Inside the Studio

Inside the Studio

Friday, August 28, 2009

Queen of the Garden 2009 - Miss Allium!

Miss Allium was out ahead in the voting right away and stayed in the lead through-out. In our garden we grow many alliums: the chive, onion, and garlic variety, and some of the decorative kind. She is a beauty, and so edible! Add her flowers to salads and stir frys. She won't mind!

It was fun introducing our granddaughter Emily to the chives, because she would eat the flower and leaf right from the plant. This she called the "spicy plant." There are so many things she is more inclined to munch when out in the garden. Somehow they loose their appeal when put on her meal plate. (Emily's favorite flower from the Miss Floralia contest was Miss Rose.)

Miss Zinnia followed behind Miss Allium in the balloting. The rest of the pack followed comfortably behind. Over time what looked like a clear third place for Miss Rose began to slip as Miss Dandelion caught up! They were neck and neck, switiching the lead until eventually they were tied and no more ballots were coming in. My mother-in-law was visiting and I enlisted her to join the subscription and her vote broke the tie. But then, just before printing, another ballot came in and tied them back up!

To break the tie I went through all the ballots re-reading the comments. Some of the judges had extraneous opinions written in by their friends, and these just barely favored Miss Dandelion over Miss Rose. Personality won over beauty. (Though in reality, Rose is of course an amazing flower with many gifts and a depth of beauty that so often takes our breath away. And the dandelion is beautiful to many.)


So here it is:
1st runner up - Miss Zinnia !
2nd runner up - Miss Dandelion!
3rd runner up - Miss Rose!

As you may know, it is not uncommon for the contestants to vote amongst themselves for a Miss Congeniality. The Bloomies came up with a short list of candidates and then voted nearly unanimously for Miss Coneflower! (Keep in mind the original list of contestants was quite long -- and included Miss Hellebore, Miss Lily-of-the-Valley, Miss Cyclamen, Miss Primrose, and of course, Miss Coneflower. They were winnowed down to the seven seen in the published balloting process. Miss Congeniality was voted on by the Bloomies from the original group of contestants. If I had included them all in the balloting I would still be cutting linoleum. There wasn't time! The final seven were chosen by the variety of flower shapes they presented as a group, and the diversity of their personalities.)

Miss Coneflower is an interesting garden bloom. She sometimes goes by the name of Miss Echinacea. Her cousin, Black-eyed Susan, wanted to be a contender, but didn't place in local competitions. Miss Coneflower was particularly kind to the other Bloomies, helping them when they were feeling worn out from the pre-pageant festivities. Because of her, none of them succumbed to colds or flu. Her hair styling was much admired, it's 2-toned unique-ness and it's spiraling spiky top with flowing petals. Quite original, thought the other Bloomies. Combined with her friendly offers of service she was easily the friend of all the Bloomies. The Pageant Chair and Mr. Bumble were quite please to see her recieve the honor.

If you are curious - here are the final numbers of the balloting: Miss Allium 294, Miss Zinnia 248, Miss Dandelion 235, Miss Rose 235, Miss Jasmine 234, Miss Monkshood 219, Miss Daisy 180, and Mr. Billy Bumble came in with 28 points - not bad for a write-in! Miss Allium took the most votes in both beauty and poise categories and Miss Dandelion took the most votes in personality.

Subscribers should all have received the final results by now (or tomorrow at the latest). They were printed on a folder into which all the contestant cards and their returned ballot can be enclosed. It is tied with a Miss Floralia 2009 sash.









To be fair to Miss Rose, I didn't want her to win. Of course I could not help but give her an elegant look for the pageant. She is who she is, like the rest of us. But for "Miss Floralia" I created her in high contrast to my 2006 subscription issue titled "The Embrace of Rose."

The text of this piece honors the rose and its importance in uplifting our hearts on many levels. It briefly explores scent compounds and how various plants use them not just for pollinating, but protection. But what about Rose - what might its scent be for? "While we know that the scent of plants evolved with purpose, we assume that purpose has nothing to do with us....We rarely see ourselves as part of nature's evolution at all. But what if the fragrance of rose is meant for us, too? What if the allure of rose is Nature's way of calling us into Her lap?" (from the text of 'The Embrace of Rose' by Catherine Alice.
So know that I honor the rose and acknowledge its importance in our lives and cultures. But why present the same view of each flower at each opportunity? Flowers have so much depth to inspire creativity. In my subscrip-tion series I like to keep changing my perspective as well as my presentation. I hope this is at least one of the reasons why my subscribers keep renewing.I want to acknowledge that most of the professional photos (The Embrace of Rose) of my work are taken by Richard Nicol of Seattle. Sometimes, for the blog I might scan or take my own pictures, but if it is a photo of my work and it looks good - it is probably Richard's! The flower and garden photos are either taken by myself or my sweetheart, Billy aka Mr. Bumble.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Word From The Judges

In a few days the announcement for the winner of the Miss Floralia Pageant will go out to my subscribers. After that I'll post the results here. But first, I thought it would be fun to share what the judges have said (anonymously) about the Blooming Beauties ---
"Results have surprised even myself!" "[Contestants'] answers need a little more thought!" "Mr. Billy Bumble was a dandy and charming host!" "Miss Monkshood. . . all her talk about poisons. . . it looks rather suspicious!" "Miss Zinnia is the prettiest, but she needs to get a life -- pollinators are no doubt wonderful but there is more to life."

One judge gave each contestant a short bit of praise: to Miss Monkshood he said "Purple is always royal"; and to Miss Jasmine he said " After all that climbing you still look good in white." But Miss Rose seemed to trigger his indifference because all he could say to her was " Sorry, I have that hat." This judge also tried to sneak extra points to Miss Zinnia, which is not allowed. This judge was caught, fortunately.

One judge who shall remain doubly anonymous deeply criticized the numerical rating system as inadequate. We received a two page letter of her thorough evaluation. She seemed to be under the impression that dating the Bloomies was allowed and this deeply influenced her voting. Fortunately, she thought Miss Zinnia was a little too "experienced" and Miss Daisy too indecisive for her tastes. Miss Rose she thought full of herself, Miss Jasmine too much of a hippie (???), and Miss Allium a bit shallow as a "one issue" kind of gal. She admitted that Miss Dandelion was not "her type" though did admire her beauty and that she could "hold her own in any lawn." Miss Monkshood scared her, but in a way that she found attractive. And she was rated high for "passion" and "poison." (Not official pageant categories) Fortunately this judge finally settled her attentions on Mr. Billy Bumble (who would never let it go to his stinger) and rated him three 5's! (the highest anyone could get!) Another judge also put Mr. Bumble in the line up and gave him high marks. This judge also wished for more information about all the gals, and I hope this blog will satisfy her.


The pageant in general seemed to gain a lot of cheers: "May the best bud win!" "May the best bloom prevail!" and excitement among the judges that participated: "It was a pleasure serving as one of the Miss Floralia judges." "Thank you for the opportunity of a lifetime to participate in the Miss Floralia contest." Even in advance of the ballots one chosen judge wrote: "Please know that I faithfully and anxiously await the ballot."

This was all real mail I received. I couldn't make this stuff up! Thank you so very, very much to all the judges!

Next posting will reveal who won the "Miss Congeniality 2009" title.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Miss Floralia Blooming Contest

The Miss Floralia Blooming Contest is the first subscription issue for 2009. It began on a slightly different theme, and then (I must confess) I was drawn into the news on the web about the Miss California/Miss America scandal (never mind if you missed it). So I sent a letter to my subscribers inviting them to be the judges for the Blooming Pageant. Every pageant needs a host, and my sweetheart Billy was happy to pose.

Mr. Billy Bumble introduced the seven Blooming Beauties (text letterpressed on the back) competing for Miss Floralia, Queen of the Garden for 2009.

Ironically, shortly after this was printed, Bill was stung by a hornet and his arm swelled up to the shoulder. We were visiting in Illinois at the time and Bill spent the plane ride home dosed on Benadryl.

Here are the Bloomies: Miss Monkshood (poor Miss Monkshood, so many of the judges didn't know anything about her), Miss Jasmine, Miss Allium, and Miss Daisy.

On the backs of each are questions such as: "What can you tell us about yourself?" "What are your hobbies?" and "What would you most like to change in the Garden?" Each answered in character for their flower characteristics, and of course with lots of personality! Miss Allium is of course a spicy gal. Miss Daisy seemed not to know whether she liked something or not. She sort of lost her composure, getting low scores in 'poise.' Miss Jasmine was hard to define, but of course she would love to change the garden into a more consistenly better smelling place. Her hobby is climbing.

Miss Dandelion has been one of my favorites, such an interesting personality, but like the garden variety, not popular with everyone. She would forbid those forked weeding tools in the garden if voted Miss Floralia. Miss Rose is a beauty, but her personality is, shall we say, a little thorny. Her hobby is collecting weapons, sharp ones! Miss Zinnia has a bright smile and lovely face, but seems a bit occupied with pollinators and getting pollinated.

Each judge was sent the packet with a ballot. They were asked to vote on beauty, poise, and personality. Most (but not all) of the judges responded and this has been the best part of all. Next post I'll report in on some of the judges interesting comments.