GardenFest celebrates the outdoors in nature, paintings in Old Lyme

Much of Connecticut endured plenty of early spring rain. So if the old adage is correct, April showers should bring an abundance of late-spring flowers. Is mother nature cooperating?

In Old Lyme, the schedule of spring blooms “is about two weeks behind” because of the cool temperatures, said Tammi Flynn, spokeswoman at the Florence Griswold mansion and art museum, which is set to celebrate its glorious historic gardens and setting on the banks of the Lieutenant River with several special events.

But not to worry, she said, the museum’s GardenFest, including its indoor “Blooms with a View” art and flowers exhibition, will be nonetheless dazzling Friday, June 8, through Sunday, June 17.

Just in time for the celebration will be “lots of pastels” — soft colors such as pink, violet, butter yellow and white. And that means that the gardens will reflect many of the colors that are captured for all-time in the paintings by American Impressionists, who loved painting outdoors — many in these very gardens.

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Florence Griswold Museum, 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme. Admission is $10; $9 seniors, $8 students, and free to visitors 12 and younger. Open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays 1-5 p.m. 860-434-5542,

The gardens have been restored to its 1910 plan and is characterized as a “grandmother’s garden in which masses of flowers were informally arranged in bordered beds close to home.” Varieties of peonies, iris, foxglove, heliotrope, phlox, cranesbill and day lilies were among the many perennials that are featured. The gardens and 13-acre property is always open free of charge to visitors. Cafe Flo is open to visitors overlooking the river.

Among the highlights of GardenFest is “Blooms with a View,” from June 8-10, in which area floral designers will create arrangements that interpret 15 paintings. This year’s exhibit, in the site’s museum, will feature an “Art and the New England Farm” theme. “Blooms” is included in museum admission.

“GardenFest jump starts our warm-weather season” — again focusing on the home and grounds that made Miss Florence’s home a National Historic Landmark, Flynn added.

Other special events, as described by the museum, include:

Sunday, June 10, 1-4 p.m. “Hands-On Art-Making: Garden Pots Wind Chimes,” for children and adults, making a mini garden pot wind chime. Free with museum tickets; 12 and younger are free.

Sunday, June 10, 2 p.m., Lecture and book-signing by Tovah Martin: “Boot Camp for Your Senses,” $7. The author and garden expert will lead participants “through an odyssey of exploration to awaken the senses and arouse your abilities of perception on all levels.” Her new book is “The Garden in Every Sense and Season.”

Friday, June 15, 11 a.m, Lecture: “The NEW American Lawn: Curb Appeal We Can Live With,” $7. Judy Preston, naturalist and conservationist, “explores more environmentally friendly practices, and alternatives, to the (traditional) American Lawn.”

Sunday, June 17, 1-4 p.m., “Hands-On Art-Making: Father’s Day Printmaking Workshop,” visitors “can make dad a fun print of dad in a tie as well as festive cards.” This drop-in event is included with museum admission; free for 12 and younger.

Sunday, June 17, 1-4 p.m., “Farmhouse Herbs: An Herb for Every Room,” Food historian Leslie Evans offers a “first-person presentation of a farmer’s wife in Connecticut, circa 1905.” This drop-in event is included with museum admission; free for 12 and younger.; Twitter: @PhyllisASBoros