When we were younger, Christmas seemed always to be forever and a day away.  We started counting the days as soon as the last present under the tree was unwrapped.

Silly kids.

Now the day we long for is when the garden is at its peak and the harvest an embarrassment of riches unlike any we knew growing up.  The day is coming.  Soon.

While the garden will always inspire a few culinary masterpieces each year, it can also creativity elsewhere, too.  Who hasn’t wished to create a secret kingdom under the pea trellis? Or make hair using the silks from a cob of corn?  Not to mention those great works of folk art fashioned from dried beans (we’ve got a pair of these in one of our guest rooms).

The Italian-born artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593) certainly had a flare for playing with his food, and his whimsical, deranged portraits perfectly fed the Renaissance appetite for the beautiful and bizarre.

See how we play with our food at Beekman 1802.  Click here or here to see how vegetables can be incorporated into table centerpieces.


Have you come up with some creative ideas of your own, share them with the rest of us in the comments section below.

by Josh and Brent

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LL Coleman

I have done still life studies of produce– an oil painting, done with a palette knife, of a pepper and a scallion against a bright orange background; another one I drew a composition from a photo of produce–using colored pencils drawn on the back of a wooden cutting board, and also a graphic etching on foil of a quince. i have done needle-felted veggie tapestries, too.

I am lucky to own a copy of Edward Weston's black and white photo of a sensuous bell pepper, given to me by one of Weston's grandsons. It was lying around in Weston's darkroom-being there was the thrill of a lifetime.

I have seen prints of the Arcimboldo works before–have always loved them.

Marie Stone

I am going to try to replicate image #3 as an autumn garden sculpture for one of my clients…..should be fun!


I am always inspired by my garden and the plants themselves. From small seeds come lush, verdant plants that can fill all our senses. It doesn't get any than that.

Jerry Eppinga

I am constantly inspired to take pictures of my garden. This year we had such a bountiful harvest and it is so amazing. I am already planning ahead for fall/winter and for next year. I only wish I had more space!

Carrie C

I am inspired to cook with the seasonal local produce and fresh herbs. To me, cooking is an art! As for my own garden-I have been watching 2 pumpkins plants that my son and I are trying to grow so we can get at least one jack o'lattern from scratch. We have been fighting high heat, little rain, and bugs but hopefully we can finsh by turning one pumpkin into art on 10/31. Maybe even a pie from scratch too-a girl can dream 🙂

Debra Broughton

I live on a wooded acre and have a life threatening reaction to poison ivy, so I was very sad when I had to give upgardening in my back yard. This year is different. I am gardening on my deck, in containers, and loving it. It makes me very happy to go out there every morning and survey the changes, not to mention how easy it is to harvest — I can almost do it in my underwear or jammies. 🙂

Rose Marie Trapani

I play with my food every day. I love to prepare food that not only tastes good but must also look beautiful.