“It Might As Well Be Spring” At Winter Haven Flower Show
by James Coulter
The first day of spring may not be until March 21, but for Patty Falk and the others at the Winter Haven Council of Garden Clubs, it might as well be spring. In fact, that’s what she named her art piece that won best overall in show at the Annual Winter Haven Garden And Flower Show.
Falk’s art piece was a floral arrangement with three pink flowers. The entire piece was inspired by a painting by local artist Emily Cassidy. The name of the piece resonated with this year’s theme: “March To A Beat.”
The Best Overall award is given to participants who win the most awards. Falk won first place in horticulture and design, and two second place awards in horticulture for her piece. The total made her eligible to win best overall in show.
Brenda Mitchell, President of the Winter Haven Council of Garden Clubs, which hosted the event, had several winning entries at the flower show. One entry was for an orange and purple orchid. Not only was it judged by the bloom itself, but also by its color and composition.
Another entry of hers was an arrangement of flowers and china. The ceramic dishes for this arrangement all sported the majestic purple bloom of the peony flower.
“I was trying to create…a functional setting with dishes so you could sit down and eat here in the garden,” she said.
Mitchell has been attending the flower show ever since she was invited in 1969 by Mrs. Julie Pope, the wife of the original owner of Cypress Gardens. She has been with them ever since, she said.
The annual flower show has been run by the Winter Haven Council of Garden Clubs for the past 50 years. The show is hosted in the Winter Haven Garden Center, which was constructed by the late local architect, Gene Leedy.
“He built it so that the gardens outside was in,” Mitchell said. “He was a wonderful person on the standing of vision, which was to produce beauty for Winter Haven.”
Having been around for as long as the garden club council and flower show, Mitchell loves being able to socialize with other local gardeners and horticulturalists and share their love of flora.
“Everyday is different, every occasion is different, every person you meet is different,” she said. “I think the friendships you [make here] last forever.”
The show itself was created to help teach the next generation of young women about horticulture and gardening. The event allows them to share their craft of floral arrangements and other gardening skills.
For Falk, the Flower Show Chairman, what she loves most is being able to see, “the young women being excited about learning and how to arrange designs and garden.”
Falk has been with the show and council for the past 25 years. The friends she has made old and new keep he with it time and again. She hopes that the new friends she makes, especially the younger women, are able to learn their old ways so they may continue them into the future.
“Of course, the relationships with the ladies, especially the young women now, that they want to carry on the tradition of flower shows and beautifying our yards and our homes with flowers,” she said. “That is what keeps me coming back.”