Sharon and Allen

Georgia Designer Shares Holiday Tips on National Program

Earlier this month, thousands of fans of PBS star P. Allen Smith learned the value of fresh product for holiday decor, and how to transition designs from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Georgia-based floral educator Sharon McGukin, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, joined the gardening and lifestyle expert at his home, Moss Mountain Farm in Roland, Arkansas, for an episode on his syndicated show “Garden Style.”

Sharon designing on set

“We went through Allen’s garden and clipped things. He was very generous letting me use whatever I wanted,” said McGukin, author of “Flowers of the Heart” and a former president of the American Institute of Floral Designers.

McGukin collected boxwood, various hollies, nandina, camellias and a ton of seasonal greens, which she paired with seeded eucalyptus, roses and lilies donated by Lauree Lincoln of Sunshine Bouquet.

Floral Mesh & fruit wreath

“I wanted to show people how they can combine purchased floral product with items they can find outside,” she said.

McGukin also demonstrated how beautifully food complements flowers, first creating a 15-inch evergreen wreath accented with pumpkins and gourds. She then replaced the autumnal bounty with apples, pomegranates, red berries and candles.

As she designed, McGukin explained florists’ mechanics and tools, such as using Oasis foam soaked in flower food to extend vase life and Cowee picks to secure flowers. She also advised viewers where to buy these products.

Plant basket w flowers

“The idea was to make it easy for people to try this at home,” McGukin said, adding that Smith’s audience includes a lot of general consumers.

She focused on repurposing the wreath, in part, because it encourages people to play with flowers on a continual basis.

“I think the program offered a little something for everyone,” she said. “Florists got ideas to serve their customers. Garden club members got ideas for competitions or demonstrations. And floral enthusiasts got ideas to try in their own homes.

Sharon and Allen

McGukin befriended Smith years ago when both were speakers at the Art and Antique Show in Columbus, Mississippi. They’ve crossed paths numerous times giving presentations, and in 2017, Smith invited her to spend a long fall weekend in Missouri. Footage from her trip has appeared multiple times throughout the year.

“I absolutely loved the experience,” McGukin said. “He has such a pretty farm and he’s such a nice man. The morning after the demonstration, he asked if I’d like to make arrangements with him to put throughout the house. Just talking about flowers and life with him on a bright, sunny day — it was such a wonderful memory.”

Moss Mtn Farms grounds

Old episodes of Smith’s show are available at https://pallensmith.com/watch/.

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