By Liz Chehayl, Past President
When Gail Pica approached me in 2009 about setting up a Flower Show School, I said “sure”, having no idea what it entailed or how much work was involved. Soon I was being recruited to be one of the students, along with a number of other NGC members who found themselves unable to resist Gail’s reassurance that there was “nothing to it”.
Four 2 ½ day courses later, Gail and her team have completed their task of replenishing South Florida’s supply of flower show student judges. 41 students from 14 garden clubs took one or more classes for credit or audited. 13 have finished 3 courses or more, and thus are eligible to act as student judges at National Garden Club flower shows. They will still have to take a fifth 3 hour written exam and write their own flower show schedule before becoming accredited judges.
Two sets of Accredited NGC Flower Show Instructors taught Horticulture, Design, and Flower Show Procedure. Barbara May and Dale DeFeo taught in the falls of 2010 and 2011, and Claudia Chopp and Marie Harrison taught in the springs of 2011 and 2012. The Flower Show School was sponsored by the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, District IX Judges Council.
Catherine Ware was the Registrar, Mary Pulick was Hospitality Chair, and many judges and members of our club provided the designs and horticulture needed for use in learning how to judge, helped to proctor the exams, or otherwise participated. The team included: Marty Ward, Design Chair, Suzy Valentine, Horticulture Chair, and Melinda Earle, set-up
To put the whole undertaking in perspective, approximately 25 clubs in the United States are in some stage of putting on a Flower Show School. The last time Naples did it was more than ten years ago. As we finished Course IV, there was much speculation on who will take on the challenge in another decade, and once again put Naples “on the map”.