Seniors wrap afternoon sessions in colourful flowers

Journal Pioneer staff
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Flower arranging the final presentation for the season of Seniors' Afternoons at Summerside Presbyterian Church

SUMMERSIDE – The final Seniors’ Afternoon session of the 2013-14 season featured flower arranging, from start to finish, with Marilyn Martin-Biggar providing the demonstration.

Marilyn Martin-Biggar works on a tulip display after having created two cut-flower centerpieces for Seniors' Afternoon participants.

Martin-Biggar turned to flowers from retail management in 2010, after a move to a village in New Brunswick. One of the friends she made owned a flower shop, and Martin-Biggar offered to purchase it when the owner decided to sell. To that end, she took a course in flower arranging and fell in love with the craft.

The deal on the flower shop fell through, but another move to Hartland, N.B., offered another opportunity which gave her what she desired.

Circumstances required a move back to PEI, where she now freelances her skills, including her demonstration for the seniors.

In addition to creating two flower centerpieces, on the fly, she also showed the approximately 25 seniors in her audience how to properly arrange tulips.

“There a lots of rules (for flower arranging); I just break all of them,” she describes of her style.

“As far as I am concerned, there aren’t any colours that don’t go with others,” she added.

Throughout her hour-long presentation, Martin-Biggar offered a series of important trivia about flowers, such as picking before sunrise or after sunset, watering at night for best absorption, adding plant food to extend the display life of cut flowers, and using whatever flower sources are available.

“Go with whatever appeals to you,” she encouraged.

As far as I am concerned, there aren’t any colours that don’t go with others Marilyn Martin-Biggar - florist demonstrating flower arranging at Seniors' Afternoon

She also discussed the origins of most of the flowers we buy, numbers of flowers for optimal displays, tips to use tulips to best advantage, and ways to extend the life of an arrangement.

Seniors’ Afternoon newcomer Linda Wilke says she learned a lot, never having known about flower arranging.

She was encouraged to attend the gathering by her friend, Mary Ellen Skerry, who likes the social aspect of the event and all the interesting topics that are presented.

Laura Payter, clerk of sessions at the Presbyterian church, organizes the Seniors’ Afternoons, usually from 2-4 p.m. on the last Tuesday of each month from September to April. The event is not held in December, due to the conflict with holidays, nor when warmer weather attracts to other activities.

The Seniors’ Afternoons are an open, outreach activity that welcomes all seniors in the community.

Martin-Biggar offered her creations as a draw prize before refreshments were served at the activity. Winners were Edith Heustis, Jean Millar and Addie Konderson.

Organizations: Summerside Presbyterian Church

Geographic location: New Brunswick, Hartland

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