Floral Fantasies Greet Show Attendees
When excited garden show attendees first stride through the doors of the South Lobby of the Washington State Convention Center, they are immediately stopped in their tracks by the elegant display of floral fantasy created by some of the region’s best floral designers. These are definitely not your gramma’s nosegay bouquets – these floral artists embrace “over the top.” They are vying for the coveted blue ribbon of the best design in the show’s popular Floral Competition, to be judged this year by Lee Holcomb and Gary Waller, who have the difficult task of choosing first, second and third place winners from a group of talented floral artisans.
Edie Stowbridge of Jungle Luv in Stanwood will be in the Floral Competition for the first time this year. Her design is titled “Prelude to Spring” and will feature a sustainable garden urn crafted from recycled aluminum, with a wild cherry twig ball made from local materials, and the finishing touches of fresh-cut flowers spilling out of the top. All in the very unique way that is the signature style of Jungle Luv.
Keeping with the musical theme, Seattle designer Christopher Smith of Christopher Flowers is designing a floral masterpiece titled “Crescendo.” Christopher explained, “I wanted to use this musical term as my inspiration because its literal meaning is “growing.” I’m going to explore the idea of growing in different ways within one arrangement.” This is the second year Christopher has participated in the Floral Competition and even with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, he loves to be a part of the show.Seattle-based Kan Orchids & Flowers is at the show for the first time. Thinking about the arrangement is a start, but often the final concept doesn’t take shape until he sees what flowers are available just prior to the show. As Pradit Kan explains it, “I suppose my philosophy at my shop and as a designer has been to pretty much stay out of the way. These flowers are already spectacularly beautiful. My job as a designer is to create a platform to let them speak as clearly, and beautifully, as possible. I think this might be a very Thai way to look at the world. I’m not so much an artist as a curator.” Pradit grew up with wild orchids in his native Thailand, so look for them to be a strong component of his floral display.
Jean Louise Paquin Allen, the owner of Juniper Flowers in Seattle, has a goal is to portray the progression of design ideas through the use of color, technique and materials in a piece titled “Growth Transition.” It will incorporate unique items, such as tillandsia, craspedia, manzanita, and green ball dianthus. Jean Louise has participated in the Floral Competition off and on since 2003 and is excited to be involved again.
Family owned and operated, Young’s Enumclaw Flowers & Gifts is also a first-time entrant at the garden show. The title of lead designer Mary Magalhaes’s piece is “Ugly Bugs Ball Presents: A Tropical Moonlight Sonata”. It will be a bug’s ball surrounded by a tropical garden. There will be little Chinese lanterns glowing above the ball floor and as in the song -a caterpillar queen; among other features.
This will be the third year participating in the Floral Competition for Megumi Schacher, owner of Ikebana By Megumi. Her goal each time is to introduce people to Ikebana and to show how it can be practiced as an art form using plant materials as a medium. This year she will be using interesting branches with unusual shapes and twists, and camellias, to create a sculptural arrangement expressing a breath of spring.
Rounding out the Floral Competition will be dramatic arrangements by Dawn Griep, Flowers by Shamay, Holly’s Fine Flowers, Loves Me Flowers, Marine View Florist, Stanwood FFA Horticulture, Tiare Floral Design, and Woodinville Florist. They are all busily working on their creations (on top of the hectic Valentine’s season) and will be intertwining flowers, foliage, found objects and accessories all into an expression of true floral fantasy.
And just ahead in the South Lobby, look for the Flower Growers of Puget Sound WA’s beautiful show garden packed with blooming plants (take a deep breath to inhale the heavenly perfume!) and the gardens by Alaska Airlines and Subaru, along with our jazzy concert stage. Spring will be arriving at the Washington State Convention Center at exactly 9:00 am on Wednesday, February 8th, but she’s only there for five days, so make sure you don’t miss her! (And don’t forget – Early Bird ticket prices end February 7th.) ~ Janet