garden club of virginia fall symposium

Nearly 500 stems will compete for ribbons at the Garden Club of Virginia’s 2018 Fall Symposium.

Spring annuals can be stunning, but the late-season garden is when perennials take center stage and the landscape is awash in jewel tones. Dinner-plate sized dahlias and old-fashioned roses vie with the feathery textures of Russian sage and fall asters.

“A flower show provides a wonderful chance to enhance arranging skills, learn about new plant materials for your garden and simply appreciate the beauty of nature’s bounty,” Jean Gilpin, President of the Garden Club of Virginia, explains. “This year’s Fall Symposium is being held at an exciting new venue – the Science Museum of Virginia – and features a horticulture schedule with 73 classes including one for terrariums,” she tells us. “Nearly 500 stems are expected to compete for ribbons.”

garden club of virginia fall symposium

To show your prize plant, cut prime specimens, bring green glass bottles for display purposes (or clear bottles for roses), and arrive during the entry period.

In keeping with the location, the event’s theme references the naturally occurring chemical elements. They compose most biological molecules on Earth and are essential to plants. While Artistic Design and Photography require preregistration, entering the Horticulture Division does not. The club encourages participants to cut prime specimens, bring green glass bottles for display purposes (or clear bottles for roses), and arrive during the entry period. Garden Club of Virginia volunteers will help register, identify specimens and prepare stems for judging. “This will be the most fun, least intimidating and most colorful show of the season,” Gilpin says with a smile.

garden club of virginia fall symposium

The program includes workshops, speakers, and a comprehensive show that features not only horticulture, but photography and artistic design, as well as sixteen boutique vendors.

“And if that’s not enough, the Symposium kicks off with our popular Flower Arranging School, featuring Holly Chapple. She’s a trendsetter in the floral industry and a member of our very own Leesburg Garden Club. We are thrilled she is participating,” exclaims Jennifer Kelley, the Chair of the event taking place September 25 and 26, 2018. “The two-day program is packed with workshops, speakers, a comprehensive show that features not only horticulture, but photography and artistic design, as well as sixteen boutique vendors. There are five ticketed events,” she continues.

Memphis Garden District, Florist to the Field

One of the ticketed events is a talk and floral demonstration with Greg Campbell and Erick New, owners of the Memphis floral design shop Garden District and authors of Florists to the Field.

“In addition to Holly, we are hosting the Memphis-based authors of the new book Florists to the Field, as well as Chip Callaway, who has created over 1,000 gardens in locations all over the world,” she shares.  “The GCV Conservation Committee is holding a panel discussion on tips for use in the home garden. The Garden Club of Virginia’s landscape architect will talk about current restoration projects made possible by our Historic Garden Week tours. Both these presentations, and so much of the Symposium, is open to the public at no cost. It’s really a great opportunity to meet other people with common interests in horticulture, artistic design, conservation and restoration,” Kelley says.

Find full event details and register to exhibit at GCVSymposium.org.

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By Karen Cauthen Ellsworth | Photography by Missy Janes

About the Garden Club of Virginia

Founded in 1920, the Garden Club of Virginia exists to celebrate the beauty of the land, conserve the gifts of nature and challenge future generations to build on this heritage. The 3,300-member organization presents educational programs, funds the restoration and preservation of Virginia’s historic gardens and landscapes, and provides financial support for community conservation and beautification projects, for research fellowships in landscape architecture and environmental studies, and for projects in Virginia State Parks.