Adams County Arts Council – Supporting the arts in Adams County, PA

Archive for June, 2015

Beautiful Blooms: For One Day Only

Posted on: June 10th, 2015 by Karen Hendricks
Charlie Gomer's garden, Gettysburg Daylilies (Photo Credit: Casey Martin)

Charlie Gomer’s garden, Gettysburg Daylilies (Photo Credit: Casey Martin)

One thousand is a conservative estimate of the number of daylilies that will be blooming on Saturday, June 27 when Anne and Charlie Gomer of Gettysburg host “Brunch at Gettysburg Daylilies,” a new fundraiser event to benefit the nonprofit Adams County Arts Council (ACAC).

“On any given day in summer, from the end of June to the second week in August, there are thousands of daylilies in bloom,” Gomer explains. “There are close to 2,000 different cultivars, or different plants, about 1,000 that I have purchased and another 1,500 of my own that I have crossed. So yes it’s safe to say we’ll have at least a thousand blooms here on June 27.”

Gomer, an ACAC board member, will welcome attendees, along with his wife Anne, from 10 am – 1 pm on June 27 to enjoy a delicious outdoor brunch—along with a feast for the eyes, as guest gaze upon daylilies of every color imaginable.

Your invitation to Gettysburg's most colorful brunch ever!

Your invitation to Gettysburg’s most colorful brunch ever!

“There isn’t a species of another flower that varies as much as the daylily,” according to Gomer, who is a Master Gardener, having undergone the rigorous training and community service required by the Penn State Extension Service’s program. “I have daylilies that range in size from 13 inches all the way down to the miniature varieties under three and a half inches.”

You could say it’s a hobby that has “taken root” in a big way. Gomer, who retired in 2006 as a high school technology and business teacher, says he was seeking a “meaningful purpose in life in terms of community service” after spending 35 years teaching accounting, computer applications, business law, business math and other related subjects.

One of Gomer's favorite daylilies (Photo courtesy Charlie Gomer)

One of Gomer’s favorite daylilies (Photo courtesy Charlie Gomer)

He says becoming a Master Gardener appealed to him because it was a way of taking care of our earth, plus it provided a brand new outlet and interest. Gomer’s initial goal was to “maintain the yard and keep things healthy” but it quickly blossomed into a specific area of gardening.

A guest speaker, Diane Kendig of York, came to talk to the Master Gardener about daylilies, and Gomer was intrigued. “I stopped by her place (Perfect Perennials) and I had never seen so many daylilies in my life.”

Another of Gomer's favorites (Photo courtesy Charlie Gomer)

Another of Gomer’s favorites (Photo courtesy Charlie Gomer)

“Up until that point, daylilies were like a filler plant to me, but when I saw all those daylilies… I realized they were more than orange, red and yellow… and I knew I wanted some.”

That was 2008, and after establishing his garden, adding at least 100 cultivars a year, Gomer says his interest and garden have both likely hit their peak.

When asked if he has a favorite variety, it’s hard for Gomer to choose one specific variety. “I like the kind that have complex patterns, and I also like the ruffles or edges on a daylily. With the complex patterns, the petal is one color, with the eye being a different complimentary color, and then the edge of lily will pick up same color as eye and throat.”

“So some of my favorite daylilies have a greenish- yellowish throat with purple or blue petals…  I like all the blues but they are hard to grow–not as hardy,” Gomer says.

Guests on June 27 will not only enjoy seeing rows upon rows of daylilies in bloom, but Gomer promises another surprise is in store.

“Most people will see a peacock that they’ve never seen before,” Gomer claims. In addition to the standard India blue variety, the Gomers currently own five other varieties—chocolate bronze color peacocks, plus a Cameo or taupe variety, peach, purple, white and midnight which is a dark teal color.

Photo Credit: Casey Martin

Photo Credit: Casey Martin

Gomer says he looks forward to sharing the joy and beauty of his property with attendees on June 27—just one day that can be thought of a snapshot in time, as his garden continues to develop and evolve through this summer and the summers to come.

“The name daylily comes from the Greek word Hemerocallis which means ‘beauty for a day,’” he explains. Each bud opens for only one day, although the scapes (or stems) can produce up to 30 buds, so that one clump can continue blooming for several weeks. He is hopeful that June 27 will bring a fantastic variety of blooms.

“The Arts Council is certainly an asset to the community. As a board member I try to think and help wherever I can—I try to bring a different viewpoint, from a business perspective… I’m not an artist,” Gomer says.

Many people would probably disagree… It’s just that Gomer “paints” his landscapes, not with oil or watercolor paints, but with a colorful palette of daylilies.

 

Credit: Casey Martin for Celebrate Gettysburg magazine

Credit: Casey Martin for Celebrate Gettysburg magazine

Brunch at Gettysburg Daylilies:

Saturday, June 27 from 10 am – 1 pm

Location: 45 Sachs Road, Gettysburg

Details: $30 per person with reservations requested by June 24

Click here to secure your reservations today! Or call the ACAC at 717-334-5006

Bonus: Take a daylily (or two) home with you! Gomer has potted many varieties for guests to select from and take home to their own gardens. Partial proceeds benefit the ACAC!

Rain date: June 28

Credit: Casey Martin

Credit: Casey Martin

 

A few more fascinating facts from Charlie Gomer:

Recent daylilies added to the garden have come from CA, TX, FL, GA and NY – “I enjoy accumulating them from different sources to make garden interesting,” Gomer says.

Time spent in the garden:

  • 25 hours a week every April, for mulching and preparing the beds for the upcoming season
  • More than 25 hours a week in May, when weeding is added to the gardening chores. Gomer is quick to add that gardening is not a solo pursuit. “Anne is right there alongside of me—we spend a lot of time together in the garden.”
  • 2 hours daily, during the rest of the summer through August

Amount of mulch required by the gardens every year: 20 yards

Societies to which the Gomers belong:

To learn more and see more gorgeous images, click here for a recent Celebrate Gettysburg magazine article featuring Gomer’s gardens.

Prize-winning lilies: Gomer secured two awards at the 2014 Free State Daylily Society Show, Baltimore, MD... with these beautiful blooms.

Prize-winning lilies: Gomer secured two awards at the 2014 Free State Daylily Society Show, Baltimore, MD… with these beautiful blooms.

 

Photo courtesy Charlie Gomer

Photo courtesy Charlie Gomer

Artist Spotlight: Margery Benson

Posted on: June 1st, 2015 by Karen Hendricks

By Elle Lamboy

Margery Benson

Margery Benson

Since childhood, I’ve always been a bit intimidated by artists. Perhaps it’s because I am so humbled by the incredible imagery they produce.

Or, maybe it’s because I’m a bit envious that artists can visually express their vision while I can barely draw a stick figure.

So, when I was asked by the Adams County Arts Council (ACAC) to interview artist Margery Benson, I was nervous.

As I entered her studio, located on the second floor of the ACAC facility, I was immediately awe-struck.

Her introspective paintings filled the studio from corner to corner; bordering the space with an abundance of canvas, color, and authentic imagery. Margery stood in the middle of it all with her palette in hand and her smock beautifully colored with various remnants of her latest work in progress.

We exchanged pleasantries and then she asked the question I dreaded.

“Are you an artist?” she inquired.

“No, I mumbled with a bit of uneasiness, “I’m just a writer.”

“Oh, so you’re an artist of words.” she immediately replied.

My entire spirit lifted. In just five words, within five minutes of meeting me, she changed my whole perspective.

And her art did the same.

As I scanned the room, I was immediately captivated by a striking painting of urban decay. While most would see the urban landscape as the antithesis of beauty she found it incredibly inspiring. “There’s just something beautiful about it,” she said looking longingly at the piece, “I know others may not see it, but I do.”

Urban Decay by Margery Benson

Urban Decay by Margery Benson

As we walked around the studio viewing her various works, she knew something intimate about each of her subjects. One was a blind musician, another a struggling artist herself, one who I swore resembled Walt Whitman. “See?, she asked confidently,  you see the literary in him. Everyone has their own perception…that’s what art is supposed to do!”

Her portrayal of these people left me with a desire to imagine my own end to their stories—her art invoked an immediate sense of curiosity and engagement that left me longing to spend some quality time with her work.

I quickly grasped that her keen perception is one of her strongest artistic qualities. She takes the time to get to know what or who she’s painting, and it shows. She doesn’t just see it, she feels it.

“Perception, concept, and context are essential components in my work, Margery explains, “the medium is secondary, or even tertiary, to the final product. Actually the final product is rarely final as I might be doing another final brushstroke after a work is framed.”

In order to put her astute perception to practice, she rents a studio at the ACAC, along with four other artists.

She especially enjoys the balance of socialization and solidarity the ACAC studio space provides stating, “The other residents are a fascinating group of artists. We periodically meet and visit, but [my] focus is to try to get works to a suitable stage for sharing with other audiences.”

Benson also shares that she enjoys being in a “state-of-the-art facility with all necessary utilities and helpful staff to accommodate any requests.”  She also favors the downtown location of the ACAC, which “facilitates interaction with the local community.”

“In fact, she exclaims as her eyes light up, “when we’re lucky, the young children taking cooking classes downstairs will come up and share their culinary masterpieces with us. The smells are just amazing!”

As I go to leave, she takes the time to introduce me to her “studio neighbor” photographic artist Bert Danielson. Their interaction is comfortable yet respectful, like two officemates relishing in a quick coffee break between deadlines.

I paused for a moment on the steps to scratch a few notes and reflect a bit on my recent encounter. I channeled Margery’s inspiring perspective as I imagined the five artists sharing creative ideals and then going back to their solitary studios to create their own original works as the classrooms below buzzed with activity of young artists hoping, one day, to have a studio of their own to fill.

Margery looks forward to attending several group shows this year to share her work with the public. You can also view her work, first hand, by E-mailing her at margerybenson@aol.com.

For more information about renting studio space at the ACAC, contact Chris Glatfelter, Executive Director, at ed@adamsarts.org.

Untitled by Margery Benson

Untitled by Margery Benson

 

css.php