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Helen Hornberger  Search this
Copper, oil paint
Overall: 10 1/4 in. (26 cm)
Stem: 5 in. (12.7 cm)
Flower: 5 1/4 in. (13.3 cm)
Artificial flowers and trees
United States
Artist, Helen Hornberger, revived the techniques of French tole to create naturalistic representations of the state flowers. The artist used thin copper sheets as her base, and painted them with oil paint in the natural colors of the blossoms and leaves of the flowering Dogwood Tree (Cornus florida). To large white blooms with yellow centers are mingled among large green and brown leaves on a short brown stem.
Label Text:
The Congress of Representative Women at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago proposed that each U.S. state and territory select a flower to represent their state in the “National Garland of Flowers.” This resulted in the National Floral Emblem Society. Each state has adopted to represent the state and its people based on their importance to the state’s history, economy, folklore, or native varieties. Tole artist Helen Hornberger created each artificial flower representing each state to create for a bouquet displaying America’s floral diversity.
NORTH CAROLINA: The blossom of the Dogwood Tree (Cornus florida) was designated the official state flower of North Carolina in 1941. This choice came after years of the people of the state demanding a state flower, but a failing to come to a consensus on what flower that should be. Before the Dogwood was chosen, the Flame Azalea failed to pass. The Dogwood was finally agreed upon in 1941 because of its ubiquitous presence throughout the state according to the legislators. Once agreed upon, North Carolina gave the Dogwood its full devotion, and each year celebrates its state flower with five different Dogwood festivals. The Dogwood Tree is one of the most prevalent trees in North Carolina, and is found in all regions from the mountains to the coast. The Flowering Dogwood reaches 30-40 feet at maturity and brings beauty to the state year round. In early spring it blossoms in snowy white, light pink or red flowers. Throughout the summer these showy blossoms drop, and in autumn, its leaves turn orange, red, and scarlet with clusters of dangling red berries. Through the winter, buds emerge from the tree’s twigs, changing the silhouette. North Carolina also has an official state wildflower. It designated the Carolina lily (Lilium michauxii) the state wildflower in 2003.
VIRGINIA: The American Dogwood (Cornus florida) was designated the official state emblem of Virginia in 1918. Virginia lawmakers selected the American Dogwood because of its connection to the history and traditions of the Commonwealth. Thomas Jefferson grew American Dogwood on the grounds Monticello, his Virginia estate, in the 1770s. Dogwood trees are favorite in both public and private gardens in the state. Virginia further celebrated the Dogwood by naming it the state tree in 1956 and giving its name, Dogwood, to streets and places throughout the state. The Dogwood is not only popular in North Carolina and Virginia, Missouri calls the Flowering Dogwood its state tree, and New Jersey named it the state memorial tree.
copper  Search this
tôle  Search this
Artificial flowers  Search this
crafts  Search this
emblems (symbols)  Search this
flowers (plants)  Search this
North Carolina  Search this
Virginia  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection. Gift of Helen Hornberger.
Accession number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens