O.C. Flower Show Blossoms Virtually

O.C. Flower Show Blossoms Virtually

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A virtual version of the Ocean City Flower Show will showcase photo submissions of the best floral displays and gardens.

By MADDY VITALE

When the Ocean City Flower Show held annually in June at the Music Pier had to be canceled due to the pandemic, the members of the Garden Club of Ocean City were disappointed to say the least.

But with a bit of help from the city, and an idea, specifically from the city’s Special Events Coordinator Michael Hartman, the bad news quickly blossomed into something positive.

The event, originally scheduled for June 5-7, has gone virtual and flower enthusiasts — anyone with a green thumb and all those with beautiful gardens or floral displays — are asked to join in with others in the Virtual Flower Show for 2020 by submitting photos of their creations.

Flower Committee co-chair Kay Reilly said that, in a way, because of the sheltering in place order since March, which has just begun to loosen up, more people have taken on the gardening hobby during this unprecedented time.

“I do believe this year we will have some incredible gardens to show,” Reilly said. “A lot of garden centers say there has been so much more interest. People are home more now and have really taken a shine to home gardening.”

Reilly noted that the city was “gracious and offered to handle the submissions.”

“I think it is a nice involvement by the city,” Reilly said. “We didn’t know much about virtual events and we at the garden club were tossing around ideas about how we could do this. The city is really cutting edge.”

Friends from Lehigh Valley, Pa., Marie Hahn (foreground), Denice Van Driesen and Kay Fritz, admire award-winning orchids at the Ocean City Flower Show in 2019.

So far, she said, there have been more than 50 submissions.

Despite the pandemic, she said, the mild winter seemed to help with the growth of flowers and gardens.

“Flowers are so depending on the weather and a lot of people didn’t want to take pix of their garden because of cold weather. Now everything is blooming. We might have a lot of entries at the end,” Reilly explained.

Reilly might be the reason for some submissions. She has been driving around her hometown of Ocean City recruiting people who have the gardening talent to join in submitting their floral photos, she said.

“I have been dropping off little notices in mailboxes of people with beautiful gardens just in case they miss the message about the virtual show. We are hoping we get some of the children’s entries as well. Youngsters with little gardens in window boxes are welcome to send in a submission.”

And the most important part of this virtual event is that it keeps the Ocean City Flower Show on the radar. A local tradition, it is now in its 48th year.

“We want people to keep us in mind this time of year,” Reilly said. “This worked out wonderfully and since we don’t have judges and there aren’t specific categories, it is a looser way to show your stuff.”

And come 2021, Reilly said the garden club will be ready to put on another show at the Music Pier with hopefully a lot of new flower lovers.

Submit your photos to events@ocnj.us and the Flower Show will feature a few of the favorite submissions via the Ocean City Music Pier Facebook Page @MusicPier.

The submission deadline is June 7. Featured selections will be posted by June 9. There is no theme, but be sure to provide your name, any special information about your submission and share any gardening tips you came across while working on your project.

Children’s submissions such as this one are welcomed. (Courtesy Kathy Wheatcroft)