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Designing the Holidays

Linda O’Connor, a floral designer working with James Harasimowicz on the Barton House, runs a cut flowerfarm in Ransomville called Summertime Blooms. She hopes that when visitors walk into the Barton House they see a “peaceful elegance.”

Her holiday decorating recommendation is to keep holiday decor simple.

She recalled how, this past summer when she marketed her cut flowers at area farmers markets, she would take a single flower, like a sunflower or dinner plate dahlia, and place it in an empty wine bottle. “People would say, ‘oh my gosh, I never thought to do that.”

O’Connor suggests doing the same for the holidays. Take a few empty wine bottles, add a single fresh flower in each and some assorted small candles to illuminate the bottles from the base.

“For the winter I would probably use a hydrangea and some grasses,” she said, adding she is currently working with white flowers for the Barton House but that holiday decorators could use any color flower that goes with their decor.

“I like to use blue wine bottle because they really set off the flowers but you could use green bottles for the holidays or clear bottles and put red water in them,” she said.

When asked whether to strip the labels first, she noted: “If it happens to be your favorite wine, you can leave the labels on. I have one from a brewery in Ellicottville called Snowfox. I leave the label on because it has snow flakes and a little white fox on it so it works for the holidays.”

“And it was a good wine, too,” she said with a laugh.

Her biggest recommendation for the holidays is to enjoy them. “I m just thinking people need to sit down and enjoy their family and friends for this holiday instead of trying to do all this stuff.”

Exert from: Designing the Holidays.

Post an example of how you decorate your table for the holiday and help share creativity with our community.

Submissions will be added to our Arrangements Gallery.

Ernie Henderson Tribute

The Alberta Dahlia and Gladiolus Society along with CGS; ADS,NAGC  and the Montana Dahlia Society can with little doubt claim to have had oldest living member of any  active society of gardeners.

Ernie Henderson was 106  at the time of his passing, November 9, 2011.

This picture of Ernie, with his grand champion dahlia Elma Elizabeth, was taken at this year’s (2011) show in Red Deer. Ernie first started showing flowers in the late forties. Gladiolus and dahlias became his particular passion.

Exhibiting was not new to Ernie as he had grown up showing heavy horses. As well as showing horses and flowers he had a brief “run” at showing dogs; in particular, Cocker Spaniels.

He was an accredited judge of gladiolus, dahlias and horses.  During her life Fanny, his wife, would often inquire whether the weekend was to be a “horsey one” or a” flower one” as Ernie was frequently off to shows as an exhibitor, judge or both.

Ernie also had the distinction of being the oldest living person to have served with the RCMP. In 2005 wearing his Red Serge Jacket (see photo) Ernie was the parade marshal for the Little Britches Parade here in High River (see photo). In that year both Ernie and Alberta  turned 100. As a member of the RCMP Ernie was part of the first Musical Ride. Along with his horse, Pard, he was  an extra in the movie “Rose Marie” starring Nelson Eddie and Janette McDonald.

Ernie and his friend Bill McClaren were awarded life membership in ADGS  at our founding meeting. This was most appropriate for these two were great friends- Though showing  Ernie did much to raise the interest  in dahlias here in Alberta. Ernie rarely if ever missed the mall show of the Montana Society in Kalispell, until the last few years; when other friends questioned the wisdom of his travelling to the U.S.
On the door of his room at the Medicine Tree manor Ernie had a sign stating” Gardeners don’t grow old they just lose their bloomers”- This is, perhaps, more humorous to those of us pre-Victoria’s Secret but Ernie never did lose his bloomers as illustrated by his accomplishments.  Also,some of us are still growing his dahlia introduction Alberta Flame (B FD Flame ).
The Alberta Dahlia and Gladiolus Society thoughts go out to the Henderson family. Click here to post your personal condolences.