Attention Must Be Paid!

A Must-See Exhibit of Botanical Drawings by Anna Harding


Anna Harding’s exhibition is titled Wake Up: We Need Everybody.

Images courtesy Anna Harding

Backyard Birds 2 The branch, from left to right: Fish Crow, Rufous Towhee, Wood Thrush, Whippoorwill, Pine Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, and Red-headed Woodpecker. The Audubon Soc. lists all of these bird species as at risk of extinction due to climate change.


Images courtesy Anna Harding

Do you remember coming upon a Bog Turtle trundling across your path when you were a child? Or the sound of a Barking Tree Frog as you lay on the grass looking up at the stars? Carolina Buttercups and Purple Milkweed once dotted local meadows. And there was excitement when coming upon a Yellow-fringed Orchid or Wood Lilies when wandering along shady trails. These and many other lovely creatures and plants need our protection and help if they are to regain and retain their places in Maryland’s natural world, waiting to be admired by future generations as they too wander the wild places in our state.


Images courtesy Anna Harding

Where Have All These Flowers Gone? The wooden planter contains Carolina Buttercup, Racemed Milkwort, Yellow-fringed Orchid, Sessile-fruited Arrowhead, Bog Jacob’s Ladder, Allegheny Plum, Carolina Milkvine, Blunt-lobed Grape Fern, Marsh Fleabane, Camphorweed, and Seneca Snakeroot. All of these flowers are endangered or threatened.

Images courtesy Anna Harding

Wake Up This eponymous piece, with the supine figure of a human at the top, measures 17” x 42.” The drawing includes plants, birds, dragonflies, salamanders, fish, butterflies, and beetles with evocative names like Curly-heads, Rattlesnake-master, Lark Sparrow, Roseate Tern, Skillet Clubtail Dragonfly, Common Mudpuppy, Dusky Azure, and Schwarz Diving Beetle. (What’s not to love?)

“I am hoping to educate people on the shocking reality [of rapidly disappearing flora and fauna.] We can still do something [to rescue these beauties] if we try,” says botanical artist Anna Harding. She has spent the last two-plus years creating beautiful and eloquent drawings of the animals, insects, amphibians, and plants that are disappearing from Maryland’s woods, meadows, waterways, and shorelines. And now, these works of art are on exhibit at Adkins Arboretum in Ridgely, Maryland.

The 25 drawings in the exhibit, executed in graphite and colored pencil, are all of living things that shared our world but are now endangered, threatened, or extinct according to Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Maryland’s DNR website is a valuable, if disheartening, resource that lists plants and animals of the state that need conservation efforts. Those lists became a useful resource as Harding prepared for and executed her drawings.

Harding is a member of the Working Artists Forum in Talbot County. She founded the Botanical Art League of the Eastern Shore and teaches a monthly class at Adkins Arboretum. Reflecting on her work and the creatures she has come to know so intimately through her art, Harding observes, “I am hoping the viewer will realize that all creatures exist with a role to play that is part of the bigger picture indicating the health of the environment here on the Eastern Shore, our home.”


Images courtesy Anna Harding

Ephemeral Beauty These butterflies and their host and/or nectar plants include: In the air: Northern Metalmark, Appalachian Blue, Gray Comma. Early Hairstreak, and Edward’s Hairstreak butterflies. Settled on plants: Delaware Skipper, Golden-banded Skipper, Edward’s Hairstreak, Silver-bordered Fritillary, Early Hairstreak, Gray Comma, Harris’s Checkerspot, Pink-edged Sulphur.


AUG. 15, 2022


About J. F. Booth

I am a writer and educator.
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1 Response to Attention Must Be Paid!

  1. says:

    What a moving article. Her drawings are beautiful!! I’m just worried that we’ve waited too long to correct our many mistakes.


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