The Little Garden Club (LGCR) of Rye is busting out all over florally speaking –and then some -- at Rye’s Wainwright House, the oldest non-profit, non-sectarian holistic learning center in the U.S.
The LGCR is presenting a free show called “Namaste” at Wainwright House, and the name says a great deal about what the Garden Show of America (GSA) event is really all about.
If a rose by any other name is still a rose, Namaste tells you that show is about more that beautiful flower arrangements, although floral arrangements play a central role.
The show is also about horticulture, photography, eating with awareness in ways that support local farms at a time when the U.S. has lost 4.7 million farmers, and maybe even introducing what LGC spokesperson Sarah Freimuth calls “a little bit of serenity into our busy lives.”
That makes the Wainwright House setting and the show’s “Namaste” title all the more meaningful.
“Namaste is an ancient gesture which many have been introduced to through Yoga and meditation,” according to Ms. Freiumth, with both Yoga and meditation primary disciplines often taught in classes and workshops at Wainwright House.
“When spoken to another person, the word Namaste is commonly accompanied by a slight bow made with hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointed upwards in front of the chest (as though folded in prayer), according to Ms. Freimuth.
“Namas,” she explained is a Sanskrit term for bow, obeisance, reverential salutation, or adoration. And “te” is the second person singular. “It means: ‘The divine in me sees the divine in you,’” Ms. Freimuth said. “The true Namaste is a way of seeing with the heart, not the mind, and is a process of transformation.
“With that in mind The Little Garden Club of Rye chose ‘Namaste’ as the title for our flower show,” she continued. “In addition to beautiful flower arrangements, the club wants to introduce horticulture and photography (with names like Tea Ceremony, Still Waters and Lotus) and a little bit of serenity into our busy lives.”
That serenity took many shapes and forms during the “Namaste” show, from best photography exhibits and awards (judged on the basis of creativity, composition, technical merits, distinction and interpretation of theme) to a Conservation Exhibit called “Eat With Awareness”.
The exhibit shows, among other things, that eating locally grown foods can positively affect our environment and provides a list of 15 local farms and 18 farmer’s markets, complete with addresses as positive sources of fresh food and vegetables.
There are also, of course, flowers, flowers, everywhere and various LGCR awards such as the Katharine Haley Donahue Award to a club member whose competitive flower arrangements best captures the spirit of her chosen class. A special appreciation for nature’s beauty and joy is a hallmark of the award and of its namesake.
The “Namaste” show started Thursday and runs 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday.
The show is just the latest chapter in a storied LGCR history that dates back to 1931 when the club was founded in Rye. It was granted membership in the Garden Club of America in 1948 during the presidency of Mrs. Robert E. Gilles.
Its focus through the years has been on civic beautification, conservation and historic preservation.
That has come in many ways, shapes and forms, from donations to the Restoration Fund of the Rye Historical Society for trees to be planted along Purchase St. back in the 1960s to being among the leaders in the early 1970s in opposing the Robert Moses Bridge Project from Oyster Bay into Rye that “would have been devastating in its impact on Rye.”
And so it goes with the LGCR from the annual Daffodil Show –started in 1992 at The Osborn Retirement Community– to being instrumental in helping to save the 44-acre Parson’s Tract, which later became the Rye Nature Center where the LGCR still maintains a wildflower garden for its beauty and for educational purposes.
Its illustrious history includes members such as Mrs. Brook McAllister the first national officer of the GCA from the LGCR who, in 1959, became Vice Chairman for National Parks to Mrs. Frank Donahue who was national Treasurer for several terms and later served as President of LGCA.
Its first flower show was held in May 1961. Its budding Namaste show is the latest. And it will not be the last.