For thirty years “Bainbridge in Bloom” was one of the largest and most popular events on the Island, drawing visitors from distant places—including Pullman where we still lived when we began enjoying the annual garden tour half-way through its history. It was a vast undertaking involving huge numbers of volunteers, lots of serious landscaping, and transportation for thousands of guests—all for the benefit of Arts & Humanities Bainbridge (AHB).
AHB has in more recent years concentrated its focus more precisely on its main purpose: promoting the lively arts and humanities scene on Bainbridge, including the publication of Currents, now an online locus for publicizing creative activity.
My project this month is to share some of my favorite photos from the final 15 years of the Bloom (omitting 2005—we didn’t make it that year). To respect the privacy of garden owners the specific locations are not identified.
2001: Garden Pool
Many gardens contain water features, none more beautiful than this gem featuring one of the classic Little & Lewis concrete Gunnera leaves. This same photo appears in my 2010 photo book Four Seasons on Bainbridge Island, by permission of the owner.
2002: Angel’s Trumpet
Several of the tour’s feature gardens have had views of Puget Sound. Here the shape of the Brugmansia versicolor blossoms echo the shape of the sails in the distance.
2003: Lily Pond
Many gardens include ornamental fish ponds. I was particularly attracted by the shapes and colors in this one.
2004: Bamboo Reflection
This little jar filled with water framed both the plants on its surface and the branches rising above it.
2006: Garden Cake
Auction items donated to one year’s tour included this lovely cake contributed by Mora Iced Creamery.
2007: Japanese Fountain
A tasteful little corner of japonaiserie. Note that even the pipe at left is made to look like bamboo.
2008: Succulent Basin
Containers can be a nuisance to water, but here’s a neat solution: plant succulents!
Even common flowers can offer much to enjoy when looked at closely.
Another example: plunge into a hydrangea head and enjoy the explosion.
2011: Varied Leaves
Some gardeners paint with flowers, contrasting colors and forms.
2012: Tropical Counterparts
This Little & Lewis sculpture echoes the form of the tree behind it.
2013: Window Reflection
Naturally stained glass.
Part of the pleasure of touring the gardens was listening to the musicians performing in them. This woman in her colorful shirt is nicely framed by the garden beyond.
2015: Bouquet of Roses
The shape of the cabbage head beneath the blossoms echoes the form of these spectacular blossoms.
2016: Shopping for Art
Another feature of the Bloom was booths for artists to offer their creations. To me this woman’s lovely ensemble of black, white & green made her a perfect work of art, with the garden theme being made by the image on her bag.
This scene of a musician playing the shakuhachi in front of a host of hostas is perhaps my favorite of all these images.
2018: Western Tiger Swallowtail
This scene can remind us that we are a secondary audience for flowers’ lovely forms, colors and fragrances. It’s the esthetic choices of pollinators that create the magical world of gardens.
OTHER PHOTO ALBUMS
IN THE MUSEUM
SNOW FALLING ON BAINBRIDGE
PEOPLE ELSEWHERE GALLERY
ABOUT PAUL BRIANS. Paul Brians does extensive volunteer photography for the Bainbridge Island Land Trust. He created the photo book Four Seasons on Bainbridge Island (2010), was principal photographer for Natural Bainbridge (2019)and contributed the majority of photographs in Dave and Alice Shorett’s Thirty Walks on Bainbridge (2020) published for the benefit of the Land Trust. He also took photos for some years for Bainbridge in Bloom. He has had six exhibitions of his prints on the Island and his pictures have appeared in many regional publications and on Bainbridge-related Web sites. He posts photos daily on Facebook and is an active member of the Bainbridge Island Photo Club.