Month: July 2009

Colour, shape and space

Colour, shape and space

The basic elements of design used to create a harmonious garden setting are colour, shape and space. As guest speaker at a recent meeting of Chester Garden Club, Gena Rafuse, owner of Pumpkin Patch Farms, illustrated the optimum use of these components while discussing the attributes of various plants and garden accessories. She stressed the importance of balance in the use of these elements when planning the design, whether it be for a single garden bed or for a more extensive landscape. Gena’s qualifications include a diploma in landscape horticulture from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College as well as as extensive training and working in landscape design and maintenance in England and in several Nova Scotia communities. Gena is also proprietor of the Pumpkin Patch Farm Market in Chester.

Chair Raffle
As with most not-for-profit organizations, fund-raising is a necessary part of balancing Chester Garden Club’s income and expenses. Through the hard work of several members of the club, a raffle on an artist’s decorated lawn chair brought in some much-needed funds this summer. Artist (and club member) Sharon Boyd created the colourful design, and club member Mavis Quigley headed up the ticket sales. Mavis also trucked the chair around to a variety of venues in the Chester area during the last few months to give it visibility and stimulate sales. The draw was held at the close of the Flower Show and Tea on July 9th and the lucky winner was Barb Munroe, another club member.

Another winner

The lovely arrangement at the left was the winner of the annual Popular Choice vote at the recent Flower Show and Tea. The outcome of this vote is determined by counting the ballots deposited by all the viewers who attend the event. As stated in an earlier blog, the winner of the award this year was Joanne Jellett.

And the Winners Are…

And the Winners Are…

As a follow-up to the earlier blog showing some of the Annual Flower Show and Tea exhibits, we are pleased to post these additional photos taken by Sandy Dumaresq of Chester. The elegant figure on the right, ready to greet all comers, is the creation of club member Nancy Guest.

Inside the doorway, the visitors were greeted by volunteers selling tickets, and handing out ballots to use in voting for the popular choice award. Madge Cook, Jane Wilkins and Joan Cleather shared those duties.

The room was closed to all but the judges and recording clerks, while they moved from table to table in thoughtful consideration of the many entries.

Following their busy morning, the judges and volunteer recording clerks had a quiet moment to compare notes over lunch. From the left: Sheila Knowlton-McRury (clerk), Tracy Martin of Falmouth(judge), Carolyn Downie of Halifax (judge), and Myra Knight (clerk).

Diana Hilchie displays the Ruby Pulsiver Award, a plaque given for the best entry in the indoor container plant class. Looking on is Brenda Garland, president of Chester Garden Club, who made all the presentations.

Brenda Garland presents Sidney Spahr with the Dena Hennigar Memorial Trophy for the best arrangement of wildflowers. Sidney also won the Dudley Lees Trophy for “best in show.”

Brenda Garland presents Myra Knight with the F.C. Winfrey Memorial Trophy, awarded for the best entry in the horticulture specimen class.

Janet Piers and Brenda Garland congratulate Jocelyn Cameron, winner of the trophy named in honour of Mrs. Piers.

The Flower Show and Tea is an annual event organized and run by members of Chester Garden Club. It provides members and non-members alike the opportunity to try their hand at specific types of floral design and draws a large number of visitors who come to admire the creative presentations and enjoy a tasty tea. The competition includes nine distinct classes of exhibits, running from individual specimens of plants to elaborate arrangements and compositions, and has separate categories for children and novice exhibitors. The club also awards a trophy for the best “outdoor business-front floral display” in the area. This year, that award went to Fiasco, of Chester.


Flower Show Exhibits

Flower Show Exhibits

On a lovely sunny day (July 9th) Chester Garden Club welcomed about 100 visitors to its annual Flower Show and Tea at the Chester Legion. An enticing array of bird houses perched on a gaily decorated step-ladder was placed at the outside the building to indicate the entrance to the hall.

Inside, visitors were struck by the tranquil beauty of the large airy room with its many tables covered in floral arrangements. Many favourable comments were heard about the varied creations entered in the ten design categories, each of which had been named for a local heritage landmark or institution in honour of Chester’s 250th birthday. Individual floral specimens were also popular with visitors and judges.

A total of 61 entries were received in the design class and another 56 in the horticultural specimen class. Qualified judges perused the entries and made their decisions regarding first, second and third places in both the design and horticultural sectors. A list of those winners in all the various classes will be available at the next Chester Garden Club meeting, to be held on July 20th at St. Stephen’s Parish Community Centre.

During the afternoon, all visitors were given a ballot to use in voting for their favourite creation in the design class. After all ballots were counted, Joanne Jellett, a seasoned veteran of flower show competitions along our shores, was declared the winner of that popular choice award.

Despite the cool damp weather, the show provided evidence that gardeners can always find plant material to use in creating their entries in the design categories. Club members and summer visitors from outside the province contributed to the success of the show by entering their competitions in the design category and also as horticultural specimens. A number of Club members also volunteered for kitchen duty and as servers of afternoon tea. This year’s tea featured dainty sandwiches and a choice of two old-fashioned deserts made from recipes taken from a “heritage” cookbook. The tea was much appreciated by the visitors, most of whom were from the Chester area but many of whom came from farther afield, including parts of HRM – Bedford, Halifax and Sackville, and Ontario and the USA.

The Quarterdeck category elicited a number of interesting compositions related to boats and the sea. Tea at the Hackmatack, a traditional inn that offered daily teas in the grand old days, was remembered in a category that called for a miniature arrangement in a teacup.

Roses were among the most popular choice of blooms used in creating arrangements and compositions. Wildflowers, foxgloves and delphiniums proved popular too.


Foggy, Foggy Dew

Foggy, Foggy Dew

As the deadline grows near, many gardeners are busy planning their entries for the garden Club’s annual Flower Show on July 9th. Those groans emanating from many gardens this week are the sighs of dismay made by gardeners who have just discovered that the perfect bud they were counting on has opened too early. For others it’s the pesky slugs who’ve spoiled the pristine foliage, or the saucy chipmunk who (for the second year in a row!) has completely demolished the carefully cosseted Asiatic lilies. Whatever the cause, dreams of a prize-winning bloom are dashed.

And now, in what appears to be one of the wettest summers in years, gardeners are surveying their soggy gardens and wondering how they will manage to find any blossoms unscathed.

But, experienced gardeners are a philosophical lot, and they usually recover and move on. There are still many flowering shrubs and vines in bloom and, as Pollyanna might put it, “At least, this year we have an abundance of foliage to work with.”

So, take heart, dear gardeners. Remember that you might impress even the sternest judge by incorporating unopened buds, grasses and seed heads in your compositions. Your garden is full of growing things, even if they are not the plants you hoped for. Check the specific parameters for each class of design and for plant specimens, as outlined in the Flower Show Schedule found in the link on the side of this column. Please note that entries must be brought to the Chester Legion either on the evening before the show (Wednesday, between 7 and 8 pm; or Thursday, between 8 and10 am). Don’t miss out on the fun. Take the challenge!

Whatever your opinion of the weather, the rain has certainly caused a surge of greenery throughout the village. Witness the attack of the killer hydrangea (above).