Souvenirs of France


April 01, 2001|By Julie Klavens | Julie Klavens,Sun Staff

For those inclined to linger regretfully in the final gallery of the Manet exhibition at the Walters Art Museum, transfixed and transported by his evocative paintings, and reluctant to leave 19th-century France for 21st- century Maryland, the Walters has thoughtfully devised a way to prolong the experience.

The Manet gift shop, with its echoes of Parisian cafes, offers not only standard museum fare (catalogs, prints, postcards) but keepsakes to savor long after the exhibition has ended: dried flowers or lavender arranged in baskets and rustic tins, redolent of the French countryside; plump soaps in muted hues and amber apothecary jars with tonics and creams, all fragrant with the scents of Provence; and dazzling jewelry by Anne Koplick, an artist who fashions 19th-century designs using Swarovski crystal and antique brass. Prices range from $5 to $50. The exhibition is on view through April 22 at the Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles St. For information, call 410-547-9000.

Very green thumbs

We couldn't let April Fool's Day pass without an affectionate tip of the hat to some of our favorite lines overheard / moments witnessed at home and garden centers:

From a customer considering sundials at Watson's Garden Center in Lutherville: "Why don't any of them have second hands?" From another: "How do you read them at night?"

A particularly conscientious Smith & Hawken customer brought in her ivy, filmy with soap and shampoo, for remedial care; she'd heeded advice to shower her ivy to help eliminate mites -- but overzealous, or blessedly literal, she'd taken the plant into the shower stall during her daily ablutions.

From more than one person buying shrubs or trees at Glyndon Gardens in Reisterstown: "So, do I have to dig a hole?" -- J.K.

Home for 20 years

Although retrospective issues are to be approached with caution -- too many ponderous, and often inaccurate, musings about the Era That Has Ended -- Metropolitan Home has done an admirable job of capping its first 20 years in the designer-eat-designer world of shelter magazines.

The staff has produced a tidy, digestible resource of design from the past two decades. With its board-game centerfold, the issue takes a few gentle jabs at trends of yore ("1983: You develop 'Bauhaus to My House' angst, declare English Country the wave du jour and cover all your cane-back Breuer dining chairs from the '70s with muslin wraps. Move back half a century."), highlights the "style survivors" (among them Peretti's Padova flatware, Sapper's tea kettle and Starck's Costas chair), and lists the designers likely to make permanent waves during the next 20 (but, hey, no pressure).

The icing on the cake: a glimpse (photo at right) into k.d. lang's home -- not to mention the one pedestrian corner of her psyche ("She's as besotted as any first-time homeowner. 'Did you see the copper awning?' she gushes."). A confection for $3.95 at area newsstands. -- J.K.


During the gradual greening of America, many welcome the environmentally friendly reincarnation of time-honored rituals. With an eye toward Easter, Oregon Ridge Nature Center at 13555 Beaver Dam Road in Cockeysville will present workshops on natural egg dyes from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and April 8. The strictly BYOE (bring your own eggs) event is free, but registration is required. For information and to register, call 410- 887-1815.

The tender breezes of spring seem to stir longing in all creatures. For a chaste glimpse of salamanders and frogs during their mating season, join "Amphibian Antics and Night Hikes" on Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Hashawa Environmental Center, 300 John Owings Road, Westminster. Designed for those age 7 and older, the walks cost $3 for members, $2 for nonmembers. For information and to register, call 410-848-9040.

Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Liz Atwood, Home Front, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278, or fax to 410-783-2519. Information must be received at least four weeks in advance to be considered.

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