Christmas floral magic

BARRY’S BAY – On the evening of November 15, Kevin Neiman was working his magic demonstrating how to make various Christmas arrangements for both indoors and out

Prior to the demonstration, the Madawaska Valley Horticultural Society held their annual pot luck supper, followed by elections of the new officers.
Beginning next year Cheryl Kydd will be replacing Don Isbister as president of the MV Horticultural Society. Being re-elected as first vice-resident was Sharon Mahussier, and Sandy Kingsmith was elected as second vice-president.Also being re-elected for a second term as a director of the board was Ritsuko Honda. Appointments for new directors, for the term beginning in 2013, went to Michelle Najbor, Shirley Yantha, Ursula O’Connor and Alma Coffman. Directors remaining for the balance of their term, which ends in December of 2013, are Cathie Corrigan, Carol Burnett, Terry Newcombe, Rose Yantha and Julie Zurakowski.

Isbister thanked the members for their support throughout the past, saying that their ideas and positivity was what kept them going. He then welcomed the new president and members of the board. Finally, he thanked his wife for all the support she gave during his time as president of the society.
“I was really impressed with the amount of effort and work that everybody put in to make things happen. It’s a well-founded society and we’ve got a lot of history to build on, and it shows in what we have done for the community,”
Isbister shared.
When the Gazette asked what his plans were when his presidency came to an end, he responded “Well, it’s going to give me some free time,” he said with a laugh.
Isbister then had the pleasure of introducing Kevin Neiman, of Kevin’s Flower Ltd. of Petawawa, as the guest speaker for the evening. Neiman has been showing members of the society how to make Christmas arrangements, off and on, for the past 30 years.
“We’re going to do lots of fun things tonight, but again, I try to do some things that are practical and I try to do things that hopefully you will feel confident enough to want to go out and do as well,” Nieman began.
He started with a little bit of quiz, where he handed out two pieces of a type of stock, asking the audience to pass them around and try and guess what they were. No one came up with the correct answer, but some came up with some really good guesses. In the end, the answer was revealed to all – it was a banana stick.
Nieman surmised that many in attendance had already been out collecting wild holly berries and some of the evergreens that they are planning to use in arrangements. However, he encouraged them to start collecting in August. He said that you don’t necessarily have to use them, but if you have a collection, put everything in a box.
That way, when the Christmas season comes around you will have something to help inspire you to use a lot of things that surround you that you don’t usually think of using.
After last year’s demonstration held in Barry’s Bay, someone brought to his attention that he didn’t do anything that was really suitable for the outdoors. So, he thought he would start off this year with something very basic that could easily be used in a foyer area of the home, where you have a fair bit of space, or outside.
He indicated that the first thing to remember is that the arrangement is going to freeze. Therefore, you have to think of things that are not going to be damaged easily outside. When using fresh materials it means that there will have to be a source of water, so allowance has to be made for the container to hold that as well. The container should be sturdy, so that when it freezes it will not split or create a mess, and will be able to weather the storms, especially the wind.
For his arrangement he used a fibreglass container, but indicated that some people use crocks, while others use various metal pails and decorative things that help produce the look they are creating outside.
One natural evergreen that is in abundance in this area is the red pine and Nieman said it is a wonderful outdoor green because it doesn’t discolour. Blue spruce is the other evergreen that will not discolour.
He started by filling the container with greenery that had bigger needles as it provides the shape and flow for the arrangement he said, inserting them directly into the oasis, adding that you should ensure you are giving it a good
source of water until it freezes.
Story continues in the November 21, 2012 issue of The Valley Gazette.