Division II Seeks Designers for Next March’s Flower Show

We reprint in its entirety a call for designers sent out by Massachusetts Horticultural Society.  For those floral arrangers out there, this is an opportunity to shine:

If you were at Blooms! last March, one of the indelible memories of that event is likely the spectacular floral interpretation of a dragon created by renowned designer Arabella Dane.  Her colorful, imposing dragon seemed to leap out at passersby, hardly the stereotype of a ‘flower arrangement’.  It drew large crowds, many of them drawn by word of mouth from offices above the exhibit space.  “You gotta go down and see this thing,” people told one another.

Ms. Dane’s creation was part of Blooms!, of course, but was mounted within a segment of Blooms! known as ‘Division II’, or MassHort’s ‘Open Class’.  She was responding to a challenge to ‘interpret the gates of Chinatown’.  And interpret them, she did.

For the past quarter century, MassHort has divided its floral design competition into two pieces.  Division I adheres to the rules of National Garden Clubs, Inc., (NGC) and it produces memorable designs.  But near the top of Division I’s rules is a requirement that an exhibitor must be a member in good standing of an NGC-affiliated club.

“MassHort created Division II to encourage amateurs who weren’t members of NGC clubs to participate,” says Joyce Bakshi, chair of Division II for the 2010 edition of Blooms!, which will be held in conjunction with the Boston Flower & Garden Show in March.  “The Society wanted to find a way to be more inclusive.”

Joining a garden club wouldn’t seem to be a huge hurdle to a would-be designer, but not all designers are gardeners or have the time to join a club, and not all garden clubs are affiliates of NGC.  Also, some very good designers – including many professionals – have careers that preclude joining a club that meets on, say, Thursday mornings.

“Your next-door neighbor may be a very talented amateur,” Joyce says.  “This is their opportunity to get a foothold in the very exciting world of floral design.”

Both divisions follow the same general rules.  The chairman or an appointee writes a ‘schedule’ which becomes the law of the show.  The schedule contains a number of ‘classes’, with a minimum of four entries per class.  Division I’s Class 101, for example, is, “‘Romantic Abandon’, a design in the manner of the Victorian Period staged on a pedestal 36 inches high and 14 inches in diameter”.  To a floral designer, ‘Victorian Period’ is all the description needed to understand what kind of arrangement is acceptable… it’s all in that NGC rulebook.

Division II follows the guidelines of Garden Clubs of America, or GCA.  A casual look at floral designs following NGC and GCA rules might not reveal much difference though, to a judge, the variations might be apparent.  The biggest difference is the club joining requirement. The schedule for Division II on the MassHort website (you can find it here) calls it an ‘Open Class’, which means anyone can enter, including that talented neighbor of yours.

Division II allows designers to express their creativity in ways not allowed under NGC rules.  One isn’t better than the other, just different.  Many designers enter both divisions on different years.

The Garden Club of the Back Bay is affiliated with NGC, so our members may exhibit in either Division.  For those of you who follow this site but are not members of a Garden Club, Division II is for you!