Flo Gris hosts Gardenfest

Spring is in bloom at the Florence Griswold Museum.
Spring is in bloom at the Florence Griswold Museum.

Everyone has (rightly) bemoaned what a long, cold winter it has been, but it's time to celebrate that, yes, the world is blooming again.

To that end, you might want to get yourself to the Florence Griswold Museum for its annual GardenFest. It's a two-week celebration of the historic gardens there, and it offers a whole array of activities - displays, demos and events.

It starts Friday, with the three-day exhibition "Blooms with a View: A Display of Art & Flower." Floral designers create pieces that interpret art showcased in the exhibitions "Lucien Abrams: A Cosmopolitan in Connecticut" and "Lyme Artists Abroad."

Also on view beginning Friday is "Flowers on Fire," an installation created by Pat Smith of Old Lyme and Katherine Anderson of Seattle. It's a floral illustration of The Fire of St. John, an ancient pagan rite of spring. During that original ritual, a sapling was set ablaze as a way to mark St. John the Baptist's birth on the longest day of the year. In the new interpretation, two groupings of poppies hang down from branches, their blossoms dropping into lotus forms underneath them. (The artists discuss their project at 3 p.m. Sunday.)

Family-friendly events are in abundance during GardenFest, with art programs each Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. This week's focus is "Print Pretty Flowers."

On Tuesday, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Craig Norton leads a workshop on "Photographic Flora: Workshop for Adults." (It's $12.)

Later on, at 2 p.m. June 10, Mark J. Schenker, dean of academic affairs at Yale, leads a discussion about Gail Tsukiyama's book "The Samurai's Garden." (The talk is $7.) And at 2 p.m. June 11, Colleen Plimpton performs her one-woman show about Beatrix Farrand. (It's $7.)

- KRISTINA DORSEY

GardenFest, Friday-June 15, Florence Griswold Museum, 96 Lyme St., Old Lyme; museum hours 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues.-Sat. and 1-5 p.m. Sun.; admission $10 adults, $9 seniors, $8 students, free for age 12 and under; (860) 434-5542.

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