History brought to life through floral design

Jun 12, 2021

Wareham Garden Club members have brought moments from Wareham’s history to life through flower arrangements for a special exhibition in the library, open Friday and Saturday from 10 to 4.

A hurricane, gas explosion, the War of 1812, and Captain John Kendrick’s trip to Japan were the events that inspired the designers to use flowers, inventive structures, and thoughtful arrangements to evoke the events.

The club worked with the Wareham Historical Society and the Wareham Free Library for the event, which was held to celebrate the library’s 130th anniversary. Shaw’s even donated celebratory cupcakes.

Each of the historically-inspired arrangements is accompanied by an informative poster with photos or illustrations of the event, along with brief historical information, put together by Historical Society President Angela Dunham. And for those interested in learning more, librarian Stephen Miller wrote brief histories of the event on handouts that include further reading for both kids and adults.

Related books from the library’s collection are also displayed with the arrangements.

Kids can complete a scavenger hunt around the library.

Judy Morgan, the Garden Club’s Vice President, said she dreamed up the idea for the show pre-covid, and that she was excited to bring the three town organizations together.

Morgan designed a floral arrangement inspired by Hurricane Carol that uses clear glass containers to show submerged blooms underwater and the movement of the hurricane. Morgan said she was inspired by photos that show downtown Wareham submerged in water, and noted that the hurricane was so powerful it washed her father’s boat from Wareham to Woods Hole. 

Dunham said several visitors shared their memories of the 1954 hurricane while admiring the design.

Christine Decas created an arrangement with architectural elements and lots of movement that evokes the 1946 gas explosion in Onset. 

“If someone gave me tree of those white hydrangeas, never in a million years would I have come up with something as beautiful and creative as Christine Decas did,” said Dunham.

Kathleen Coyle’s arrangement, inspired by Captain John Kendrick’s trip to Japan, is in that country’s tradition of Ikebana — minimalistic floral arrangements with a focus on balance and movement.

Sylvia Strand created a dynamic arrangement to evoke the fires of the War of 1812 and the invasion of Wareham, with orange blooms shooting up like flames from a driftwood base.

A number of other arrangements are also displayed throughout the library.

The exhibition will be open from 10 to 4 Saturday.