By Sally Pearsall Ericson Director of Marketing and Public Relations For the first time since…
At Bellingrath Gardens and Home, planning for the Festival of Flowers exhibit, now in its 22nd year, starts about a year ahead of time.
Following the conclusion of each year’s Festival of Flowers weekend, we begin preparation for next year’s event. The Festival of Flowers committee members review the just-concluded event and begin planning the layout and design for the next year’s exhibit. Because Bellingrath is the most prominent garden in the region, we’re usually chosen as the major garden display at the Festival and therefore work for months to prepare for this exciting weekend.
After we decide the layout for next year’s garden, we begin growing the plants to fill our garden. For example, this year, we used: 8 hollies, 16 Fatshedera, 100 boxwoods, 100 Easter lilies, 100 blue and pink hydrangeas, 150 delphinium, 250 tulips, 100 hyacinths and 100 Dusty Millers. All of the flowering plants were grown at Bellingrath Gardens months in advance and planned to bloom for the weekend of Festival of Flowers.
In addition to growing the plants, we construct any other architectural and water elements that are incorporated into our garden. That means that for this year’s design we built four swings, constructed and filled the 8,500-gallon fountain pool with 250 concrete blocks and a 35’ x 35’ liner.
Our staff’s dedication and talent in navigating the time frame of Festival of Flowers while working within the limitations of what Mother Nature has is store each winter is impressive every year. Besides working throughout the year to plan and grow our garden, ten to 15 of our staff spend the week before setting up and then taking down the garden at Festival of Flowers. This year, we will also then reassemble the hand-built swings into Bellingrath Gardens for guests to enjoy year-round.
We enjoy being a part of the Festival of Flowers and are honored to have such a prominent garden at the Festival. We are proud to join the other talented landscape and design professionals in our area to fill the Providence Hospital campus with an array of gardens. It is a wonderful way to celebrate the artwork of landscape design throughout the region and well worth the months of preparation for the beautiful weekend.