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In Fall/ Fall Decor/ Fall Refresh/ Floral Design/ Garden/ Horticulture/ House and Garden/ Hydrangeas/ Lifestyle/ Tips and Tricks/ Window Boxes

Beyond Mums…Time to Update Your Outdoor Spaces!

It is October 15. A little late for my fall window boxes and urns, but that’s ok. If there are still apples on the trees (which I discovered to be the case yesterday when I went apple picking with some of my favorite people!), then the time is still right to install some fall plantings and floral displays. And my window boxes certainly deserve to have some life injected into them after my summer of horrible neglect. (Actually, I was performing an experiment with them…I called it “Weeds or Winners? Established Plantings and Benign Neglect.” Let’s just say that Proven Winners are Proven Winners for a reason!! And Sweet Potato Vine is a Betsy Winner for the 7th year in a row…it goes straight from summer right into fall. Love it! Oh, and I’ve found one really great looking weed, too. I just can’t figure out what it is…a project for another day.)
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4 In Floral Design/ Flower Show/ Garden Parties/ Horticulture/ House and Garden/ Hydrangeas/ Lifestyle/ Nantucket/ Sconset/ Travels

Nantucket Garden Club’s Community Green Thumb Flower Show 2017: That’s a Wrap!!

The Nantucket Garden Club’s Community Green Thumb Flower Show has wrapped for the year! It was a beautiful success in every sense of the word.

Held at the Sconset Casino, the village’s gathering spot since its opening in 1900, there was plenty of room to accommodate all of the entries and to move from arrangement to arrangement or from hort entry to hort entry with ease. The latticework inside the Casino, which I have always loved for its simplicity, elegance and understated “tell” of sophistication, was a fitting backdrop to the gorgeous plants and flowers on display. The Casino looked simply gorgeous! Now….where shall I begin??

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In Floral Design/ Flower Show/ Garden Parties/ Horticulture/ House and Garden/ Hydrangeas/ Lifestyle/ Nantucket/ Sconset/ Uncategorized

Nantucket Garden Club’s Community Green Thumb Flower Show 2017

UPDATE TO BELOW POST COMING SOON! (ERG 7/21/17)

Just a quick note…

If you are on Nantucket today (7/20), and if you happen to have time to make your way to Sconset, you might be interested in checking out the NGC’s Flower Show. As a former member of the Nantucket Garden Club, I know how much work goes into every event the NGC puts on.  (I resigned during my Provisional year, as work had decided to heat up, robbing me of the time that I’d always had in years prior to help with NGC activities. I’m probably the only person in the history of the NGC to do more work as a non-member– before I became a member and then since having resigned–than I was ever able to do as a member!) In fact, I was over at the Casino yesterday helping to set up for the judges’ luncheon. While I didn’t see any Provisionals, I saw many of the lovely and dedicated long term members of the Club working away to make sure that things were categorized properly, displayed beautifully and ready for public view. I took lots of pictures and hope that you will enjoy them with my later post. I don’t want to post any here quite yet, as the show opens at 10AM TODAY (!!), and I wouldn’t want to spoil anything for those of you who are interested in attending. Admission is free, but donations are always welcome. Oh! And there is also a fabulous boutique–I was the first customer yesterday. I got my third copy of a great book about Nantucket wildflowers; the most amazing candle I’ve ever smelled (I am NOT a candle person, but this candle would be snapped up in a flash if I were to have hesitated); some beautiful notecards; and a darling little porcelain box for my daughter. Basically, this is a GO TO event!  You’ll see fascinating arrangements, beautiful horticulture entries and breathtaking photography entries. It’s at the Casino–10 New Street in Sconset. 10AM-4PM today! Photographs for those who missed it will be posted as soon as I can get them up!!  Xo betsy

In Horticulture/ House and Garden/ Hydrangeas/ Nantucket/ Tips and Tricks

Hydrangeas: Timeless Beauties

I received a message the other day from one of my Instagram friends about a photo I’d posted earlier that day of the scores of hydrangeas wrapping around our front porch on Nantucket. She (teasingly? I’ll have to ask her!) asked me whether I knew the secret to cutting hydrangeas. I was about to write back to her on Instagram, but I thought that it might not be a bad idea to draft a little post about this very temperamental bloom and how to cut it, hydrate it and keep it going for at least a couple of days, either alone or in an arrangement. For purposes of this post, I will focus on French hydrangeas (the hydrangeas people generally think about when they hear the word “hydrangea”). I will not get into planting the shrubs; explaining how to change their colors; when and how to prune….or anything else having to do with “gardening”. I will discuss the way that I cut, prep, condition, arrange and enjoy hydrangeas.  I’m stepping out of my realm (I’m a “flower market flowers” kind of girl, and the “gardening” I do these days is restricted to urns and window boxes…). So I am not an expert in hydrangea cut and care, but the following tips have always worked for me… Continue Reading →

In Benefits-Boston and Nantucket/ Garden Parties/ Historic Preservation/ Horticulture/ House and Garden/ Lifestyle/ Travels/ Uncategorized

Flowers Bring Historic Preservation to Life: Betsy Gibson Design for Carrère and Hastings and the Olmsted Brothers Firm

Wow!! It has been a very busy few weeks! Now that things have settled down a tiny bit, I am thrilled to report that we had a terrific turnout for Mass Hort’s Second Annual Garden Party (about which I wrote in my last post).  A crowd of close to 300 enjoyed wonderful food and music and were also fortunate to have had Kathleen Fahey, Curator of the Wellesley Historical Society, speak about the history of the Cheney-Baltzell Manor House, a Carrère and Hastings design, and about the Olmsted Brothers’ incredible Italianate Garden.

End of the Party…and still quite the crowd!

As for me, it was an honor and a tremendous privilege to have created all of the floral arrangements for the party–not only for the interior of the beautiful Carrère and Hastings designed Manor House that sits so elegantly on the property at Elm Bank, but also for each and every one of the garden tables in the Olmsted Brothers’ designed  Italianate Garden. For someone who loves historic houses, classical architecture and bespoke gardens, designing and executing over 30 arrangements for this event was exhilarating, challenging (in a good way!) and more fun than “work” should ever be. In the end, I calculated that I had created the indoor and outdoor arrangements from over 70 different kinds of flowers, plants and trees, most of which were taken from the gardens on the property–plus the wonderful daisies that we found on top of a compost pile, of course. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with so many different kinds of flowers at one time, but it was so much fun, and I’d gladly do it again. (And never fear, the compost pile was only an hour or two old and contained nothing but flowers and weeds that were getting ready to make their way over to the *real* compost pile!)

Tabletop arrangement in the Ballroom. ©Betsy Gibson Design

Almost two weeks after the fact, I am still enjoying the thrill of having created the floral arrangements that brought life and joy back to the Manor House, even if only for one night. I hope that Alice and William (and, of course, Carrère and Hastings and the Olmsted Brothers) would have approved. I like to think that they would have. After all, it is so important to preserve our past that we should all do whatever we can to take care of the glorious treasures left to us. But in addition to all of that, if we get involved with the work necessary to preserve the beauty created by others in the past, we

Centerpiece of Roses and Pittosporum. ©Betsy Gibson Design

Detail of large arrangement for side table. ©Betsy Gibson Design

may also find that we make new friends. An added bonus to helping to preserve our rich cultural heritage. I made several new friends with whom I really enjoyed working, and I’m thrilled that we share so many common interests–in flowers, gardens, architecture and historic preservation. You know who you are, ladies! I had a great time with all of you.

Small tabletop arrangement. ©Betsy Gibson Design

**I’d also like to take some time to thank two ladies in particular for their “over and above” help:                                                                                           Penni: On what was perhaps the hottest day of the summer to date, and in a workroom with no air conditioning, Penni helped me with the arrangements that had been added at the last minute and kept me company with her good humor, excellent advice and numerous attempts to teach me that what I have always viewed as “Thistle” is, in fact, not Thistle. It’s something else, but I’ve already forgotten what. Thank you, Penni!                                                               Hannah: As the Senior Horticulturalist at Elm Bank, Hannah is incredibly knowledgeable, extremely funny and immensely patient. She showed me around all of the gardens one day, answering all of my questions and backtracking several times when I decided that I should probably look at an area again…and then one more time. Can you imagine? She then graciously allowed me to sit in the golf cart the next day while she did all of the cutting of the plants and flowers I had chosen for my arrangements. But there’s more! In an admission that gave her SuperHero status in my eyes, I learned that she is not plagued with the same horrible phobia of ticks that seems to consume me once the weather starts to warm up here in New England. Her bravery in walking right into high grasses and through the depths of several plantings to get just the right cutting for me was astounding. Thank you, Hannah.  And thank you also for all of the additional buckets of gorgeous flowers that you brought to the workroom so that Penni and I could finish up with those extra table arrangements. You are a Horticultural Rock Star!

If you can’t tell, I had a ball working on this wonderful party for Mass Hort, and I think you should join us next year to see what all the fuss has been about! But you should be sure to get your tickets early, because we reached capacity fairly soon after offering the tickets for sale. In fact, maybe you should get them now directly from Mass Hort…just to be safe. We’ve already set next year’s date!!

xobetsy

Desktop design. ©Betsy Gibson Design

1 In Historic Preservation/ Horticulture/ House and Garden/ Lifestyle/ Travels

Of Horticulture and Historic Preservation

108.DSC 0217©Mass Hort Bressingham Garden. North side of the garden, featuring Eryngium ‘Big Blue’, Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’.

How would you like to step back in time and take a sneak peek into a stunningly beautiful Carrère & Hastings-designed manor house (open to the public for only the second time since the 1982 Decorators’ Show House) while being surrounded by award winning Olmsted Brothers-designed gardens and enjoying beautiful food, drinks and music on a warm June evening? I know that I certainly would! And I hope that you will join me in supporting the Massachusetts Horticultural Society (Mass Hort) as it offers a rare opportunity to visit the Cheney-Baltzell Manor House at Elm Bank in style.

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