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Christina Vanderlip Awarded a First Prize in Garden Club Show

Implying National Parks in Floral Design


By Colleen Gundlach

Norfolk’s Christina Vanderlip was honored with a first place award in the Litchfield Garden Club’s Flower Show on June 9. The theme of this show was “Our National Parks—America’s Best Idea.” Entrants were given a phrase to interpret in the media of floral design, horticulture and photography, relative to the country’s national parks. Vanderlip, a member of Hortulus Garden Club, chose the Everglades to interpret with a floral design. One of the challenges was the very limited space measuring 10 inches x 10 inches x 12 inches (h), in which to make her display. Entries are judged for excellence in design, which includes interpretation of the class name, creativity, scale, proportion, rhythm, balance, color and texture. Vanderlip’s award-winning creation was intended to imply an airboat among tropical plants in the Everglades. The judges deemed it pristine and well-balanced.

Vanderlip considers flower arrangement an art form, if an ephemeral one.

The Litchfield award is not Vanderlip’s first honor for her designs. Earlier this year, she, working with a partner, won a first prize and the Munger Award at a show in Irvington, New York. This special award is given “in recognition of creative work of outstanding beauty using predominantly fresh plant material.”

“This is an esoteric art form, into which goes a great deal of thinking and planning,” says Vanderlip. She likens the process to that of the Tibetan Buddhist sand paintings which take days of painstaking work and then are intentionally blown into the air to signify the impermanence of life. “So it is with floral design. The plants are blooming beautifully and the piece is enjoyed, then it’s gone, but it’s a process that gives me great pleasure and enjoyment,” she says.

The Litchfield Garden Club has about 60 members whose primary mission is conservation motivated. The mission of the group, as part of the Garden Club of America with its 18,000 member and more than 200 clubs nationwide, “is to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening . . . improve and protect the environment . . . and take action in the fields of conservation and civic improvement.” For more information about the Litchfield Garden Club, visit http://www.litchfieldgardenclub.org.

Photos by Bruce Frisch.

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