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Art of Flowers Takes on New Meaning at Festival

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March 30, 2008 — Local artwork found a certain symmetry displayed at the 14th Annual Flower & Fine Art Festival at St. George Village Botanical Garden Sunday.
Some of the artwork had as its subject hibiscus flowers like those that won awards in the hibiscus show. More than 250 residents browsed the flower, bonsai and art exhibits in the Great Hall. The work of the 29 artists used various mediums, and the subjects ranged from flowers to scenes to abstracts.
"The quality of art was spectacular," said Rasa Glengary, who chaired the festival. She said she was pleased with the turnout. She said the garden gets 40 percent from the sale of artwork.
"It is a nice and small, intimate environment here at the gardens," said Jan Giles, displaying artist and retired public school art teacher.
A painting of a shrimp-colored double hibiscus was donated by St. Croix artist Betsy Campen and raffled off. The winner was Ruth C. Gilbert-Whitner.
"Each year a local artist gives us a special painting to help promote the festival," Glengary said.
Sunday was actually the second day of celebrating flowers and art at the gardens. Saturday night featured a reception and sale, which was attended by most of the artists. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres were served along with wine.
"The Saturday artists' reception was wonderful," said Lesley Hoffman, executive director for the garden.
For the past several years, the festival has included an exhibit entitled "Art in Bloom" under the direction of Horticultural Director David Hamada.
"The idea is a simple one," Hamada said. "For a floral designer to interpret a work of art with a floral arrangement. The floral design is intended to enhance or interpret the work of art but not to copy it. The work of art and the floral design are then exhibited together."
Mario Dennis, of Liberated Artists and Floral Design on St. Thomas, created six huge tropical floral designs at a workshop attended by more than 35 people. He gave design pointers such as how to hide stems by lining a vase with sea grape leaves.
The greens in the centerpieces were all from the garden. The finished designs were then raffled off.
There was also a children's workshop where children made tissue paper flowers and leis.
The St. Croix Bonsai Society displayed a wide assortment of local and other bonsai trees. The tiny local bonsai trees they had on display were guava berry, manpoo and pink cedar.
The Hibiscus Society also had a judged show with all colors, shapes and sizes of gorgeous hibiscus.
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