For the second year in a row, Jeff O’Donal, owner of O’Donal’s Nursery, won Best in Show as well as the Cary Award at the Portland Flower Show. A Hobbit House, the winner was the result of a partnership between the 65 acre destination nursery and Landmarc’s, both of Gorham.
Yesterday afternoon, clearly excited about his win, Jeff said that after the announcements at the opening reception “one of the judges told me that he has judged many flower shows over many years and he has never given as high a score as he did to the Hobbit House.” Jeff also said that his entry into the Flower Show was more about promotion of the entire industry than anything else.
Present at yesterday’s show were the proud parents of O’Donal. Royce, Jeff’s father, told MHN.com originally he was in the tree business only. But with three children, the couple needed more income. So they bought the then defunct Jackson nursery in 1960. The nursery grew “like topsy” in the 80s. Royce said. So did the family; it doubled to six children. Three years ago, Jeff bought the business from his father. At 83 years of age, Royce says he still climbs trees like he used to. “I’d rather dig a ditch than speak to a crowd of people as Jeff often does,” said Royce.
Late in the afternoon yesterday, Phin Sprague, Jr. said “we are about 100 people shy of last year’s attendance, but we expect the weather to be good, so that the flow of people is steady. I hope we make it up by Sunday.” Sprague also said that at closing time on Sunday, 4 pm, there will be a free admission auction of much of the exhibitors in building 11. Many of the exhibitors will be donating flowers to this event. Proceeds will benefit the master gardners program and scholarships at USM.
Please see Post # 408, dated March 8, for more background information.