Creativity Flowed at the Atlanta Ivy Symposium
By Joy Zaidan
Between the Vines • Newsletter of The American Ivy Society, Inc. • Fall 2008 Vol. 20 No 2
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Rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the 100 attendees at the third Biennial Ivy Symposium in Atlanta on August 26th. Host of the event, the Atlanta Chapter of The American Ivy Society, welcomed Suzanne Pierot, President and founder of the American Ivy Society, as its honored guest. Mrs. Pierot captivated the audience with humorous tales of her show business affiliation with Howard Hughes and other celebrities and told how a rooted specimen of ivy on her Hollywood desk ultimately led to the founding of the American Ivy Society in 1973. She shared with the group her passion for ivies and her successful quest in “untangling the nomenclature of Hedera”.
Under the guidance of Rosa Capps, President of the Atlanta Chapter of the AIS, members rallied to organize and host the event, entitled “Creative Use of Ivy”. The symposium certainly lived up to its creative theme with demonstrations of floral designs, living wreaths and containers incorporating various cultivars of ivies. Ivy Society members, National Garden Club Flower Show Judges and National Ivy Judges presented the lively and informative programs.
Fay Brassie, Ivy Society member and NGC Flower Show Judge, wowed the audience with an all-ivy design, “a traditional design with a contemporary edge” she explained. The design was placed in a sleek vase with bamboo uprights twisted with ivies, which had been grown by the exhibitor. Glass flower tubes filled with ivies dangled all around the opening of the vase. Ooo’s and ahh’s could be heard when Fay added the piece de resistance--battery-operated lights that illuminated the ivies.
Jane Johnson, also an Ivy Society member and NGC Flower Show Judge, demonstrated a beautiful pave’ design of hydrangeas topped with a peace lily and accented with ivy, which she incorporated into an Exhibition Table Type I. Jane explained that hydrangeas could be dried in a vase with a small amount of water or in the trunk of your car. Mrs. Johnson’s second design was a capsule table, a functional table for one. A replica of a bicycle, topped with a painted tuna can, was used as the container for the decorative unit, which included clipped papyrus, zinnias, eucalyptus and ivy. It is interesting to note that this designer chose papyrus because it repeated the spokes of the bicycle’s wheels. Now that’s creativity!
Next on the program was Ivy Society member, Sandy Jones, who demonstrated a living ivy wreath construction on a frame. Sandy used a wire frame, then added wet moss and wrapped the frame in strips of plastic secured with pins. After cutting holes in the wrapped plastic, she stuffed rooted ivies of several varieties in the openings. Sandy noted that “the wreath, perfect for hanging on a door, could also be placed on a silver tray and used as a centerpiece for food, lending elegance and creativity to a banquet table”.
Holiday ideas incorporating ivy was the thrust of NGC Flower Show Judge and Ivy Society member Betty McGaughey’s presentation. She delighted the audience with “easy to do and inexpensive” designs. Betty demonstrated the technique of making a wedding wreath. She first covered a straw frame with strips of gold lame’ fabric, added a bow and sprigs of ivy above the bow. Her next design used a “Goodwill find”—a white metal covered box with cutouts, simply and creatively stuffed with a battery-operated tea light from the Dollar Store and a small pot of ivy. Halloween was on this designer’s mind with her next creation as she added small plastic pumpkins filled with battery-operated tea lights to a black wire tree. Sprigs of hanging ivies completed the “spooky” holiday design. The Fourth of July design was a dazzler and a showstopper! Using a small birdbath filled with ivy, Betty tucked sparklers into the design. When the sparklers were lit, symposium attendees squealed with delight at the beautiful design and the creative idea.
Ivy Society member, NGC Flower Show Judge, and Ivy Judge Carolyn Hawkins brought more ideas for banquet table designs. She revived an old design created by Gena Moran, the first President of the Atlanta Chapter of the American Ivy Society. By intertwining two white coat hangers and wiring them together, a beautiful stand for a pot of ivy was created for an informal buffet table arrangement. Mrs. Hawkins’ second design, a vertical one using variegated ivy, clipped pine sprigs and white alstroemeria, created a striking arrangement of interesting textures for an elegant buffet table.
If you long for spectacular hanging baskets overflowing with plants, listen up. Barbara Hadsell, representative for Pamela Crawford’s hanging baskets, spoke to the group about Crawford’s side-planted containers while JoAnn Jones filled the container with plants. These wire baskets have multiple openings on the sides of the coco-fiber liner, and are aptly called side-planted containers. Once these baskets are planted, you have instant results of lushness and fullness. Hadsell recommended using container mix for moisture control and Dynamite™ fertilizer. Crawford, a landscape architect, is author of the book Instant Container Gardens that describes this new side-planted container system. At the end of Hadsell’s demonstration, she presented Chapter President Rosa Capps with the completed basket filled with mums, begonias and ivies, and National President Suzanne Pierot was given two of Crawford’s books on container gardening.
The sun came out, and a fun day of learning was had by all! Wonderful speakers, presentations, catered lunch, sales room goodies and free ivies for the group made a lasting impression on all who attended. Plans are already underway for the next Ivy Symposium. Watch for announcements, and sign up early because space is limited to 100. Plan to attend and be dazzled as we were!