Knowing Jack: A Lesson in Carnivorous Plants

Savage Gardens, an exhibit of real and imaged plants paired with a juried art exhibit and larger-than-life sculptures, opened this month at the Franklin Park Conservatory.  

An Appetite for Art

Our photographic image, Jack with Fangs, was selected for the art show, which serves up 11 pieces from Ohio artists. Franklin Park Conservatory began incorporating art into their exhibitions five years; a move executive director Bruce Harkey believes has lead to increased visitors. THINK CHIHULY!

Jack with Fangs by Larry Hamill

The sculptures, grown from resin and metal, allow viewers to see the plants from an insect’s perspective. Step inside a 10-foot-tall tropical pitcher plant, experience the lure of a nine-foot Venus flytrap or witness an eight-foot sundew as it comes to life through fiber optic illumination.

Tork Sculpture

Gastronomy – The Art of Good Eating

The largest variety of carnivorous plants in the world is native to North America. Presently, the Conservatory is catering to more than 3,000 voracious carnivorous plants.

Living in mineral-deficient soils such as wetlands, bogs and sand, these plants are masters of culinary adaptation – luring, catching and digesting insects for nourishment.

A Vanishing Food Chain

In a recent Ohio Magazine article, Franklin Park Conservatory horticulturist Amanda Bettin said she hopes the exhibit will increase awareness about carnivorous plants – an extraordinary group of plants that is disappearing in the wild.

“In North America, 95 percent of native habitats have been destroyed – the need for conservation is great and educating the public on the importance of preserving our bogs and wetlands will be part of our educational message.”

Also on the menu in the Conservatory’s North Atrium Gallery is 12-minute video of a behind-the-scenes look at the planning and production of four sculptures created by Tork IndustrialARTifacts for the Savage Gardens exhibit.  A preview of the video can be seen on You Tube.

Visit the Conservatory at 1p.m. for a presentation about these ravenous plants, their origins and a feeding demonstration.

Franklin Park Conservatory, 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH  614/645-8733.   Daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Wed. 10 a.m.–8 p.m.

Savage Gardens on view July 10 – Nov. 14.

Posted by Pamela J. Willits

9 responses to “Knowing Jack: A Lesson in Carnivorous Plants

  1. Execllent Photo Art works, love them all. the subject is very interesting and unusual.

    Hats off for you Larry !

    Thank you for sharing

  2. the gardens sure have grown since i was there … but that’s what gardens do …. thanks for this.

  3. Jack’s personality really comes up when you see the fantastic photograph in the room at the museum.

    You don’t just look at Jack one time.

    Kudos to Larry Hamill.

  4. Laura Youngblood Bruce

    Being a visual person I usually peruse the images on such posts first, then scroll back and read the text. I got to the “Jack with Fangs” image and was amazed that I had never seen such a thing before. I continued to scroll with enthusiasm to see what other of nature’s oddities I have missed. By the time I scrolled down a few images further I realised that I had been duped by the amazing talents of Larry Hamill. Congrats on the recognition of such a clever and beautiful piece! Hope to make it over to see the exhibit. Nice job on the post Pam. L.

  5. Those look amazing! Especially love the shot of the pitcher plant.

  6. Very good !! I love ! incredible !!!!

  7. Too impressive for words. Thank you!

  8. Larry:

    Awesome work as usual and what a cool subject.

    Thanks for sharing!


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