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Flower show visit puts a spring in steps of garden-minded Islanders
With Valentine bouquets just a fragrant memory, last week's Rhode Island Spring Garden and Flower Show provided some much-needed floral therapy for Islanders longing for a respite from winter's bleak landscape.
Sandtasia sculptor Matthew Grace takes the art of building sand castles to new heights, spraying it with a water and glue mixture to make it last. Photos by Janet Hefler
Garden displays incorporated the show's theme, "Artistic Impressions." Winning entries in the Rhode Island Federation of Garden Clubs' "Art in the Garden" competition provided a creative potpourri of color, scent, and beauty. The show also offered cooking demonstrations and seminars on gardening and landscaping.
"Tea for Two" took first place and best in show among the garden displays. A flowerbed crisscrossed with violet-blue patches of lavender plants contrasted by orange primroses and a Korean maple tree ringed with black velvet begonias framed the scene for a charming patio with a table set for tea.
Although it looked ambitious for a novice gardener, Alan McLaughlin, owner of Garden Designs of Newport, said his design featured something for everyone, from the plant-and-neglect type to the conscientious. For example, lavender, a perennial, requires minimal care once established, he said, and would grow well on Martha's Vineyard.
For Vineyarders, it looked a lot like home, with juniper, pines, blueberry and shad bushes, inkberry, and many other familiar natives. "Almost everything in this exhibit will grow on Martha's Vineyard," Mr. Donnelly pointed out. Betsy Cabana of Vineyard Haven marveled that the warm convention center air had brought out buds, blossoms and shoots of new growth on some of the bushes and trees.
Tom Carberry of West Tisbury designed this osprey made of cedar so that its eyes would appear to light up as the sun sets behind it.
Other exhibits included water gardens and pondscapes, complete with brightly colored koi fish. Not just limited to flowers and gardens, however, the show also provided everyone with a day at the beach, watching sand sculptors Matthew Grace and Jessica DiConstanzo in action.
The two artists from Sandtasia, a company owned by Ms. DiConstanzo's brother Steve Topazio, carefully carved intricate designs including animals, flowers, and faces on a towering, 10-foot high, three-dimensional sand sculpture.
Adding a touch of Martha's Vineyard to the show, an osprey made of cedar pieces by Tom Carberry of West Tisbury perched on high in the exhibit hall lobby. He also created a sculpture of a woman featured in "The Feminine Garden" display by Nancy Jensen Carliss, a former Island resident and owner of Vetra horticultural services in Falmouth.
A cleverly designed lizard necklace made of greenery and flower petals wrapped itself around a first-place ribbon.
Projects included clever uses of plant materials in decorating everyday objects, including high-heeled shoes and pillows. A lizard made out of plant materials, its tail winding around to form it into a necklace, looked almost real