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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??

With hydrangeas, of course!! If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I am completely obsessed with what has become a literal sea of hydrangeas in our Nantucket yard. And, as was expected, hydrangeas featured prominently at the Flower Show. How about the display of mophead hydrangeas above?!? Fabulous, aren’t they? There were several lacecap hydrangeas on the table across from these perfect specimens, but they weren’t nearly as exciting to me. I just love the shape and texture of the mophead. I always feel as though the lacecaps are just waiting….waiting….waiting…to burst into “full” bloom, forgetting that, though they are big leaf hydrangeas like the mopheads, they’re not the “full” blooming types!  As you can clearly see from the photo below….still so pretty, though!

Aside from hydrangeas, there were a few gorgeous dahlias and a few zinnias, including the fantastic green one that I feature at the top of this post—I fell in love with that little zinnia! The color—the gradation of light to dark from the inner to the outer petals was so powerful to me that I could not avert my eyes. A friend to whom I showed the photograph could not understand my obsession with this little zinnia. In addition to the magnificence of color as it deepened from the inside out, it may be that the particular greens of the petals attracted me. I am a lover of green, after all. I don’t know if or how this little guy placed with the judges, but he was a definite winner in my book!

In addition to all of my favorites, there were miniature shrub roses, a mini jade tree, a whole host of hosta leaves–again, maybe it’s the green and white theme, but I love hosta. The entire Chippendale rail (along the side of our property at home) is lined with various varieties of this wonderful shade loving plant. As with the zinnias, I don’t know how the hosta competition shook out, but there was one leaf that was, in my opinion, the very definition of perfection, mainly because of its size. It was solid green–no variegation–but it was tremendous, and its stem was equally impressive. This hosta leaf could have been used in a Park Avenue apartment lobby design. It was that big and that beautiful. I may even have a photo…of course I do! See below…

I hate to give the hort entries short shrift, so maybe I’ll mention a few more that I remember….there were pears from a well established pear tree, miniature apples from an apple tree and two gorgeous blueberry bush entries.  There were fantastic begonias with rich, dark foliage. And there were several containers with any number of flowers, succulents and grasses within them. All were stunning.

In addition to the individual flowers, plants and containers, there were also classes set aside for the following special categories:

a. Photography–and every single photograph was breathtaking, I must say; though no photos because I didn’t want to violate anyone’s IP.

b. Tablescapes–though it didn’t appear as though there were any particular themes for the tablescapes–aside from “setting a gorgeous table”, of course, each tablescape was colorful and inviting in its own way. This one, a Bartlett’s Farm themed tablescape, was probably my favorite, as I love using fruits and vegetables in my own arrangements along with flowers. I just think it’s a fun thing to do and can result in some really fantastic looks.

c. Underwater arrangements–these sorts of arrangements can either be incredibly cool or complete and utter fails. The underwater arrangements at this show were of the incredibly cool variety. I particularly liked the one entitled, “Hooray! Lobster for Dinner!”

d. Community arrangements–these were my favorite of all of the arrangements and included the entire class of arrangements created by seniors at the senior center and those that were created by young arrangers using Children’s Beach as the theme. All were simply beautiful–and fun–to behold.

As for the designs open only to Garden Club of America members, there were only four entries. What would end up being the second place winner is the first arrangement that really grabbed me and would not let go. Pictured below, though it is a bit difficult to see in the photo because of the lighting inside of the Casino, is this spectacular arrangement. The designers (from Houston, TX) used driftwood and vine–in the shape of Nantucket!–as an armature for the spectacular florals in red, yellow and orange meant to evoke a Nantucket sunset.

The first place winner was created by a NGC member, and her arrangement was similarly outstanding. Rather than using a horizontal armature, she created a vertical one that allowed her to arrange for each stage of a sunset. I can’t begin to describe it, so here it is, in all of its flaming red, orange and yellow beauty…spectacular!!!

And finally, what Nantucket Flower Show would be complete without designs incorporating lightship baskets and interpreting sailors’ valentines? Well, this show had both of those categories covered quite beautifully. The lightship basket arrangements were part of the Novice class of arrangements, and I loved every single one of them. (We have a whole lot of talent here on Nantucket!) I had difficulty taking photographs of these arrangements because they were backlit by all of the light coming in from behind their display table, so I suppose you’ll just have to take my word for it. They were all fantastic.  As were the arrangements meant to channel the sailors’ valentines. While there were several of these on display, all very different in floral material and in interpretation and design, the blue ribbon was awarded to an arrangement (created by a lovely woman from Tennessee!) that included dried flowers, leaves and berries. It was truly spectacular and is worthy of being framed and passed down to future generations. What do you think? Isn’t it amazing? See below…

Before I sign off, I also wanted to note that there was also some great information about our island ecosystem that was on display (eg, native bees, honey bees) as well as more general information from the Nantucket Conservation Foundation.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my “tour” of the Nantucket Garden Club’s Community Green Thumb Flower Show–I know that I rambled, but that’s also how I sort of made my way through the show. In sort of a back and forth manner. If you have any questions about any of the entries, please email me at betsy@betsygibsondesign.com, and I will do my best to get some answers to whatever questions you may have.

To the beach now…I want to see those sunsets for myself!!~


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  • Alisa
    July 22, 2017 at 11:32 am

    I love the writing and photos! Keep it coming you are talented!

    • Betsy Gibson
      July 22, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      Thank you so much, Alisa!! That means a lot to me. xobetsy

  • Anne
    July 30, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Wow! The Flower Show looks amazing. Thank you for sharing this with us. I love reading your blog. Xo

    • Betsy Gibson
      July 30, 2017 at 1:16 pm

      Thank you, Anne! So glad you like it!! xo