About 1,000 people expected to visit Davidsonville for flower fashion show

Nice stems on the runway

September 22, 2006|By Jamie Stiehm | Jamie Stiehm,Sun reporter

A Davidsonville nursery has put on its own version of New York's Fashion Week, but the models are too green to strut down the runway.

Fashion in Bloom, a splashy show that opened yesterday and runs through Sunday at Homestead Growers, shows what's hot and what's not to the gardening public and professional growers.

The expansive Davidsonville complex, which includes 300 outdoor acres of plants, along with retail and wholesale spaces, is a relatively new division of Homestead Gardens, 2 miles away.

Homestead was considered an appropriate venue because of its recently completed environmental design, which includes flood floors and recycled water for plant care.

This is its second year hosting the show, and it is expected to draw about 1,000 people to the rural landscape of picket fences and horses. Flowers and plants at the free show are not for sale.

The grand panorama, designed by Janey Joyce, is one of six across the Mid-Atlantic region mounted simultaneously from Richmond, Va., to Philadelphia under the auspices of the Garden Centers of America.

According to the experts who arrived for a trade day on Wednesday, flowers don't sit still, look good and stay in place over time. Rather, like hemlines, fabrics and shoe styles, they float in and out of fashion.

Compared to last fall's more rambling look, the show's lines are crisp and angular.

"This is a new presentation," Stephanie Turner, horticulture director of a Greenwood, S.C., garden center, said.

Next year, red and blue are the "it" colors, so goes the buzz. Plump red zinnias by the name of "Dreamland Rose," standing like soldiers, were a star of the show, along with the "Endless Summer" hydrangeas.

So were dozens of cobalt blue ceramic containers, a hue gardeners only dream of finding in their flowers. And don't forget to inhale the new "knockout" rose, with blush-pink petals.

The Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Annapolis this spring provided a nautical and whimsical inspiration for the theme. "Come Sail Away" is meant to draw sailing enthusiasts off the water.

Transformed sails and old boat hulls are posed in sand, wood decks and other garden settings; the glass space is adorned with bursts of bright blooms, elegant rows of lavender and minimalist South African grasses.

Black-eyed Susans, the state flower, abounded in a larger, more ethereal variety than the common sturdy one. The surprise of seeing old faithfuls in new forms is the object of a flower fashion show.

Tim Hamilton, 36, a spokesman for Homestead Growers, said, "People think horticulture is static, but plants are constantly being engineered and cultivated."

Katy Moss Warner, former president of the American Horticulture Society, said change is constant, even in the smallest of flowers, such as pansies guaranteed to bloom again in spring.

"The breeders have made tougher, more resistant plants," she said. "Tough, with really full blooms, gorgeous."

Warner, who designed horticultural displays for Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., pointed to a new trend - which is why those cobalt blue containers were everywhere.

"Container gardening fits into and allows a busy life," she said. "It's up close and personal, and it can be all different."

A more compact breed of honeysuckle and a clematis - meant to mingle and wrap around roses - are also on display. An abundance of ornamental cabbages are fall fashion-forward. Hanging baskets with cascading flowers are also a good lush look, Warner said. For now.


The Homestead Growers "Fashion in Bloom" show will be open through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 1238 Governor Bridge Road in Davidsonville. A shuttle bus will leave from Homestead Gardens, 743 W. Central Ave.

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