From Sicily to the Arnold Arboretum: Sicilian Wildflowers in Art and Words


Saturday, May 20, 2017, 12:00pm to 3:00pm


Hunnewell Building

Talk and Presentation by Mary Taylor Simeti, Sicilian Flora from the Grand Tour to the Present: Saturday, May 20, Noon-1:00pm

Reception with the Artists: Saturday, May 20, 1:00-3:00pm

Location: Hunnewell Building 

Members of the Harvard Class of 1962, Susan Pettee and Mary Taylor Simeti, bring their creative vision and exploration of the wildflowers of Sicily to the Arboretum for this first look at an exciting watercolor/art and research project that will eventually culminate in a book entitled The Garlands of the Gods: Wild Flowers from the Greek Ruins of Sicily. Working together for almost a decade, Pettee’s and Simeti’s sensibilities have evolved from sharing a passionate admiration for the Sicilian flora to an awareness of how climate change is affecting the flowering of these plants. The exquisite watercolor and rich, articulate text for each plant assume a more urgent relevance as the artists realize how the increased use of herbicides is threatening to alter forever the experience of visitors to the archaeological parks of Sicily.

A graduate of Radcliffe College, botanical artist, Susan Pettee has had her art included in the American Society of Botanical Artists’ International Juried Exhibition and has participated in exhibitions with New England Society of Botanical Art, including the 2016 show at the Arnold Arboretum. Her work has appeared in Washington, D. C., Paris, Périgueux, France, and in the Berkshires, where Pettee currently lives.

Writer, Mary Taylor Simeti, is also a graduate of Radcliffe College. She has authored a number of books, including On Persephone’s Island: A Sicilian Journal and Pomp and Sustenance. Simeti writes travel and food articles that have appeared in The New York Times and various other American and British publications. She makes her home in Sicily, assisting on a family farm that produces wine, olive oil, and organic produce.

Free and open to the public.

Note: The Hunnewell Building lecture hall is often used for meetings and classes. Please call 617.384.5209 for exhibition availability, and refer to Hunnewell Visitor Center hours.