Category Archives: Flower Show

Dazzling Dahlias!

Dahlia or Dahlia hortensis is an amazing spiky flower grown in some areas as a perennial bush.  It belongs to the Compositae family.

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It has approximately 50,000 cultivations, the flower was named after the  18thcentury Swedish botanist Ander Dahl.

These amazing flowers were on display the first weekend of Fall at Longwood Gardens along with The Greater Philadelphia Dahlia Society. They hosted the American Dahlia Society’s 2018 National Show.  Over 2,000 blooms filled the Conservatory during this competitive show with the major dahlia species featured in the Exhibition Hall. These flowers range in size from 10 inch (dinner plate) across to 2 inches (pompon or some are labeled pompom)!  The trail garden at Longwood featured Dahlias specifically because of the show this year.

In this garden region Dahlia’s need to be removed and stored over the winter. This can be done after the first frost and when the foliage has blackened. Then carefully dig up your dahlia tubers and cut the stalk 2 inches away from the tuber.  Let the tuber dry out in a frost free area for a couple of days. Once the tubers are dry brush off excess soil and store in ventilated box, basket or heavy brown paper bag. Cover the tubers with slightly damp sand, peat moss or vermiculite and place in a cool dry place where temperatures are between 45 and 55 degrees.  Check on them periodically to make sure they are not rotting, have become a winter snack for a critter or have shriveled up.  If they do not look plump in appearance just mist them lightly with water.  The tubers are quite fragile at this stage so be careful handling them.  They can be replanted in the garden when temperatures warm up consistently later in the Spring.

It was fun to learn and experience the joy dahlias bring; the show made you want to plant a special area in your garden and share in the same delight of all the proud owners of these wonderful plants put on display.

See photos of the show below, enjoy and maybe you will be inspired to plant a dahlia next season or better yet visit a friend’s garden who already has them and help them dig up the tubers and prepare them for winter and maybe you will be sent home with a few tubers of your own!

Till next time, delve and delight in nature!

 

A Flower Show: Triumph and Transparency

For the first time in the history of the Delaware Federation of Garden Clubs; three clubs created, participated in and presented a flower show to one of its local communities in Northern Wilmington.  The Canterbury, Garden Gate, and Moonflower Garden Clubs gathered with grace to put on a small but mighty flower show that opened all of our hearts up to wonder of Beyond The Garden Gate.

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I had the pleasure of being the Photography Chair, submitted photos as a participant along with entering horticulture and was arm twisted into a creating my first design.  So since I am a woman of my word I did everything I was asked to do even the design which I knew was purely on the effort of “just try it”, I said to myself, you can’t back out, you can but that’s not you and I could hear Bill Baur in my ear saying just do it, just try.

 

Bill is such an advocate of all of us entering into any flower show presented to us including the Philadelphia Flower Show which yup gave me my first serious blue ribbon, so no matter what I now always give these sometimes torturous flower shows a try.

So let me share and be transparent with you all and maybe you will learn something from my experience; the photography chair job was great and easy you just have to be super organized and have a lot patience to label the photos and stage them just right when you have extremely enthusiastic entries that are in large volumes, LOL yup Ms. Kathe Worrell got a tad excited about this section of the show, God bless her heart and she did submit some beauties and won some awards as did myself. I even had our youngest son submit for the first time he learned a great deal and had fun. (He’s a classic teenager and is caught texting about the experience, so that confirms it was big deal indeed)

 

So photography was good: I also submitted horticulture and placed an award with my Limelight Hydrangea submission cut early that morning the day of the show.  I used to be hesitant in doing that but over came that fear when I won in our last show a blue ribbon for a Dogwood Tree on our property.

But now we come to speak on the design I was “arm twisted” into it was to be a creative mass or traditional design and I picked the Community Forestry titled section.  I figured we practically live in the woods this will be easy to do and yup I did something alright only to be boldly told that my creation was NOT a design but a planter.

I had to chuckle I might have even laughed when I saw the comments from the judges because when I was done creating my little masterpiece at home I said to myself hmm that’s a nice planter. Duh Tracy the universe confirmed that, when you were sooo satisfied with it, dusted my hands off and said “I’m done”, “It is what it is” and guess what; it clearly wasn’t what was expected of me.

However, I am so open to learning that I’m ok and plus I have thick skin due to a proper upbringing so those bold words from the judges would never bring me to my knees in defeat. This sassy lady just said ok if there is a next time and a BIG “IF” I’ll do a bit better.

And apparently if you add dirt to a design it’s not a design too funny and I wonder if that’s printed in that fancy flower design handbook if so; someone please show me the page number PLEASE.  Anyhoo, I know some of the master designers and novice ones there were probably appalled at my creation but we all know their opinions and definitely the opinions of those judges are always “Subjective” that was obvious when DCH (Delaware Center of Horticulture) our host came behind the judges and conducted their own judging and gave stellar awards to non-blue ribbon winners already judged.  Go figure THAT!

Well enough about my lessons learned in flower show entering; just see photos of the highlights of a quite lovely show and some happy winners. I tell you I was most proud of Suzanne Smith who placed second, up against some well known and talented exhibitors “Go Suzanne you Rock Girl” I was sooo happy for her it was fun to see her take that win!

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So please enter in the next flower show that you are invited to do so and please have fun, be open to learning and be ok with yourself if you don’t win a ribbon and very importantly if you do create a design don’t use dirt it will be considered a planter!

Just sayin… LOL

Enjoy the captured flower show photos and the smile of Barbara Boyce another exhibitor embracing the joy of winning!

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Please just go beyond your garden gate and get out there and just try, it’s always worth the experience!

Recycle, Reimagine & Reinvent

A small standard flower show created with a large dedication to excellence due to a combined and beautiful effort from Countryside and Moonflower Garden Clubs. Two sister clubs that really showed off what it means to recycle in style!

There were a plethora of blue ribbons given to both clubs in design, horticulture and a newbie to the scene photography. The show was held at Cokesbury Village a sassy retirement residence that graciously shares its space and welcomes the outside community to bring in the joys of life that they once embraced on a daily basis. We gave Cokesbury their very own entry for horticulture, open only to this special community. It was our pleasure to encourage them to participate in something they probably had more knowledge about then us, LOL. Its just pure respect for the wise and wonderful and it blessed our hearts to include them.

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There were three classes of design, recycle-photgraphy, reimagine- horticulture and reinvent-functional, small and creative designs. The functional table design blue winners were Patti McCarter and Barbara Boyce awesome job ladies.

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I just wanted to sit down and have Chinese take out at their table! Hiro gave his best in his entry and placed third while Marsha took a second for her creative design.

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In the small design an outside participant took the blue but our very on Phil Worrell proudly took the second he is quite elated with his win. Way to go Phil!!!

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In creative mass another outside participate took the blue for a very unique design utilizing small volume water bottles just lovely indeed!

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We even entered our challenge plants and as you can see most survived and one in particular bloomed fabulously! Congrats Joan Yulduzian on doing as you said “ Oh nothing, I did nothing” (yeah right, LOL)

 

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The photography class was such a hit there was a waiting list and it closed with the maximum of 27 entries.

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Many of us took a chance on being creative including myself by entering into classes we have never done before. It’s quite evident that being in a flower show is truly about surrendering to something new and taking a leap of faith, of course you may not walk away with a blue ribbon but you definitely earn a blue for effort!

There were also lessons on how the rule book is really interpreted even by the judges; most of us (the participants) were more by the book then they were. That was obvious with a winner that won by not following the rules a good lesson for all of us to let go and learn; and just being accepting to the powers that be. Another schooling on how judging is totally subjective.

So, a year worth of efforts led by our fearless leader Ann Perry and the commendable support and teaching of Dottie Howatt has finally come to an end, fulfilled with lots of enlightenment along the way. Many thanks to all the members of each club that put forth their time and talent and ultimately encouraging all that visited our show that recycling can be a beautiful thing!