Dorothy Farfone was thrilled to announce this year’s flower arrangement categories during the Seabrook Garden Club’s January 8, 2010, meeting. “Some of these I came up with at 2am,” she laughed. The competition will be held on Friday, February 12, at 9:30am. However, due to a conflict in scheduling, the meeting will be held at the SIPOA Community Center on Oyster Catcher Road.
Categories for this year’s competition are as follows:
• Congratulations, your dog is a father.
• I’m sorry my fruitcake gave you food poisoning.
• Thank you for being so green.
• That was the most romantic night of my life, thank you.
• Welcome to our island, from the Real Housewives of Seabrook.
Judging this year’s competition will be Ernie Berger, Fred Ristow and Tina Dear, and everyone is invited to submit an arrangement.
Winter gardening tips
Because of the recent series of frosty mornings and below average temperatures, SIPOA horticulturalist Lindsey Zellner gave the Garden Club a handful of tips on how to maintain their frozen gardens and lawns.
• Cut perennials and most soft body plants to grade and cover with pine or leaf litter mulch.
• Cover weather sensitive trees and plants with bed sheets, not plastic.
• Turn on irrigation or water plants in the early evening to give them a protective layer of ice.
• Leave any “melted” dead leaves on plants until mid-February when it should warm back up.
• Valentine’s Day is a great day to remember to prune back your roses and grasses, as new shoots should just be forming around that time.
Long term arrangements
Two speakers were featured at this month’s meeting, and while 25 pre-registered members attended a Japanese Flower Arranging presentation given by Dr. Robert Earnest, the rest of the Club enjoyed a lesson on how to preserve flower arrangements by Newton Farms’ head florist, Tina Dear. Among her recommendations were purchasing a flower hydration product called “Quick Dip”, and being sure to clip the ends of your stems immediately before putting them in water. “Strip, clip and dip,” smiled Tina. “That’s the best way to remember how to make a long lasting arrangement.” Stems should be cleaned of all branches and leaves below the water level, clipped and then dipped for a second or two in Quick Dip (available through local florists such as Busy Bee, or through special order at Newton Farms). Dear pointed out that the stems of flowers will close as quickly as 30 seconds after they’ve been clipped, so cutting should be done immediately before the flowers are placed in the vase.
Another helpful tip for arranging is the use of a florist tape grid. Using ¼ inch clear florist tape, create a grid on your vase. The tape will help the flowers to stand up straight and will also help prevent leaves from falling into the water and causing it to become murky. Finally, Dear recommended dropping either an aspirin or “Crystal Clear” plant food in the water as an extra measure for long lasting blooms.
Finally, Dr. Robert Earnest’s presentation gave the Garden Club a lot to think about in terms of the precise art of Japanese flower arranging, or Ikebana. There seems to be an almost endless list of rules for proper arrangements, such as the fact that the numbers “4” and “6” are taboo, but two groups of three are allowed. Dr. Earnest showed the group how to make the simplest arrangement, Elementary Style A, pointing out that the “dynamic negative tension of empty space is essential.” There must never be a single item, or only two items, in an arrangement. At the same time, there must be three lines, each a third higher than the last, all coming from one specific point.
The ladies took to the assignment like fish to water, however, and came up with some startlingly beautiful arrangements.
The next Garden Club meeting will be held at the SIPOA Community Center on Oyster Catcher Road on February 12, 2010, with socializing and coffee beginning at 9am and the meeting beginning at 9:30am.