Spring may be delayed due to polar vortexes and cold temperatures, but at Macy’s spring has arrived as the annual Flower Show opened on Sunday. The exhibit, entitled “The Secret Garden” and created in collaboration with Bachman’s is now open to the public, and thanks to a special press preview on Friday afternoon, we got a sneak peek at this year’s gorgeous tribute to spring.
The afternoon started with a brief presentation from Macy’s Downtown Store Manager Sherry Erickson, who confessed that the annual three-week run of the Flower Show was among her favorite weeks of the year. After giving thanks to Macy’s Parade and Entertainment Group for their continued support, she mentioned the new Heart Your Park initiative; a program where each local Macy’s partners with a nearby park to raise money for them.
Then she introduced the star of the afternoon; Bachman’s CEO Dale Bachman, who explained that the flower show has been a collaboration between the two businesses since 1960. For this year’s theme Bachman and long-time collaborator scenic designer Jack Barka transformed the auditorium into a variety of miniature globally-inspired “secret gardens” using a classic British Garden layout as a starting point; using lattice-work and cut-outs to conceal and frame the various views and plants from around the world to set the place and theme.
The various secret gardens are meant to be taken as discreet scenes. The entrance and exit are inspired by Italian Tuscan gardens with wrought iron and Italian Cyprus.
Another feature of the Italian portion is what looks like a classical bust burried in the ground, but as Bachman explained, it’s actually a reclining figure made out of the earth and covered in moss; a concept based on figures that Bachman and Barka found in their research for the garden’s design.
Next is a miniature Dutch garden overflowing with tulips from Holland and sporting a gorgeous six foot tall damask tulipiere sculpture.
Continuing the circling of the garden, the viewer sees a classic English country garden overflowing with geraniums in window boxes and a classic example of British topiary.
Next is a classic Asian garden with plants and a stone path, anchored by a turtle topiary created with moss and succulents; another interesting feature that Bachman and Barka came across during their research.
Tucked in a corner is a traditional bamboo garden, adorned with massive paper lanterns. Bachman said in his presentation that he and his design team meant to be a contemplative space in the exhibit for people to enjoy and take a moment.
The garden ends with a French rose garden filled with piles of roses and bordered by a few native Minnesotan plants and flora, which is scattered throughout the entire garden.
Every year, the Macy’s garden has a massive centerpiece that is the center of the garden. Last yeara, it was a massive Indian jeweled elephant rendered entirely in flora and fauna. This year’s centerpiece is a massive eighteen-foot tall mannequin in a red dress and fascinator made completely from flowers and other organic material. While Bachman and his floral team are not strangers to unique pieces, this piece was a first for them in terms of technical needs. The team that created the dress are also the same designers that create the orate Bouquet Of The Day found on the first floor of the story.
The reception was filled with with press and VIPs; among them were author Ruth Bachman (Dale’s wife), who shared with us the top secret garden fairy list. Every year, Mr. Bachman and his team hide small fairy sculptures throughout the garden for guests to try and find.
All in all, The Macy’s Flower Show is a much needed blast of color. Don’t believe us? Watch this 15 second mad dash through the exhibit.
The Macy’s Flower Show “The Secret Garden” with Gardens by Bachman’s is on view till Sunday, April 6at the 8th Floor Auditorium at the Downtown Minneapolis Macy’s, located at 700 Nicollet Mall. The free exhibit can be viewed during normal store hours.
Photo & Video Credits: Todd O’Dowd