Based on several palaces in India, Pleasure Gardens: A Miniature Maharaja Palace depicts a mythical palace on a miniature scale. The palace, gardens, street scene, pavilions, and a remarkable elephant stable measures 8 feet by 5 feet and have taken Wilson over a decade to complete. Pleasure Gardens is on view June 1-10 as part of the Florence Griswold Museum's GardenFest.
The fourth annual GardenFest at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme is a ten-day celebration of the site’s historic gardens, featuring special events, displays, demonstrations, and family activities. From June 1 through June 10, visitors can enjoy a wide variety of activities for all ages and interest levels. Events are included with Museum admission.
Visitors to the Museum immediately understand the site's appeal to the artists who stayed at “Miss Florence” Griswold’s boardinghouse over a century ago. Her gracious house, lush gardens, and river view were favored subjects of her artist boarders. Visitors stand at the site of Childe Hassam's favorite painting spot, stroll Miss Florence's lovingly restored old-fashioned garden, and rest where William Chadwick posed his model for the now famous painting, On the Piazza.
New to GardenFest, the Museum presents Old Lyme artist Renée Wilson’s masterwork, Pleasure Gardens: A Miniature Maharaja Palace. Based on several palaces in India, Pleasure Gardens depicts a mythical palace on a miniature scale. The palace, gardens, street scene, pavilions, and a remarkable elephant stable measures 8 feet by 5 feet and have taken Wilson over a decade to complete.
For Blooms with a View, June 8, 9, and 10, floral designers create displays inspired by works of art from the Florence Griswold Museum’s special exhibitions.
On June 8, 9, 10 Blooms with a View: A Display of Art & Flower will be back for a second year. A group of talented floral artists display stunning arrangements created to interpret works of art in the special exhibition, …isms: Unlocking Art’s Mysteries. These floral interpretations play off the colors, line, shapes, and subject matter of the artwork in masterful ways. Blooms with a View is included with Museum admission.
…isms: Unlocking Art’s Mysteries, examines 100 works of American art and culture from three centuries to explain art movements and styles. The exhibition is perfect for non museumgoers as an introduction to these stylistic concepts. Seasoned art lovers will enjoy testing their knowledge and learning about the larger historical contexts that have informed artists’ work.
Other GardenFest activities include a plant sale by the Museum’s Garden Gang on June 1 from 9am to 3pm. Heirloom perennials, unusual annuals, and fascinating succulents range from $5 to $50. Many are similar to those found in Miss Florence’s historic garden. Proceeds benefit the Museum’s garden projects.
On June 6 Guy Wolff, the master potter from Litchfield, CT, demonstrates how he makes his garden planters that are inspired by 18th and 19th century pottery designs and are a favorite of Martha Stewart. Planters available for purchase.
On Wednesday, June 6 from 11am to 3pm the master potter from Litchfield, CT, Guy Wolff demonstrates how he makes his garden planters that are inspired by 18th and 19th century pottery designs and are a favorite of Martha Stewart. Planters available for purchase.
GardenFest includes a variety of activities for families too! Each Sunday, the Museum provides all the painting supplies necessary for visitors to make their own masterpieces in garden or down by the river. No experience necessary. In addition to the painting activity, visitors of all ages can enjoy garden-related fun. Saturday, June 2 brings the Toe Jam Puppet Band’s “Green Show” at 2pm. Tom and Vinny’s high energy antics combine original songs and interactive storytelling to remind us why we should take care of our planet. With songs like "Do the Can Can," children learn the importance of recycling and how everyone can help keep the Earth healthy. Sunday, June 3 families will enjoy a day filled with artful garden projects and other fun activities during the Fun and Arty Garden Party from 1-5pm. Bring on the flower power and tie dye a t-shirt on Sunday, June 10 from 1-5pm.
On Friday, June 8 from 11am to 2pm, the Museum will honor its Garden Gang volunteers during the fifth annual garden luncheon. Spend a lovely afternoon touring the gardens, Pleasure Gardens: A Miniature Maharaja Palace and Blooms with a View. At noon, a lunch by Seaflour Gourmet of Essex will be enjoyed overlooking the Lieutenant River. Festive garden party attire and hats encourage. There is an additional fee for this event and reservations are required. The Luncheon is sponsored by Wilbur & King, Where Gardens Take Root, and supports the stewardship and preservation of the Museum’s historic gardens and riverside landscape.
Beginning June 1 garden lovers are invited to enjoy Café Flo Tuesdays and Saturdays from 11:30am-3pm and from 1-4pm on Sundays. Menu items are garden-fresh and family friendly. Dine on the veranda overlooking the Lieutenant River or pick up a basket and blanket and picnic along the river.
GardenFest celebrates the Museum's historic gardens and orchard that are the subject of so many paintings by the Lyme Art Colony artists. Landscape Historian Sheila Wertheimer guided the Museum in the restoration of the gardens and site to its appearance circa 1910. Miss Florence's garden can be characterized by what is referred to today as a "grandmother's garden" in which masses of flowers were informally arranged in bordered beds close to home. Varieties of hollyhock, iris, foxglove, heliotrope, phlox, cranesbill, and day lilies were among the many perennials that made up her garden. The Museum is located on an 11-acre site in the historic village of Old Lyme at 96 Lyme Street, exit 70 off I-95. Admission is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, $7 students, and free to children 12 and under. For more information, visit the Museum’s web site www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org or call 860-434-5542 x 111.