THS Flower Show – ‘Traveling the Orient Express’

by June Portnoy

Trevose Horticultural Society (THS) transported visitors back to the 1920s with this year’s flower show theme, “Traveling the Orient Express,” their annual NGC (National Garden Club) Standard Flower Show which took place last month at St. Ephrem Church in Bensalem.

Karen Wychock, THS flower show chairperson, explained that during the 1920s, people were still traveling The Orient Express, a luxury railroad that initially traveled from Paris to Istanbul.

The Express became synonymous with intrigue and luxury travel, and THS strived to recreate this experience in its entranceway, design categories and exhibits.

As guests entered the show, they approached a replica of a 1920s train station interior with antique luggage and a dress hanging from a clothing rack that dated back to that era.

All design categories were based on the railroad.

Rae Glasgow, a THS member for eight years, won first place in the “Silk Road” design category.

The Silk Road was an ancient network of trade and cultural routes that for centuries served to interconnect the East and West.

All entrants in this category were required to display their arrangement on a 17” square pedestal top.

Rae explained that she used orchids because she could wire them without using water.

She used the silk to cover the workings of her arrangement so they would not show.

According to the judge’s comments, Rae’s design created an “excellent interpretation of a dried dusty silk road.”

Ruth Dorn, a THS member for 20 years, won second place in the novice design category, “Mind the Gap.”

This category required entrants to use a parallel style while interpreting an audible or visual warning reminding rail passengers to use caution while crossing the space between the train door and the station platform.

Eugene Daniano won third place in the design category, “Fit for a King.”

This category required entrants to create a functional table design set for dinner. Each entrant had to name a character with whom he/she would dine with on the railroad’s dining car and then design the table according to that chosen diner guest. Eugene chose to dine with King Tut.

“Once I chose my dinner companion, I went with a gold theme,” described Eugene. “I used red felt on the table to make the design pop. I incorporated white sunflowers in my flower arrangement to represent the sun god who was worshipped during King Tut’s time. I wanted the entire display to exhibit elegance.”

Karen Wychock won first place in the “Crossroads of Europe” design category. Over 126 years, the Orient Express evolved into several routes that provided reliable travel connecting Eastern European cities with Istanbul, Turkey.

Entrants in this category were asked to select one of six destinations along this route.

Karen chose Moulin Rouge, which means red mill in French.

“I used red anthuriums to represent a red mill,” described Karen.

Since Moulin Rouge was known for its French CanCan dancers in the 1920s, Karen also used the red anthuriums to interpret the legs of CanCan dancers.

This category was a framed spatial design, so Karen’s greatest challenge was designing her arrangement while it was suspended in its frame.

Since every comfort was provided to Orient Express travelers, a breakfast tray was delivered to one’s compartment upon request.

Therefore, entrants in the Guten Morgan (meaning good morning in German) design cateogory were asked to decorate a breakfast tray with a small floral arrangement.

The flower show also included three educational exhibits.

Bob Hoffmann, President of the Southeastern PA Garden Railroad Society coordinated an educational exhibit, “Trains Grow Gardens,” in which visitors learned how to create and design outdoor garden railroads.    

Blanche Gottel, owner of The Plant Lady of Bucks County, LLC from Fairless Hills, gave instructions on how to make Kokedama.

Her table, “Reflecting in a Tranquil Asian Garden” featured a miniature Japanese garden using Kokedama based on the Wabi-Sabi characteristics of simplicity, warmth, earthy, irregular, rough, natural acceptance and observation.

In addition, Karen coordinated the exhibit, “Trevose Horticultural Society Past and Present,” featuring the Society’s 95-year history.

The flower show once again included an intergenerational section devoted to youth and seniors from the Bensalem Senior Center.

Children up to 18-years-old decorated plates with a radial design using all natural, dried materials.

Seniors, who grew African violets, competed in the Sponsored Group’s Horticultural Division.

For more information about THS, a member of the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania, contact 215-460-8853.

PHOTO CAP: Karen Wychock, of Warrington, won first place for this design in the “Crossroads of Europe” category.