For many years I have been involved with the Philadelphia Flower Show and credit it with much of my floral design experience and with a vast number of what I call my “flower friends.”  Each year brings familiar faces of people who I know not only from their faces but from the designs they have created over the years.  

I am always excited to see new exhibitors who will keep the legacy of the design classes alive and bring new ideas.  Entering the show for the first time can be a daunting experience but I tell my Longwood Gardens students that it is a great way to learn and hone your design skills.

This year I entered the show with my granddaughter, Madeline.  We chose the class Élancé-–A tall arrangement in the Open Platform space.  Our inspiration was from years ago when Madeline would come to my workshop and wrap wires around floral tubes.  So we watched a couple of movies and wrapped many tubes (only used a few) with paper, wool, and wire.

Water tubes were wrapped with paper, wire, and wool in colors of purple, pink, and green.

Madeline works on our tall garland.  Notice her new left handed floral shears on the pedestal.


Our color palette was purples and pinks and we created a boxwood garland by making a chicken wire form filled with boxwood.  To add height above the vase we made gold wire forms and carried them down the side of the vase.  

Lots and lots of flowers were placed in our tubes and we tried to create lines of lighter colors with cream lisianthus and coral peonies, and darker shades of purple lisianthus and an array of wonderful purple carnations.  A few orchids and some leucocoryne and fritillaria were for botanical interest. 

Leococoryne is available from Japan and is quite long lasting.  It is not very well known yet, but I love it and had it special ordered for our arrangement.



Transporting a tall design is always a challenge.  At 5:30 a.m. we loaded Madeline into the car with her arms around the vase, garland and all.  

Once at the Convention Center we then unloaded the flowers and supplies and went back to the car to bring up the arrangement.  It needed to be carried with one person holding the vase and the other holding the trail of garland much like a bridal veil.

Once out of the car and onto our pedestal we worked to put flowers into the tubes that we already wired to the garland and added more where there were gaps in the color wave. 


Finished design was judged and we were thrilled to be awarded the red ribbon, second place in a class with many strong entries.

Here we are smiling at our success and the fun we had creating something beautiful.

This is a picture of our comment cards and ribbon. All of the flowers are listed at the bottom and there is a spelling error in leucocoryne but my hope is no one but me noticed.

Madeline and I enjoyed the process of exhibiting together and just across the aisle was her mother going solo in the small niche class. It was a great morning for the Richard/Godshalk family and I am very proud of both of our talented “girls.” Another plus for me was the two former Longwood Gardens floral design students won blue ribbons that day.