The Founders Grove, next to Route 108 in Centennial Park, features the original 20 and most mature of the Blossoms of Hope trees. Blossoms of Hope plans to have planted 3,700 blossoming trees by the end of 2024. (Pam Long Photography photo)

Blossoms of Hope is bringing more trees — and more compassionate acts of giving — to Howard County in 2024.  

The year will be one of preparation for a countywide art show in March 2025 — the 20th anniversary year of Blossoms of Hope — that will draw together the arts community in an unprecedented way.

“It is exciting that the entire art community has come together for this special project,” said Becky Mangus, co-chair of the Blossoms Countywide Art Show program. “The Plein Air to Prepare, in addition to giving artists a chance to exhibit this year, also gives them an opportunity to see the trees and prepare art for the countywide show next year where all mediums featuring pink and white blossom art will be displayed in all Howard County art galleries, various senior centers, Savage Mill mall, Recreation and Parks facilities, the Welcome Center, and Howard Community College, to name a few, during March 2025.”

The countywide art show is unprecedented for Blossoms of Hope, and is “a huge endeavor, but Howard County’s supportive and connected arts community is sure to make it a big success,” said Mary Baxter, deputy director of the Howard County Arts Council. “It’s an honor to be asked to collaborate on this special event celebrating Blossoms of Hope’s 20th anniversary.”

Baxter described the event as a “community affair” and invited all to participate. 

“Artists who are unsure about applying are encouraged to reach out to any of the participating local arts organizations for help navigating the process,” she said. “Our hope is for visual artists of all ages and skill levels to contribute to the celebration.”

Coming up soon, Blossoms of Hope is holding a “Plein Air to Prepare” from April 12 to May 12, 2024. “Plein air,” which means “painting outdoors,” gives artists the opportunity to capture, in many creative ways, the beauty of Howard County’s pink and white cherry, redbud and dogwood trees. 

Maryland artists are invited to participate in this Howard County-wide event. They will have access to a map of Blossom’s 54 tree groves — and as well as special speakers and demonstrations that will be featured as part of “Plein Air to Prepare.” 

An exhibit of the work will be offered at Howard County Welcome Center from May 18 — June 2, with a reception on May 22. All renditions of the blooms — from realistic to abstract — are welcome. 

An expanding reach

Over the years since its incorporation in 2005 as part of Howard County’s Office of Tourism — when the trees were planted to beautify the county and funds were raised to benefit the Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center — Blossoms of Hope has become a separate 501(c) (3), and has expanded its outreach to meet many types of needs in the local community, including raising money for Ellicott City flood survivors and even helping Santa and his elves visit local children. 

This year’s fundraising kickoff for Blossoms of Hope—March 18 at the 18th & 21st restaurant — will launch a new program, Seeds of Hope, which will address the pressing challenges surrounding mental health and wellness especially as it pertains to youth in the county. 

“Blossoms of Hope serves a large audience,” said Vera Simmons, Blossoms of Hope’s executive director. “We beautify the county with currently more than 2,900 pink and white cherry, redbud and dogwood trees. We also support the community and have donated more than $750,000 to organizations such as the Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center, Zaching Against Cancer, Gilchrist Hospice, to name a few. In addition, we engage in the community with our many events and special programs such as The Santa Project and Seeds of Hope.”

Blossoms of Hope plans in 2024

Here’s what Blossoms of Hope has in the works for beautifying Howard County and for its events:

Even more flowering trees. By the year 2025, Blossoms of Hope will have planted 3,700 flowering trees — the same number as the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. With 2,900 trees currently, 2024 will be a big planting year!

Turf Valley Resort’s Pretty in Pink Champagne Luncheon, April 12. The traditionally sold-out event offers unlimited Champagne, a served luncheon, more than 50 vendors and a fashion show featuring cancer survivor models and health care heroes. 

Pink Greens Golf Tournament, May 9. This 18-hole golf tournament, lunch, and dinner also features an auction and other activities.

Power of the Purse (v 2.1), July. A lottery will give away designer purses including Kate Spade, Louis Vutton, Michael Kors and more with additional prizes inside. 

Beer, Bourbon and Bags, September 26. Fondly known as “BBB,” this event incorporates the hot trend of beer and bourbon tasting with shopping for gently used handbags.