Rhode Island flowerflingers

 Passing the GavelPassing the Gavel….It was my great pleasure to speak to the Rhode Island Federation of Garden Clubs at their Annual Meeting, this year in Cranston Rhode Island. The Meeting is an all day event, with Awards (many of the them monetary, lucky clubs!), a shopping opp, luncheon and the installation of new officers. Congratulations to you all!

Flowers BackstageWe organized my program on 5 pedestals, set on risers. When I arrived early in the morning, I set to work, creating most of each design and disguising it somewhat with the bright tissue paper. When I did this “paper distraction” at the Walters Art Museum, a visitor told me later that she initially was disappointed to see I was using paper instead of flowers!

 Copper Kiwi Vine and SnapsSusan DetjensDesign one: This vertical design uses copper painted kiwi vine with its wonderful undulating forms as its inspiration. It is completed with brilliant snapdragons with their coppery-orange color, pin-cushion Protea, Pieris (off-white clusters), Kangaroo Paws (Anigozanthos), and reddish-orange double Freesia. The same plant material is used at the back with another lower piece of kiwi. Thus the design can be seen in the round.

 Underwater under tissueUnderwater with anthuriumDesign Two: This design is centered in a wonderful large hurricane vase from Target (sadly gone). It features four ‘Rainbow’ Obake Anthurium. Two are set in a small pin-holder (kenzan) surrounded by dark stones, and two are placed in a mirror image inside and outside of the container with Oasis glue dashes. Pink aluminum wire is wound inside the container and spills out in another looped form echoing the anthurium forms. Inside, through the wire, are woven lily grasses.

Lasagne design in waiting Kiwi flowersSusan DetjensDesign Three: This style is what a flowerflinging follower recently called “Susan’s Lasagne”! Otherwise known as an Italian Layered Design. A rectangular ceramic container that mimics stone sets the horizontal proportion of the width of the lichen-covered sticks (one of my renewable resources) yellow mini Calla, Pin-cushion Protea, Leucadendron, and silver painted tree fungi (Hobby Lobby). In the top photo, on the right is a baggie of pussy willow buds which are used as the ‘mulch’ covering the Oasis inside the container. I love these kind of surprises when you peek inside the container.

blog Fed Pretty in pinkSusan DetjensDesign Four comes directly from the GCA Centennial Flower Designs (see “Blooming Birthday”, June 2013, Archive). The design is supported by a balsa wood tower 24”h x 6” square, nailing them together as well as using glue between them. All of these designs had to travel home with raffle winners, so they were well glued and taped. The base is a clear 12” Lomey dish and the tower was glue-dotted to the dish. Once the dish has water in it, the dashes will probably not continue to hold.  Yellow and white Callas, Leucadendron, green Dendrobium orchids and the last “Rainbow Obake were placed against the tower using pearl headed pins, aluminum wire or more Oasis Uglu dashes.  Water will be added at home.

Design in hidingFlowers readySusan DetjensDesign Five is in the paper-crafted container I made for Flora in Winter (see ““Flora for a Young Girl”, January 2014, Archives). An 8” plant saucer is placed on top and taped down. Into that is placed an 8” Oasis orb, with its bottom lopped off. The superabundance of flowers include Pink Quince (just about to open) and Ranunculus, “Creme de la Crème’ roses, rice flower (Pimelea spicata at the back), white Callas, pale green carnations, Eucalyptus, Euphorbia, and luxurious French tulips. I think we all had fun, I know I did – thanks Rhode Island!!


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Hort Couture Part Two

 Welcome to Hort CoutureWelcome to Palm Beach and Hort Couture Part Two. This stylish dress form and the stunning post of the show began the warm welcome to the Society of the Four Arts and the GC of Palm Beach’s 2015 Flower Show.

 Stylish ShopperInside stylish shoppers mingled with the show visitors – over 2400!! – strong. What a huge success for GCPB!

 Hanging OrchidsTwo rooms were dedicated to wonderful horticulture entries in classes of orchids, bromeliads, ferns, begonias and more.   Note the hanging orchid staging on the left.

 Bonsai ClassUnusually (at least to me) there was a class of Bonsai. I thought Bonsai, like Ikebana, was never judged. Don’t they look wonderful in the show?

 Horticulture GCA Beattie Medal winnerA magnificent and stately cypress bonsai won the GCA’s Catherine Beattie Medal plus a beautiful silver GCPB Trophy.

 GCA Rosie Jones AwardThis robustly booming Cattleya orchid won the GCA’s Rosie Jones Horticulture Award which honors exceptional visual appeal and celebrates “the joy of growing”.

Bonsai OleanderBest In Show was captured by this brightly blooming bonsai Apocynaceae adendium, which I hope I deciphered correctly from the card. Google directed me to Nerium oleander. By any name, pretty gorgeous!

 First and GCA Novice Award for Botanical ArtsBotanical Arts had special eye level cases to show off the entries in Botanical Couture. “Something to Hold On To” was a class for a handbag created entirely from all dried material. First and GCA Novice Award went to this purse called “Take me to the Ball”, created from Pitch Apple, Madagascar, Norfolk Island, Cataract and Coconut Palms, and Star Anise.

 Botanical Arts Handbag Second placeSecond place in “Something…” was this vibrant green handbag with the intent: “Something to Hold Onto? Green spaces and wild natives – precious treasures!”  

 Botanical Arts Best in Show Watch Your StepLucky GCPB designers can walk out and get coconut and petticoat palms. “Much Ado about a Shoe” was the delightful title for a class of shoes again made entirely from dried materials. “Watch Your Step!” won first place and Best in Show in Botanical Arts for this stylish textured shoe made from Royal, Travelers, Areca and Taraw palms, almonds, sea grape, jasmine and ficus.

Wicked BA Creativity AwardOnly two materials were used in the creation of “Wicked” winning it second place and the GCA Botanical Arts Creativity Award.

photo Ellen Wiley

photo Ellen Wiley

Shopping cart, Palm Beach style, and a labor of creative wonder delighted all the visitors. Notice the GCA logo on the hubcaps!


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Hort Couture

 Hort CoutureLast weekend the Garden Club of Palm Beach unveiled their 2015 GCA Flower Show, Hort Couture.   And what a sumptuous show it was! The chic ladies of Palm Beach have nothing on the fashion statements from the floral design classes.

 Seam Ripper First placeThis stunning design won the class called “Seam Ripper”. The pristine tropical flowers in a ‘sweet’ harmony of color and varietal names include: Sugar cane, Helaconia “Yanakawa Chocolate”, Anthurium “Chocolate”, Zingiber macrademium “Chocolate”.

 Seam Ripper Second placeSecond place in “Seam Ripper” went to this subtly colored design in a harmony of taupes and greens. The background plaque is layered with fringed linen.

 Patterns First & Novice Award Patterns Munger side viewPatterns”, a Novice Class, was won by this complexly stacked design of black ceramic cubes juxtaposed to created great depth. This design also won the GCA’s Sandra Baylor Novice and the Dorothy Vietor Munger Awards.

Patterns Second placeSecond place in this Novice class was captured by this imaginative design of Anthurium and pussy willow that created an interesting textural contrast.

Hort Couture First placeMannequins were supplied to designers for “a dress created from a botanical dream” in “Hort Couture”. Lavish ferns and roses swept from the shoulder to the train in the first place winner.

 Hort Couture Second placeThe second place winner used the architectural curls of birch bark to form this stylish dress, winning the Harriet deWaele Puckett Award.

 On Pins and Needles First place

photo by Ellen Wiley

photo by Ellen Wiley

The niche class was called “On Pins and Needles”, inspiring this outstanding design using a pincushion protea, sitting on a graduated tower of pin holders. Brilliant placement of this winning design just ahead of the light insured that the protea and the needle were perfectly backlit.

 On Pins and Needles Second placeSecond place went to another imaginative design that fully used the entire niche space with the curving bear grass ‘thread’ from the spool, also wrapped in bear grass. Orchid buds create the pin heads in the pin cushion.

 Pleated and Ruffled First placePleated and Ruffled” appealed to many GCPB designers, including the creator of this first place winner with its sophisticated use of texture and dramatic color scheme. Incidentally the same designer won “On Pins and Needles” – lots of talent here.

 Pleated and Ruffled Second PlaceMme Gres (1903-1993) was channeled by the second place winner with this striking contrasting design in black and white.

 Bespoke First and Best in ShowBespoke pedestal surfaceBest in Show laurels crowned this classically spectacular mass arrangement required of the class “Bespoke”.   A contemporary twist was hidden on the top of the pedestal on which drawings, a tape measure and other accouterments, fulfilled the class requirement of incorporating fashion accessories or tools of the trade.

 Hort Couture Flower ShowWith Worth Avenue only blocks away, who could resist the chance to shop?


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