Beautiful blooms to decorate Grosse Pointe Club during flower show

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published September 17, 2019

 Mannequins wearing dresses made from fresh flowers and plant material will greet visitors at the entrance of the Garden Club of Michigan’s 2019 flower show Sept. 20 at the Grosse Pointe Club in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Mannequins wearing dresses made from fresh flowers and plant material will greet visitors at the entrance of the Garden Club of Michigan’s 2019 flower show Sept. 20 at the Grosse Pointe Club in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Photo provided by the Garden Club of Michigan

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Colorful, creative floral designs and more will be the order of the day for the Garden Club of Michigan’s 2019 flower show, By the Lake, when it comes to the Grosse Pointe Club in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 20, the event will include floral arrangement competition entries, photography, jewelry made from plant material, locally grown horticulture samples, lake-themed needlework, a swallowtail exhibition, a gift shop and more. Visitors will be greeted at the entrance by mannequins attired in dresses made from fresh flowers, and groups such as Bees in the D and Detroit Abloom will have representatives on hand.

During a preview party Sept. 19, a limited edition photograph printed on aluminum by Laurie Tennent will be auctioned off. Local residents will be showing cuttings from their own yards as well in a horticultural display.

Sonya Ackman, of Grosse Pointe Farms, this year’s flower show co-chair, said this event usually takes place every two years. She wasn’t sure exactly when it started, but said it has easily been happening for many decades.

“The whole point of this flower show is to stimulate knowledge of plants and the love of gardening,” Ackman explained. “The goal of the show is to get people interested in horticulture, interested in floral design.”

It’s also about educating the public about civic beautification and ways people can serve their communities, she said. Garden clubs give grants to support beautification efforts such as the Moross Greenway and projects on Belle Isle, Ackman said.

Events and displays will all be indoors, Ackman said.

All of this year’s exhibitions will reflect the water theme, with a specific focus in different classes on various parts of the world. For example, Ackman said the theme for the floral dresses on the mannequins is Lake Como in Italy, and the theme for miniature floral designs is Japan.

Paige George, of Grosse Pointe Farms, will have work in the show in the categories of photography and floral design. She’s working with a colleague on a picnic on a park bench display that will reflect Scotland, which she said they’ll do through the colors and flowers they use and props they add. For this work, George said she ordered dishes from the United Kingdom.

“You’re trying to create something that’s really unique and creative, more like a piece of artwork,” George said.

She said she’s not a floral designer or photographer by trade, but she’s studying to become a judge in flower show photography — a process that takes at least three years and involves assisting and being evaluated by approved judges.

“You become much more of an expert in the principles of good design,” she said of both studying to become a judge and competing in flower shows.

Judy Duffy, of Grosse Pointe Farms, the flower show boutique chair, will be bringing her retail expertise to this event; she formerly owned a store in Harbor Springs. She said the flower show shop will feature items for men, women, children and pets, including locally produced honey, “gorgeous scarves,” knit hats and sweaters, whimsical Michigan wrapping paper and stationary, photographs on aluminum, embroidered items, honey-based skin care products, sandals and more. Duffy has created her own line of fishfly products that include polo shirts, napkins, notepads and more, and she’ll be featuring some of these items as well.

“We have unique, one-of-a-kind merchandise,” Duffy said. “We (also) have a whole array of fall items and Christmas items.”

She said you can even get gifts wrapped on-site.

“You can put it in your closet and tag it for the person, and you’re (ready for the holidays),” Duffy said.

Boutique merchandise prices are $15 and up, she said.

The Grosse Pointe Club will be offering meals for sale throughout the day, but reservations should be made by calling the club in advance. Ackman said those who’d like to eat during their visit can call the day of the show to make reservations.

“We’re excited about it,” George said of the flower show. “We hope people enjoy it and get inspired themselves.”

The Grosse Pointe Club is located at 6 Berkshire Place, behind Grosse Pointe Memorial Church. For dining reservations, call the club at (313) 885-0400. For more information about the flower show, visit