Four Miniature Gardens will be created by gardeners from Cambridge, Framingham, Mansfield, Somerset & Seekonk/Rehoboth for The Boston Flower And Garden Show.
The theme of the Show is "A Burst of Color: Celebrating the Container Garden". The Massachusetts Horticultural Society presents a Show within the Boston Flower and Garden Show titled: "Blooms! 2011 at the Boston Flower & Garden Show." The Miniature Gardens Competition are part of this Show within a show. The Show Hours are: Wednesday, March 16, 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.; Thursday, March 17, 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Friday, March 18, 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, March 19, 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday, March 20, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Tickets prices are: Adults $20; Seniors (65+) $17; Children 6-17 $10; and Under 6 Free. Massachusetts Horticultural Society members receive free tickets. For more information visit, www.masshort.org
The Miniature Garden Competition has long-time been a popular feature of Flower Shows in Boston. In 2008 when the New England Spring Flower Show closed its doors for the last time, it was thought that these diminutive edens were gone forever. Late last year the Massachusetts Horticultural Society asked long time Miniature Gardens exhibitors Debi Hogan and Warren Leach of Seekonk to work with them to bring these popular gardens to the new Boston Flower and Garden Show.
The Boston Flower Show is owned and produced by Paragon Group, and is managed as a Trade Show. The Massachusetts Horticultural Society partners with Paragon Group to keep horticulture front and center and to also keep some aspects of the traditional New England Spring Flower Show alive, particularly the floral design classes, and individual plants and gardens that have been such a popular part of the New England Spring Flower Show for more than a century. These flower arrangements, individual pots of flowers, window boxes and even gardens are tended and designed by amateur gardeners, garden club members, plant societies and even children. The Miniature Gardens have always been a popular part of this Amateur Design Division of the show.
These spectacular mini landscapes are created on a scale of one inch is equal to one foot. Each garden is designed to resemble an actual vista with plants and accessories scaled down to one twelfth the size size. The gardens are viewed by Show participants through a viewing window set 48" feet off the Show floor. The window is just 14" tall by 26 inches wide.
The Miniature Gardens combine horticulture and artistry with an intricate design. They are composed primarily of live plants with accessories such as water, pots, paving, small buildings and other accessories allowed. The gardens are constructed within a plywood box measuring 30 inches high by 24 inches deep. The exhibitors paint the background of the box, grow the plants, plan the garden and finally assemble it all at the Show. Miniature garden may be created by groups or individuals. This year four miniature gardens will be created by groups or individuals from Cambridge, Framingham, Mansfield, Somerset and Seekonk/Rehoboth.
* The Holbrow Family have long been exhibitors of Miniature Gardens, creating imaginative and artistic miniature designs in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and several years before that. In fact exhibiting at the Flower Show in Boston is a family tradition that goes back more than a century to Charles E. Holbrow, a Brighton greenhouse grower, who won a silver cup from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in 1892 , for "the second best two dozen Waban roses" at the show. The cup is a handsome trophy; and the family wonder sometimes what the first place trophy most have looked like.
Several family members will help with the miniature garden this year including Mom (Mary Holbrow of Cambridge) and daughter and granddaughter, artists Gwendolyn and Felicity Holbrow of Framingham.
The Holbrow family’s miniature garden design is based on the spring display of trailing nasturtiums, colorful blooms and greenery in Isabella Stewart Gardener’s courtyard on the Fenway in Boston. Inspired by her travels in Venice, Mrs. Gardener designed the garden as part of the museum she established on the Fenway and opened to the public in 1903. It is sure to be a colorful exhibit.
Kim Sestak and Andrea Kukulka from the Garden Club of Mansfield will be creating a Miniature Gardens for the very first time this year. Kim reports that "Andrea and I are thrilled to be participating in our first exhibition at the Flower Show. My mother-in-law and I have been attending the show for many years and the miniature garden window box exhibits were always our favorites. I have been curious about these gardens for years, and when the opportunity cam along I just jumped in knowing it would be a great opportunity and a learning process."
Kim and Andrea have been busy scrambling for plants and eyeing everything to see if it can fit that one inch is equal to one foot scale. Kim dug through two foot of snow looking for garden plants and is keeping her fingers crossed that they will be ready for exhibition by mid-March They also rummaged through a trailer of over winterized plants at Osburne Nursery, scraped moss off the ground at Patrick Lyons Greenhouse and worked with the owner of Evergreen Tree and Landscape to dig through the ice to open his greenhouse doors. They have been growing seeds and rooting whatever they find. Neither gardener can sit at their kitchen tables with their family any longer, since the tables are covered in plants.
Andrea and Kim’s Miniature garden will feature a typical home owner’s landscape. The idea for the home garden was inspired by this year’s Flower Show theme: "A Burst of Color - Celebrating the Container Garden." Kim says "After such a long winter covered with an endless blanket of snow, we really welcome the lush color of green and every color thereafter is a bonus. The warmth of color fills the air as the gardener puts into action what was planned over the winter’s rest." They will use careful staging of blooms to provide instant color and draw ones eye away from the sides of the boxes, just like in the garden, color can be used to help draw the gardens to a closer living outdoor space. Andrea reports "One can manipulate the canvas more easily with container gardening than a garden bed. Even garden accessories and hardscape have their role in the overall tapestry." They hope the viewer can embrace the colors that nature has given and embellish it with ones own sense of uniqueness.
Fred Perry of Somerset is designing a classic courtyard in which visitors will look into the garden, peering through the architecture of a colonnade. A small fountain will bubble into crossing channels that divide the enclosed quadrangle into four sections. The well chosen and diminutive plants within the garden will create a secluded place of beauty. Fred is also the Director of Horticulture at Blithewold Gardens and Arboretum in Bristol, Rhode Island. In his home landscape he has worked with his son Eric to create a miniature railway garden. This is the first time Fred will be going solo in designing a Miniature Garden for the Flower Show. In 1999, he co-designed the gold medal winning miniature that also won the Historic Landscape Award for the whole show.
The final Miniature garden will be created by Debi Hogan and Warren Leach of Seekonk, although their garden will be for display only - not for judging, since Debi and Warren are co-chairing the Miniature Gardens this year. The were instrumental in finding exhibitors, judges and bringing the Miniatures back to the Show this year. Warren is also co-owner of Tranquil Lake Nursery in Rehoboth.
Debi and Warren are working on their seventh Miniature Garden. They designed their first garden for the New England Spring Flower show in 1994. A year later when the Miniature Gardens were pulled out of the Flower Design competition and given their own status, Debi and Warren were asked to Co-Chair the Miniature Gardens Competition and guide it towards independent status. They Chaired the Miniature Gardens for the New England Spring Flower Shows in 1995 and 1996, exhibiting a garden just for display in 1996. In subsequent years, they entered competitive miniature gardens in 1999, 2006, 2007 and 2008, winning a gold medal each year and also winning the silver bowl for First place among the Miniature Gardens three times and the Historic Landscape Award for the entire show three times, competing against all the other gardens in the show, including the larger landscapes.
This year Debi and Warren will create a miniature garden that is the archetype of Persian garden, originating from the marriage of a rich cultural heritage, artistic expression and environmental responsiveness to a hot dry climate. The visitor will look through the window to see a garden oasis composed of the playful use of water represented by geometric rills, pools and fountains surrounded by the colorful architecture of the Persian culture. Plants in this dry climate are used sparingly for shade and structure with responsiveness to the hot and dry environment. Drought tolerant plants will be emphasized .