Pennswood Village’s Flower Committee Brightens Moods
By Anne Baber, Pennswood Village Flower Committee vice chair
A huge and exuberant arrangement of fresh flowers greets you when you enter the Community Building. No dusty silk flowers for us! Fresh flowers are a Pennswood hallmark.
Wander though the building and you’ll see 13 more arrangements that bring color and life and warmth to our common areas. Some 20 residents – all members of the Flower Committee – create and care for these beautiful arrangements every week.
Early Friday mornings, you’ll find the seven arrangers in the Activity Room. A couple of the tables are covered with big, black plastic buckets full of a variety of flowers, fresh from the wholesale florist. Some members may have brought in greenery, berries, and branches they’ve foraged from our own beautifully landscaped campus. The raw materials smell sweet and earthy.
Our chair is Kay Pinneo, who comes to the job with serious credentials. She arranged flowers at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. But we’re a motley crew. Most of us are eager amateurs who’ve had a course or two or have sought out YouTube tutorials. We share our knowledge and critique each other’s work. That makes each week an adventure as we try to create something that will make our fellow residents say, “Ah, you’ve really outdone yourselves this time!” The ultimate accolade!
Each arrangement will be tagged so member Tom Brooks, who carts each finished one to its spot, will know where it goes. We pick a couple of tags to choose which ones we’ll do and begin to look though the array of vases to find just the right one for each place. The site determines the height and width. A round table in Barkley calls for a round arrangement – one low enough not to interfere with newspaper reading and conversation. A table at the back of the library under a landscape in yellow, orange and green, demands an arrangement that doesn’t infringe on the painting or clash with its colors.
We gather armfuls of flowers from the pots, strew them on the tables before us, and stand gazing at the array. The room falls silent as we begin. You can hear the creativity humming soundlessly as we work. We walk around our arrangement, consider it from all sides or from three sides. We hide the oasis with bits of leaves. We go back to the pots and pluck a few more fuzzies to fill in or a white flower to catch the light.
Someone says, “What do you think?” “Perhaps another spike or two just here,” the critic offers. We’re never satisfied. We just get to the point where we’ve done the best we can. And then we stop and admire. Someone might say, “Here’s to Miyo!” (Late resident Miyo Berger’s generous bequest will allow us to order fresh flowers for many years to come.)
We’ll rely on our Flower Committee Waterers to keep the arrangements happy all week. Next Thursday, the Dead Flower folks will gather up the spent arrangements, bring them back to the Activity Room, throw them away, and clean the vases.
We take off our forest-green Flower Committee aprons, sip our cold coffee, chat a bit, and silently thank our lucky stars for the delight of flower arranging on Friday mornings at Pennswood.
Did you know that arranging flowers has emotional benefits, too?
For more information about Pennswood Village, or to set up a tour, contact us.