Garden Club Hosts Flower Design Classes

Ahead of the annual Strawberry Festival Flower Show, Lebanon Garden Club members offered flower design classes to encourage more submissions this year.

Every year, most of the design submissions in the flower show are from club members, but the flower show is supposed to be a community event, member Merrie Wales said. She suggested flower design classes as a way to encourage more engagement in the flower show.

People watch Renata Stenko use a pink colander as part of her flower design presentation. Photos by Sarah Brown

“As you can see, it’s apparently a good thing,” she said, noting the large turnout at the first class.

On April 18 Club member Renata Stenko presented the first of a series of four classes held at the senior center. Stenko demonstrated some designs showing water and stones, which is one of the categories in the flower show.

“What is really important is your vase or container,” she told the crowd.

She presented some of her favorite vases of various shapes and colors, but mentioned that people can use other items such as baskets or anything unusual that can, essentially, hold water (or hide a jar). In fact, she used a pink colander for one of her designs, utilizing water-holding containers inside the colander to hold the flowers.

Using flowers and foliage found in her garden, on hikes and at floral shops, Stenko created six different designs based on categories in this year’s flower show that require the use of stones or showing water.

Each year, the flower show theme is based on the Strawberry Festival theme. For this year’s “Strawberry Circus” theme, the flower design categories have titles such as “rock candy,” “water ring toss,” “flea circus,” and “the show must go on.” Category titles suggest what a design might depict, but technically the interpretation of a design title is mostly subjective.

The “rock candy” category requires the design to include stones, so Stenko placed stones next to her vase as part of the design. For “water ring toss,” she used ring-shaped objects in her design.

Stenko has been entering flower designs at the flower show for about 10 years and has won many blue ribbons for her entries. She said one of the first design tips she learned was to keep her flower combinations at around three colors.

“You can build in threes, fives, an uneven number,” she recommended. “Uneven numbers just work a little better for artsy design, but if you use four or six it can still look pretty.”

Also, she’s often heard people suggest building the design up by one-and-a-half the size of the container.

There are certain guidelines that must be followed for a chance to win a ribbon, such as measurement maximums and no use of artificial flowers. A handful of judges, usually from outside of the area, select winners for each category.

“Nobody should be discouraged if they don’t get a ribbon,” Stenko said. “At least you have a design you can take home later.”

Using kiwi vines shaped into a ring, Stenko begins adding foliage to the base of a new design for the “water ring toss” category.

The other weekly flower design classes offered by the club included: teacup design (using a teacup), green and petite design (May 2), and miniatures and dried design (May 9).

In addition to the design division, the annual flower show includes a horticultural division and special exhibit. This year, the flower and quilt show will be held in the former Wells Fargo building on the corner of Main and Grant streets.

Entering horticulture and design submissions in the flower show is free of charge. To learn more about how to submit entries in the horticulture or design divisions, contact Merrie Wales at 530.936.7464 or email [email protected].