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Green Acre #464: Spring’s Apoppin’, Blooms Abloomin’

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So many flowers, so little time. Above, from the 10th annual "Art in Bloom" exhibit, a fundraiser at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. Here floral designers make exhibits inspired by various works of art.

By Stephanie Cavanaugh

PEAK CHERRY blossom bloom is expected to be in about two weeks. “Between March 19 and 23,” says the Washington Post: 10 days earlier than normal and . . . one of the earliest peak blooms on record.”

Yep. It’s balmy outside here in DC. Not the sort of freak warmth we have from time to time in February, the sort of weather where you can run about in a T-shirt but still sense a sneaky clutch of freeze beneath the heat. This is spring warmth—as if it were already April.

It hardly seems necessary to go to a flower show, does it? We could just sit on our lazy rumps and watch the flowers take off at home. The daffodils are already blooming, the tulips are rising, and some of the early cherries are full-blown. I’m not going to get into global warming—though this weather is craziness. 

However. It is showtime, folks, and not just in Philadelphia, with that grandmama of U.S. Flower Shows blossoming from March 2 to March 10. I hyped it last week, read it here if you missed it or need a refresher. 

Here are a few more beauties that can be reached in a day’s drive or, perhaps, an overnight . . .

The Orchid Show: Florals in Fashion, through April 21 in the conservatory of the New York Botanical Garden, features avant-garde (i.e., unwearable) fashions from avant-garde designers (it is New York, after all) inspired by the colors and shapes of the botanical garden’s fantastic collection of orchids. With this record heat, the 250-acre garden should also be awash in spring bloom. Plenty here to delight the eye. Admission to the show and the gardens is $35 for adults, children 2-12, $15. 

Blink and you’ll miss Art in Bloom at Anderson House in Washington, DC, which runs just four days, March 14-17.  This fourth-annual event features sensational floral sculptures and displays by more than 30 local floral designers, taking their inspiration from the art and architecture of this 1905 Beaux Arts mansion. Once the winter home of Larz Anderson, an American diplomat, and his wife, Isabel, Anderson House is now a museum that includes the owners’ English paintings, French furniture, Flemish tapestries, and a collection of Asian ivories, lacquerware, screens, and sculptures. Admission is $60.   

Pairing flowers and art (or fashion) has really become a thing, as if flowers need extra help. That said, Art in Bloom at the North Carolina Museum of Art is a five-day floral fantasy featuring designers from across the nation who interpret the museum’s superb  international collection of art and sculpture with clutch-your-pearls displays. This year, 10 additional large-scale displays portray the decades from the 1920s to the 2020s in flowers and who-knows-what. The show runs March 13 to 17, tickets are $50, free for kids under 6. 

At Pittsburgh’s magnificent Phipps Conservatory, which opened in 1893 and is worth a visit anytime, this year’s flower show features tens of thousands of spring blooms including narcissus, tulips, and hyacinths that can be viewed through rotating kaleidoscopes, a spinning geometric sculpture, topiary ants, and an animatronic butterfly. The show opens March 16 and runs for four weeks. Admission, which includes access to 15 acres of garden, is $21.95 for adults, $19.95 for seniors and students over 18, and $13.95 for kids 2 to 18. Under 2, free. 


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