Month: July 2010

Flower Show and Tea – preparations

Flower Show and Tea – preparations

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.

Bloom Day North in July

Bloom Day North in July

This month’s entries for Bloom Day North have been delayed because of summer activities that took your blogger our of province. Meanwhile, Sandy Dumaresq has sent along a few photos taken in her own garden on July 15. The flowering dogwood below is one of many shrubs that Sandy has been cosseting for several years.

Jack-in-the-pulpit (a member of the Arisaema family) is a favourite for a woodland setting.

Sandy identified the plant in the photo below as a Telekia Speciosa, a perennial with large daisy-like yellow flowers and heart-shaped leaves at its base.

And now, a brief look at the gardens at Les Quatres Vents, near La Malbaie, in Charlevois County, Quebec. It was a visit to these spectacular gardens that took your blogger away for a short holiday and precluded the posting of photos of local blooms on the actual Bloom Day this month.
The extensive gardens were started in the 1930s and have been developed further over the years. Those located near the main house are arranged in a series of “rooms” that feature a wide variety of perennials and lovely allées formed by meticulously trimmed cedar hedges. Woodland garden paths, water features, and surprise architectural elements add to the charm of the property, which covers acres and acres of field and woodland.

The burgundy poppy above was one of many flowering plants growing in a “cutting garden” that shared space with a large vegetable garden. The photo below shows a path through one of the lush perennial gardens with its towering blue delphiniums.

Sheep and cattle graze in the surrounding fields, and the gardens near the house incorporate that landscape, as part of the overall plan, through vistas designed to bring the fields and distant mountains into view.

July’s Gardens in Full Bloom

July’s Gardens in Full Bloom

Chester’s summer weather continues to bring
pleasure to gardeners, golfers, and sailors alike.
In fact, the season appears to be advancing so
rapidly that some gardeners want to put the
brakes on, to ensure that their favourite flowers
will still be available when the Club holds its
annual Flower Show and Tea, scheduled
for July 29th. The schedule with details for
submitting arrangements and horticultural
specimens is posted in a link on the side-bar
of this blog.

Although some plants may be harder to come by in a couple of weeks, there are always some varieties of rose in bloom throughout the season. The climbers below are set off by a cloud of pinks that crowd around an old stone well in a Chester garden.

To help club members get their creative juices flowing, the next meeting – July 19th – will focus on the inside tips that experienced exhibitors use in creating their winning compositions and arrangements. The speaker will be Myra Knight, a member of both the Chester Garden Club and Basin Gardeners and a winner of many floral competitions over the years. It will be a “must” for most members of the club.

The rambling rose above is seen in close-up because a long shot of the entire plant, with its extensive rambling along a fence in the Chester area, would have to be taken from so far away that you wouldn’t see the blossoms! And as a further nudge to your creative side, the photo below is a nod to the traditional English garden, a mix of spring bloomers including poppies, irises, lupin, goat’s beard and, in the background, rosa rugosas.