By Jill Brooke
Flower shows are not only a happy way to spend an afternoon. It can be a way for the talents of community members to be unearthed and appreciated. This was certainly true at the recent Newport Flower Show. This show, considered one of the most popular events on the Rhode Island social calendar, is in its 27th year.
“I get so delighted seeing how someone who lovingly clipped horticultural cuttings from their gardens and then leave winning an award,” says Newport Flower Show chair Patricia Hamilton Fernandez.”
Appropriately titled, “The Grand Tour,” thousands of visitors who were lucky enough to get tickets could smell fragrant roses, and observe lush hydrangeas misted by the neighboring sea air. Furthermore, there were over 100 horticultural classes of flowers and plants. Each one is strategically positioned to enhance the historic architecture of Marble House.
Among the events were flower demonstrations from Tin Can’s Ingrid Carozzi and Lucia Balcazar.
Over at the Chinese Tea House, Botanical Arts creations sculpted from plant materials were on display. It’s flowers faux real.
In other parts of the show, floral arrangements inspired by Versailles, Venice, and the Swiss Alps contributed to the festive feeling and fun.
Normally, this flower show is at Rosecliff. But this change was well received. After all, Marble House has been a location in the hit Julian Fellowes series, “The Gilded Age.”
However, unlike Rosecliff, with its light-colored seaside vibe, Marble House, impresses with brocade curtains and lots of dense marble. Flowers as we know, are so adaptable to any setting. Here, they managed to blend and enhance this environment effortlessly.
It does take a village to create these popular events. “Hundreds of hours are spent to launch this show,” says Hamilton Fernandez, who is both a dreamer and doer. “It requires an army of volunteers for everything from running plants to locations to docents greeting visitors.” She also credits her committee chairs with collectively contributing to this successful outcome.
Both the Garden Club of Newport and the Preservation Society of Newport County join forces to create this spectacular show. All proceeds from tickets benefit The Preservation Society of Newport County. This charity is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes, decorative arts, and social history. This includes 11 historic properties – seven of them National Historic Landmarks – which span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.
If you check out local listings, there are many flower shows and festivals sprinkled in towns, communities, and states, and worth the trip. It’s such a fun thing to do with all generations as well as a learning opportunity. Since these are not professional shows such as the Philadelphia Flower Show or Chelsea Flower Show, it also provides inspiration for DIY projects as well as opportunities to participate yourself.
Here were some of the winners at the Newport Show and a winner from the Bedford Show.
Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD and a contributor to Florists Review magazine.
Photo Credit: David Hansen Photography