Workshop Committee Reports

2020-2021 — Floss O'Sullivan, Chair

In a challenging year, it was inspiring to see how our Garden Club flourished. Workshops went “virtual,” combining experts, slides, photos, videos, audio, and Zoom to make education accessible for members.


Heartfelt thanks to NGC Accredited Master Flower Show Judges: Florence Leyssène, Debbie Moran, Brenda Bingham, and Arabella Dane who generously shared their expertise to create informative, beautiful workshops. Sincere thanks to all members who attended workshops - your enthusiasm and engagement resulted in priceless learning experiences for all. Grateful thanks to Fran Wong for e-blast announcements, and Amy South and Sue Young who posted workshops online. Our rosarian, Barbara Meyer, deserves thanks because she offered the only in-person workshop outside this Spring. Thank you all!


In September, Florence Leyssène’s narrated video workshop: American Traditional Mass Design and Debbie Moran’s slideshow video: Horticulture–Preparing to Exhibit launched. Intended for new Provisionals, these will serve future Provisionals and established members.


To prepare for virtual exhibitions, in October we met the delightful Arabella Dane, who provided guidelines, technology tips, and a judge’s perspective on Smart Phone Photography. November’s American Traditional Line Design featured Florence Leyssène’s superb horizontal and vertical line flower designs, photos, time-elapsed video, and live video demonstration.


Our 26th year decorating the Crane House and Historic YWCA was a challenge for a socially distanced world. Thanks to the combined efforts of our members and Montclair History Center’s Jane Eliasof, they won 4th place in USA Today’s 10 Best Historic Home Tours. Congratulations all!


In January, Brenda Bingham shared a judge’s perspective on Hogarth Curve Design and her inspiring flower design evolution. During February, Debbie Moran’s amazing precision for Petite Design illustrated scale and proportion. Barbara Meyer’s excellent Roses Workshop provided an education and hands-on practice preparing the roses in Avis Campbell Gardens in March. During April, Florence Leyssène and Debbie Moran conducted Stepping Up to Creative Design including live video demonstrations and creative techniques. Altogether, we had 176 participants in seven workshops taught by five instructors.


We depend on one another to grow and appreciate everyone’s contribution. What a lovely community we have built together. It is an honor to be part of this remarkable organization.

2019-2020 — Barbara Baletti, Chair

Providing opportunities to learn about gardening, horticulture, flower design, and community give-back are the hallmarks of a dynamic garden club and our Workshops are the conduit that allows this to happen. Despite the fact that our calendar was abbreviated by the global pandemic, we managed to present rich and varied offerings.

In addition to our annual Flower Design and Horticulture Workshops for Active and Provisional members, we added new things to the mix to prepare for the Design Specialty Flower Show, now scheduled for the fall of 2021. These included workshops in both Photography and Botanical Arts. I offer special thanks to Florence Leyssène and Debbie Moran for their work in preparing and presenting new workshops to educate our Membership this year. Their instruction and enthusiasm are nonpareil.

In early September, we offered a Bed Captains' Tour of our Avis Campbell Gardens where members learned first hand and "hands-on" about the creation, care, and variety of our planting beds from our devoted, hard working bed captains. October brought us Maureen Sprong's annual Dahlia slide show and specimen review which always lures a large group of dahlia addicts who return every year to learn more. 

Michael Downey, a professional photographer and instructor from Unique Photo Academy, presented to a rapt group of shutterbugs in November. The group learned both photography basics and tips to capture images of gardens and close-ups of flowers and plants.

Our Annual Israel Crane House decorating project in early December had overwhelming Club participation both in the preparation of the greens and in creating the festive holiday dressing of the house. Thanks to the Membership and to Jane Elias of of the Montclair History Center.

Another addition to our Workshop calendar this year was an "Interior Plantscapes" event at member Amy South's botanical boutique in Montclair, Moss & More, where she took us on a journey through the world of indoor tropical plants. Amy showed us how to grow and maintain them and shared insider secrets about what is trending now.

As Workshops Chair, I had the opportunity to explore new areas and get to know Garden Club members so much better. I had the opportunity to work with Mara Harkins, a lovely woman who will be missed.

The past year was challenging and fun. I know that Floss O'Sullivan, as she takes the reins next year, will bring her incredible enthusiasm and energy and bring this Committee to even greater heights.