Pacific Horizons 2012
The email had me at “Aloha”! Of course I would jump (fly!) at the invitation to judge the Garden Club of Honolulu’s GCA Major Flower Show: Pacific Horizons 2012. The first flower show in Hawaii was held over 80 years ago in 1931….what a different place it must have been.
Echoes of Rainbows was the show's lyrical, thoughtful theme and celebrated the “magical phenomenon” of rainbows for which these beautiful islands are renowned. Did you know that the islands enjoy eleven of the thirteen climate zones in the world??
The show is held in, and benefits, the Honolulu Academy of Arts which houses two museums, an art school, theater, plus shops and cafes and has long been a cultural center in Honolulu. In keeping with the rainbows theme, GCL members made these whimsical Chihuly-like hanging sculptures out of hundreds of recycled plastic bottles (Recylocium plasticae 'Landfiller' - a highly invasive species) augmented with swirling paint, which were hung in the museum’s main entrance, awaiting the evening’s preview party.
The sprawling buildings and courtyards are the setting for the the show, allowing the enthusiastic crowds ample room to see the exhibits. On each of the four days, well over a thousand people, from grandmothers to babies in strollers, come to see the beauty and learn from the exhibits at this island tradition. Photography exhibits were ranged around three sides of this courtyard.
The floral design classes were staged in a building reserved for visiting exhibits. Seven classes with titles as “Rainbows and Shadows”, “Illumination” and “Double Rainbow” (above) inspired creative and imaginative entries.
“Water” called for an underwater design. First and Best In Show was awarded to this entry using double parabola-like containers which created fascinating distorted patterns of the anthuriums as you walked past the pedestal.
The coveted GCA Fenwick Medal went to this entry in “Spectrum” in which the exhibitor chose “a color of the rainbow”. These exhibitors polished lots of date palm fruits from their gardens in order to select these perfect ones.
The schedule read: “ Prism: A hanging design suspended from a cable 96” from the floor, viewed from all sides, nothing may touch the floor”. Not a class for the faint-hearted. This bold design with a plexiglass triangle and horizontal lei-like band of exquisite form, color and texture, with even some miniscule lights woven in won the class. Master designers calculated just the perfect distance from the floor which created a dynamic tension in the design. The red 'explosion' just behind it is another class entry.
The Novice class, “Rain Shower” showcased the burgeoning talent in the GCH. This first place design took full advantage of the wealth of Hawaii’s flowers and foliage. Below is the winner in the Judges' Challenge class. Exhibitors were supplied with all the same materials in this class.
How does the horticulture compete with a museum courtyard like this?
The excellence of this Rabbit’s Foot Fern, Davillia (I know not which one), propagated by the exhibitor, won the prestigious GCA Louise Wrinkle Award for Horticulture. It is an epiphyte and the ‘cage-like’ structure you see are its’ roots.
A class called “Gatherings” called for an arrangement composed from the exhibitor’s garden. Each entry also included a photograph of the garden. Now for the garden-challenged as I am, this is really taking it to the next level.
Conservation and Education exhibit – “Colors of Sustainability”: This thoughtful and beautifully executed exhibit educates children through hands-on experiences. Children wrote promises to the environment and tied them on the bamboo poles (photo, extreme right) in the tradition of wishes at a temple. Colorful, inspirational and charming!!
“Work” done, there was a beach house, a beach, lei-making lessons and lunch!
Mahalo, Garden Club of Honolulu, it was fantastic!!