Alan Futch, regional floral designer extraordinaire, is no stranger to members of the Monroe Garden Club. When word spread last fall that Futch would be presenting the January program, members marked their calendars. Futch did not disappoint.
The theme for the meeting was “Utilizing Fruits and Vegetables in Your Arrangements with the Dean of Flowers”. As they arrived, members and guests were greeted by an arrangement that beautifully reflected this theme.
The large round table centering Bayou DeSiard Country Club’s Great Hall was skirted in white linen with an exquisite overlay of a crocheted openwork topper. Wide yellow satin ribbons crossed the table, providing a foundation for the collection of fruit, vegetable, and flower arrangements located there.
Four arrangements were held in clear cylinders in which fruit and vegetables could be seen submerged in water. One held Granny Smith apples forming the base for a clutch of white tulips. A second held lemons which formed the base for crimson roses. The third held limes which formed the base for purple tulips. The fourth — the tallest of the three — featured baby carrots forming the base for a larger, more complex arrangement that included gladioli, lilies, Belles of Ireland, chrysanthemums, protea, and salvia, all “skirted” at the top of the vase with kale leaves.
As the ladies visited, they enjoyed a delicious brunch featuring sticky buns and a brunch casserole featuring eggs and assorted vegetables. Orange juice and coffee completed the offering. Several spent a few moments talking with Futch and admiring his “perfect for the occasion” jacket — a Christmas present, he proudly told those who asked.
MGC president Linda Taylor conducted a brief business meeting during which she introduced the MGC Nominating Committee. Membership Chairman Vici French and Zoo Chairman Cheryl Carr each gave timely committee reports.
The guest presenter for the day, Alan Futch from Farmerville, then gave a delightful demonstration on the art of using fruits and vegetables as companions for flowers in floral design.
Futch created several arrangements alone, and then two more with special guest designers.
For his first, Futch showed the beauty of simplicity. In a globe glass vase he submerged lemons and then topped the vase with giant hydrangea blooms.
For his next, Futch used a charming ceramic head vase featuring a lady’s profile to hold his design which included purple grapes, protea, kale, an orange, a lime, and solidago. As he was working, Futch told the group that he was going to “ . . . turn this little girl into Carmen Miranda!”
Futch then created an arrangement which was inspired by Baroque paintings and was built in an elegant maroon vase overlaid in gold and silver. In it Futch artfully arranged Belles of Ireland, a pomegranate, pink tea roses, Safari Sunset protea, and variegated pittosporum.
Next Futch chose a modified funeral wreath as his base, and placed among its greenery some red roses, whole oranges, pincushion chrysanthemums, sliced oranges, and Pink Floyd roses.
In the center of the wreath, Futch placed several clear cylinder vases filled with water and floating rose petals and topped each with either a miniature watermelon, a cantaloupe, or a honeydew melon (all three sliced in half).
Assisting Futch was his first “guest designer”, member Carolyn Gates. For his final design, Futch welcomed three additional “guest designers” to the stage to design with him: Debbie Luffey, Johnette Mintz, and Darlene Smith. Each of the four created a unique design using flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Separately they were lovely; put together they created a wonderful long table arrangement. All of Futch’s arrangements were auctioned at the end of the meeting.
Throughout his presentation, Futch dropped into his talk great tips that those present were grateful — and delighted — to hear.
Among those tips was his advice to add either lime or yellow elements to arrangements containing purple flowers because the purples photograph as black.
Another: to avoid fruit flies, dip the fruit in lemon juice and/or mix marigolds into the arrangement that includes fruit.
Finally, Futch advised the ladies never to mix white blooms with fruits and vegetables; the blooms will brown quickly. He added that one should never place white blooms under refrigeration.
Co-chairing the January meeting hostess committee were Jan Clay and Linda Dorries. Serving with them were Leah Anders, La Nell Armstrong, Mary Bernard, Sandra Blate, Travis Beard, Dianne Brown, Jane Conrad, Carolyn Gates, Ashley Kirk, Charlotte Moore, Lynn Moore, Linda Nelson, Betty Ann Nolan, Babs Oakley, Emily Rash, Susan Robinson, Nancy Shlosman, Martha Young, and Mary Frances Young.