This post is by contributing writer Ellen Spector Platt!
Name: Ellen Spector Platt
Title: See Your Corner of the World Differently
On the 18th floor rooftop of a Manhattan condo building, I design plant and tend an all-container garden. Each year I search for something new and interesting, if not for the other 99 unit owners, then for me who lives there too. City kids are often estranged from the natural world, and I wanted to tempt kids in the building to see their corner of the world differently.
So I bought three black cotton plants (Gossypium herbaceum ‘Nigra’) at a L.I. Nursery and planted them among other annual colorful annuals like Lantana and Million Bells. Black refers to the color of the leaves, actually dark burgundy, not the color of the cotton itself. They spent the summer growing slowly in the sun, blooming and forming small bolls. By mid-September I lured disbelieving children and their parents to see the cotton bursting out of the pods.
Denial all around that what I had grown could actually be the source of the T-shirts most of us were wearing.
Just before frost, I pressed some of the beautiful ivy-shaped leaves and used them along with purple flowering plum leaves also growing on the roof in a collage I was making using found materials. Other found materials included some purple wax strips cut from a cave aged gouda cheese and some bamboo skewers that once held chicken satay on a flight home from Ireland on Aer Lingus.
I used one cotton boll in a collage I call ‘Grandma’s Sewing Box’ combining it with items I found after my Mother died.
Cotton that I grew, her things; I love the symmetry.
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To see more collages in my new book ‘Artful Collage from Found Objects’ visit my garden blog, Garden Bytes from the Big Apple. While your there, search in the index for other collage images as well.