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It only shows once every two years, features spectacular blooms by the country’s best botanical artists and it’s free (with admission).

Beginning Sept. 9, the latest works by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Florilegium Society will be on display in the Steinhardt Conservatory. More than 40 artworks made from living specimens from the garden’s own collection promise to make "Portraits of a Garden III" one to remember.

Among the "Portraits" will be Carol Ann Morley’s colored pencil-on-paper rendition of the black pirate peony (at left).

Curator Patricia Jonas told GO Brooklyn that botanical artists like Morley must overcome unique challenges with "tricks to keep the plant looking fresh" because they "paint from life."

"[Morley] wasn’t completely satisfied, because you’ll notice that the peony is not fully open, and never did open, so she felt she wasn’t able to show all of the stages of that plant that she would have liked," said Jonas. "But to our eyes, it’s beautiful."

Jonas explains the wide appeal of "Portraits": "For anyone who loves plants, botanical art is a natural."

"Portraits of a Garden III," by members of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Florilegium Society, is on display Sept. 9 through Nov. 5 in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Steinhardt Conservatory (1000 Washington Ave. at Eastern Parkway in Prospect Heights). The exhibit is free with garden admission ($5 adults, $3 seniors and students with valid ID, and free for children younger than 16). For more information, visit or call (718) 623-7200.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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