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Fruit & Floral FANTASTIC!

September 10, 2009

This display--a FIRST for Longwood Gardens--was made up of five parts, includinga vegetable chandelier that measured 12' across and more than 15' tall. Our staff members harvested more than 2,000 ears of field corn from the perimeter land to create this gargantuan hanging exhibit. Two hundred pounds of squash and close to 500 individual lemons were wired to a frame that was built by Longwood's metal craftsmen. Guests were greeted as they approached the chandelier by an archway of  artichokes flanked by two towers of glowing red tomatoes! Thousands of people enjoyed the second part, made up of ten creative floral designs that anchored the display on the ground level.  Participants in a Continuing Education class called Grand-Scale Harvest Designs created award-winning compositions based on criteria supplied by myself and Longwood's designer.  Some of the selections were Primary, Complementary, and Monochromatic color palettes, plant families including Cucurbitaceae, Brassicaceae, and Solanaceae and well as an American Native, Underground and WILDCARD! categories.  Congratulations to all who participated in the tireless evolution of the floral arts. 

The third portion of the display consisted of the community harvest design competition.  There were children and adult divisions with four categories each.  Janet B. won Best in Show--Adult for her eggplant creation while Kayla H. earned Best in Show--Children's for her underwater scene. In the Homegrown--Adult category Lee A.

took first and Dan H. scored a close second.  In the Store-bought Veggie--Adult category, 1st went to Linda G., 2nd to Colleen R. and 3rd to Karl G.  Veggie Critter--Adult winners were: 1st-Janet B., 2nd-Terry A., 3rd-Janet B., and Honorable Mention to Grace A., Michelle C., Kat M. and Lee A. In the Children's Category we were overwhelmed with veggie critters and the winners are tied: 2nd-Emily M. & Luz L., 3rd-David A. & Nicole F. Honorable Mention went to Susana G., Andrew S., Emily M., Anna W., Shawn S., Eliza W. and Bobby A. The fourth part of the display was produce grown, harvested and artfully arranged by Longwood Gardens.  A special thanks goes out to the Idea Garden team including Adam, Susan and Harold for their dedication to making this part of the display better than ever!

Medium giant pumpkinLastly we were able to secure a giant pumpkin (to the tune of 875 pounds!) which was grown and carved by Gus Smithhisler of Ohio.  His pumpkin carvings have been featured in numerous state fairs across the Mid-west as well as in the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas!  His interpretation of Longwood Gardens' year of pollination was artfully executed in the carving of flowers being pollinated by hummingbirds and bees.  Notice the veggie critter pollinators attached to the pumpkin! A special thanks goes out to all the staff, volunteers and community participants who put in countless hours of planning and execution, cleanup and drilling to make this kickoff weekend such a stellar success!  Be on the lookout for plans of next year's event, which promises to be even bigger and better!  Mark your calendars now and start planning your designs for next year!