Art in Bloom

Fine art and fine gardens come together in bi-annual Art Gallery fundraiser

Art in Bloom 2011, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s week-long celebration of fine art and all things botanical, opens March 28.

Continuing through April 2, the bi-annual fundraiser welcomes spring to the region through special art exhibits and programming showcasing the talents of local and international artists, writers, floral designers and garden experts.

“This is the premiere celebration of art and design in Victoria this year,” says event co-chair Michael Dingle, from Landeca, a design-build firm and Art in Bloom title sponsor.

This year’s lecture and workshop series includes 19 afternoon and evening talks by local and international garden experts.

“This is the most diverse group of speakers ever assembled for Art In Bloom,” notes co-chair Valerie Murray, head gardener at Government House. “It will be a wonderful week to inspire in so many ways.”

Local green thumbs will want to ensure their spring calendars include tickets to see best-selling author Dominique Browning, the former editor of House and Garden Magazine, and renowned Belgian floral designer, Tomas DeBruyne.

The lecture series gets under way March 28 with local gardener Byron Cook presenting Growing and Foraging the Ultimate Organic Salad at 1 p.m., with local grower and food security proponent Carolyn Herriot following with The Zero Mile Diet at 3 p.m. Michael Ableman rounds out the first day with Thinking Like an Island: Food Security and Sustainability at 7 p.m.

Each day brings new possibilities for everyone from avid green thumbs to “armchair gardeners” with such topics as Plant Hunting in China, with Kelly Dodson, Creating or Curating: Knowing when it is time for a change, with perennial favourite Thomas Hobbs, Some Eminent English Gardens, with Des Kennedy, How to Grow Citrus Fruit Outside in Saanich, with Bob Duncan, and much more.

And in Floral Interpretations, at the Gallery Mansion, more than 20 leading local designers, including floral, landscape and theatre specialists, have chosen works from the Gallery’s permanent collection to reinterpret through botanical design.

The Art in Bloom festivities culminate with a signature gala April 2 titled The Hanging Gardens of Babylon,  a salute to exotic food, music and entertainment, including performances by Kytami, of Delhi2Dublin fame, performing with DJ Phonograff, Paul O’Brian & Family, and Shiamak’s Bollywood Dance Troupe.


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