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Guest Blogger Lisa Harkins

March 7, 2011

On day 4 of exhibition week, things really start to shape up.  Collections that were once in binders and bins are now arranged beautifully on the walls, and it is time for the finishing touches.  One of our favorite rituals is the bringing-in of the flowers.

photos © Gail Harker

Students could just opt to purchase store-bought arrangements from the local florist, but for several years now, it has been a tradition to have Deb Mitchell or myself come in and decorate with cuttings from the 3-acre garden of Marjorie Bachert.  We can find a wide range of interesting plant material at nearly any time of year, but early March was really pushing it this time.

This time, my signature purple buckets were filled with Douglas fir boughs (downed in the recent windstorm), cedar branches, sword ferns, and a viburnum I was lucky to have blooming this early. We were very lucky to have some color from the early spring flowers at our local market. Photo ©Leslie Barnes

I am not a flower arranger by training, but the design skills I have learned here at the Center come daily into my life in so many interesting ways.  Space, color, shape, texture, balance, and contrast all enter my  mind as I try to create arrangements worthy of being in the company of such lovely work by the students.  The education I received here has made thinking outside of the box a habit, and so I came prepared with a few extra aces in my pocket.

I had hoped for blood oranges, but these grapefruit slices suited the purpose nicely. Photo © Gail Harker

The next time you cut open a piece of fruit or a vegetable, take a minute to appreciate Nature’s design.  Having your sketchbook nearby is always a bonus!

These brightly-colored slices of bell pepper make an interesting contrast to the straight, green stems behind them. Photo © Gail Harker

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2011 2:57 pm

    What a neat idea for floral arrangements! Oh…and seeing the spring blooms cheered me up. We still have -20C and total snow cover here in Central Alberta. Sigh…

  2. Jill Taylor permalink
    March 7, 2011 5:25 pm

    Great ideas Lisa! I find I often quietly acknowledge what I have learned at the Centre when accessorizing, decorating or even looking at why something really pleases me. When friends ask ‘how did you know that?’, most often the answer is ‘I learned it at Gail’s’. Jill

  3. Leslie B. permalink
    March 8, 2011 4:05 pm

    Lisa, your arrangements were beautiful … the perfect touch of spring that us, from the “Great White North”, crave at this time of year! Not only did their presence add elegance and colour to our exhibit … with the clever addition of fruits and veggies …they were ‘good for us too’! Many thanks!!

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