Cheekwood in Bloom ushers in the springtime

Spring has sprung at the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens with this season’s can’t-miss festival


Andrew Kolondra Jr.

As warmer weather arrives with the first few days of spring in Nashville, so do spring blossoms. But if the pink and white flowers appearing across campus just aren’t enough to satisfy your spring fever, consider heading an easy 20 minutes away from campus to the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens for their spring festival, Cheekwood in Bloom.

The first of the garden estate’s seasonal festivals of 2019, Cheekwood in Bloom boasts an impressive 150,000 blossoms, stirring our hearts, and our allergies. An equally impressive attraction is the Flower House, similar to the Pumpkin House present during Cheekwood Harvest, the garden’s fall festival.

The 5-week-long event features a full schedule of weekend activities for everyone to enjoy now that milder weather is upon us, most of which are offered at no added cost to the $16 general admission for college students. Below is a list of some of the highlights.

Blooms and Brunch

For an additional $20 on top of Cheekwood’s general admission fee, enjoy a full brunch buffet and bottomless mimosas at Café 29 in the Frist Learning Center Courtyard. The event is first-come, first-serve, and Cheekwood members receive a ten percent discount. Come for the brunch, and stay for the blooms, Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. while the festival lasts.

Plein Air Painting

Experience the serenity of Cheekwood in a new light through an outdoor painting workshop with the Chestnut Group, a nonprofit alliance of artists dedicated to preserving outdoor landscapes in Middle Tennessee. While the workshop is offered for no extra cost to general admission, any artists wishing to capture the garden in bloom on their canvases should bring their own brushes, paints, easels and any other necessary supplies. Painters of all skill levels and all mediums are welcome. Capture the seasonal colors every Sunday during the festival from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Behind the Scenes tours

While the art collections on display in Cheekwood Mansion are accessible during normal garden hours, Assistant Curator of the Cheekwood Museum of Art Katelyn Bennett will lead exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of the museum during the spring festival. Two exhibitions are currently on display. The first, “Derived from the Decorative: Works by Faig Ahmed, Beth Lipman and Bouke de Vries,” features a number of pieces that blend decorative arts with functional forms, challenging the contemporary idea of what it means to craft (on display until June 9). The second, “In Bloom: Works from Cheekwood’s Permanent Collection,” goes hand-in-hand with the festival, featuring works with a floral theme to extend the botanical experience from the garden to the gallery (on display until September 1). Behind the Scenes tours will occur every Sunday throughout the festival at 2 p.m.

Walk with a Gardener

Take a guided tour of the Cheekwood grounds, led by one of the gardeners that makes the magic of Cheekwood in Bloom happen. The spring festival boasts twelve unique gardens with a wide variety of colorful perennial flowers and flowering trees, such as tulips, snowdrops, crocus, hyacinths, daffodils, magnolias, redbuds, dogwoods and many more. Tours depart every Saturday during the festival at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

If you can’t make it on a weekend, don’t worry. To celebrate the coming of spring, Cheekwood Estate & Gardens is now open seven days a week throughout the festival, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., allowing you to take a break from studying to stop, smell the roses and enjoy spring in Nashville.

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