2014-03-07 / Front Page

Get Growing for the Newport Flower Show

By Pat Blakeley

Although the vernal equinox is still weeks away, plans are already in full swing for the 19th annual Newport Flower Show, June 27-29 at Rosecliff. Although the vernal equinox is still weeks away, plans are already in full swing for the 19th annual Newport Flower Show, June 27-29 at Rosecliff. Although Newport hasn’t even celebrated St. Patrick’s Day yet and the island is still firmly in winter’s grasp, take heart. Signs of summer are on the horizon. The 19th annual Newport Flower Show runs June 27-29, but preparations are already in full swing to ensure that America’s premier summer flower show is, once again, dazzling and fun and absolutely over the top.

This year’s theme, “Journey: Grand Vistas,” showcases the legacy of luxurious travel and exploration created by the titans of the Gilded Age, who made the trip itself as splendid as the destination.

The Newport Flower Show was recently elevated to the status of Major Flower Show by the Garden Club of America, joining the ranks of the Boston, Atlanta and Philadelphia shows as one of the country’s finest. What we have long known to be true – that the Newport Flower Show is spectacular – is now recognized nationwide.

While everyone on the island knows they are welcome to attend the flower show, most do not realize that they are more than welcome – and are, in fact, heartily encouraged – to become part of the show itself. With the exception of a few select displays that are invitation only, the vast majority of categories are open to the public and all are invited to participate in the competition.

Now is the time to get out your trowels and vermiculite and get in on the fun.

The Horticultural Division will feature 125 entry classes in four main categories: Invitational Garden Design, Creative Outdoor Containers, Ornamental Planting (containers), and Cut Specimens. There truly is something for everyone in this broad-reaching category, and, while competition is always keen, there are a few upsets each season. Potential competitors are invited to a reception hosted by the Horticulture Committee at The Breakers Greenhouses, Bateman Avenue, on Thursday, March 27 at 5:30 p.m. Discover more about the horticulture competitions, enjoy good food and conversation, and learn how to present your entry at its best. Reserve at events@newportmansions.org or 401-847- 1000 x169 by Thursday, March 20.

The Floral Design Division is accepting registration for creations in 12 classes, interpreting travel themes ranging from ships to trains to travel trinkets. Registration will be accepted on a first come, first served basis and is open to all. Designs may be individual or collaborative and fresh plant material must predominate. Registration information and applications are online at newportflowershow.com.

Registration for the Botanical Arts Division is now underway, but will close shortly. Designs embracing four specific Edwardian Era motifs will compete in Stepping Out (ladies’ shoe design), Walk About (cane or walking stick), Tailored Travel (hat), and Charmed Memories (charm bracelet) categories. Details on design parameters and registration forms may be found online at newportflowershow.com. Registrations must be received no later than Friday, March 21 and will be accepted in the order received.

Promoting the love of gardening in future generations is a main goal of the Newport Flower Show, and it features specific Children's Division programming to encourage budding enthusiasts. In addition to creative classes held during the show itself, a preliminary workshop is offered to generate excitement for the project and to get kids started with their entries. All materials will be provided for the young green thumbs – all they have to do is dig in.

Children will meet on Saturday, April 5 at 10:30 a.m. for a horticulture workshop at Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum at 101 Ferry Road (Route 114) in Bristol. The youngsters will tour Blithewold’s gardens and grounds, and each child will receive two plants to grow and cultivate for the June show: a violet and a turkey oak tree.

Anyone 12 and under is eligible to enter, but space is limited and children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Contact Children’s Education Division Chair Jacqueline Colbert at markandjacqui@cox.net to register.

“Journey: Grand Vistas” will include photography inspired by worldwide travel through the ages. The Photography Division will feature 10 classes reflecting different themes, each limited to 20 entries. This is a juried show for all classes, except for Class 7 which is limited to novice photographers. Registration for the juried show and digital photos must be received by April 15. Applicants will be notified if they have been selected by April 30. Registration guidelines are outlined at newportflowershow.com.

All proceeds from the Newport Flower Show benefit the preservation and restoration of the historic landscapes of The Preservation Society of Newport County. For more information on “Journey: Grand Vistas,” visit newportflowershow.com.

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