Diorama by Mary Forsberg

On display in the library reference area is Mary Forsberg’s diorama that she entered in this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show. Motivated by this year’s theme, National Parks, she created a diorama to honor her father and mother, Phil and Marion. It represents Gunnison Beach, located at Sandy Hook National Recreation area. It is New Jersey’s only nude beach and the only one to allow alcohol consumption.

The judges awarded her second prize. In addition to winning a $300 prize, being selected to enter the contest itself was a big honor. There were only six West Coast and six East Coast dioramas.

Attached to the diorama is this explanation, “Phil and Marian had included sunbathing au natural on their bucket list for years. Their 45th wedding anniversary came on a beautiful sunny warm day so they packed their cooler with coffee, donuts, wine, cheese and cake and spent the day absorbing the sun and the spectacular views of The City”.

Although Forsberg’s parents never visited a nude beach, and as far as their daughter knows, never had any inclination to, her mother did love plants. The diorama features 21 live plants and succulents. It also accurately depicts the New York skyline as seen from Sandy Hook National Park. A small cat, Rutger, accompanies them. The cat’s presence is a tribute to the actual cat who lived in the greenhouses at Rutgers Gardens for 21 years. The diorama will be on display at the Highland Park Public Library throughout May.

“This was all a tribute to my parents Phil and Marian Forsberg and to Rutger, the 21 year old gray cat who lived at Rutgers Garden and was the unofficial mayor of the garden,” Forsberg said. “My mom died in October last year, and Rutger died a week before the flower show.”

Beach in a box, diorama by Mary Forsberg