Despite the seemingly countless storms that drenched the region this summer, area horticulturalists somehow maintained their prized gardens in the face of torrential rain, hail and the occasional tornado watch.
On Friday, Aug. 16 and Saturday, Aug. 17 at St. Ephrem Catholic Church, 5400 Hulmeville Road, Bensalem, their work was proudly showcased in the Trevose Horticultural Society’s 96th annual flower show. The free event, which welcomed nearly 400 attendees, featured more than 500 horticultural entries, 28 artistic, junior and senior designs, and a handful of educational exhibits.
“Despite the rainy season, people still had things to bring in,” said Karen Wychock, show chairperson. “Tomatoes weren’t as big this year, just because there was too much rain, but we had everything. Not only fruits, but vegetables.”
The theme of this year’s show, chosen by Wychock, of Warrington, was Birds of a Feather.
“Most people who garden are familiar with birds in their yard. It’s a common thing. If they have a garden, they tend to see birds,” she explained. “I thought it would be something to attract people who not only garden, but also people who enjoy the birds or just having nature in their garden.”
Birds of a Feather was reflected in the meticulously-designed artistic arrangements, the winners of which were recently announced.
Wychock received both the National Garden Club Award of Design Excellence and the Designer’s Choice Award for her unique interpretation of “Migration,” a stretch design. She also earned the Society’s Sweepstakes Design trophy for most blue ribbons in the Artistic Design Division.
A colorful tray design “Eat Like A Bird,” entered by Aurea Almazan, of Philadelphia, won the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania Award of Special Recognition and the Society’s Dorothy Hoffman Novice Award. Almazan was part of the novice class.
“We always try and encourage new members. We offer a novice class for people who have never won a blue ribbon in a flower show before,” said Wychock. “They feel like they’re competing with like-minded people who aren’t well-versed in design.”
A number of members and local gardeners earned multiple ribbons in the Horticultural Division. Ruth Aumann, of Feasterville, was the top winner, receiving both the NGC Horticultural Excellence and Grower’s Choice Awards for her combination planter. Aumann also earned the Society’s Joseph Caravan Award for her “Free as a Bird” botanical arts dish garden entry, and the Society’s Stella Matzak Award for her “Garden-Scaping” combination planter.
Lynn Kay, of Bensalem, won the NGC Arboreal Award for her cut specimen of “Pinky Winky” hydrangea, and an Award of Merit for a cut specimen of impatiens. Grower’s Choice Awards were given to Heidi Helmich, of Levittown, for her specimen of cactus, and Ruth Kurtz, of Warminster, for her potted orchid. Kurtz also received the Award of Merit for her cut stem of coleus.
Awards of Merit were given to Rae Glasgow, of Bensalem, for her distinctive cut basil, Lynn Whalen, of Langhorne, for her collection of dahlias, and Richard Haney for his long hot Italian roaster peppers.
In accordance with the theme, the flower show featured a display of more than 30 bird houses. These were decorated by residents of the Bensalem Senior Center and children participating in the summer art camp hosted at the senior center.
Three educational exhibits were also on hand to help broaden the public’s environmental awareness. John James Audubon: American Ornithologist, Naturalist and Painter, coordinated by Wychock, was awarded the NGC Educational Award. Her exhibit featured Audubon, who is known for his extensive studies documenting all types of American birds, as well as his detailed illustrations that depicted birds in their natural habitats.
Blanche Gottel, owner of The Plant Lady of Bucks County LLC., received the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania Education and Conservation Silver Award for her exhibit Birds of a Feather – Life is Better with Families. The display featured plant families classified by genus, family and major groups, and showcased three plant families that are easy to grow and maintain in most households and offices.
Finally, the informative exhibit Native Plants and Birds, coordinated by Stacy Carr Poole, executive director of the Bucks County Audubon Society, received the Society’s Award of Appreciation. Her display highlighted how to provide food and shelter for birds and other wildlife, as well as plants that are vital to a healthy ecosystem and planet.
Planning for the 2020 flower show will commence in January, and Wychock stressed that anyone is welcome to enter. The Trevose Horticultural Society also accepts new members throughout the year, and meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Bensalem Senior Center, 1850 Byberry Road.
“We really need some new young blood. A lot of our members are older, our seniors, and we’d love to get some new people who like to garden or just like plants in general,” Wychock said. “You can garden on your windowsill in an apartment, or you can have an acre of property in your backyard with a garden. We try to appeal to both groups.” ••
Visit trevosegardeners.org for more information.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org