National Flower Arrangers

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“It was fabulous!”….“the best trip ever!”, and many other superlatives were expressed by the 16 NATIONAL FLOWER ARRANGERS Members, who travelled to Bermuda in November 2015, on the invitation of The GARDEN CLUB of BERMUDA, to participate in a Floral Design Exhibition, in conjunction with the CHARMAN PRIZE Art Exhibition at The MASTERWORKS Art Museum, located in the BERMUDA BOTANIC GARDEN.  NFA President, ARABELLA DANE, who has family history in Bermuda, said it would be a wonderful experience….and it was!

The designers were: Arabella Dane (NH); Jeanne Nelson (NY); Penny Decker (FL); Brenda Bingham and Deirdre Gross (NJ); Lois Shuster, Dorthy Yard, Diane Hughes, and Angie Raitano (PA); Pam Hebert (VT); Bobbie Lingard, Mary Huntoon and Bonni Dinneen (MA); Cynthia Hosmer and Ginna Thoma (ME); and Margot Paddock (WI).

On the day of arrival, we made our way to The Fairmont Hamilton Princess and were soon met and whisked off by taxis to two private homes, where we were treated to dinner and met several members of The Garden Club of Bermuda. 

The “challenge” on the first day of the trip was to create floral designs to interpret paintings.  Upon arrival at Masterworks, paintings were assigned and containers, plant materials and design components were provided by The GC of Bermuda members.  The exhibition was opened with a cocktail party that evening, including NFA designers, GC of Bermuda members, invited Bermuda dignitaries, and several of the artists, whose paintings were interpreted.  It was open to the public on the following day.

The remaining four days of the Bermuda trip included dinners in private homes, attending a GC of Bermuda flower show (judged by some NFA members) and meeting in the Botanic Garden Horticulture Hall, touring private homes and gardens, and visiting the Royal Naval Dockyard, an historic area of the island that is being renovated and developed as a major tourist attraction.  A highlight for many of the travelers was the walking tour of the city of St. George, with a horticulture expert docent, and the visit to St. Peters Anglican Church, where NATIONAL GARDEN CLUBS, Inc., during its 2002 Convention Cruise to Bermuda, had planted three cedar trees, which have survived hurricanes and are growing very well. 

Other interesting events: visit to Castle Point, property once owned by Arabella’s grandfather, now known as Tucker’s Point; lunch at the Royal Hamilton Dinghy Club; Glass Beach, where several ladies descended to the beach to pick up “souvenirs” to take home); picnic lunch at the St. George’s Historical Society’s “Mitchell House”; a ferry ride from St. George to Hamilton; dinner at the Beau Rivage Restaurant; and, of course, shopping in Hamilton, in St. George, and at the Dockyard.

All aspects of the trip had tremendous educational value: the hospitality of the members of The GC of Bermuda was exemplary and inspiring; the exchange of ideas and information was equally inspiring; the history of Bermuda as a strategic island in the discovery and development of the Americas is very notable.  The bonus: the beautiful backdrop of unforgettably blue water, subtropical horticulture, and profusion of beautiful flowers, especially the Hibiscus and the “Mystery roses” of Bermuda.