The Arboretum on Alumni Drive is hosting master artist and teacher Olivia M. Braida- Chiusano for a four-day workshop on botanical drawing. The workshop, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 14 to 17, has a special focus on drawing and painting butterflies.
Braida-Chiusano has taught across the United States and around the world, including in South America, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. she said the class is appropriate for beginning and skilled artists. If you've never drawn before, here's hope of success. If you're an experienced artist, Braida- Chiusano's individualized attention will bring new awareness and insight to your work. To see her work, www.omartdesigns.com.
Founder of the Academy of Botanical Art based in Florida, Braida-Chiusano will be joined by Lexington instructor Leslie Ramsey.
The work of both women will be part of Nature, Naturally, an exhibit of 25 works at the arboretum's visitor center. It opens with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. June 10. The exhibit runs through June 18; hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The exhibit is free; the workshop is $475, or $450 for members of Friends of the Arboretum. To register call (859) 257-6955.
The arboretum is at 500 Alumni Drive.
A honey of a mystery
If you've spent any time at the Lexington Farmers Market, you've probably seen Abigail Keam. She's usually selling honey and looking like the queen bee herself in a broad-brimmed, flower-trimmed hat. Who knew that under that unassuming exterior lurked a mind abuzz with murder, mayhem and shady characters?
Yet, in her first mystery novel, Death by a Honeybee (Worker Bee Press, $15), the main character, Josiah Reynolds, encounters just that.
I've been to visit Keam's bees, and to my great relief, there was no motionless body, head in a hive, as you'll discover in the first few pages of her book. Yet the details of beekeeping and culture she includes are real and made more interesting by being woven into a suspenseful plot.
In a hard-core, take-no-nonsense tone, Keam has created a character in Josiah Reynolds that might stand up to the likes of Nick Danger and Guy Noir — but with a feisty ol' Kentucky attitude set in a bourbon and Thoroughbred kind of town. Talk about local produce!
At 223 pages, Honeybee is a fun, light summer read. But be warned: You might not be able look at your farmers market vendors the same way again.
The book is available for purchase at Amazon.com and www.abigailkeam.com.
Reducing rainwater runoff by using rain barrels to capture and store water has become a popular "green" way to water a garden. Bluegrass PRIDE, a non- profit organization that promotes recycling and environmentally sound ideas, is promoting the idea through an auction of artistically painted barrels from its annual barrel decorating program.
You can visit Bluegrass PRIDE's Web site, www.bgpride.org, and vote for your favorite. Then join the celebration and reception in the lower atrium of The Mall at Lexington Green from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. June 5. You can meet the artists and see the all the barrels. It's also the kickoff for an eBay auction of the barrels. Proceeds will fund an AmeriCorps member to provide environmental education in Central Kentucky.
Sculpture in the gardens
Yew Dell Gardens' third annual garden sculpture show begins next weekend. It will be open May 29 through Aug. 1 during regular garden hours. Works by more than 20 artists will be shown, including pieces from Lawler-White Sculpture Studios of Stephensport, in Breckinridge County. The studio created a 6-foot wide limestone piece, Waiting for Godot, that is now part of the garden's permanent collection.
Once the home and working gardens of plantsman Theodore Klein, Yew Dell is a non-profit organization dedicated to garden education and new plant research. It is also a garden chosen by the national Garden Conservancy to receive special support in its preservation efforts. Admission is $7, $5 for seniors. Members get in free. Yew Dell is least of Louisville, at 6220 Old LaGrange Road in Crestwood. For more information, call (502) 241-4788 or go to www.yewdellgardens.org.
Open to visitors
The Garden Conservancy will debut its Open Days garden program in the Lexington area on June 5. Beginning at Springhouse Gardens, 6041 Harrodsburg Road, Nicholasville, visitors may take a self-guided tour of the private Gaines, Woodall, Donaldson and Hillenmeyer gardens from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. No reservations are necessary. Tickets are $5 a garden. Visit www.gardenconservancy.org/opendays for details.