By Stephen Dafoe
Sturgeon County – With flowers blooming in local gardens, creating an artistic display of colour, designer Cory Christopher is hoping Sturgeon County gardeners will think about art in the garden in a broader sense. Christopher is once against preparing for Art in the Garden, the third annual event to be held at First Choice Tree Nursery June 24 to July 10.
“This year we’ve really expanded and are featuring 25 artists from the local area,” Christopher said, adding the artistic styles set to be on display include pottery, copper sculpting, willow basketry, as well as conventional painting and photography. “It’s really an incredible group of individuals that we’re going to be featuring at Art in the Garden this year.”
Christopher will also be displaying one of his signature artistic outlets with the return of Couture Botanique, a collection of 12 dresses made of flowers and other gardening accoutrement, broken into different collections. This year’s themes include garden bugs, a tribute to the City of St. Albert in honour of its 150th anniversary, and another collection to be raffled off in support of the Mazinkowski Heart Institute.
The gardening / art event kicks off June 23 with a gala evening, a sneak peak before Art in the Garden officially kicks off the following day. “This year it’s going to be quite exceptional,” Christopher said. “Many of our artists will be working in the gardens. They’ll be creating art before your eyes.” Participants will be able to do some of their own art on a creative canvas being put in place by St. Albert-based Hidden Talents. “Individuals at the gala will be able to paint on that canvas,” Christopher said. “That’ll be an incredible opportunity to create a community piece that we can work with.”
The artist, garden expert and entrepreneur is hoping the event will inspire gardeners and home owners to look at their outdoor space a bit differently.
“It’s unfortunate that we don’t look at our gardens in a more artful way,” Christopher said. “I think people are starting to. I think we’re starting to look at the European sensibilities and if we look at European gardens, we can see the practicality and functionality of them, but also their aesthetic beauty, their design principles, their hidden rooms, the way they shape topiaries and boxwood. Although many of those plant materials don’t necessarily grow in our climate, there are many opportunities for people to engage their garden spaces.”
It is that concept that Christopher is trying to herald with the annual Art in the Garden event, getting people thinking in a different direction and viewing their gardens and outdoor spaces as an extension of their indoor spaces. “We already add art to our indoor space,” he said. “To bring that artwork, the aesthetic value, things of beauty that we love out into the garden is an amazing opportunity. I think our 25 artists perfectly represent their interpretation of Mother Nature.”
Christopher said while not all of the artists are producing art suitable for outdoors, he strived hard this year to find artists that would captivate the garden and add a sense of beauty and pride to the home.
For a full list of Art in the Garden events and times, visit FirstChoiceTreeNursery.ca.