Roses (& Rosettes) on Display at the Newport Flower Show

Each year, garden enthusiasts from across New England look forward to a special summer event hosted by the Newport Mansions.  Held at Rosecliff, the Newport Flower Show is a three-day celebration of plants, flowers, gardening and landscaping.  Everything from cut flowers to table arrangements to topiaries and full outdoor gardens creates quite a scene to take in. 

The casual visitor might not be aware, but the show is also a competitive event.  There are many categories with entries striving for the blue ribbon, from the basic cut roses and allium to creative classes for a parasol made of plant material to a design inspired by the Vanderbilt’s Chinese Tea House. 

Here are a few photos, courtesy of the Rhode Island Nursery and Landscaping Association, which played a big part in setting up the gardens and exhibits.  For more photos, there’s another full gallery available at About.com.

This arrangement's category required all flowers in white

A more creative display

An avian topiary

Commercial exhibitors set up full outdoor gardens as part of the competition

PS- For those of you needing awards as beautiful as those given out at the Flower Show, the rosettes shown are Ideals and Wheatons with gold rims.

Back from the Western States Horse Expo

Rick and I just got back from exhibiting at the 2011 Western States Horse Expo in Sacramento, California.  Even with a lot of caution around EHV-1 there was still good attendance with visitors from Oregon and Nevada in addition to CA.  We got to meet with many customers- both current and prospective, and gave out tons of ribbons, making kids smile with a Clean Pony Award or blue rosette.
 

Besides manning the booth we got to check out demonstrations (like Cowboy Mounted Shooting)  and lessons by clinicians, including well-known horseman John Lyons, former Olympic dressage rider Charlotte Bredahl, hunter-jumper trainer Nick Karazissis Jr., and competitive trail champion Mark Bolender.

Here are a few photos:

Rick with Sydney of the California State Horsemen's Association, and a flat of freshly picked fruit (yum)

Clinician Mark Bolender and his horse Checkers negotiate the log pile (bridleless!)

The Art Show awarded Chatham Rosettes to winners in photography, sculpting, drawing, painting and more

 

A new member of the Hodges family

Bella, in one of her rare quieter moments

Two weeks ago, the non-human portion of the Hodges family grew a little larger when Hodges Badge Company’s President, Rick Hodges, and his wife Jenn, adopted Bella, a six-month-old yellow lab.  While not a rescue in the truest sense, Bella was taken in from friends of the family that were not going to be able to care for her.

McKell, our other office canine, has been busy showing her little (but already larger) sister all the best play spots around the office.    So if you happen to be on the phone with Customer Service and hear a squeaky noise (or a big WOOF) in the background, know that you’re not hearing things.

While Hodges may be best known for our horse show awards, I think it’s safe to say we really do have a soft spot for dogs, and an affinity to anyone identifying as a ‘dog person.’

Super Spellers

2011 winner Sukanya Roy hoists the trophy

So I have a confession to make.  Last night, instead of watching the NBA finals (or more reality TV), I was glued to ESPN watching the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee.  No, Hodges Badge Company didn’t sponsor the shiny gold trophy.  I was just amazed at the abilities of ten to fourteen-year-olds to decipher or recall the spellings of words you don’t come across unless you read the entire dictionary (which the winner did, twice).

Watching the ‘final five’ knock out 21 words in a row, including “caciocavallo”, “völkerwanderung”, “abhinaya”, and others that were difficult to pronounce, let alone spell, I started thinking about my job.   Tell people you work for an awards company and often times you’ll hear the argument about how “everyone gets a trophy” and “kids don’t value hard work when they get awards for just participating.” 

Well, at the Bee, they weren’t handing out trophies to all the finalists or runners-up.  But if you saw what those kids were able to do in front of the TV cameras, you’d probably want to hand them all blue ribbons.  Because sometimes, you don’t have to finish on top of the pack to have accomplished something.