Hosting a Garden Club of America flower show takes more than a green thumb, it depends on divine creativity, extraordinary talent, and super organization skills. There are pages of strict rules and guidelines to follow, as well as a high educational bar to meet. The Rye Garden Club’s “You’re the Top” flower show, held September 13 and 14 at Apawamis Club, was positively inspirational.
There were 150 entries in the Horticulture division alone. In the Floral Design division, members of local and nearby garden clubs submitted extraordinary arrangements, incorporating a children’s toys, complements to high-fashion photos, historical heads on handsomely set tables. Children and grandchildren of members arranged fresh flowers in small plastic trophies.
The outstanding Education exhibit, Sustainable Town USA, was created by landscape architect Nick Everett. It was his wife, Nancy Everett, a RGC member, “who pulled him in because he is a believer in sustainability.” It was a team effort. In March, Nick started sketching designs that would display the variety of ways a small town could become energy-efficient. For his rooflines, he strolled Purchase Street for inspiration. When he and Nancy and fellow RGC member Jung Chai agreed on the final design, Nick began building roads and sidewalks out of posterboard, and over several weeks he created a farmer’s market, miniature rain gardens, rooftop gardens, white roofs, rain barrels, windmills, charging stations, solar panels over parking lots, and recycling and compost bins. “Jung wrote the copy for the explanatory panels, and a few days before the show opened Nancy selected all the plant materials. “We had a good time,” reported Nick.
Visitors noticed every delightful detail — the top hat on the chimney, awnings made from wrapping paper, the mix of old-fashioned charm and sustainability.
Sustainable Town USA was such a hit that the Flower Show Committee Chairs, Kim Veber and Gayle Regan, decided that it should be taken on the road — to schools, local museums. Plans for a protective Lucite cover are in the works.
When it came time to judge the entries, Rye Garden Club came out on top, winning five major Garden Club of America awards: Lisa King and Pam Kindler in Floral Design; Peggy Peters in Horticulture; Gayle Regan in Photography; and
Jung Chai and Nancy Everett in Conservation and Education.
Proceeds from the well-attended preview party will go to support the Club’s many civic projects. The show was open to the public at no charge.
As they were dismantling the show, Kim Veber, who worked on the club’s Centennial show in 2015, said that the highlight for her was that “it brought so many people together — longtime and recent members — and it was a great learning experience.” Gayle Regan, a newer member, was “amazed by the range of talents, both creative and organizational, the shared strengths.” Wendy Nagle, who handled the publicity, said, “It brought an overwhelming sense of joy.”