Presentation on theme: "Flowers – part 1. Nature was Wanda's favorite teacher. To her all things in nature offered an opportunity to investigate the wonders of the natural world."— Presentation transcript:
Nature was Wanda's favorite teacher. To her all things in nature offered an opportunity to investigate the wonders of the natural world. Wanda wanted her family to be as curious about nature as she was. If her children or grandchildren came to her with a question about something, whether it was about a rock, a lizard, a tree, a star, or better yet a flower, Wanda's quick answer was "Go look it up". If her large collection of books could not give us the answer, we were off to the Decatur Library, one of our greatest resources of information in the form of books, records and artwork, where we could check-out anything for home study. But to understand how Wanda's fascination of nature began, we must start with her childhood. This is where her love for Nature's kaleidoscope began to blossom, and the influence her mentors had begun would follow her throughout her life as a gardener. Decatur Library
Spring, 1929 Brooklyn NY Wanda, Pauline, Raymond holding Raymond, Regina This photo was probably taken about the time Wanda began visiting the Brooklyn Botanic Garden with her family. Wanda's father, Raymond Werbicki, was a member of a group of craftsmen that helped construct and renovate areas within the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. These gardens were located in Prospect Park four miles from their home. Here, two important events occurred that would shape Wanda's life-long love of flowers. The first was her access to the very best horticulturists New York had to offer. No doubt when she and her family visited the Garden, Wanda had the opportunity to absorb whatever knowledge she could from the gardeners about the exotic plants and flowers that were arriving from around the world. When it came to flowers and gardening, Wanda's guiding theory, first hand knowledge was better than books", began here with her early experiences.
The Children's Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden was the second influence on Wanda. Here, children of all ages and national backgrounds could plant vegetables and flowers which they could later gather and enjoy. More than likely, The Children's Garden offered an exchange of knowledge regarding colorful flowers, new vegetables, and a flow of horticulture techniques with this multi- culture group of young growers. We believe the Werbicki family took part in this group activity, especially during the lean years of the depression. Though we have no family pictures of the Childrens Garden, some can be found on the web. This photo was taken in 1930. This project to involve children with horticulture began in 1914 and is still active. According to their website, there are over 800 children currently participating.
Wanda and her friend, Anne Riley at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden 1940. This solo picture of Wanda, taken on the same day, was in a collection of photos originally belonging to Adrians mother, Nellie Mae Fortenberry. Adrian evidently mailed this picture to his parents during the early months of 1940. They were married in November of 1939, and his family did not meet Wanda until September, 1940. On the back he wrote: This was took in Central Park about a month ago. Dont you think she is pretty Adrian probably had the location wrong since Wanda had identified the location on the left photo as Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Raymond and Pauline Werbicki in front of the Torii Gate in the Japanese Garden within the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Wanda wrote on the back: Poppa helped build the Botanic Gardens. The Torii Gate today. Though we dont know for sure, family stories seem to indicate that Raymond Werbicki helped with construction and renovations within the Japanese Garden. That may be why they are pictured here in front of the Torii Gate.
Wanda at Prospect Park, home of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The back of the photo says 1942 Prospect Park.
The third big influence on Wandas love of nature was her Uncle Stanley Piekarski's 530 acre farm in Connecticut located near the town of Sprague on the Shetucket River. (Uncle Stanley was married to Bachies sister, Eva) His farm was extensive enough to provide an income from the sale of the farm products and produce. According to stories Reggie remembers, Uncle Stanley had standing orders from restaurants in Brooklyn for his asparagus and other vegetables. During the summers, Bachie and her four children would travel to Connecticut to help work on the Piekarskis farm. It was here everyone, children as well as adults, was expected to help with the work. This involved caring for the cows, pigs, horses, geese, ducks, and chickens as well as the vegetable garden and fruit trees. Wandas experiences on the farm opened her to a lifestyle totally different than their Brooklyn row house environment. View of Shetucket River and one of the streets in Brooklyn where they lived. (Regina Werbicki)
This is where Wanda's knowledge of large scale farming (bigger than a city garden plot) came from that she would later use in her own home gardens. Uncle Stanley's Connecticut farm also introduced Wanda to the many varieties of wildflowers and mushrooms in the nearby woods and along the Shetucket River. Mushrooms, highly prized as well as dangerous, required first hand knowledge that had to be learned from her grandmother (Antonina) and mother (Bachie), not from books. Pauline (Bachie) Werbicki wandering the woods with us. (Date about 1958) This is the way her grandchildren remember her best – some plants in her hand and a picked up walking stick.
This mentoring tradition was passed down to us as we walked the Georgia woods, riverbeds, and fields with Bachie and our mother, Wanda. During these walks, as we absorbed their knowledge, we too developed a life-long appreciation of nature. Yellow River 1954 Andie and Reggie
Chattahoochee River about 1957 Reggie, Terry, Andie, Raymond Raymonds hands are full of something – probably rocks! Why are the girls in dresses? Though today, only Terry is competent enough to be comfortable harvesting and eating wild mushrooms, the rest of Wandas children are still drawn to wildflowers, reptiles, trees, rocks and stars. As Wandas children, we have continued this tradition with our nieces, nephews, children, and grandchildren. One of Terrys baskets of mushrooms.
Still wandering around the Chattahoochee River 1967 Barbara, Wanda, Andie, Linda
Wanda in front of some of her flower beds. Photo about 1958.
Every child is born a naturalist. His eyes are, by nature, open to the glories of the stars, the beauty of the flowers, and the mystery of life. R. Search Do your part! Help prevent NDD! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nature_deficit_disorder Thomas Adrian Jenkins and his GaGa (Andie) looking at moss and bugs. Barbara hiding in the grass on the shore of Lake Lanier. Terry communing with the waters of Lake Lanier.