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Fruits of the Season

September 1, 2009

A Grand-scale Harvest Design. A Grand-scale Harvest Design.

For a brief window spanning September 5-7, 2009 Longwood Gardens will host the Harvest Design Competition & Display. This exciting new display is the kickoff event of the Autumn's Colors Season (September 7- November 22). Anchoring this display will be the creation of a 12-foot-wide vegetable chandelier by Longwood staff. More than 250 ears of golden corn, 125 pounds of yellow squash and close to 500 individual lemons will be suspended from the roof of the Exhibition Hall.  Guests will walk through an archway of artichokes more than 10 feet tall as they enter the display. Flanking the entry will be two towers of tomatoes made up of more than 100 pounds of tomatoes each! Underneath the chandelier, visitors can enjoy a spectacular display of Grand-Scale Harvest Designs created by students of Longwood Gardens' Continuing Education program. Expect to see literally THOUSANDS of vegetables artfully arranged with hundreds upon hundreds of stems of fresh cut flowers. The designs will reflect varied themes. A few of my favorite themes are Tropical, including pineapples and ginger, and American Natives like goldenrod and corn. Color themes include complementary and primary pallettes. Plant family themes include Solanaceae (tomoato & potato), Brassicaceae (cauliflower & Brussels sprouts) and Cucurbitaceae (cucumbers & watermelon). You are invited to participate in the judged portion of the exhibit. Make your own Harvest Design to compete for the cash prizes. Ensure that only natural elements are used and your entry fits one of the following categories: 1) Homegrown 2) Purchased at a local farmstand 3) Purchased from the supermarket 4) Vegetable critter-see Vanessa's work!Visit the Longwood Gardens website for more information on entering the competition. Children may enter all categories to compete against their own age group.

Vegetable critters. Vegetable critters.

The exciting list of celebrity judges consists of test garden manager Sandra Gerdes from Better Homes & Gardens Magazine, executive director Bill Thomas of Chanticleer Garden and floral artist Michael A. Hasco, AIFD.  This distinguished group will carefully examine the entries beginning at 9:00 am on Saturday the 4th. Winners will be contacted after judging is complete. While the fruits of the season will catch your eye in the Exhibition Hall, be sure to notice all the chrysanthemums in the conservatory beds, too! This is the earliest we have ever had exhibition-style chrysanthemums on display at Longwood Gardens. Each single-stem mum takes considerable care and attention to produce such an award winning display. Check back next week as we recap winners of  the Fruit & Floral Weekend as well as explore more autumnal plants in-depth!