Nature inspires the art at Botanic Garden’s unique Expressions show

By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt

Talk about plein-air! This weekend, San Diego Botanic Garden is staging its third annual “Garden Expressions” event, bringing 27 regional artists into its green and pleasant spaces to show, create, and perhaps sell some of their nature-inspired work.

On display will be gourds, glasswork, mosaics, pottery, paintings, jewelry, plant-dyed textiles, pine-needle baskets, and several booths full of imaginative recycled art. Don’t miss “Snowflake,” a 5-foot dinosaur made by Paul Wilton, the King of Zhjunk, whose work can also be seen in the Hamilton Children’s Garden.

Another must-see is Kris de Young, president of the La Jolla Art Association for the past three years, whose paintings bring native plants to vibrant life. Check out her “Mojave Agave,” based on a beautiful bloomer she saw and photographed at Torrey Pines State Reserve.

But don’t stop there. At the SDBG entrance, everyone will receive a passport. Getting your passport stamped by all participating artists makes you eligible to win one of the pieces of art donated by each of them. So why not be sure to visit every booth and give yourself a fair chance?

Besides the opportunity to engage in person, in plein-air, with local artists, there will be lots more going on at Garden Expressions. Here are some of the other attractions in store over the weekend.

Music, music, music

! Listen to Native American flute and didgeridoo by Bob Ballentine & Friends in the Australian garden both days, harp and flute by Willowood in the Gazebo on Sunday.•

Join the art-makers!

Make your own art out of carefully-collected bottlecaps and recycled wood in Palm Canyon, as part of a community sculpture by folk artist Rodney Rodrigo. When completed, the piece will be offered for sale or put on display in the Children’s Garden.


learn plant-printmaking with the Botanical Printers, whose cards grace the garden’s gift shop.


try your hand at origami with Nicole Ma, a talented young garden volunteer from Torrey Pines High School.•

Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe!

Snack on organic, locally-grown veggie delights from The Flavor Chef, Lance Roll, who says he uses Love as his ultimate spice in the food he creates.•

Hubbell Speaks!

On Sunday, renowned architect/stained glass designer/watercolorist/sculptor James Hubbell, whose art has always been inspired by nature, will give a talk on “Gardens: the Bridge between the Wild and the Order.” If you’re a Hubbell fan (and who isn’t?) you won’t want to miss it. Hubbell will also be the honoree at the Garden’s 12


annual gala on Sept. 10.

More art!

Pick up a Sculpture Map at the entrance, and check out the works by 26 regional artists (including Hubbell) in the fourth annual “Sculpture in the Garden” exhibit.

If you go


Garden Expressions


9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 20-21


San Diego Botanic Garden, 230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas


$6-$12 (free to military families through Labor Day)


$2 (4 in a car, park free!)