Across the Nation / Across the World

Palm Beach Social Diary: Hort Couture

The Garden Club of Palm Beach's biennial Garden Club of America show attracted the town's most capable green thumbs including this cultivar propagated by Polly Jones.
Hort Couture: A Garden Club of America Flower Show
presented by The Garden Club of Palm Beach

By Augustus Mayhew

As conscientiously as Garden Club of Palm Beach members nurture their roses and orchids, the group’s Garden Club of America Flower Show titled Hort Couture demonstrates that they also enjoy lighthearted moments. As adept at whimsy as wonder, the organization’s aesthetic efforts left the more than 250 guests at Friday night preview cocktail party both spellbound and entertained. The purpose of  the biennial flower show is to set standards of artistic and horticultural excellence; broaden knowledge of horticulture, floral design, photography, and other related areas; and, to share the beauty of a show with fellow club members and with the public.  Staged in the Esther O’Keeffe Gallery at The Society of the Four Arts, the Garden Club offers free admittance to the weekend showcase.

The show’s chairmen were Mary Pressly and Mary Webster. The preview party chairs were Patt Sned and Sue Strickland, who will be next year’s club president following current president Vicky Hunt’s term. Division chairs and class consultants were Lisa Bertles, Ann Blades, Terrie Davis, Beth Dowdle, Annette Dowell, Vickie Denton, Connie Geisler, Missy Geisler, Heather Henry, Cindy Hoyt, Kathy Klaine, Jean Matthews, Liz Matthews, Cat Miller, Carrie Murray, Kit Pannill, Ginny Parker, Jane Foster, Liz Matthews, Nancy Murray, Sugar Thebaut, Susan Van Pelt, Kathy Weller, and Alex Woodfield. In keeping with the couture theme, the Botanical Arts division included Much Ado about a Shoe, Something to Hold Onto (handbags), and How Fashion Launched a National Conservation Movement, relating tothe feather craze that once threatened South Florida’s birdlife. The Floral Design classes featured Bespoke, Pleated and Ruffled, On Pins and Needles, Seam Ripper, Patterns, and Hort Couture — a dress created from a botanical dream bedecked on a mannequin.

Among the GCA award winners were Elizabeth Matthews (The Dorothy Vietor Munger Award & The Sandra Baylor Novice Floral Design Award); Mary Pressly (The Harriett DeWaele Puckett Creativity Award); Brantley Knowles (The Catherine Beattie Medal); Kit Pannill (The Rosie Jones Horticulture Award); Coelsie Sterling (The Photography Creativity Award); and Alexandra Oelsner & Carrie Murray (The Botanical Arts Creativity Award). GCA Novice Awards were given to Gail Morey and Annette Dowell. The Garden Club of Palm Beach’s “The Last Egret” exhibition received The Marion Thompson Fuller Brown Conservation Award.

The Garden Club Of Palm Beach honored Cindy Hoyt and Betsy Matthews (The Bunny Nelson Memorial Trophy); Diane Festa and  Mary Doffermyre (Traditional Arrangement Award); Kit Pannill (Best Orchid in Show, Sweepstakes Award, and The GC of PB’s Silver Cup); Vicky Hunt (Best Novice in Orchids Award; Gay Lehman (The Bunnie DuPont Hibiscus Trophy); Linda Beaty (The Miriam Rosengarten Memorial Trophy); Christina Kramer (The JoJo Walton Memorial Trophy); Brantley Knowles (The Frances Archbold Trophy); and Polly Reed (The William G. Pannill Photography Trophy).

10 April 2015
Garden Club of Palm Beach Preview Party
Esther B. O’Keeffe Gallery at The Society of the Four Arts
At the Garden Club's preview cocktail party, guests were greeted by a pair of flanking mannequins and poodles, conveying the exhibition's Hort Couture concept.
A vintage '60s VW Beetle topped with fashionable boxes and filled with blooms served as the exhibition's centerpiece, complete with GCA tire hubcaps and Hort Couture license plate. Mary Webster and Mary Pressly served as the show's graphic designers.
Vicky Hunt, president of the Garden Club of Palm Beach, welcomed more than 250 guests to the cocktail party that benefits the club's civic-minded endeavors.
As well as serving as the show's co-chairman and graphic designer, Mary Webster entered her floral designs in several divisions.
Mary Pressly, the show's co-chairman, also took a First Award-Best in Show in the Botanical Arts division.
Sue Strickland, the preview party co-chairman, will serve as next year's club president.
Patt Sned, the preview party's co-chair.
An award-winning orchid from Kit Pannill's collection.
Brantley Knowles' bonsai earned a series of awards.
"A sophisticated and dramatic showpiece of rhythmic and textural interplay," commented the judge, awarding Brantley Knowles a Second Award for this display.
Brantley Knowles.
Ginny Parker's Third Award was "a rhythmic and masterful use of space," according to the judge.
Wylene Commander.
This "Bella Dona" lily brought a Third Award for Polly Jones.
Dudley and Peggy Moore.
Liz Matthews.
Elizabeth Matthews – GCA Dorothy Vietor Munger Award.
Cindy Hoyt, First Award: "The simplistic approach has design distinction."
The Traditional Arrangement Trophy. Best in Show Floral Design. Diane Festa, Peachtree Garden Club and Mary Doffermyre (GCPB). "There is no better designer than nature." – Alexander McQueen.
"I'm Sew Sew Tangled Up" won Mary Pressly a Third Award.
Betty Scaff.
Marion Fox.
Guests enjoyed an array of hors d'oeuvres from Christafo's.
The Esther O'Keeffe Gallery was the setting for the Garden Club's GCA Flower show.
Vicky Hunt's butterfly bag made for a distinctive entry and a Second Award.
Anne Scott's alligator bag was judged a Second Award — "Fascinating. Eloquent expression of colors, contrasts and textures."
Mary Pressly's prize-winning shoe was deemed Best in Show in the Botanical Arts division.
Seaside Bling! — one of my favorites ...
An award-winning cutting of sculptural quality.
A notable entry.
Bromeliads of mention.
Lee LaPointe's winning design was described by the judge as "Exotic enticing plant material, bursting forth in an exuberant design."
Trey and Lizzi Sned.
Charlie and Anne Pepper.
Beth Dowdle.
Holly Breeden and Bill Dunphy.
Peter and Diana Gonzalez.
Joe and Carol Flanagan.
"Clashing reds create dramatic effect," wrote the judge describing Carol Flanagan and Alexandra Oelsner's Honorable mention award.
Kathy Weller.
John and Lisa Cregan.
John and Ingrid Johnson.
Palm Beach Town Councilwoman Penny Townsend.
Polly Reed and Wylene Commander.
Preview party guests toured the gallery's various exhibitions.
Christina Kramer's First Award received the Garden Club of Palm Beach's JoJo Walton Memorial Trophy.
Photography by Augustus Mayhew.

Augustus Mayhew is the author of Lost in Wonderland – Reflections on Palm Beach.