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Woodland Gardens Art & Bloom Festival is a May long weekend tradition

The Woodlands Gardens Art & Bloom Festival is a May long weekend tradition. Photo supplied

By Joe Smith

Special to Black Press

The Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens Art and Bloom Festival held May 18-20 is one of the highlights of the spring season in the Comox Valley.

With more than 3,000 rhododendrons and hundreds of other woodland flowers in bloom, the 24-acre gardens make a spectacular setting for the artists, artisans and musicians who set up their displays along the winding pathways.

The show which features painters, potters, photographers, sculptors, unique garden art and a host of high-end artisans who work in wood, glass, textiles and stone is now in its 22nd season.

“The quality of work gets better every year “said Bryan Zimmerman, owner of the gardens. “Some of the exhibitors have been with us since the first year and you can see their work getting better and better. We also attract new artists every year which is terrific because it gives each show a different look and feel.”

The other thing that is constantly changing are the gardens themselves. The man-made lake, complete with its own island and small decorative beach is now surrounded by an amazing array of rhodos. Areas that were once the remnants of a Christmas tree farm have been turned into inviting glades. Popping up here and there are rustic shelters, pavilions and unique pieces of driftwood that all ad to the ambiance.

With more than 70 exhibitors on hand, visitors will have plenty of opportunity to see, do and shop. Along with the eclectic mix of artists and artisans, visitors will also be treated to entertainment by a number of well know musicians.

During the course of the three-day event, various musicians will be playing throughout the gardens each of them performing in their own unique style with a sound that seems to blend with nature. This year’s lineup includes the Canuck Country band, Anela Kahaimoe, Luke Blue Guthrie, Bruce & Judy Wing, Jana Seale, John Mortenson, Fred Saliani and David Somers.

Rounding out the attractions is the food court where visitors can enjoy wood fired pizza, Buddha bowls, healthy dragon bowls, sweet & savory crepes or chow down at the weinie wagon.

“ When we came up with the idea of having a festival, we wanted to create an event that would work with the natural setting of the gardens and at the same time provide an opportunity for artists to exhibit and sell their work in a relaxed peaceful environment,” said Zimmerman.

Zimmerman has even created a labyrinth in the forested area where some go to find enlightenment. As an added attraction for those who might be a little superstitious there is a giant inukshuk made from 1,700 horseshoes that you can walk through in the hope of finding good luck.

It is perhaps this unique combination of art, music, Mother Nature’s colourful palette and the dedication of one man, his family and friends that make the Art and Bloom Festival one the Comox Valley’s truly unique events.

The Festival has something for everyone.

From those who are seeking peace and relaxation to those who are looking for that special work of art that will enhance their home or add value to their collection, they are sure to find it at this year’s festival.

Art and Bloom Festival show times are 10 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday and 10 am to 4 pm Monday.

Regular show rates apply. The gardens are just a 15 minute drive north of Courtenay off the Old Island Highway, 19A.

For further information contact Woodland gardens at 250-338-6901 or visit