A week ago, Jade-Eastern Obsessions, the 2013 Newport Flower Show, filled the stately halls and rich lawns of Rosecliff. This annual show is produced by and benefits the Preservation Society of Newport County.
Rosecliff was designed by Stanford White of McKim, Mead and White in 1899 for mining heiress Theresa Fair Oelrichs. The mansion’s forty by eighty foot ballroom becomes the elegant setting for most of the floral design classes.
This stunning design was the winner in Class One “Kimono”. Exhibitors were given a photo of a different kimono to interpret. The modern components and the striking plant material worked well together.
The blue ribbon went to this handsome mass design in the class called “Export”. The Preservation Society has a large collection of Chinese Export Porcelain. Images of pieces from the collection were given to the designers for inspiration.
The Year of the “Snake” is celebrated in the undulations of this winning design created with an interesting variety of tropical plant material. Orchids, ginger and anthuriums create a luscious color harmony contrasting with the protea foliage.
One of my favorite classes “Wilsonianae” honored E. H.“Chinese” Wilson, a English plant collector who brought back many of our now-favorite garden plants to the Arnold Arboretum. This class required a mono-botanic design, that consists of three or more parts of a plant (roots, stems, foliage, flowers, fruits etc) of one family or genus are used in the design. Among Wilson’s most famous introductions is the “Regale” lily. The designers used stems, bulbs, foliage and flowers from white lilies to emulate Wilson’s find.
Four judges were invited to participate in “Zen” a design staged in front of white rice paper panels. This was a most elegant challenge class. Components of bamboo, phalenopsis orchids, white spider mums, monsterra and aspidistra leaves were provided along with a large good-looking boat-shaped container. This serene design is the blue ribbon winner evoking a Zen moment for sure.
Small lighted niches were the setting for the entries in the class called “Sushi”. Within a circular mat, a grid of bamboo was suspended with two square details of intricately placed floral material, wrapped in leaves and linked with strands of grass. A charming, witty design beautifully crafted scored the blue ribbon.
This elegant lyrical design garnered first place in “Kabuki” and went on to win the GCA Award of Distinction and Best In Show. Subtle ombre painting on the twisting material that appears to hover over the shiny acrylic captivated the judges.
Each year the Newport Show gets better and better. This theme reached new heights. Next year JOURNEY, a homage to the great rail trips that brought visitors to Newport. Congratulations to all the committee for a super show and to all the exhibitors!