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February 8, 2012

Partnership with Trade School Plants Colonial Williamsburg Garden in Philadelphia International Flower Show

Colonial Williamsburg has formed a partnership with the Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades to advise horticulture students who are designing a garden for the 2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show March 4 – 11. The school is located just west of Philadelphia in Delaware County, Pa.

The partnership evolved from a relationship with longtime Colonial Williamsburg supporter Kenneth Wood, who serves on the board of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. Kenneth and Teresa Wood are members of Colonial Williamsburg’s National Advisory Council, a nationwide group of leaders who have a strong commitment to the well-being of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

“I have been a supporter of Colonial Williamsburg for some time,” said Wood. “Providing an opportunity for Williamson’s horticultural students to learn from Colonial Williamsburg landscape and garden experts supports the education missions of both institutions.”

Laura Viancour, manager of landscape services, and Wesley Greene, gardener, Historic Trades, are serving as consultants to the students. Their role is to ensure the design and the plants the students select fit the colonial period. The garden is expected to focus on heirloom vegetables. Greene, Viancour and colleague Susan Dippre will attend the Flower Show and will lecture on the plants, gardening methods and decorating styles found in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area.

  • Tuesday, March 6, 10:30 a.m. – “Gardening Under Cover” with Wesley Greene; Learn the history and uses for bell glasses, hotbeds, paper frames and other devices for the production of vegetables year-round; discover the right ordering of the kitchen garden using techniques described by accomplished 18th-century English gardeners and botanists and currently practiced in the Colonial Nursery in Williamsburg.
  • Thursday, March 8, 10:30 a.m. – “Shuttles, Sweet Bags and Syrups: Colonial Use of Plants” with Laura Viancour; discover the many ways colonists relied on plants in their daily lives.
  • Thursday, March 8, 3:30 p.m. – “Colonial Williamsburg Holiday Decorations: Not Just for Christmas” with Susan Dippre demonstrating the techniques used to make traditional Williamsburg holiday decorations. Learn how easily they can be adapted for making centerpieces year-round using natural materials from the garden.

    The Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades was founded in 1888 by Isaiah Williamson, a Philadelphia merchant and philanthropist, to provide financially disadvantaged young men with the opportunity to become productive and respected members of society. Although some of the original rules of the school have adapted to the times, the school remains dedicated to the Quaker values of hard work, honesty, faith and modest lifestyle upon which it was founded. Today the school is a post-secondary school that awards associate degrees in specialized technology and craftsmen diplomas. Programs at the school include carpentry; masonry; horticulture, landscaping, turf management; machine tool technology; paint and coatings technology and power plant technology. Williamson still provides a free, quality trade and technical education to qualified young men and continues to upgrade its programs to meet the current challenges of advancing technology.

    The Philadelphia International Flower Show will be held March 4 – 11, 2012, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. For more information, visit

    The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation. Philanthropic support by individuals, corporations, and foundations benefits the educational mission of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

    Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

    Media Contact:
    Barbara Brown
    (757) 220-7280

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