What could be more appropriate for an art gallery in a botanic garden at spring time than an enormous bouquet of flowers? Renowned for its annual springtime display of tulips, its abundance of roses in the summer and the camellia blooms of winter, Descanso Gardens will present almost 100 artists’ visions of the flower this spring in its second juried/ invitational show, “Portraits of the Garden 2: Bloom!” at the Gardens’ Sturt Haaga Gallery from March 7 – May 28, 2017.

Following the first very popular and well-received “Portraits of the Garden” in 2014, “Portraits of the Garden 2: Bloom!” will present local and regional artists’ best impressions of that most compelling, mysterious and beautiful phase and form of plant life, the flower. Artists will not only represent the flower in their artwork but also explore the flower’s crucial role in reproduction, species survival and evolutionary change.

“Whether it’s the tulips in the spring, the roses in the summer or the camellias in the winter, what people love best to see at Descanso are the flowers!” said David Brown, executive director, Descanso Gardens. “We’re hard-wired to respond to their endless forms, their bright color, and their promise of food. In “Portraits of the Garden 2: Bloom!” we’ll have hundreds of artists’ images and interpretation of flowers — a garden of beauty within the walls of the Sturt Haaga Gallery. We are so appreciative of the support of artists from all over California and the West.”

Flowers are at the center of an intricate and beautiful web of life that includes pollinators of all kinds (including we humans). The flowering plants appeared relatively recently in the 4-billion-year story of life on Earth. When flowers first began appearing about 175 million years ago, it marked the beginning of an astonishing period of evolutionary diversification in virtually every major family of life.

To countless types of organisms, the “flower” means food; to the plants that flower, the flower means reproduction and survival of the species — the most powerful forces of life on earth. The “flower” also means beauty, color, form, fragrance, improbable diversity, abundance and transience. Of all the reasons people cite for visiting a botanical garden, to view and enjoy the flowers is by far the most popular.

“Portraits of the Garden 2: Bloom!” seeks a wide variety of artists’ impressions of Descanso Gardens as demonstrated by flowers, buds, pollinators, seeds, the full range of the flowering process,” added Cristeen Martinez, Sturt Haaga Gallery manager. “An open call for entries was published inviting professionals and amateurs as well to contribute to the exhibition in an assortment of media from paintings and photographs to collages and ceramics. We’re very excited about the range of works being presented.”

With “Portraits of the Garden 2: Bloom!” the hope is to quite literally convert the halls and walls of the Sturt Haaga Gallery into a most extraordinary bouquet of flowers — one large enough for people to physically enter, become immersed in, enjoy, and come to see and appreciate the flowers surrounding them in the garden outside in a whole new way.

Descanso Gardens is located at 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge. The Sturt Haaga Gallery is open during exhibitions from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, except Mondays when it is closed. Gallery admission is included in admission to Descanso Gardens: $9 for adults; $6 for seniors and students with a school I.D.; $4 for children 5 to 12, and free for ages 4 and younger. https://www.descansogardens.org/