Karen Kluglein's Story Behind the Art

Bartram's Franklinia
Franklinia alatamaha
A friend of mine has a special garden replete with camellias,  flowering trees and perennials, a greenhouse, and  chickens. He knows I am always in search of something special to paint and in telling me about his Franklinia tree he was particularly enthusiastic. 
Franklinia alatamaha, known as the Franklin tree, has perhaps the most romantic, mysterious past of any native American plant species. John Bartram discovered a small grove of this unusually beautiful tree in Georgia in 1765. By 1803 it had disappeared completely from the wild. Franklinia survived due to Bartrams’ collecting plants and seeds and propagating them in the Philadelphia garden the last quarter of the 18th century. He named it Franklinia in honor of his father's friend Benjamin Franklin. All the cultivated plants today descended from one or more of the collected specimens. No wonder my friend is excited to have a Franklinia tree in his garden!
Aesthetically I love that the flowers are in bloom while the leaves simultaneously turn beautiful reds and golden colors.  Flowers, leaves, branch and seed pods all have wonderful textures and add to the interest of this gorgeous subject. A perfect specimen!
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  • (C) Karen Kluglein