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This Flower Show Showcases Botanical Jewelry, Stunning Flowers and a Tree

Celebrate plants, fabulous floral design and a gardener named May.


Rooted In Paradise: A Garden Club of America Major Flower Show

Photos: Courtesy of Honolulu Museum of Art


Rooted in Paradise blooms at the Honolulu Museum of Art in mid-May, featuring stunning floral designs and arrangements, photography, botanical jewelry, needlework and an eye-catching display about a tree that could help ease global hunger.


The themed flower show happens every three years and draws thousands of people, including nationally recognized judges, who are dedicated to stimulating knowledge and love of gardening as well as education and conservation. It’s the culmination of months of work by the Garden Club of Honolulu.


At the center of the exhibit are the members’ spectacular and innovative floral designs showcasing our tropical treasures.  Each show also includes elements of major conservation (Trees: Essential to Island Life) and education (Global Hunger Initiative). The latter will transform the museum’s Mediterranean courtyard into a tiny forest to highlight the National Tropical Botanical Garden’s Breadfruit Institute and its new proprietary method for propagating ‘ulu on a large scale.


As part of the competition, some members received small ‘ulu trees with the challenge “to keep them alive and beautiful,” says Heather Maughan, the club’s vice president. After the show concludes, the burlap-wrapped trees will be distributed to the public by the O‘ahu master gardener program.


This year’s show also honors the late May Moir, celebrated in Hawai‘i’s gardener community, for playing a key role in keeping the art museum’s floral arrangements vibrant for nearly 50 years.


In the 1960s, Moir was a garden club member who started doing floral designs for the museum that were both beautiful and thrifty. “May never bought flowers, she just gathered,” Maughan explains.


By 1963, Moir was heading the art museum’s floral program, sharing her love of plants with decades of students. “The Garden Club of Honolulu would like to recognize the talent and spirit of such a remarkable woman as May,” says Priscilla Growney, Rooted in Paradise chair. This show celebrates Moir’s designs with the help of her detailed notebooks, the museum’s photo archives and even some of the pots she used, which were tucked away in the museum basement.


When they’re not orchestrating the big show, Maughan says club members teach others about conservation through projects, including ones at the Women’s Community Correctional Center and a garden at the Boys & Girls Club in Kailua. “It’s not all old ladies sitting around sticking flowers in a pot,” she says with a laugh.


The Garden Club of Honolulu produces the competition and show, Rooted in Paradise: a Garden Club of America Major Flower Show, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. May 11-13, Honolulu Museum of Art, 900 S. Beretania St.

May Moir, garden club member

This year's show also honors the late, May Moir, celebrated in Hawai‘i's gardener community.


Read more stories by Robbie Dingeman

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Honolulu Magazine May 2018
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