Not in the Job Description by Amanda Bjorklund and Hope Jones

One of the reasons I love working at the Dixon is that our staff has the opportunity to learn and grow in ways that are outside of their assigned job responsibilities. A few weeks ago Hope Jones, a security officer for the Dixon, got to do just that and completed a dream of hers. 

The floral arrangements inside the Dixon are just as admired as the art that hangs in the galleries. The Memphis Garden Club members are the ones who typically create these works of art; however, during the months after the holiday season, members of the Dixon Garden Staff create the floral arrangements. Hope and Suzy Askew, Gardens Education and Volunteer Coordinator and expert Floral Arranger, teamed up to create a beautiful arrangement. I admire Hope for taking on the task of floral arranging for the Dixon, especially since it is outside the realm of her expertise. I wanted to learn more about her experience, so I sat her down for a short Q and A.  

Q: Why did you want to do a floral arrangement for the Dixon? 

A: I’ve been working at the Dixon for almost 2 years, and I always see the wonderful ladies of the Memphis Garden Club putting together our arrangements.  When you look at it, you think it is easy, so I thought I could do that.  I like beautiful flowers; I'm very visual.  I like to think that I have a creative and imaginative mind, so why not try my hand at something new.   

Q: What did you learn from Suzy about floral arrangements? 

A: It's definitely not as easy as one might think it is! In actuality, I learned a lot before I even got started making the arrangement. Together we drew up an idea of what type of look and feel we were trying to achieve. I learned basic tips of how rhythm and balance play a key role in starting the initial arrangement. It's best to start with the greenery around the bottom and then insert the large focal flowers. From there, the design takes its shape, and you follow the design rhythm to finish the piece.  Everything else she taught me was basic garden knowledge that you could pick up in one of the many fabulous garden and flower workshops at the Dixon.         

Q: What flowers were used and why? 

A: The main flowers were calla lilies, snapdragons, and various branches and foliage that included holly and cedar branches.  In the end we decided to focus on the calla lilies and greenery to give it a classic color pallet of white, green, and a small pop of red (holly berries). The arrangement, according to Suzy, actually resembled Japanese style floral arrangements. This was not the original goal, but a fun coincidence. I guess you could say we were practicing for the Jun Kaneko exhibition opening.   

Q: Would you do it again? 

A: It would be an honor, but if I had it my way, I probably wouldn't ask to do the one in the foyer.  I'd pick a smaller arrangement that was located in the residence and create something magical. Everyone who comes into the museum sees your flower arrangements first, so it was important to me that I took pride in my work. However, I would want to gain more knowledge about the process before attempting it again.  I’m glad I did it, though!              

The kindness exhibited by the Dixon staff as they share their expertise with others is why the Dixon has a special place in my heart and one of the many reasons I love to work here.   Every day our staff gives people an opportunity to learn and experience new things, and I love being a part of that!   I am also excited to try my hand at flower arranging the next time the urn needs a new design!

Our next Garden Workshop is a Stem Holder Workshop on Saturday, March 14 at 10:30 am.

Posted by Chantal Drake at 11:27 AM
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