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:
Here’s a gallery you can click through frame by frame:
This project can also work as a static piece by adding a legend that communicates flower name, weeks in bloom, and growth type.
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:
Dark and light prints, with and without the legend are available here.
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:
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.
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.