Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Floral Competition at the Northwest Flower and Garden Orgy

In the hallway on the way to the booths to buy your ticket (if you haven't planned ahead and bought yours online ahead of time) are the floral arrangements that are part of the Floral Competition. With my new interest in flower arranging, they distracted me before I ever got inside, so they were the first thing I started taking photos of (not that I'm ever going to create anything with my new cutting garden that is as spectacular as these).

I've always found them notoriously difficult to photograph. Placed in front of big windows with white curtains draped in back of them, these arrangements are so large that they have elements that stray into each other's space, or they tower higher than the curtains. If you step back far enough to take in all of the arrangement, you risk bleaching out the background so much that what you actually want to photograph becomes too dark. I did the best I could. Closeups are easier. I don't usually stay at the show after dark, but maybe next year I'll take my pictures after the sun goes down. Even our winter gray skies can be too much when the windows are Convention Center-big.

Forest Friends
The Art of Forest Blooms
Designer: Michelle Pedersen

I'm undecided on whether I like the animal props

Fena Flowers 
Flowers After Hours
Designer: The Fena Team
Second place winner

Fresh Proteas and black Calla lilies -- I thought this was yummy

There were three of these hanging baubles -- love them!

July Floral Design
Let's Celebrate
Designer: Tess MacDonald
Those colors don't say July to me -- but they do say "Valentine's Day" -- or maybe "I've just given birth to a baby girl"

I thought those roses almost didn't look real -- I probably shouldn't have, but I touched that big one to make sure it wasn't paper!

I loved that Monstera leaf -- Ravenna was selling them at their booth

Ikebana by Megumi
Majestic Spring
Designer: Megumi Schacher

First Place Winner --  but it didn't appeal to me

I do love a bi-toned rose though

And all those sprays of this tiny bright yellow orchid were rather special

Tobey Nelson Events & Design
The Life of the Party
Designer: Tobey Nelson

Spiders usually give me the creeps, but these little guys made me chuckle

Who can resist a Gloriosa lily?

A luscious yellow rose set amidst very PNW-ish lichenous twigs

Tiare Floral Design Studio
Movement in the Garden
Designer: Thomasi Boselawa

I don't quite get the bottle -- to me it feels like it doesn't belong, but this was the Third Place winner

Festive Florals
The Flower Lady
Designer: Vivian Darst

I liked this magnificent riot of colors -- although it had kind of an FTD feel to it

Another bicolor rose

Do you have a favorite? I don't think I could have chosen one. There were things I liked about all of them. There were also a couple from the competition that I didn't include -- for reasons.


  1. We watched some of the arrangers working on them on Tuesday, and talked to several of them. I did like the first place winner, because of the colors and the way out there form that was still in perfect balance.
    We saw the art glass pieces of the last one in your photos before it was all arranged, and the glass is wonderful, but is completely overshadowed by the riot of color of the flowers, which I also loved.

  2. Thanks for sharing these, Alison! I liked "Flowers After Hours" and "Let's Celebrate" best, although all were much more complicated that I have patience to create myself. I'm more of a plonker than an artist when it comes to flower arranging. Florists have it easy in a sense in that they usually have a large number of flowers (many of them out-of-season locally) to work with. Options are more limited when you're selecting materials from your own garden but that actually spurs a different kind of creativity. Your post reminded me that I need to find a spot to grow Monstera deliciosa...

  3. Oh I would love to hear your reasons! I’ve edited my photos for Monday’s IAVOM post and included a couple you didn’t, and didn’t include at least one that you did (FTD, I’d bordered on funeral-like for me, although too colorful). I agree they are so damn hard to photograph! Oh and the “July” arrangement, that’s the name of the florist I think, not the creation?

  4. Having just returned from a few days in Palm Springs I have to say that the first-place winner would have been 100% at home in just about any interior space there (every last thing is MCM). Those Alliums are so, so atomic.
    And while I admit that she's a personal friend of mine, I think Tobey Nelson's is my favorite largely because of the sticks she used.

  5. Very cool! But I'd probably poke an eye out if I got too close to a few of the arrangements.

  6. I agree with you, Alison - it's so difficult to photograph these arrangements! I even think they all would look better in a different spot. Thank you for posting your pictures! I didn't even reach to my camera this time.
    I don't have any flower-arranging skills, so I appreciate designers' imagination and fantasy. Do I like them or not? ... just give me a bunch of daisies in a simple glass jar!

  7. Difficult to pick a favorite. The forrest friends appeal to my love for miniatures fairy gardens so I can forgive the animal props. Others appeal to my love of color and design. No, I can't pick just one!

  8. Some nice arrangements, but where's the orgy?


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