Monday, November 21, 2016

A Day with Loretta Stagen at the Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens

I relocated to New Preston, CT, in 2008 and it has turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. I love the people here, and as an avid sportswoman, love the hiking, swimming, and biking just outside my door. What better way to show my gratitude than to share my design skills at a free lecture at the Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens in Washington Depot. I came laden with gorgeous flowers and greenery that I’d procured at the NYC flower market on an early run the day before.

 Forego the clich├ęd baskets and orange gourds, I urged the assembly of women, and opt for the more subtle autumnal colors you’d find in the Connecticut woodlands. Mix the ordinary (onions, brussel sprouts, artichokes) with the extraordinary (orchids, unusual roses, scabiosa, sea holly and Dutch green hydrangea).
Create works that proclaim abundance, as you play with colors, shapes and textures. Even China-pink euonymous, gathered from the countryside (and a nice use of what today is seen as a menace—on Connecticut’s invasive species list) can be pressed into service. Unbeknownst to them, the women seated in chairs with ribbons would win these arrangements and get to take them home later in the day.

I had just a few hours to catch my second wind...before returning to give an evening workshop. The fees from this sold-out event went directly to the Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens. It was a whirlwind of a few days, but very happy ones, with a sincere “thank you” from me to the place I call home.