I’ve worn many hats over the years, all with pride in the Newport Flower Show which is now celebrating its 20th anniversary. As a former co-chair of this summer Show, a flower arranging judge and an exhibitor, I’ve been intimately involved with all the fun (and knotty, at times) behind-the-scenes goings on.
And prep is everything! … for the crews that assemble (and breakdown) all the infrastructure for the front lawn garden designers, for the floral arrangers in Rosecliff and for the boutique vendors on the back lawn.
The prep also includes those gardeners who bring in their cut specimens for the horticulture division of the Show.
Note to self- mustn’t forget to arrange flowers for Newport Flower Show arriving house guests.
Filling out horticultural cards and referencing previous year’s winners is another step for entry day.
But prep is just as important a consideration for the visitor to this special, memorable late June event. What to wear (fabulous or practical)? Shall I bring a hat (which one)? What to buy? And what not to miss…
Let me offer my practical tips to make the most of your time at the Newport Flower Show.
For starters…Shopping, of course. There are 70 high end boutiques on the Oceanside lawn and 17 in the garden marketplace fronting Rosecliff. Find a copy of the Newport Daily News special Flower Show insert and go straight to the Show Map with its layout and listing of all boutiques and vendors. Review the list and their locations and make a plan! Take it from me…you’ll need all the time you can get.
Secondly, dress in layers. This is New England; the weather changes on a dime, foggy in the morning, hot at noon. Bring a Newport staple (a Pashmina) or other shawl; temperatures here drop 20 degrees at night. Leave your stilettos at home (you’re on grass all day which may be damp from night dew.) I wear my favorite gardening shoes. And this is Newport. Enjoy the opportunity to wear bright floral shades and forego the LBD.
Hats of any style are riguer. Reminder: There is a fabulous hat resource amongst the vendors. One of the beauties of this Show is that most of the action is outside (just like Chelsea.)
Next year bring some friends and partake in the VIP custom-tailored itineraries that wrap private garden tours, access to the other mansion museums and special privileges around the Flower Show events.
What Not to Miss
As soon as you get to the Show (hopefully at 10:30 AM on Friday) go straight to the cut specimen class on the terrace off Rosecliff’s ballroom. This wealth of the best from good gardener’s gardens doesn’t stay fresh long, so catch them first. Then head back into the house for the floral arrangements.
If you only have so much time, plan to go to the Friday opening night cocktail/buffet from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Then you can look, shop, sip & nibble all while taking in the well-turned out party-goers.
Check out the lectures and demonstrations in the tent at the foot of Rosecliff’s terrace steps which provide an impressive roster of talent that is free to Show visitors.
Finally, treat yourself to a Del’s frozen lemonade or Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, all down by the balustrade overlooking the ocean with a small band playing under a gazebo.
I applaud the time, talent and support of the staff, the exhibitors and the volunteers that make the Newport Flower Show possible!
Friday, June 19th, 2015: 10:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Saturday, June 20th, 2015: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sunday, June 21st, 2015: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM