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Show Highlights Flowers, Photos, Invasives

Anyone who loves flowers, gardens or photographs should head to Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts this weekend to view "Coloratura!," a flower show organized by the Fairfield Garden Club . The exhibition, sanctioned by the Garden Club of America , is open to the public free of charge.

Coloratura! will transform the Wien Experimental Theater (Black Box) into a riot of color with exhibitions of flower arranging, horticulture, including herbs, fruits, vegetables and cut flowers, as well as photography. More than 150 gardeners and floral photographers will be participating in the judged event.

In addition to the competition, there is an exhibit coordinated by Moira Eick, the club's conservation chairwoman, on the early detection of invasive plant species and how to deal with them. "It's much easier to spot and pull a tiny oriental bittersweet vine than cut a four-inch thick vine off a tree that is struggling from lack of light," she says.

The exhibit will highlight 15 major invasive species and show how to remove them correctly. Cutting back an invasive or pulling it out of the ground without getting all the fragments can promote growth, Eick says. Invasive plants compete with native varieties and can eventually become a monoculture by eliminating plant diversity in the landscape. "They shade out native plants," Eick says. "Some even change the chemical nature of the soil, making it harder for native plants to survive."

Another highlight of the event is the raffle of a reproduction garden bench originally designed in the 1930s by renowned Fairfield landscape architect, Agnes Selkirk Clark. The reproduction, made by Mrs. Clark's granddaughter, Ann Clark Mileti of Fairfield, is five feet long and made of mahogany. Raffle tickets for the bench will be available during the flower show.

Coloratura! takes place on Fri. Sept. 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sat. Oct. 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University.

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