A crisis was averted for the recent meeting of Epworth and District Flower Club when members learned at very short notice, that the Haxey Memorial Hall couldn’t honour its booking for their open meeting, and salvation appeared in the guise of Stephen and Margaret Jones, Lennie Low and Wendy Perrin who made the Methodist Chapel and Stephen Jones Community Hall available and fit for our Christmas Open demonstration.
Everyone pulled together in true community spirit and soon guests and members were enjoying hot non-alchoholic punch and festive fayre, stylishly arranged on beautifully decorated tables in red and gold by Club members in the community hall, while the Chapel provided the perfect venue for the ‘Autumn into Christmas’ themed floral creations of our guest NAFAS (National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies) demonstrator Janet Hayton from York. With thirty years flower arranging experience, she impressed us with her knowledge of the latin names for varied foliage used, as much as her tales of ‘erotic driving’ on her way home from a demonstration late one night, which attracted the attention of the police. ‘You had to be there’!
Janet’s first design used the colours of burgundy, orange and yellow on a wool-bound frame to inspire a choice of varied textures in foliage, berries and flowers, in a bark covered container. The stunning orange and red ‘Tom Pearce’ Chrysanthemums and ‘Avalanche’ roses evoked ‘wows’ from the audience.
A boat-shaped container was the inspiration for a story about the village pond forming part of her garden which had an island reached by boat using spades for oars! Janet used a shrub called ‘Shoofly’ Nicandra physalodes with purple flowers which dried to black seed pods (great for spraying gold at Christmas). The yellow splashes in ‘Sulphur Heart’ ivy were contrasted against peach and orange roses and aurum lilles, with lime carnations adding impact.
The autumn hues gave way to Christmas themes with a sledge of holly and ivy, red Gerberas, carnations and fir cones with gilded Fatsia leaves, dried Royal Palm leaves and Strelitzia. Talking of her Fatsia or Castor Oil plant, Janet said her garden specimen was very weedy until her neighbour introduced a hot-tub nearby. The plant grew three times as big. But when a vicar moved in, the hot-tub moved out!
According to Google, ‘Upside-down Christmas trees’ were all the rage in 2009. Did you miss that too? Well Janet met a lady who had bought one which delighted her dog, because he could sit underneath it! We were shown how good one could look with a triangular frame in horizontal strips of turquoise and green gold-edged ribbon embellished with gilded Fatsia, manipulated Aspidistera, Molucella (Bells of Ireland), variegated privet, and blue Cupressess, with a focal point of gilded lotus pods, lime-green Anthuriums and ‘Anastasia’ Chrysanthemums. Ribbons and baubles in dark green and turquoise added a different texture and stylish sparkle.
A ‘White Christmas’ was epitomised in Janet’s final arrangement using trailing glittering tassels suspended from white branches with silver leaves, extricating ‘oooos’ from the audience. A silver reindeer posed majestically above variegated Prunus, Rhamnus and Griselinia foliage, complemented by white ‘Avalanche’ roses punctuated with a purple ornamental cabbage. Janet’s last tale was about when as a NAFAS coordinator at Chelsea Flower Show, determined to get a better look at a show garden, she crawled through the ‘undergrowth’ in her best suit to find herself a whisker away from a royal visitor being given a private tour by the Director General of the R.H.S. Her presence had gone unnoticed by all but the bodyguard, who took pleasure in her discomfort at having to stand for 20 minutes until she could exit unseen. The raffle of Janet’s superb arrangements brought the evening to an end with gasps of delight from the lucky winners. Thanks to all who helped and the support of our guests, a good time was had by all.
Club members will be welcomed back to the Stephen Jones Community Hall on December 9 at 7.30pm for the Christmas party. Don’t forget to bring the usual contribution of sweet or savoury buffet food (drinks will be provided), and instead of the usual ‘Secret Santa’ gift, please bring £3 and a small bag of mixed foliage for a mini-workshop led by Sarah Attwell.