Month: July 2012

Flower Show: part 1 – setting up

Flower Show: part 1 – setting up

In keeping with the theme “Music is in the air”,  Chester gardeners  recently created a splendid assortment of floral arrangements  that were the highlight of the Chester Garden Club’s annual Flower Show and Tea.  As convener of the event, Cynthia had  combined her organizational skills with good old-fashioned enthusiasm to encourage exhibitors to tune in, and turn out… their best artistic designs inspired by a musical motif. Members and friends of the club  produced over  70 interpretive designs and an equal number of horticultural specimens for assessment by two qualified judges. 
The first exhibitors arrived at 8:00 in the morning and soon the receiving table was busy with people re-checking the status of their plants, re-building the more elaborate designs, and filling out plant classification forms.  Committee members, Brenda and Jocelyn, helped to place the entries on the viewing tables,  according to the particular sections and classes of competition.  

An admirer of Beethoven was seen creating a “picnic with the maestro” arrangement. 

At 10:00 o’clock, the doors were closed and no further entries were allowed, much to the chagrin of three competitors who arrived late with a large number of specimens and arrangements. The two visiting judges, Carolyn Downie and Karen Deveau, along with the appointed clerks, worked in privacy during the next two hours.

Once they completed their task, they relaxed with a cup of tea and a light lunch…

… while  the volunteer cooks and servers prepared to open the doors for the arrival of  the public. 

Kitchen staff and servers were kept busy as 120 teas were served that afternoon; an additional 25 people dropped in just to see the show. 

Club organizers did one last check to see that everything was in order in the hall before opening the show. 

Among the teams of volunteers who helped to make the afternoon a success are those shown below. Herb was the master of iced tea; Lynn and Madge did door duty; and Joan was in charge of selling club note-cards and other related material as well as acting as “guardian” of the enormous Sweet Pea trophy.  Jane, a life member of the club, was chosen to preside over tea-table for the first hour, and she poured tea for honored guests.



 Marion and Heather escort Life-member Janet as she admires one of the classes that stipulated a hat must be incorporated into the arrangement. Although unaccustomed to the habit, most of the club members also wore hats in celebration of the occasion.    

The judges awarded prizes for winners in the 12 classes of interpretive design and also for many specimens in the horticulture section.  Indoor plants and a children’s section complemented the roster.  In addition to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place ribbons, a total of 11 trophies were awarded as well. More photos of the event, with an emphasis on the floral displays and winning entries, will be included in the next post here.

Thanks to Graham and Cynthia for supplementing the photos recorded by your blogger.
Flower Show Workshop

Flower Show Workshop

With only 10 days to go before the big event, members of Chester Garden Club gathered in a member’s garden for a hands-on workshop on the finer points of preparing materials for exhibition at the club’s Annual Flower Show and Tea.


As is usual for most club events, the evening began with  refreshments, but it wasn’t long before the group, led by instructor, Myra, began to move to the actual flower beds.

Despite a lack of rain in recent weeks, a bed of delphiniums was part of the colourful display.

It seems that gardeners are never at a loss for words.
Cynthia, as chair of the Show and Tea, no doubt needed to sample one more tasty square in the line of duty.

Baby marigolds are tucked under a clump of very tall lilies, while garlands of roses climb all over the railing of the deck. 

For those interested in more information about the Flower Show itself, an updated schedule is posted on the page devoted to the Show and Tea (see menu above). A late addition to the awards available this year is the McNeill Trophy for Novice Best in Show.


The origins of this cup are a bit of a mystery but it was rescued at an antique auction, repaired and polished up, and then donated by club member, Sylvia McNeill, who has been an enthusiastic volunteer and supporter of the club for many years, as well as an encouraging mentor to other less-experienced gardeners.

Strawberry Tea: a local tradition

Strawberry Tea: a local tradition

Continuing a pleasant summer tradition, our neighbouring garden club (Basin Gardeners) held a successful afternoon garden tour combined with a strawberry tea in early July. Ticket holders were invited to visit four private gardens  and then to enjoy a delicious strawberry shortcake and cup of tea, under sunny skies on one of the  properties.  Visitors saw a variety of landscapes, including perennial borders, shrubbery beds and vegetable gardens.

With the temperature hovering around 27 ° C, the shady canopies that had been erected over the tea tables were much appreciated by all garden visitors.

Despite the heat and lack of rain in recent days, several gardens had a good display of roses such as Navy lady and the New Dawn roses below, and the American Pillar roses climbing on the trellis. 
Rosa Navy lady
Rose New Dawn

American pillar rose

An informal approach to the touring and the tea made for a relaxing afternoon and a chance to catch up on the news with friends.

ASweet William and Heuchera Palace PurpleAlthough the roses were a special attraction,  more modest flowers such as Sweet William and Heuchera Purple Palace were also on display. As for the participants, a strong sun and high temperature brought out a variety of hats.

[Thanks to Myra and Sylvia for all the photos]
Chester Gardens after the rain

Chester Gardens after the rain

The charms of Chester village include colourful gardens bordered by white picket fences and plentiful use of stones to create walls, walks and steps (stones and boulders being among our best crops!).  

roses by picket fence

Summer has its own share of flowering trees as seen in the photo below; a number of pink dogwood trees are in bloom this week.

pink dogwood

Despite a recent summer storm that brought torrential rain, hail and high winds, little damage was observed in local gardens apart from the loss of heavy blooms on roses, peonies and poppies.   The Asiatic lily “Elodie” (below) opened several days after the storm and received only a gentle shower.

Asiatic lily

Borders composed mainly of evergreens, and shrubs like the Japanese willow below, survived the storm with no damage.

Evergreens and Japanese willow
Even delphiuims, in sheltered spots and well-secured with stakes, managed to resist the onslaught, along with the astilbes, Asiatic lilies and others in this perennial border. 

A curved brick pathway creates a tidy edge to demarcate this floral border (with pink again as  the predominant colour). 

As a follow-up to our last post (June 29) showing the weed-strewn path in the village’s Parade Square garden, we are pleased to include a shot of phase one in its rehabilitation. This photo is taken from the same angle as the earlier post.

slate path

Slate stepping-stones are now in place and not a weed is to be seen in the path.  Pruning and weeding the rest of the garden is scheduled for another day.  For those wondering about the intriguing metal “sculpture”, it is an armillary sphere that was presented to the Garden Club years ago as a gift from two members who were summer visitors.  Its rings of concentric circles indicate the relative position of the celestial spheres.

armillary sphere

To round out this post, we are including a view of a section of Chester’s waterfront, as seen from the Parade Square looking west on one of the recent “cloudy with showers” days. 

  Chester waterfront