About Birkett House Design
Plants are magical things. Their forms, textures, and colours are endlessly fascinating to me. I particularly love heritage plants - flowers, fruits and vegetables with a history, a story to tell.
The Art
I have been creating botanical art since 1992. I originally began working in colored pencil but more recently I have been focusing on watercolour and graphite. In keeping with my passion for heritage plants, I grow many unusual antique plants in my own garden including varieties of iris, dahlias, narcissus and fruit trees. My fascination with botany has also led me to paint a series of species Impatiens, cousins to the more common ones that show up in our nurseries.

My works have appeared in the botanical art exhibits at Filoli and my "Heirloom Pole Beans" received the 2012 Bourn award for distinction with an emphasis on horticultural presentation. I also had pieces accepted for the 2017 Botanica exhibition in Sydney, Australia, and for the "Bountiful Inspirations" show at Gamble Garden in Palo Alto. To read an article about my art that appeared in a local paper in conjunction with that show, please click here.

My art has been included in several American Society of Botanical Artists exhibitions and I was pleased to have one of my pieces, Clematis 'Gravetye Beauty', chosen to be a finalist in the second BLOSSOM - The Art of Flowers. I was also thrilled to be able to have a solo show at Cypress Lawn Arboretum for the first half of 2023! Titled "Living Color", it was originally scheduled to end in February but the host kept it up until June! And for a more complete list of exhibits my work has appeared in, please click here.

Botanical art has a long history of being informative as well as beautiful. I am a firm believer in continuing this tradition so I was delighted in the autumn of 2002 when I was asked to participate in a show entitled the Art of Saving Oaks in Sausalito, CA. This educational show about Sudden Oak Death Syndrome featured botanical art depicting host species as well as paintings and photographs highlighting the beauty of California's endangered oak woodlands. Believing that this important exhibit needed a wider audience, I helped to bring the show to Filoli in 2003 and to UC Santa Cruz Arboretum in 2004. I also wrote an article about the show for Pacific Horticulture magazine.

My painting of Filoli's Conference Pear is included in the Filoli Florilegium. This Florilegium documents the plant materials of Filoli within the historic context of this special estate. My Quercus robur (English Oak), commissioned by the Royal Oak Foundation to commemorate their 40th anniversary, was chosen by them to represent their Legacy Circle. My work is also included in The Gardens of Alcatraz Florilegium and a number of private collections in North America and Australia and has appeared in a number of places in print.

Finally, in addition to painting, I also enjoy writing. Please check out my musings!

I hold a Botanical Art Certificate from Filoli and a Certificate in Garden Design from University of California Berkeley Extension. I have studied extensively with master botanical art instructor, Anne-Marie Evans and with the late Charles Stasek, a scientific illustrator and marine biologist. In addition, I have taken master classes with such well known botanical artists as Margaret Best, Lizzie Sanders, Susan Fisher, Jenny Phillips. I am a member of the Northern California Society of Botanical Artists (a chapter of the American Society of Botanical Artists), and the Botanical Art Society of Australia. I am also a member of the Filoli Florilegium Guild.

Some of my original paintings are available for purchase and most pieces are available as giclée prints and note cards.

About Birkett House
Birkett House was built in 1904 by Joseph Birkett, an English stonemason who came to California to work on the construction of Stanford University. At the time Birkett built his home, this area was part of the City of Mayfield, which was later absorbed by Palo Alto.

For more than 30 years, Birkett House has been my home. Birkett House Design is the name under which I do botanical art and occasional garden design.

You can contact me by email or by telephone at 650.493.2153.

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