10% off all photo purchases with coupon code 69D250.
Valid until Nov. 1, 2020. Buy Now In a year of cancellations, Community Flower Fair was a chance for gardeners and florists to compete. These arrangements won best in show. Suzette Wenger As COVID-19 canceled community fairs throughout Lancaster County, gardeners and florists were left without a place to share their flowers.

Jill Hoffines-Erb changed that by hosting the Community Flower Fair at her flower shop, Floral Designs of Mount Joy. Dozens of gardeners, young and older, entered their flowers and foliage in the completion. Most walked away with a ribbon, bragging rights and words of encouragement.

“I really like the idea to promote creativity for the youth and even adults,” says Hoffines-Erb. “I think we need that now, to bring us back to nature, to have that beauty in our life that flowers can provide.” Before the pandemic, fairs have been community homecomings that also are places for florists to compete. Staff at Floral Designs often enters in local fairs, and Hoffines-Erb judges the floral displays at Manheim Farm Show.

At their own small flower fair, the entries were organized in the shop’s garage and judged by Hoffines-Erb. The next morning, the big doors were rolled up and the public was invited to take a look. Because it was a fair, Mount Joy Rotary Club sold french fries.

Four of the florists shared more about their award-winning arrangements. 10% off all photo purchases with coupon code 69D250.
Valid until Nov. 1, 2020. Buy Now This design by April Richards won the most unusual container for the adult division. Suzette Wenger Roll with it

At first, April Richards was curious to see how her dahlias compared to others at the flower fair.

When she saw the most unusual container category, her focus shifted.

Her arrangement of dahlias inside a roll of toilet paper won a first-place ribbon in the most-unusual container category and best of show.

“I just thought when people see a flower arrangement in a toilet paper roll how can they not smile or maybe even laugh,” says Richards, 31. “Especially given this past year and the toilet paper panic back in spring.”

Richards, who lives in Elizabethtown, packed her arrangement with several kinds of dahlias she grows (Thomas Edison, Le Baron and Franz Kafka) plus dusty miller and cedar tree branches. She made dahlias the centerpiece for a few reasons. They represent elegance and dignity. Richards loves the vibrant colors and the complexity of the compact petals bursting out of the buds.

She also loves the challenge of growing dahlias. When they bloom, it seems like a long-awaited reward. Her advice for growers: “Enjoy the process. It definitely takes faith, patience and perseverance. But as some of us have been taught, perseverance produces character, and character, hope. It will feel so good to cultivate something beautiful that you can share with others. It is also such a hopeful experience to wait from the day you plant the tubers until months later when you see your first bloom. It’s […]