Event Category: Nashville
Nature’s colorful pageantry is on display at Cheekwood – March 18th thru April 23rd
For six weekends every spring, Cheekwood becomes a rich canvas for some of the brightest, boldest colors found in nature. A unique mosiac of 100,000 tulips and 50,000 daffodilos, hyacinths, and other bulbs planted last fall paint the grounds during the annual Cheekwood in Bloom festival.
“Spring is the most colorful time of the year to visit Cheekwood,” remarked Patrick Larkin, senior vice president of gardens. “There is also a lot going on at Cheekwood with our flowering trees, including dogwoods, cherries, magnolias, and others.”
In addition to the spectacular show provided by nature, every weekend brings something the entire family can enjoy, including crafts, live music, a beer garden, bunnies, tours and more.
Cheekwood’s bulbs are planted in September and October of the previous year to make certain the grounds come alive with the best spring has to offer. However, it is a year-round planning process.
“As soon as we’re done planting, we start to think about what we’re going to be doing next year. The planning is almost ongoing,” Larkin said.
The Cheek family home, a 30,000 square-foot, 1930s era Georgian style mansion, is the inspiration this year for many of the plants.
“We have a number of varieties we’re using that would have been available in the 1920s and 1930s, at the time the Cheeks were living here. They’re old historic cultivars that have stayed in the trade.”
Larkin added, “I’m excited to have those and be able to talk about them with the visiting public, because I’m not sure everyone understands that almost every plant we have out here has a story associated with it.”
The Cheek mansion is currently undergoing a restoration and refurnishing with antiques, textiles, fine art and other decor from the 1930s. Although the idyllic grounds remain open, the estate will reopen on June 17 and include a room never before seen by the public.
Crowd favorite bulbs will return during Cheekwood in Bloom, but several notable new species are joining the 107 different tulip cultivars in the gardens.
“One of the plants I’m excited we’re using this year that will be different for us is the Persian fritillary. It’s not something I’ve seen anybody use,” Larkin said. “It’s gets about three or four feet tall, has bell shaped flowers, a maroon color, so they’re something completely different than everything else you’ll be seeing.”
The Persian fritillary (Fritillaria persica) are located in the Burr Terrace Garden, one of 12 distinct gardens on the 55-acre property.
“We’ve also planted Camassia this year. They’re a powder blue. Blue is one of the more difficult colors to find in nature. You don’t see many true blue flowers, so it’ll be a whole different color addition.”
Unusual varieties of flowers, along with the classics, ensure Cheekwood provides a unique experience for guests every time they visit.
“I like the new, I like the different, I like the peculiar, because it causes people to ask questions,” Larkin explained. “It allows for there to be a conversation about plantsw. If it’s something they’ve never heard of, they want to know more. That’s why I like the unusual because it allows for the teaching moment.”
To learn more about Cheekwood and its year-round festivals and programs, please visit Cheekwood.org.