Six boats and a flower show


New London HarborOne of the great drives in the US, and a delightful route to a flower show, is from New London CT to East Hampton NY. Take the Cross Sound Ferry out of New London CT (reserve ahead) for Orient Point on the North Fork of Long Island.

 Out of the Maw of the FerryIt is a delightful hour and a half sail over to Long Island. Many Long Island gamblers use the ferry for a quick route to the casinso at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. Out of the maw of the ferry at Orient Point.

Alongside salt marshesAfter landing, it is ten minutes past salt marshes, dotted with cormorant nesting boxes and glimpses of small villages. Greenport, NY, a former whaling town, boasts a sweet 1920’s carousel still in working order.   Here also is the last station of the Long Island Railroad is the North Fork Ferry Co where a tiny ferry carries cars and people over to Shelter Island. Shelter Island is the un-Hampton, still very verdant and rural. It sits in a bay between the two forks of Long Island and is only accessible by water.  All of this part of Long Island has a real New England look and feel.

Leaving Shelter Island South FerryThe ferries on-and-off Shelter Island are small and open. No sooner do you push off than you are almost at the other shore. Both rides are less than ten minutes. Traveling across Shelter Island, I always long for more time to explore off of R114 – each turning is inviting.   Above are the piers of the South Fork Ferry as the ferry leaves for Sag Harbor.

 Main Street, Sag HarborMain Street in Sag Harbor still has many older buildings lending it a lot of colonial charm. This photo belies the bustling activity in summer.  I just waited between cars but didn’t realize there were no people either!!  To the left is the quintessential American Hotel, dating from 1846, when Sag Harbor was a center of the whaling industry.

Round Swamp FarmstandFrom Sag Harbor to East Hampton is 7 miles, on R114, a lovely rural road which lands right by the East Hampton town green with its famous pond and cemetery, surely one of the most beautiful in America. Round Swamp Farm on Three Harbor Road sells beautiful produce and really yummy baked goods.

Flowers at Round Swamp FarmTheir cheery mixed bouquets are inviting too!!

 Flower Show ScheduleHas there ever been a nicer way to get to a flower show? The GC of East Hampton is celebrating their Centennial this year. “Its about Time –“, their flower show was held in the grounds of historic Mulford Farm, with the floral design and botanical arts divisions in a large tent and the handsome old barn displaying horticulture, photography and conservation.

 Iconic East Hampton WindmillWalking to the flower show, lo and behold one of the several iconic East Hampton historic windmills. What is conservation minded now, was necessity in the late 1600’s.

East Hampton GardenA garden blooms at bucolic Mulford Farm.

BIS and Puckett AwardThe many members of the artist colony that flourished in East Hampton were the inspiration for “Timeless, a design inspired by an abstract artist who lived in East Hampton”. This design of kiwi vines, some painted, some not, and croton leaves handsomely evokes the exciting energy of abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock. This won Best in Show and the prestigious GCA Harriet deWaele Puckett Creativity Award.

 Local Time First place Novice ClassThe winner of the Novice class, “Local Time, a design using predominantly native plant material”, incorporated the bright red-orange of Crocosmia and the warmer softer orange of Asclepias to fashion her first prize winning design.

Sweet Creams first place“Sweet Dreams”, the miniature designs (not more than 5” in any dimension) were set in 8” square lighted niches. This designed used a lovely subtle background of falling stars to complement the gray painted niche. This won first prize and the GCEH Helen Hurley Spencer Prize for an outstanding novice.

Summer Daze First placeThe judges commended all the exhibitors in “Summer Daze” a design featuring dahlias” for their creativity in working with a beautiful but challenging dahlias. This first place winner used a dramatic green and orange color scheme. The globe-like structure on the top is crafted from midollino sticks. To the left and right are two other entries in the class of six.

Summer Daze Helen Hurley AwardThis design in the same class won the GCEH Grow to Show Award for an outstanding design using all fresh plant material grown by the designer.

Trinket BA classIn Botanical Arts, this handsome entry won first place and Best in Show in “Trinket Box, an embellished round wood trinket box with a removable top.

Trinket BA classThis is an embellishment class where the whole object may or may not be covered with dried plant material. The materials used in their natural state are on the key card on the right.

Trinket BA Second placeSecond place in Trinket Box went to this whimsical beauty, which used a billy ball (Craspedia) as a finial along with mustard seed ‘beads’.

 Ferries and homeCruising home again….as I say surely one of the most unique routes to a flower show!! Thank you GCEH for inviting us into your homes and to be a part of your celebration. A toast to the next 100 years!!


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Mixing it up

Susan DetjensIn the first summer of flowerflinging when it was on blogspot, I created a post called Mixed Bouquets, Mixed Results.” The post focused on the challenge of creating a lovely design from the somewhat haphazardly chosen mixed flower bouquets that are so popular at the supermarket.

Mixed flower bouquetsSummertime allows us to find and pick many varieties of blooming flowers in gardens, hedgerows, and fields. Here are two bouquets, assembled with more a than average eye as to scale and color by a local florist, choosing from mostly commercial sources. However, many of the flowers are also growing locally now.

Two bouquets and a vaseThis striking bowl was purchased at Target a number of years ago. The two bunches are slightly different and have about ten stems each.

Stems from a bouquetWhen a bunch is dissected, that is when the dissatisfaction creeps in. One each of so many things: one yellow spray rose, one red Hypericum, one butterfly weed (Asclepias), one Gerbera, one Tanacetum. Plus three Ageratum, three yarrow, two dill flowers (far right bottom), two snow-in-summer (far left, bottom).

Hypericums large and smallThe addition of the second bouquet brings us up to 5 yarrow, 2 sunflowers, plus more single flowers, Ammi majus, Phlox, 3 safflower. Notice the two sizes of Hypericum. In the flower trade, Hypericum is sold in its seed form. The small capsule on the left is a warm fleshy color, the other, larger, is red.

First flowers only orangeI began this informal mass arrangement by using the largest orange flowers (lily, Gerbera, butterfly weed and safflower) as though they were all the same flower, radiating out from the center of the pinholder.

Next come the yellowsNext I added the yellow spray rose, the Tancetum, yellow yarrow and the Hypericum, which I cut into three parts: first the top of the spray which you can see in the design, then the side branches and finally the branches on the newspaper were cut apart and inserted.

Add  sunflowers and more foliageSince sunflowers will always be focal points, I put them up high and slightly apart to allow them to say “look at me”, which they always do. Snow-in-summer received the same dissecting and made a number of foliage pieces for the base.

 Shadowing by Dill flowersFinally, I put in the lacy dill flowers higher and almost shadowing the design.

Leftover flowersThese are the flowers that didn’t make the cut. If there had been more of them, I would have used them for the punch their color contrast gives. But one magenta phlox quickly becomes an eyesore.  In this quirky vase, it is allowed to be the star of the show.


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Flying high…

Berkshire Botanical Garden dayliliesThe Berkshire Botanical Garden was founded in 1936 (as the Berkshire Garden Center) by the Lenox Garden Club. Located on 15 acres in Stockbridge MA, it comes into its own during the late Spring and Summer months.

BBG metal flagsA delightful show called “Windswept: The Garden celebrates the beauty of wind” has flown into the Garden for this summer. Curated by the architecture and design shop called R T Facts, Kent CT, the show features sculptural pieces from their collections like the antique metal flags shown in front of the center house, the garden’s first structure.

Pond R T FactsParts of antique weathervanes populate the pond. If you look closely you can see a heron, a fish and an eagle, all from R T Facts.

 Pond and heronThis close-up of the heron shows its colorful patina.

Yellow ZingerMany larger pieces are by nationally known artists like Tim Prentice of Cornwall CT. This kinetic sculpture is called Yellow Zinger and it snakes a long distance down the shaded pathway.

Yellow Zinger in the treesLooking up into the trees, it brightens the path like a demented lightning bolt.

 Yellow Zinger detailA close-up shows the complicated wire construction and the individual yellow patches that move and sway with the wind.

Garden SequinsStanding like purple sentinels in a large patch of Gunnera, Garden Sequins by Richard Griggs acts like super skinny scarecrows made out of vertical geometric forms of the purple posts contrasted with the ornamentation of reflecting and moving discs of CDs.

Garden Sequins detailA close-up shows the construction of the ‘sequins’.

Memorialized in WhiteSeen from a distance, Suzanne Heilmann’s Memorialized in White captures the long-lost summer innocence of clothes drying in the sunshine.

 Memorialized in White closeupOn closer inspection, the row of mostly children’s clothing, permanently immortalized takes on a more chilling aspect. The fact that the actual clothes, either cast or dunked repeatedly in plaster, are very heavy and do not billow and flow in the wind contributes to this somber effect.

White plaster dressAt the Visitor’s Center, a child’s dress is framed and exhibited in its ruffled splendor, a peek at things to come.

 BBG GardenA visit to the Garden in any season is a treat!


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