Posters featuring the artwork shown below have been displayed around the Chester area to advertise the Chester Garden Club’s Annual Flower Show and Tea. The big day is July 29th and, because of the intense summer heat this year, gardeners are monitoring the development of their prize plants more carefully than usual in the hope of having the very best blooms and foliage available on the day.
The Flower Show competition is open to members and non-members alike and the organizing committee is encouraging everyone interested to be sure to get their entries in before the deadline of 10 AM on Thursday, July 29th. For details on preparing entries, click on the Flower Show Schedule link at the right-side of this blog.
At a recent meeting of the Club, Myra Knight, a winner of many awards in the design categories over the years and a qualified judge herself, gave a talk on the general principles to be observed in preparing exhibits for the show. She pointed out that judges are bound by the specifications laid down by the Club’s own committee (in the Flower Show Schedule) so that it is important to adhere to those specs. Myra also emphasized the importance of planning one’s entries well in advance – taking into consideration not only the flowers that will be available, but also choosing the appropriate containers, and preparing “collars” or other cushioning materials that will prevent exhibits from damage during transportation from one’s home to the show. One of her other hints was the fact that foliage can be cut days in advance and then kept in water to preserve its crispness (ferns, however, should be completely immersed until they are needed; they can then be laid on a newspaper to dry and inserted into the arrangement just before it is delivered to the receivers).
For some exhibits, the foliage may even be arranged in a container the day before the show, with the floral material being added early in the morning on the actual show date. All plant material should be cut in the early morning or in the evening to maintain its best quality, and stems should be cut at an angle. Another tip for newbies is the fact that any non-plant material (i.e. mechanical elements such as twine, oasis, or other florist’s aids) used to position the stems and blooms must be hidden from sight through the use of foliage or moss or other plant material.
Something that is often overlooked by new exhibitors is the fact that changing light conditions (moving plants from the outdoors to an indoor location where light may come from a different direction) can affect the positioning of some blooms and thus throw off the balance of a carefully arranged exhibit. Another of Myra’s tips was to change the water following conditioning and to give the plants (roses especially) a bit of sugar syrup to keep them robust.
The Flower Show and Tea is a pleasant tradition that the Garden Club has continued for many years. The colourful arrangements are an inspiration to all who attend and, of course, the more entries, the better. Have fun when preparing your entries, and remember that the basic elements of design apply when creating arrangements that will appeal to the judge, so make optimum use of space, balance, rhythm, unity, scale and, sometimes, you can even throw in an eye-catching accent.