Published in Epoch Times

                                       BOUQUETS TO ART WELCOMES SPRING

By Debra Amundson


Dress i floral design.
Dress in floral design welcomes viewers to the Bouquets to Art.

San Francisco welcomed spring with a burst of color and a fragrant scent that lead right to the door of the cities premier museum, the de Young.  Set against the backdrop of world-famous Golden Gate Park the change of seasons was ushered in with thousands of exotic plants and flowers in masterful designs to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the de Young’s most popular show, Bouquets to Art.

Floral design emulates art on display.

Five days each March the de Young is transformed into one of the countries most unique floral shows decorating the cities jewel with thousands of flowers. Over 150 renowned floral designers create arrangements, with flowers and plant materials, to complement their assigned works in line, form, color, and textures.

Floral artists use their skills to interpret the art on display.

The designers are allowed to select from the museum’s permanent collection of fine arts or limited exhibits ranging from traditional to modern paintings and sculptures.  Selections are made in January giving the designers time to contemplate the carefully chosen materials. Protecting the precious works of art from any outside infestations is critical to the museum. Time to assemble the classic floral creations is considered down to the minute, and the ability of the organic materials to withstand the warm lights and throngs of viewers daily. The museum is kept at a cooler temperature during Bouquets to Art, but it still requires constant vigil to keep the delicate works fresh.

Bouquets to Art
Floral designer captured the crowds in this interpretation.

The recently remodeled de Young, now 5 years old, is an architectural masterpiece.  The new de Young gave San Francisco a landmark museum to showcase their priceless collections of American art from the 17th through 20th centuries, and art of the native Americas, Africa, and Oceania.

Designed to blend with the organics of the park the de Young’s observation tower offers a glass-enclosed viewing area showing a 360-degree view of the natural beauty of San Francisco – Perhaps one of the museums finest pictures.

The new galleries, flooded with natural light, are an ideal setting for the brilliant hues displayed in the crop of floral creations. Even the entry and walkway are challenges for the designers. Last year’s show depicted the fault line that runs through San Francisco, the demise of the original de Young, built in 1895, a solemn remembrance of the devastation done in the Loma Prieta quake of 1988.

Highlighted by an opening night Gala complete with a fashion show of gowns created from exotic blossoms. English teas are served each afternoon and the museum restaurant is open for luncheon reservations.

One day during the annual event is reserved for “hat day”. Patrons are encouraged to sport their own flora by dressing up a hat.  The creations run from the modest to the extreme, the best design is awarded.

Throughout the week a number of the famed floral designers give lectures and provide demonstrations of floral design.  This year a fashion show of wearable creations added the last element of flora and fauna to the arts.

One more of the brilliant colorful arrangements with art.

Installation of the colorful live sculptures begins at 8:00 a.m. on the day of the opening gala.The frenzy begins; completion needs to be no later than that afternoon carefully followed by the care to keep the arrangements fresh for 5 days. Over 50,000 visitors enjoyed the bountiful floral arrangements and works of art this year.

The proceeds from attendance, along with the generous gifts for auction, are able to fund an impressive roster of special exhibitions, art acquisitions, and educational programs.

The de Young is the designated museum in the San Francisco area for many of the special exhibitions that travel to museums representing fine art, textiles, and sculptures. Its sister museum, the Legion of Honor, offers an impressive collection of Rodin sculpture, European paintings, and textiles.

Next years Bouquets to Art will fall in April, for the first time, to accommodate the extraordinary exhibit of Tutankhamen and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibit on display June 27, 2009 – March 28, 2010.

Open Tuesdays thru Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m., Fridays until 8:45 p.m.  Closed January 1, Thanksgiving Day and December 25. de Young Museum is located at 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.  Legion of Honor 34th & Lincoln, San Francisco.


Debra Amundsen is a freelance writer in California. Contact her at



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