Arranging for the Joy of it


September 18-20, 2015

Shrine Mont will offer its fifth “Flower Retreat” this fall. Participants get to enjoy all the hospitality of Shrine Mont while learning about floral design, and then are set loose to practice what they’ve learned. It will be a weekend of relaxation and a fun atmosphere to work with flowers and experience nature — all the enjoyment and none of the pain of gardening

 The image to the right is an arrangement made during the 2013 weekend.


Program at a Glance

Mary Garner-Mitchell, Nancy Ross Hugo and Debbe Peck will demonstrate a variety of arranging techniques — from European and country casual to lavish architectural creations and minimalist Asian designs. Attendees will participate in activities that take the angst out of arranging and showcase techniques that make the process both easier and more fun. Emphasis will be on using local, readily available flowers, greens, and line material.

  • Arranging demonstrations
  • Flower conditioning tips
  • Group arranging activities
  • Arranging in your “favorite container”
  • “Thieves Christmas”
  • Hiking, Happy Hours and much, much more!

The Instructors

Garner MitchellMary Garner-Mitchell is a graphic designer and commercial illustrator from Ashland, Virginia where she lives with her photographer husband, Chip Mitchell, in their 1781 home, Stagfield. Gardening and floral design have been part of her life since childhoodyears growing up in northwest Georgia — passions passed along to her by her maternal grandmother. In addition to floral arranging for family and friends (and just for fun!), Mary has been an instructor at Nancy Hugo’s Flower Camp in Howardsville for the past 14 years. She has also demonstrated at workshops for numerous garden clubs and at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond. She is a former member of the Town & Country Garden Club in Hanover County, St. John’s Episcopal Church altar guild and former chair of the flower committee at First Baptist Church, Ashland.

Nancy Ross Hugo

Nancy Ross Hugo is an outdoor writer, lecturer, and floral designer who has been gardening in Virginia for over 30 years. Nancy is known to many Virginians as the author of gardening columns for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, of wildlife habitat columns for Virginia Wildlife, and of natural history features that have appeared in a wide variety of popular magazines and periodicals. Nancy served as education manager at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden until 2004, and for decades she offered workshops in floral design and other art forms that take their inspiration from nature at Flower Camp in Buckingham County. Nancy is the author of Earth Works: Readings for Backyard Gardeners (University of Virginia Press, 1997) and with Jeff Kirwan, of Remarkable Trees of Virginia (Albemarke Books, 2008). Nancy’s third book, Seeing Trees, illustrated by fine art photographer Robert Llewellyn, will be published by Timber Press this summer. Native trees, shrubs and wildflowers are her primary inspirations.

Debbe Peck credits her father for the beginning of her love affair with flowers and also believes she inherited “farmer DNA” from her family.   She has owned a small native-plant nursery, worked as a garden designer and also spent more than 10 years as the outdoor garden shop buyer at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond.  She has provided a holiday greens demonstration there for several years.  Flower arranging is one of her creative outlets and she has arranged flowers for a variety of events.


Flower arrangement

Click here for a registration form and to learn about an Early Bird SpecialPDF document

Contact Mary Moomaw ( or call (540) 856-2141 if you want additional information.






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