roche is the Visitor Services Manager at the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge where he focuses on education and outreach. Shaun grew up in Waterbury and attended Central Connecticut State University where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public history. He worked for the National Park Service at the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site in Oyster Bay, New York for more than six year before transferring to the Fish and Wildlife Service and coming back to Connecticut in 2011.

This program is free and open to the public. For more information or to register, please call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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On Wednesday, April 4 at 7 p.m., Connecticut author Joseph A. Williams will visit the Essex Library to discuss the true story of the HMS Laurentic, which, laden with 44 tons of gold bullion was sunk by German mines off the coast of Ireland during the Great War.  Britain desperately needed that sunken treasure, but any salvage had to be secret since the British government didn’t want to alert the Germans to the presence of the gold. Lieutenant Commander Guybon Damant was the most qualified officer to head the risky mission. As the war raged on, Damant was called off the salvage to lead a team of covert divers to investigate and search through the contents of recently sunk U-boats for ciphers, minefield schematics, and other secrets. The information they obtained, once in the hands of British intelligence, proved critical toward Allied efforts to defeat the U-boats and win the war. Williams, a historian, archivist and librarian brings this exciting, true tale of undersea diving and early 20th century naval operations to life in the Essex Library on Wednesday, April 4 at 7 p.m. Copies of The Sunken Gold will be available for purchase and signing. 

Watch this book trailer about The Sunken Gold on YouTube here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFwk4sQ-DbA

This event is free and open to the public. Registration is advised. Please call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560 to register or for more information.

DDdigitalFriday, January 12 at 7 p.m. in The Cube at Centerbrook Architects

In recent years, the effort to use native plants has become a subject of such great controversy among the landscape architecture community that it’s become something of a flashpoint, a source of such disagreement that merely hearing the words ‘native’ and ‘plants’ in the same sentence can cause reasonable, seasoned professionals to curl their lips in disdain.  New York Landscape Designer Diana Drake hopes to use this opportunity to share why she considers it important, from an ecological standpoint, to use native plants, and to talk about some of the differences inherent in designs that take advantage of using them.

Diana Drake has worked as a landscape designer for two decades, managing large and small public projects with the firms of Judith Heintz Landscape Architecture and Wallace Roberts & Todd in New York City, specializing in selecting the best-suited plants for outdoor spaces, whether campus, park, public plaza, rooftop garden or residential property.  Since 2013 she’s been working cooperatively with Judith Heintz and Napat Sitisara as sassafras55. Her commitment to using native plant species deepened as she taught planting design at Columbia University with Darrel Morrison, adding to her earlier stint at the Center for Plant Conservation, and her hands-on training at Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum.  With sassafras55, Ms. Drake currently is involved with the all-native plantings of East Midtown Plaza in Manhattan, the Queens Borough Municipal Parking Field, and the Kearny Point Industrial Park Landscape in New Jersey. Throughout this entire period, she’s been learning first-hand via her experiments in her garden lab in Old Lyme. She holds a Masters in Landscape Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design.

This Essex Library program is free and open to the public. Centerbrook Architects is located at 67 Main St. in Centerbrook. Please call the Library at 860 767-1560 to register or for more information.

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Monday, January 8, 2018 at 7 p.m.
Following the Romantics, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood took up four thematic arenas which were newly spiritualized since 1790: 1) the late Medieval Catholic past which the Pre-Raphaelites elevated to the highest level, 2) Woman as a refined, emotionally and spiritually intelligent object of male devotion, 3) an unsullied, pre-industrial Nature usually shown as a refined garden, a pastoral meadow, or a lush forest, and 4) the Arts themselves, especially music, poetry, painting, and architecture. Burne-Jones’ Le Chant d’Amour combined all four arenas in a particularly rich composition. Historically, it returned to an imaginary chivalry where “true love” existed far from mercenary London with its modern marriages of convenience. In its gender configuration, it placed a pure, glowing, aristocratic woman on an artistic pedestal against a distant cathedral and flanked by two male worshippers. As a landscape, it removed itself from the ugliness of modern London into a twilight arcadia combining a garden and a pastoral meadow. And aesthetically, it featured music, the art form universally hailed in the nineteenth century as more spiritual, universal, and emotionally charged.

This program is FREE and open to the public.