Flower show blooms at Old Town Hall

For two days last week, historic Old Town Hall was transformed into a floral fantasy as the Wilton Garden Club presented Art in Bloom Oct. 13-14, a show that combined art and flowers.

Outdoors there were an autumnal display in the historic grotto garden, fairy gardens, garden crafts, and hanging displays inspired by a kinetic sculpture by artist Drew Klotz.

Inside, the hall was a riot of color and texture, filled with flowers and displays that celebrated creative expressions through art and floral design. Awards were given by a panel of judges to the floral design they deemed best expressed the work of art that provided inspiration. Four displays were presented for each work of art.

The works of art and the winners were:

  • Lil Dipper 26 by Drew Klotz — Tina Duncan.

  • Ms. Havana by Daryl Hawk — Francesca Monro. Her combination of amaranthus, tomatillo, and Poncirus trifoliata also won the Tri-Color Award for highest-scoring design.

  • Normandy Bride by Jack Disbrow — Linda Zajkowski.

  • Still Life with Peaches and Flowers by Julie Leff — Betsy Huffman.

  • Donegal Green by John Maurer — Linda Schmidt.

  • Tis a Puzzlement by Toby Michaels — Cathy Ritch.

  • Future Wilderness by Leslie Giuliani — Betsy Huffman.

Displays that drew inspiration from the painting Normandy Bride were limited to Wilton Garden Club novices, and the winner, Linda Zajkowski, said she had never entered anything like this.

“I really enjoy working with flowers,” she said, standing by the bouquet she fashioned of white roses, rose lilies, seeded eucalyptus, Solomon’s seal, eryngium, and ivy. Zajkowski makes arrangements every Christmas to give as gifts.

“Once you have the fillers, it’s easy to put it all together,” she said modestly.

Clearly thrilled with her accomplishment and blue ribbon, she joked that “my husband thinks I won a 10-day trip to Hawaii.”


The heart of the show was the horticulture division, where scores of cuttings from plants — grasses to vines to perennial flowers — took center stage. Dahlias, sorted by size, made up the largest number of entries, but it was a homegrown exotic that took the grand prize.

Tina Duncan’s cutting of Passiflora — passion flower — with two open blossoms won not only a blue ribbon for its section but an Award of Merit for the highest-scoring exhibit of its type.

What made Duncan’s entry so striking is that Passiflora is not typically found in this area. It is generally reliable only in Zone 6 or farther south. Wilton is pretty much in Zone 5, but Duncan said she has a very sunny spot where the vine has acclimated. Even more unusual, the vine generally blooms through mid- to late summer. While poking through the vines to select a specimen for the show, she said, she was happily surprised to find a stem with not just one but two open blooms.