Episode #502- Great Explorations
J shows us how to escape into the flower world without racking up thousands of mile. We become a flower tourist in J’s home town – Grand Rapids, Michigan; and visit a Japanese Garden &Sculpture Park. Travel to the exotic world of Tiki where J creates an outstanding tropical flower arrangement & visits his friend Anthony Carpenter; a local artist that shares his passion for escaping through his original art. It’s part of the Flower Explorations- we can do right at home!
Let’s enjoy some Great Explorations with flowers- and without racking up hundreds or thousands of miles. Sometimes a get-away is accomplished with just a state of mind – or a short ride across town. Join me on today’s show for ideas on enjoying flowers in a tropical oasis, a far-away land, or a ‘secret garden’ in your own mind. Great Explorations are everywhere!
“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.” – Victor Hugo
Sometimes you need to get away from it all – but circumstances will not allow it. On today’s show we’ll look at ways to take the break that you need – even if it’s of a shorter, less time-consuming variety. How about exploring new worlds that are right in your backyard? It’s easy to create your own Flower Explorations. Have you ever been a tourist in your hometown? Are there places you’ve never visited, but know all about? Actually going there will be a new experience – and – provide the much-needed break from everyday routine. Today I’ll take you to the tropical vibe of the South Seas, the serenity of a Japanese Garden, and an escape through art!
A visit to Max’s South Seas Hideaway
J interviews Mark Sellers- one of the owners of Max’s South Seas Hideaway- that includes the largest curated exhibit of Tiki artifacts in the World. Inspired by this amazing Tiki Exhibit- J creates an arrangement with tropical flowers from Magic Flowers and Tiki figures he acquired from a local artist on a recent trip to Hawaii.
The first exploration in this episode is to the South Seas – we’re at a local restaurant, Max’s South Seas Hideaway, where the atmosphere really transports you to another world – a world that includes plenty of flowers in its décor. I was happy to chat with Mark Sellers to learn about how this place came to be and the revival and love of tiki culture…and the incredible curated exhibit of authentic Tiki artifacts that was displayed by his business partner Gecko in authentic and respectful ways!
A Visit to a Japanese Garden
J visits The Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park is another Flower Exploration. J Interviews Steve LaWarre, Vice President of Horticulture to learn more about how the Japanese Garden was created and learn more about the design and concept behind these authentic Japaneses Gardens here in Grand Rapids, Michigan!
Many locations across the country are fortunate to have local botanical gardens, and we are indeed very fortunate in West Michigan to have access to the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. It’s a wonderful way to escape everyday life and have a flower exploration. The main campus here is 158 acres, and today, I’d like to show you specifically, the Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden, which opened in 2015. It’s an incredible place to explore and reflect.
We’re thrilled to be here – and excited to learn more about this inspired space, surrounded in nature!
There are many spaces here that give you pause and the desire to slow down and reflect. I hope you are able to experience such a place nearby where you live. Enjoying any space in nature that you have access to, can provide a calming break and recharge your battery. It’s a wonderful way to start a Flower Exploration and reward yourself and your soul.
Ikebana Inspired Arrangement
J takes inspiration from his Japanese Garden tour to create an Ikebana style arrangement that features driftwood and garden flowers in this contemplative Bonsai Garden – complete with wonderful examples the art of Bonsai!
Bloom 365- Tip of the Week!
J shows how to Bend a branch for Ikebana arranging – fittingly in the Bonsai Garden
The Art of Anthony Carpenter at Max’s South Seas Hideaway
Here’s another way to escape your everyday life – and start an Artistic Exploration. You can get lost enjoying and appreciating art or even create your own world through art – much like my guest and flower friend and accomplished artist Anthony Carpenter.
I thought it appropriate for Anthony to meet me here at Max’s South Seas Hideaway, since he is also a fan or tiki and also a professional artist who has contributed to the décor and ambiance of this incredible exhibit with his incredible artwork.
Anthony shares and explains his interest in tiki (art) and his contributions to Max’s and J shares some of the amazing examples of Anthony’s art. Anthony is involved in so many projects.. you can learn more about Anthony- and the art he creates at the following
YouTube Channel: @acarpenterillustration
All-ages Patreon: patreon.com/AnthonyCarpenterIllustration437
I first learned of Anthony’s talent and art when my production team commissioned a piece by Anthony for Kelly and I as a wedding gift…then Kelly and I started following your art and projects on Social Media- and began collecting some more pieces of your art – including a Creature of the Black Lagoon-tiki inspired piece, and we are proud owners of art booklets Anthony has produced… as well as T-shirts- that sport Amazing Anthony Carpenter Art as well!
I also share a recently requested a custom piece of art from Anthony- and we actually unveil it here on this episode! I’m excited to see it … and understand it includes one of my favorite childhood cartoons… Herculoids- transported to a Tiki Location- thanks to Anthony!
Featured Flower: Shampoo Ginger
- The scientific Name for Shampoo Ginger is Zingiber Zerumbet
- The plant is native to India, Malaysia, and Indonesia and widely cultivated in the Asian tropics.
- It is also known as Martinique Ginger, Pine Cone Ginger, Pine Cone Lily, and Bitter Ginger
- The common name Shampoo Ginger relates to the creamy liquid substance in the cones or bracts – which may be extracted by squeezing for use as a hair shampoo and/or hair conditioner.
- The fluid in the flowers and the rhizomes have a ginger spice fragrance
- The common name of pine cone ginger is in reference to the pinecone shape of the inflorescence.
- Both the leaves and the pine cone-like inflorescences arise from underground rhizomes.
- It has been transported over time to many tropical areas in the Pacific Ocean with subsequent naturalization.
- Polynesians brought this plant to Hawaii in canoes many years ago.
- Although native to tropical areas, this plant goes dormant in winter and accordingly is not evergreen.
- It is now cultivated worldwide for its culinary and medical uses.
- The inflorescence is green until flowering. The green cone or bract turns red over a couple of weeks and then small flowers appear on the cone.
- The inconspicuous, 3-petaled pale yellow or white flowers emerge from the lowest bracts first, when the flower is spent, it dries and falls away.
- After flowering, the bracts change color. The color change continues upward until the entire inflorescence is bright crimson.
Cocktail at Max’s South Seas with Anthony Carpenter
J & Anthony are treated to a cocktail created by one of Max’s bartenders… it’s a flower cocktail exploration.
Mixologist Austin Forshee creates a cocktail for Anthony and J that includes flowers- and has a special recipe- “Puka Punch”- is a favorite of many of Max’s visitors!
Watch the credits to see Austin make a Flaming Scorpion Bowl for J and Anthony!
Flowers From You- Viewer Feedback
Today I have 2 photos to share with you from viewer Claudia Dinwiddie who often sends me pictures of her creations which include flowers from her garden… and her garden is Magnificent- Claudia loves to share her Life in Bloom- at home, at the office- and with her friends- that’s just the Kind of Flower Friend She is…
THANK you Claudia for brightening our world with your Flower Creations!
I LOVE to see pictures of your flower arrangements inspired by
Life in Bloom – we call them “Schwankes” after a viewer’s nickname. Send them to email@example.com -and watch for more Schwankes on upcoming shows.
I hope you have found inspiration in today’s Great Exploration show and create your own escape, even if it’s just for an afternoon or even an hour or two. Taking the time for a break with flowers will help clear your mind and activate the imagination. For Life In Bloom, I’m J Schwanke.