The Hippo


Jul 23, 2019








One of the displays created by a member of the New Hampshire Federation of Garden Clubs. Courtesy photo.

“Out of this World,” a Standard Flower Show

When: Friday, June 20, from 1 to 5 p.m.; Saturday, June 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, 2 Institute Drive, Concord
Tickets: Free with admission to the Discovery Center

Plants from outer space
Garden clubs host ‘astronomical’ show


 Joyce Kimball has no problem coming up with examples on the fly for creative horticulture presentations.

“Take specific plants that are in bloom this time of year, like an apple tree blossom,” she said. “You put it in a bottle, a wine bottle, or a salad dressing bottle, anything that’s clear. Then you fix it up in plastic wrap so that it stays up just right, and then you pick your best branch you’ve got at home. Make sure it’s all clean — no bugs, no dirt.”
That’s the kind of thing you’ll see at the Standard Garden Shows hosted by the New Hampshire Federation of Garden Clubs, like the one happening in Concord on Friday, June 20.
“[The artists] take it in [to the show] and they assign a Latin name to it. It sounds silly, but when you see it all together, it’s pretty impressive,” said Kimball, who is the publicity chairman of the NHFGC.
She said her example is just one of many elaborate artistic visions typically seen in the Standard Garden Shows. 
It’s been five years since Concord last hosted a show.
“We’re a non-profit organization, so we don’t make any money,” Kimball said. “So we don’t get to have these shows very often because we have to make sure we collect enough donations and let people contribute over a period of time.”
The show will be held at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center and will feature 40 creative floral designs and hundreds of horticulture specimens. 
Diane McMillen, NHFGC president from 2009 to 2011, said the Discovery Center inspired her to assign a space-related theme to the show, which contestants have to follow when creating their art.
She created sub-themes for the sections as well; for example, one section, “Galactic Gala,” is separated into three different classes: “Light Year’s Away,” “Shooting Stars” and “Super Nova,” the latter of which was Kimball’s submission choice for this year’s show.
“If you think about what things relate to space and space exploration, it’s easy to come up with many possibilities,” said McMillen. “When you visit a show, you see each class has four different entries. It’s exciting to see how each artist has interpreted the same thing differently.”
Kimball said the artists have to follow rules. The piece must include flowers, but depending on which class the artist is entering, he can use as much as a bouquet and as little as a flower for his piece. The flowers can’t be dyed. The leaves must be alive, although drying them is an acceptable technique.
The rest is left up to the creative mind.The show is split into two divisions: floral design and horticulture. 
After being on display for the public all day, the projects will be judged anonymously by members of out-of-state garden clubs. A handful of the winners will go on to compete in a national garden show competition presented by the National Garden Clubs.
“I think a lot of people still think a garden club is a group of women who sit around and talk about what flowers they’re going to put on the table that night,” Kimball said. “But it’s really not for the faint of heart. There’s a lot of work to it.” 
As seen in the June 19, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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