Floral Preview of Spring

Amaryllis 'RosalieAs promised through the snows still happening as I write this from Philadelphia, this is Part II of “HANAMI” Preview of Spring, produced by Greenfingers GC in Greenwich CT, concentrating on some of the wonderful designs created for this GCA Major Flower Show.

 Moon Gate First and Swift AwardThe designers entered in “Moon Gate”, a design on a pedestal, created a real variety of interpretations of this ancient garden symbol. This ethereal design won the prestigious Carol Coffee Swift Medal and was cited for exemplary attention to detail.

Moon Gate manipulated callasIn this close-up, notice the innovative manipulation of the callas to evoke the crater surface of the moon. On the right side the detailed edging of the structure in lamb’s ears, adds yet another subtle texture to this sophisticated color scheme.

Moon Gate SecondThe designer of the Second place winner in “Moon Gate” also used wonderful texture to complement her bold design, cited for superior rhythm.

 Red Lacquer FirstRed Lacquer” was staged in a large niche, which is a challenging vertically proportioned space. First place went to this design that used a sensuous piece of red lacquer, I believe, fortuitously found at Home Goods.

 Red Lacquer SecondRed sticks, reminesent of chopsticks, cut a bold path against the curvaceous branches in this second prize design.

Red Lacquer Third placeThe third place design was cited for the flowing manner in which the steel grass, undulating from the ‘brush’, united the design components.  Don’t you love this richly colored design?

 NOH first place“Noh” is a sophisticated and highly stylized Japanese theatre genre.   Using bamboo and Phalenopsis orchids, this first place design was cited for its’ “dance of color and line”.

Waterfall Second place“Waterfall” was a class with particularly challenging pedestal (16” sq top and 18” backboard) and surrounding space. The design was allowed to drop within 10” of the floor. The pedestal was deep enough that to put a design on it and bring it to the front to flow over was a real challenge. The second place winner rose beautifully to those parameters. This talented designer created the roiling movement of a waterfall in an unexpected spiral form of silvery greens (Tillandsia, Jasminium and Phormium) carried out in several narrow containers, thus creating the mood of a waterfall with a brilliant use of the space provided.

 Waterfall FirstFirst prize in “Waterfall” and Best In Show went to this bold design created from one beautifully lacquered and colored branch (Manzanita? Forgot to look).

Parasol First place“Parasol” was the largest class space, in black frames 8’H x 36”W x 48” D set on the stage of the room. First place went to this eye-catching design with the bold green umbrella.

 Parasol Second placeDesigners creating this striking design inventively evoked Parasol using the ribbed textures of the palms, and combining them with richly colored banana flowers.

Parasol Honorable MentionBright green bamboo frames this hanging horizontal parasol created entirely from, and further decorated with, beautiful plant material in exquisite colors.

Susan DetjensAt the risk of running on too long, I learned two lessons with my third place design in “Parasol”.   Created from two open parasols, I also made a black structure of insulation, black foam core and midolino to repeat the form of the parasols and hold the flowers — orchids, calla lilies and variegated aspidistra in the completed design above.

 Parasol practice makes almost perfectLesson One: You cannot work too hard or too long on the ‘mechanical’ aspects of a complicated design structure. This one took many days and still wasn’t perfect. The quartet of photos above shows aspects of the making in various stages. From left top, the initial idea trial using circles cut from thin foam panels (that line shipments of flowers from Hawaii); the structure that Mr. Welder (thanks!!) made with a steel plate, threaded rods, nuts (many, many nuts) and cross bars – each truncated umbrella post zip-tied on the cross bars, the front one lower than the back; the detail of the insulation circles (pink stuff called Foamulare, easily cut into rigid rings about 1” thick) with a edge of black Foamcore on each side, the outer edge of each lined with midolino; the final structure from an angle, the white umbrella painted with a black shadow.  Not shown is between the umbrellas where a ring of cardboard reflects the same black and white ring pattern.  Only judged from the front.

Susan DetjensWe all know about being flexible, right? So when the 25 anthuriums arrived frozen before the show, I went on to order calla lilies and thought that variegated anthurium could mimic the white and green Obake anthurium. I substituted the leaves as I meant to place the anthurium. The lesson here was I never considered looking at the plant material anew for what it might do itself, rather than being a substitute.  That’s either being focused or being foolish!!  Here endeth the second lesson.

Cheers!!

About Susan

Susan Detjens is a former landscape painter, she lectures, demonstrates and runs workshops on floral design for museums, horticultural organizations and garden clubs across the US.
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