Millennium and Elm Lick Trails are closed today due to heat advisory.

50+ Shades Of Green and Pollination: 2021 AIR Laura Poulette experiences summer at Bernheim

By Jenny Zeller

Inside the studio with shades of summer greens.

Green is the quintessential color of nature and Bernheim is full of it in the summertime! It’s hard to imagine all the different shades of green that trees and their natural surroundings offer. Lucky for us there are people like Berea, Kentucky botanical artist Laura Poulette, who take pleasure in mixing different greens to try to match the various shades. As a 2021 Artist in Residence, Poulette is spending time at Bernheim during every season of the year and after experiencing the subtle shades of springtime, she returned a few short months later to discover that nearly the entire Bernheim landscape is intensely, utterly green. Even as Poulette was determined to document the vast array of green tones, she also found herself drawn to pops of color, just like bees are attracted to nectar-providing plant species.

2021 AIR Laura Poulette at home in Bernheim’s newest pollinator garden at the Lake Nevin spillway.





“I was first here in the spring and there were a lot of trees in bloom, but now everything is green! And so many different shades of green. Of course there are flashes of other colors to be found. I spent my first morning at the spillway of Lake Nevin, which has been transformed into a pollinator meadow. It is an exuberant, thriving planting and there are lots of plants in bloom-black-eyed Susan, grey headed coneflower, purple coneflower, bee balm, and a couple types of coreopsis. I sat in the shade and drew while birds and insects foraged for pollen, nectar and seeds. This spot is buzzing and humming with life-a testament to the delights of cultivating native plants!”

Poulette plans to document the plants and trees of Bernheim seasonally throughout the botanical year and create large scale drawings and paintings. The artist is already excited to return in the fall.

“I’m already thinking about places I want to revisit in the fall for observing seasonal shifts, such as witnessing the seed heads that are developing. Along the nursery loop, I discovered a number of understory trees with small green fruits such as persimmon, spicebush, and hackberry and I can’t wait to come back in the fall when those are ripe and colorful instead of hard green fruits.”

Poulette will return in mid-October, where she will be leading a mini plein-air botanical sketching workshop.  Stay tuned to our website or social media for more information.



Laura Poulette is a drawer and painter from Berea, KY who creates geographical and botanical studies inspired by the incredible diversity of the Appalachian region. Poulette has shown her work at many juried exhibits throughout the region and has received awards and grants from Penland School of Craft, the Kentucky Arts Council, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, and most recently a 2021 Artist Enrichment Grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women to write, illustrate and produce an artful nature journal. Her work has also been published in Root & Star and Taproot magazines.


For over four decades, the Artist in Residence program has attracted artists from around the world who seek to use Bernheim as their inspiration. Established in 1980, this internationally renowned program annually awards artists the opportunity to live and create site specific work inspired by their total immersion experience in the natural environment.

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