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BLOOM

RJ-Andrews_Bloom-Animation_1242_25

About the design
Bloom visualizes the life of all 212 flowers in Jefferson’s Monticello garden across the year. In the animated GIF, flowers appear when they first start blooming and leave the piece when they finally die. The animation has 26 frames, each representing two weeks. Each flower is placed radially around the year according to what week it first blossoms and for how long it blooms (longer living flowers are closer to the center). A small bar graph provides an easier comparison between total number of new blooms in each frame.

Data are from the In Bloom at Monticello page of Monticello. All biennials are included in this single year snapshot (they take two years to complete their biological cycle) and the most recent information available was used for flowers that did not have 2014 data.

Each of the 212 flowers is an original vector illustration. Here’s a close-up of some of my favorites:

Bloom detail-01

Here’s a gallery you can click through frame by frame:

January 15 – 28
Jan 29 – Feb 11
February 12 – 25
Feb 26 – Mar 11
March 12 – 25
Mar 26 – Apr 8
April 9-22
Apr 23 – May 6
May 7 – 20
May 21 – June 3
June 4 – 17
June 18 – July 1
July 2 – 15
July 16 – 29
Jul 30 – Aug 12
August 13 – 26
Aug 27 – Sep 9
September 10 – 24
Sep 24 – Oct 7
October 8 – 21
Oct 22 – Nov 4
November 5-18
Nov 19 – Dec 2
December 3-16
December 17-31

This project can also work as a static piece by adding a legend that communicates flower name, weeks in bloom, and growth type.

BLOOM Poster Dark

Examining the growth type closer by recoloring the plotted flowers, you can see the early spring blossoming of the trees, the bulbs at the beginning and end of the year, and the gentle rise of the annuals:

Bloom growth type

Dark and light prints, with and without the legend are available here.

BLOOM Poster Light SquareMotivation & Inspiration
I really wanted to see the life of a garden across a year in a way that a real garden visually knocks me over with its colorful beauty and variety.

Externally, I have been itching to do a GIF animation ever since I first saw Eleanor Lutz’s spellbinding work at Tabletop Whale. Additionally, I have one of Pop Chart Lab’s flower collages. The intersection of these two convinced me originally that a blooming flower project might be feasible. However my original idea, to have each flower actually bloom, was perhaps a little too ambitious. Here’s a draft GIF of a single daffodil blooming, the first flower illustration I did:

daffodil-test

Internally, a summer 2013 trip to Monticello has continued to inspire (a year ago I made a reproduction of Jefferson’s famous revolving bookstand – you can see a clip of it here). After contacting several botanical gardens, I was thrilled that Monticello directed me to their rich data set. Finally, my wife always calls my attention to beautiful flowers wherever we go. She knows flora like a five-year-old knows dinosaurs- I would miss so much without her.

BLOOM Title-01


Info We Trust is a data adventure exploring how to better humanize information. To learn more read the opening post here. The creator, RJ Andrews, is an engineer and proud Northeastern University and MIT graduate. Please reach out through facebook, twitter @infowetrust, or the contact page. Prints are available here.

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