After following her mother to the Show for many years, Hope started creating her own arrangements in 1961 when things were a little different. “They used to have seven different niches, one for each day,” Hope reminisces, “We were over at the Civic Center and it was much smaller and more intimate back then.”
Over fifty years, the Flower Show has, of course, changed and grown, and while Hope was overwhelmed at first, she welcomes most of the changes that have occurred. “I really love the marketplace. It’s great for meeting and interacting with people.”
Hope talks about the “Flower Show aura” that keeps the entrants coming back year after year. For Hope, her fellow arrangers are like an intimate family and are always there to lend a helping hand. But her biggest supporters are her mother and her daughter, who now helps Hope with her arrangements and watches the family animals in Maine when Hope comes to Philadelphia.
With 50 years worth of arrangements under her belt, it’s hard to imagine where all the creativity comes from. Hope gave us some insight into her process: “You may not believe it but when the catalogue comes out, I’ll look at the theme, have a vision, and within 45 minutes I will know what I’m doing.”
After attending art school for a couple of years, Hope realized her eye for design. That talent has won her numerous ribbons, which she keeps in an album and in boxes and drawers. While she has too many ribbons to count, there were one or two years when she didn’t win anything. But she considers herself lucky and seems to care more about the flowers and the Show experience than anything else. “My favorite flower to look at is the Gerber Daisy. But my favorites to smell are the Tuberose and the Stephanotis.”
While Hope is unsure whether she will be arranging next year, she knows that she will at least be working the Show. “My daughter says, ‘Mom, if you do it next year then you are going to want to go until you reach sixty [years exhibiting]!” We can only hope that the Flower Show queen will be back to continue her reign.
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