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Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens presents 16th Annual Art and Bloom Festival

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Saturday, May 19th, 2018
Sat. & Sun. 10am-5pm Mon. 10am-4pm

The Annual Art & Bloom Festival is focused on presenting a limited variety of art forms. Emphasis will be placed on original works by painters, potters, sculptors, glass blowers, original stained glass designers, garden art and other unique art forms.


Art and Bloom Festival Keeps on Growing Gardens Uncover forests hidden treasures", Comox Valley Record by Kevin McKinnon ~ When Bryan Zimmerman started a small rhododendron garden on his property at Kitty Coleman six years ago, he didn't expect it to grow into what it has become today: Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens. "I started to uncover alot of interesting features and I just got carried away. I kept uncovering these hidden treasures in the woods," said Zimmerman, who ran a fruit farm and greenhouses on Ontario's Niagara Peninsula prior to moving out west and settling in the valley. Zimmerman and his wife live on the property in a house that also does duty as a tea room. "Without Bev's support and co-operation I wouldn't be able to do this," said Zimmerman.


Five years after opening the woodland gardens to the public, Zimmerman's 24 acre property now features two miles of cedar bark paths, benches, a gazebo and multiple water features including several interesting fountains. And of course, rhododendrons. "Rhododendrons are a highlight feature," said Zimmerman. "They belong in the woods. They belong in a natural setting. It shows them off to their best." Zimmerman has done all of the work on the property himself and readily admits that he could easily keep three or four employees busy. He also admits that he prefers to work alone. "I'm picky and a bit stuck in my ways," said Zimmerman, smiling. "Nothing is easy, everything is the wheelbarrow way. The hard way." One of the reasons Zimmerman chose to work by hand was to avoid damaging the native plants and undergrowth. Excavators are only used when there is a lot of earth to move and no other choice. Zimmerman works with local excavator operator Russ Henderson of Rock and Road. "He's a sculptor with a backhoe," said Zimmerman.


One of the early incarnations of the gardens that still proves popular each winter is the Kitty Coleman Christmas Tree Farm and Santa's Barn. "Lots of people come out to get a tree," said Zimmerman, who also noted that Santa himself is a pretty big attraction for children. The barn, which seats 100 has also hosted weddings. "People say, "What? You're getting married in a barn?" Then they see it and just go, "Wow."


The gardens also attract a large number of visitors from around the world throughout the year. European visitors often remark to Zimmerman that if his gardens were in Europe, they would be a major destination. "Our guest book is like a geography lesson," said Zimmerman. "It's neat to talk to people and see their reaction to the gardens." One of the reactions Zimmerman notices regularly among visitors is the positive effect a walk through the garden has on people. "A lot of people say it's almost a spiritual experience and very therapeutic. A person just feels better after going into the garden and listening to the birds and the creek." Zimmerman is not one to let the grass grow under his feet,however, and has plans to expand the gardens with more trails and features including 5,000 more rhododendrons and a lake. Additionally he would like to see the gardens play host to an arts and culture event. "I want this to be an annual event featuring artists, potters and musicians working at their crafts. The concept would be working with nature, not against it," said Zimmerman, who added the only thing holding him back was the need for a coordinator for such an event. "I think this type of venture lends itself to success, especially at that time of year. We could have wandering minstrels on the trails and belly dancers in the Bridal Meadow." Zimmerman feels the event would have two purposes-to expand the gardens and to attract local visitors. "What I'm trying to create here is for the Valley.


I want the gardens to be for the Comox Valley what the Butchart Gardens is to Victoria." As if Zimmerman doesn't have enough work to do on his own garden, he also works as a landscape designer and garden consultant. Standing in the middle of his gardens,even Zimmerman is impressed with what he sees. "When you believe in something that much, its amazing what you can do. It blows me away, what I've done."


http://woodlandgardens.ca/

Cost: Adult: $10.00
Child: $free
Senior: $8.00
Student: $3.00
Category: Arts | Entertainment
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Festivals
Location: Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens
6183 Whittaker Road, Courtenay
This event is for Everyone
More Info: Deirdre Aguilar
aguilarpottery@me.com
2505949096
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