Archive 2008 - 2019

Garden Club Annual Meeting, 2011

by Ann Talbot


For many in Holliston, the Annual Garden Club Open Meeting is eagerly anticipated. One evening in the week before Thanksgiving, St. Mary’s Parish Hall was filled with mostly women, ready to kick off the 2011 holiday season.

The audience received greetings from the Massachusetts Garden Club Federation President.   She noted that the organization had 12,200 members in 192 clubs making it the largest volunteer group in the state. Greetings also came from the Holliston co-presidents who mentioned that our local group received the Arbor Day award for work on trees this year – one of its many projects. Members of many garden clubs in nearby towns were recognized.

The featured speaker for the evening was Mark Hagopian, floral designer from Stonegate Gardens in Lincoln. Mark is an expert in the field of designing for the home, which immediately drew in every person in attendance. He had previously asked Holliston member Julie Pipe to provide him with a varied collection of containers so he could plan his purchases for the pieces he would create on stage. As he worked, he gave tips and fielded questions, the first being where he bought his materials. Florists and supermarkets were his choice. A person has to have a license to shop at the flower market.

Mark’s first creation (above) was for an openwork compote which he first lined with a trashbag. To make a center piece suitable for a dinner table, he suggested putting your elbow on the table and pointing to the ceiling. The flowers should only reach to your wrist to allow for easy conversation.  He then used hydrangeas, roses and pears for a lovely round piece that would look beautiful any time of year.
The second arrangement was created in a basket lined with magnolia leaves which had the look of fine leather. Amaryllis, berries and branches made a piece that could go anywhere, indoors or out. He discussed handling the materials and the use of a knife as he worked. This was very Christmasy.
Another Christmas theme was designed in a large glass candle column. He first rimmed it with an already-made wreath, then used boxwood to make a spectacular display. This one definitely depended on proportion showing us Mark’s expertise in arranging.
The fourth creation was made in a tall, silver metallic vase rimmed by a candle ring. White branches twice as high as the vase combined with white lilies and tulips making a striking arrangement. Again his expert eye really showed.
The last container was a low, modern, rolled dish which looked like a challenge. He used a frog which is a florist tool that I remember my mother owning – a heavy piece of metal with thin spikes to hold the stems. Mark used thistle, parrot tulips and freesia, scattering acrylic ice to cover the bottom of the dish. 
As he was talking to members during the break, he quickly made a lovely small arrangement with the materials left over on the table. All pieces were generously donated to the raffle which annually follows the speaker and the fantastic refreshments – sweets and savories.  Craft and garden items donated by garden club members as well as donations from local businesses were won by the audience members who had purchased raffle tickets. This is always fun. I won a gift card to Holliston Hardware, thank you.
Thanks to Mark Hagopian for giving us ideas and encouragement, to Holliston Garden Club members for hospitality and goodies, and to St. Mary’s for sharing their facilities. I’m already looking forward to next year.