Outdoors Recreation

Bloom with a View Returns to NC Arboretum

Photo by Camilla Calnan

By Andrew Dallas-Marconi

Beginning Saturday, May 4, the North Carolina Arboretum will celebrate spring’s return with the immersive floral exhibit Bloom with a View designed by Ibo Gülsen, owner of the Dutch company IGMPR. Attendance at the inaugural event at the Arboretum last year exceeded expectations. “While spring is a glorious time to visit the Arboretum and witness the emergence of colorful flowers both in our gardens and growing wild,” says Arboretum marketing and public relations manager Brian Postelle, “Bloom with a View takes the experience to an entirely different level, allowing guests to surround themselves with hydrangeas, calla lilies and more, and even take pictures of themselves immersed in floral displays. It is truly a magnificent way to celebrate springtime.” The exhibit will run through Sunday, May 19.

The idea for Bloom with a View came about after Clara Curtis, the former senior director of mission delivery at the Arboretum, visited the 2022 Tulip Festival in Holland, MI, another event designed by Gülsen. What Curtis saw on display at this festival fit perfectly with her ideas for a spring event at the Arboretum.

Photo by Melanie Cantrell

The Arboretum invites guests to wander the walkways, gardens and promenades where a multitude of flowers will be on display. “Bloom with a View is an eye-opening experience through and through,” says Postelle. “Guests are greeted by a sea of flowers spanning the front steps of the Education Center plaza, and then brightly colored risers throughout the promenades and gardens. The volume of flowers is really the attraction, as there are not many opportunities to experience this kind of display.” A new feature this year will be the appearance of the Eclipse hydrangea, courtesy of event sponsor Bailey Nurseries. “These flowers are notable for their dark—almost black—leaves and unique red and yellow blooms,” Postelle says.

“Not only is Bloom with a View different from our previous exhibits here at the Arboretum, there are none other like it in the southeast US,” adds Postelle. “These kinds of designed floral events are reminiscent of festivals that take place all over the world, but Bloom with a View is one of only a few such spectacles in the US.”

Along with the flowers, artwork from many different points in history will be available for viewing. In particular, there are portraits of people in their gardens—works in stone, painting and mosaic—which antedate the digital world. “I call it the ‘Art of the Floral selfie’, which seems to be as old as human civilization itself,” says Gülsen. “Earliest examples go back even thousands of years.” Postelle hopes this urge for capturing moments among flowers will inspire visitors. “The image of relaxing and residing in a garden holds a special place in our hearts,” he says, “and we hope our guests will continue this artistic tradition with photos of their own.”

For more information on Bloom with a View, visit NCBloomWithAView.com. Arboretum parking will be $30 per personal vehicle while Bloom with a View is on display. Andrew Dallas-Marconi is a senior at UNC Asheville majoring in creative writing and a spring intern with The Laurel.

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