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Where Cape Legends Flower

This is not simply a matter of gathering pedestals and backdrops, of putting up tables and arranging orderly spaces for flowers and plants. The staging crews spend months researching background fabrics and materials, looking for just the right color of paint for the pedestal, drawing, measuring and constructing eye-catching display and vignette areas.

“Staging is presentation and without good presentation, the exhibits suffer,” explains Ahern.  “At the first show I entered there was a class that was titled ‘Trapeze.’ There was a simulated trapeze line between two posts and we were to hang our designs on the line. The problem was that the ground wasn’t level and the designs all listed to the left. Good, effective staging enhances the design or horticulture specimens and does not overwhelm or detract from the exhibit.” 

For the 2020 district show, staging committee members have worked for months to come up with concepts, designs, and materials that will convey each Cape legend’s special appeal. This year’s designs need to convey the drama of a swashbuckling pirate, the genius of a telecommunications engineer, the colorful personality of an Indian chief, the elegance of a famous First Lady, and the weird, fantastical imagination of a horror story writer. With the show schedule (or program) in hand, floral designers will spend hours perusing horticultural texts, searching every corner of Pinterest, and putting together mock-ups with practice flowers from supermarkets and their own gardens.

Many of the Southeastern District’s entrants in the annual show have well established reputations as award-winning floral designers and have participated in national and international flower shows, such as the Philadelphia Flower Show, the Newport Flower Show, and even the gold standard of shows, England’s Chelsea Flower Show. Many are knowledgeable judges who have won coveted national awards and who conduct workshops throughout New England for garden clubs and non-profit organizations.

However, every year there are newcomers who start down this long garden path, guided by the appeal of an ancient, yet ever-evolving art form that celebrates the beauty and resilience of nature. Many Cape Cod garden clubs, such as the Osterville Garden Club, which has been in existence for decades, hold floral design and horticulture workshops to help their aspiring designers and growers learn the ins and outs of this sometimes confusing, but endlessly creative and educational world.

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