Anyone who has driven down Look street in Vineyard Haven on a summer’s day has seen Peggy Turner Zablotny’s garden. It’s a small rectangular plot, alive with color. It is also Ms. Zablotny’s palette.

After the morning dew has dried, Ms. Zablotny goes out and picks flowers. She picks them at their height of brightness, filling a bowl with blooms, leaves and weeds that catch her eye. Back inside her house, in a cramped studio, she presses the flowers - sometimes whole, sometimes dissected for their petals. Once pressed, a practice that may take days, weeks or on occasion months, Ms. Zablotny, 68, arranges the paper-thin dried petals, sometimes several layers thick, to create an abstract mosaic of plants.

Ms. Zablotny began flower pressing after finding a small flower press in a nature shop in Vermont. She bought it on a whim. Through trial and error (don’t use too much glue, yellow zinnias fade, hydrangeas don’t, begonias are too wet to press) she discovered her medium. She’s been a flower artist for over 20 years now.

Growing your own medium is part of the reward. — Jeanna Shepard

She began by tinkering around, creating a piece for her husband Steve and one for her parents. Then a client of Z Studio, the Zablotny’s design business, saw her work and asked for a piece for wedding invitations. That turned into a selection of greeting cards, then prints and most recently silk scarves.

Ms. Zablotny mostly uses her own garden for flowers, but on occasion she has been invited to choose flowers from other gardens. Two long prints sitting next to each other tell the story of two gardens. One, Ms. Zablotny’s garden, is brightly colored with small flowers. The other, titled Martha’s Secret Garden, is darker, almost velvety, with a background of soft greens and plum-colored blooms.

Sometimes Ms. Zablotny restricts herself to a certain plant or time period, such as directly after a frost. Other times she covers her studio desk in the pressed pieces and lets the flowers speak to her.

“Oh hi, I’m this really cool piece of flower, use me,” she said.

Her prints are focused on composition, exploring color, texture and forms rather than trying to make a recognizable picture.

“I try to let the flowers have their own language,” she said. She’s used seaweed, feathers, kale, leaves, lichen, blooms and tendrils. She’s collected from Polly Hill Arboretum, Felix Neck, along the drive to Florida and in Vermont. She always asks permission.

Working with flowers is tricky. It requires great patience, however time is also of the essence. Flowers fade, Ms. Zablotny said, and they begin to fade immediately. To preserve her work, the small arrangements she crafts, called actuals, are carefully driven down to Philadelphia to Jermone Lukowicz, a photographer. Mr. Lukowicz photographs the actuals, which can be enlarged into the prints, cards and printed on scarves.

Flower patterns can hang on the wall or be designed into scarves or even greeting cards. — Jeanna Shepard

It can be difficult to have her art depend on the skills of others to reach its final form, but Ms. Zablotny works closely with the photographer and printers to make sure her vision is realized. And she’s accustomed to things not going exactly as planned. When nature is your medium, much is left to chance. Once, as she prepared for a show in New York city, a gnarled apple tree in her yard began bursting with blooms.

“Because of the Big Apple, I wanted to do apple blossoms,” she said. “I must have pressed two to three hundred blossoms and I think there were only 15 that turned out.”

She cautions against becoming too connected to a single bloom. It’s usually the piece that is the most precious that inevitably rips.

When not working with flowers, Ms. Zablotny is a designer, doing graphic work and installations. She grew up in Media, Penn. gardening with her father, Robert Turner, who landscaped their property. Her father was also a woodworker, and she would help him sand pieces. She sewed with her mother, Edith Turner, who led her 4-H club.

It was in high school while flipping trough a 1961 edition of National Geographic that she discovered an article about the Vineyard.

“I read it, and said I belong there, that is where I want to be,” she said. She made it as far as Cape Cod with her parents, but it wasn’t until she met Steve in college that she said, “There is somewhere I have to go.”

They purchased their Vineyard Haven home in 1983. One of the biggest selling points was the garden plot. They split time between the Vineyard and Philadelphia. About five years ago, they moved to the Vineyard full time. The first thing Mrs. Zablotny planted was raspberries. Over time, her garden grew. They planted trees and every summer the plot bursts with color. She mainly plants annuals so that every season there can be a different harvest.

With an ever-evolving palette, she seems unlikely to run out of inspiration.

“I once said to somebody, Mother Nature did it, and they said no, no you had to put it together. But nature is incredible. It’s unbelievable what nature has out there.”

Peggy Turner Zablotny’s limited edition prints hang in the Louisa Gould Gallery. Her scarves can be purchased from peggyturnerzablotny.com.

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