The Connecticut Flower and Garden Show, “Backyard Paradise”, was recently held in Hartford. It was the 33rd show organized by the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut which is an educational, charitable non-profit organization made up of 7,053 individual members and 151 local clubs. Its mission is to coordinate, stimulate and encourage higher standards in all aspects of Garden Club work and to protect and conserve our natural resources, preserve our heritage and promote civic beauty. Along with beautiful landscaped gardens, 300 booths and informational seminars, the highlight of the event was a Standard Flower Show which included floral design, horticulture exhibits, photograph display and educational exhibits.

The Long Hill Garden Club won many accolades. One of the club’s master designers, Evelyn Shapiro, won a Blue Ribbon in a category entitled, “The Fire Pit,” featuring a design that utilized weathered wood. Another of our master designers, Terry Stoleson, exhibited in a category entitled, “Birds in Flight.” Terry brought back another Blue Ribbon. In addition, Terry received the Designer’s Choice Award (which is a National Garden Club’s Top Award) and the Terry Stoleson Award  — a top award named in her honor which is offered to the design that best represents the creativity, imagination and originality essential in Creative Design.

Cathy Ritch, a newly accredited judge, exhibited in a category entitled “Down the Shore,” an underwater design. Cathy received not only the Blue ribbon for her design, but also the Tri-Color Award (an NGC Top Award) and the Award of Design Excellence, which is a National Garden Clubs Award for the highest scoring design exhibit. New to the show this year was a Photography Division. Nancy Lenoce exhibited three visually striking photos. The judges agreed — she received a Blue Ribbon for her color photograph of a single rose, a second place for her black and white photograph of a single flower, and an Honorable Mention for her photograph of a Spring Moment. Dagny Hassinger entered the show for the first time this year in the Novice Class and came home with a yellow ribbon, a great achievement for a first-timer. The Club Competition category was entered by Pattie Pitts and Arlene Field. The Section was titled, “The Potting Shed” - “Planting Party” which brought home a Blue ribbon and also the Club Competition Award. It also secured the Nell McGuinness Award which is given for the most outstanding design exhibit.  Cheryl and Rudy Basztura built the potting bench for the vignette.