311 Gallery in Raleigh is excited to showcase Flowers and Gardens


Flowers and Gardens and Their Role in the Arts

“The earth laughs in flowers.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson


It's high summer and gardens are in full bloom. You have to love the summer garden with all its bright colors and heavenly smells, even the weeds look pretty when they flower.

Flowers have played a role in most art forms, provoking emotions and as gestures of sentiment. With a Google search, you can uncover lists of flowers and their historic meanings, their use in folklore and fairy lore, and numerous quotes by famous artists and writers.

In early western art history, flowers provided a rich visual symbolism for understanding God’s Holy Word. The lowly dandelion, symbolic of innocence and nostalgia, ranks with the white lily and the rose. During the Renaissance, flora flourished as a backdrop to human allegories. By the mid-19th century, people began to cultivate for pleasure as well as food and the garden was born.

“I will be the gladdest thing under the sun! I will touch a hundred flowers

and not pick one.”  Edna St. Vincent Millay

William Shakespeare's works have many references to flowers, some of which directly reference summer flowers.

"The sweet smell of different flowers in odour and in hue

could make me any summer's story tell." Sonnet 98

For the Impressionists, gardens were the perfect place for them to experiment with their new painting techniques, compositions and color. Their dedication led many artists of this period to become avid horticulturists, building greenhouses and designing elegant gardens. By the end of his life, Claude Monet, the most important painter of gardens in the history of art, had a team of gardeners working around the clock to help him create his perfect garden.

“I owe it to flowers that I became a painter.”   Claude Monet

 Georgia O’Keefe, best known for her abstracted flower studies, aimed to make the viewer really look at the flower.

“Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower.

I want them to see it whether they want to or not.”   Georgia O’Keefe

311 Gallery invited artists to participate in a national juried show that celebrates flowers and gardens. Works span the gamut from abstract to very realistic in a variety of media. We hope you'll stop by this month and visit our summer garden.

“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.” 
― William ShakespeareA Midsummer Night's Dream

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