Winterberry Farm Primitives

This blog is now devoted to gardening with native plants with a focus on those species native to the east coast of the United States. With an MS in Agricultural Science from the University of Delaware and my love of native plants, I hope to help folks see the beauty and necessity of using native plants in your garden instead of exotic plants. Did you know that our native song birds and native insects are disappearing as our local environments continue to change?
For those who come to this page to see my 'Winterberry Farm Primitives' blog can now be found at where I will post new additions to my online antiques shop at and discuss various subjects about primitive antiques.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The 2010 Philadelphia Flower Show!

Well, today I am finally home from the University of Delaware where I have been working to set up the largest experiment yet in my goal of graduating this December. It's slow going sometimes but I am focused on finishing this year! Everything is slowly progressing and I am only a bit behind on my timeline! A friend who is probably reading this blog this evening (yes - Joyce - I mean you!) is laughing because she works in the university greenhouse complex and knows of all of the setbacks and craziness that has gone on with this degree! I am coming up on the 5th year of this craziness and I am ready for it to be over! BUT, tonight I start my postings on the countdown to the Philadelphia Flower Show 2010!

Anyone who lives in this area knows about the Flower Show whether you are a gardener or not. The Philly Flower Show is the largest and oldest continuous indoor flower show in the world. The Philadelphia Horticultural Society (PHS), founded in 1827, is the organization that puts on this wonderful show and they do a great job. Jane Pepper (University of Delaware graduate!) has been the President of PHS for almost thirty years and is retiring this spring after the Flower Show. So, this year the theme of the show is 'Passport to the World'; which allows the exhibitors to decide their own vision of the show and how to interpret this vision in flowers. I have been exhibiting at the Flower Show for over 10 years and, while missing a year here and there, have loved every minute of the crazy time that is the Philadelphia Flower Show! My great friend and companion in crime, Joyce, entered last year FOR THE FIRST TIME and received a second place ribbon for her display in the Miniature Settings Division -Inside. Here is a picture of her display! You go, girl!! To receive a second place ribbon in your FIRST attempt is almost unheard of and I am so proud of her!
SO - tonight I am starting my first ever online diary of show preparation right up to the installation of our displays. The Flower Show is a family affair with my husband, daughter and father getting involved and chairing their own displays. My husband and father have entered the Windowbox and Lamp Post Division and I will blog about their exploits at a later date! This year my daughter and I have entered the Miniature Settings Division where a lifelike exhibit of a garden or interior is portrayed in a box whose maximum dimensions are 36" long x 22" wide x 48" tall. In this 'box' are true size miniature worlds where 1" = 1 foot. Last year we displayed in this division and won second place. As you can see in the picture at the top of the post, we did an outside garden complete with gazebo and potted plants. The theme of the show was Italy and the theme of our division was: My Italian Inspiration - Outside. Below is the title and intent of our display last year.

Looking out of my window into my backyard, I can see, and hear, what I remember of the glorious gardens of Italy. It reminds me of the wonderful time that I spent in Tuscany. My own little piece of Italian heaven here at home. What beautiful memories!

This year the theme of our division is My little Corner of The World - Outside (notice how I like to do outside?) and I have decided to do a miniature scene of one of my favorite places in the entire world when I was a child. Below is my title and intent for 'My Little Corner of The World':

My Grandparents’ West Virginia Farm.

Catching crawdads in the creek, planting seeds in the garden with Bobo, and collecting eggs for my Mamaw. This old barn is the only thing left of a place that was my little piece of heaven as a child.

So, with that in mind, here is the first of the photos documenting our long trek to the Philly Flower Show 2010!

First things first, we had to buy a miniature barn kit and begin to put it together. Since we are doing a vignette, we will not be using the entire barn! These pictures show my husband's work in putting the barn together.

The second thing we must do is to now cut the barn in half so it will fit in the display. The wood base in this next set of pictures is the exact size of the box that is allowed in the Miniature Settings Division. That is all the space we have to work with - this is why we have to cut down the barn. He has assembled the barn, cut it in half, and is now adding the wood 'siding' (the weights are holding down the 'siding' until the glue dries) that I will then age with gray and red paint to make the barn look old and neglected. As a final touch to the barn - I will add a Mail Pouch advertisement on the side. Next, I will be adding the shingles to the roof of the barn and painting that to make it look old. Eventually we will have vines growing up the front of the barn and trees growing up through the roof and out a window or two. We also have an old tractor that we bought last weekend that will have most of its paint sanded off and it will be allowed to rust (water usually helps with that!) so it fits in with the neglected look.
I will continue to post as we continue to build our display, but the next post will be of the Charming Chionanthus, another great native tree for your garden!

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