By Pamella Pride, Epicure of Design

From artistic interpretations of themes to lavish displays of floral elegance and extravagance, quality flower shows capture the hearts of floral and garden enthusiasts each year. Here are highlights from two of the most recent top shows in floral display and design.

2011 Newport Flower Show
Steeped in the history and luxury of Rosecliff, a mansion renowned for hosting some of the most extravagant parties of the early 20th century, the 2011 Newport Flower Show, held June 24-26, exuded lush gardens, sculptures, magnificent architecture, and rich floral designs under the theme, “Entertaining—Newport Style.”


The show’s highlight was an interpretation of the Blue Garden, originally unveiled in 1913. Recreated by landscape designer Catherine Weaver of Tupelo Gardenworks, Ltd., of Wakefield, R.I., it included nine smaller gardens by exhibitors and was the majestic centerpiece of the front lawn. Colorful blue hydrangeas and detailed sculptures, along with blue-accented furniture or backdrops, enriched the site. Hanging floral and fern candelabras, dangling from a large tree overhanging part of the entrance to the gardens, added to the ambiance. After walking through the gardens, guests were greeted with additional floral arrangements within the mansion.

An afternoon lecture by Oasis design director and floral trend consultant Kevin Ylvisaker AIFD, PFCI gave a hands-on demonstration of floral design. Innovative ideas such as tall glass vases filled with water pearls and orchids to replace tall candlesticks rising up out of colorful floral arrangements were an eye-catching alternative, as is filling a vase completely with floral. New vibrant colors in wedding floral are achieved using dyed, bright-blue orchids or hot pinks and oranges, says Ylvsiaker, who also noted that cascade bridal bouquets are making a comeback. Sylvia Weinstock, the “Queen of Cake,” also spoke. Her lavish, edible, sculptural sugar floral designs, specifically for weddings, are highlighted in her book, Sensational Cakes. She notes wedding floral, china, embroidery, and bead detail in the bride’s dress, are all considerations in the design of the cakes.

10th World Flower Show
The World Association of Flower Arrangers (WAFA) 10th World Flower Show in Boston, Mass., was a spectacular array of floral arrangements in 30 categories themed to “This Glorious Earth.” Participants, representing 32 countries, competed with floral displays ranging from literal to abstract. Held every three years, this was the show’s first appearance in the United States. The next will be held in Ireland in 2014.

The categories of wind, electricity, fireworks, storm, fire, and dance exuded tremendous energy. The exploding bright reds and oranges in the fireworks and fire categories created floral flame-like movement, juxtaposed with charred wood or greenery, while large mobile firework floral displays imitated swirls and bursts of color in fine detail. Wind and storm were similar in movement with twisting and tangled floral, be it a bundle of blown leaves or a mass of floral debris turned into a sculptural moment in time. The floral displays, with three-dimensional interest, told a story, which became part of the energy of the occasion.

Many categories became life-like with their detailed use of a 360-degree view that changed as you saw it from different locations. In the chameleon category, some changed from day to evening, bright green to weathered brown, or subtle to exploding. The hanging spheres in the space category and the towering floral beings in the beasts category embraced the use of scale and presence to transform an environment.

Other categories, such as reef, seasons, and sunsets, set the tone for a destination beach or tropical affair. The bright yellow, orange, and red sunset floral innovatively captured a moment. The seasons category took a fun and stylish look at using floral and mannequin figures to create a presence of fashion and sculptural style. As an added highlight to the event a lecture by John Loring, renowned design director emeritus of Tiffany & Co., spoke about the history of floral and its first introduction into Tiffany jewelry. ••

Newport Flower Show:
World Flower Show:

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