Timeless Gatherings: Flowers connect us

As the season for family gatherings draws near, the Wilton Garden Club presents Timeless Gatherings, a flower show that celebrates the beauty of nature, timelessness of its location, and the endurance of social connections.

The show, which is a standard flower show adhering to the rules of the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, will fill the rooms of the Wilton Historical Society complex on Danbury Road from Thursday, Oct. 9 through Saturday, Oct. 11. Admission each day is $10, and includes a raffle ticket and tea in the 1860s Abbott Barn.

A festive gala with fine wines and beers, hors d’oeuvres and live entertainment will take place Friday, Oct. 10, from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $50. The show and gala are fund-raisers, with proceeds supporting a historical society preservation project and the ongoing preservation and restoration of Old Town Hall on Ridgefield Road.

Those who visit the show will see prize-winning plant specimens in the horticulture division and an extensive display of competitive floral designs, from a Sunday dinner table setting to a teddy bear picnic. All will be complemented by a photographic exhibition that celebrates the natural world.

The Wilton Garden Club presents a standard flower show every few years, and this one has been in the making for more than a year. The most recent show — Friends, Fun & Flowers — celebrated the club’s 90th anniversary in 2011 at Wilton Library.

This show will be much larger, bringing visitors from gallery to gallery at the historical society. Exhibitors will include not only garden club members but horticultural aficionados and floral artists from the area.

One of the garden club’s main functions is education, and the purpose of the show “is to educate the public on what they can do,” said Jerre Dawson, one of the show’s chairmen. With its October date, the event will showcase plants that are available here in the fall.

“There are so many things available in the fall,” from viburnum with its bright berries to Franklinia, a native tree whose leaves turn burgundy now. “These are things the public can get a look at,” she said.

The show actually begins before visitors enter with the historical society’s Colonial herb garden at the front door.

The main gallery downstairs will feature entries from the horticulture division that has 18 sections, including vegetables, fruits from the garden, annuals, perennials, vines, roses, container plants, succulents, herbs, tillandsia, and dahlias.

The design theme of gracious gatherings will present table settings, still lifes, decorative pumpkins and squashes, and miniature designs no larger than eight inches throughout the museum.

All entries will be judged by 18 accredited flower show judges, whose awards and comments will be available for visitors to see. Members of the garden club will be available throughout the show to answer questions and provide more information.

Melinda Wolcott, another committee chair, said the competitive classes are of “moderate difficulty” and will offer benefits for both participants and visitors.

“If you can learn how to design flowers you can design your living room, put colors together, and arrange your furniture,” she said.

The design categories will offer practical suggestions for designing a barbecue, a child’s tea party, a tailgate picnic, and a table with a historic theme.

There will also be educational exhibits on water and power conservation and medicinal and culinary uses of herbs, and displays of “plant pictures from the club’s garden therapy program at the Wilton Senior Center.

Proving a love of plants has no age limit, and Girl Scout Troop 50260 will exhibit fairy houses.

Photography

New this year is the photography exhibition that will be mounted in the main exhibit hall. Entry is open to anyone.

With a theme of “Images in Time,” there will be black-and-white and color photos of individual plant subjects, landscapes and garden subjects. Judges will be Wilton professional photographers Peggy Garbus and Pam Rouleau.

The show will be open Thursday, Oct. 9, from 1 to 5; Friday, Oct. 10, from 10 to 4; Saturday, Oct. 11, from 10 to 2.

To purchase gala tickets, visit wiltongardenclub.org or call 203-762-5440.