Historic Adobe Exhibit

Re-emerging at Sherman Library & Gardens:
Gene Bauer’s Golden Botanical Gardens

New Exhibit in Sherman Library & Gardens’ Historic Adobe:

Gene Bauer (1926-2023) started botanical serigraphs in 1972, when she became the first native flora chairwoman of the California Garden Clubs Inc. She focused on educating club members about native plants of California through a series of monthly booklets. Each pamphlet was dedicated to one flower, plant, or tree that inspired her during her statewide visits to California botanical gardens.

Sherman Library is fortunate to be one of the institutions that received her stunning works, and her entire collection – The Golden Native, Golden Botanical Gardens, and Living with Nature – are stored in the library’s archives.

Bauer considered these series her life’s work. While she made her various garden visits, she observed:
“When visiting a botanical garden, you are seeing nature’s dance choreographed, pathways set for you to walk about on, placements and settings planned so as to give you the best view and good light. . . .As I intended with these booklets, I’m hoping this book will give you what botanical garden—rooted in simples and science—traditionally offers: inspiration to invoke in ourselves both the potential for self-healing and our powers of observation.”

Serigraph Process
Bauer would draft an image of her chosen subject with colored pencils, then hand-screen that image onto thick cover stock. She would then screen another illustration of the plant on tissue paper and include it in the booklet. A simpler drawing was finally inked and pressed onto the oversized envelope the booklets were mailed in.

In each booklet, Bauer included research and a short essay about her illustrated specimen and the garden she visited. A map of California was included with hatch marks indicating the featured flora’s habitat. All the elements were assembled in the booklet and bound with yarn. Once completed, she would mail them to district directors and other members of the California Garden Clubs Inc.

Gene Bauer’s Golden Botanical Gardens
Gene Bauer’s Golden Botanical Gardens: New Exhibit in Sherman Library & Gardens’ Historic Adobe: