Art of Aging: Longtime exhibitor makes a difference at the Philadelphia Flower Show

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Meet a longtime exhibitor, a retired physician who hasn't missed the Philadelphia Flower Show since the 1970s.

For Wilfreta Gourdine Baugh, the Philadelphia Flower Show is a tradition. Three generations of her family have competed.

"That's one of my favorite places," she said.

She entered her first flower show 45 years ago in 1974.

"So I got a blue ribbon and a best in the show and I shouldn't say that it was like taking crack cocaine, I was hooked," Wilfreta laughs.

So she recruited her teenage daughter, Gabrielle.

"She rooked me in the first year, having me exhibit with her, and we did well and so I've been doing it ever since," said Gabrielle.

Wilfreta's granddaughters are also following in her footsteps. They won a blue ribbon last year for their treasure chest exhibit.

"I'm really glad to have all of them at least helping me or me helping them," she said.

Wilfreta first learned to garden from her mother but credits much of her knowledge to the ladies of Our Garden Club of Philadelphia and Vicinity, where she's been a member since 1972.

"So we're doing an entryway exhibit," said Wilfreta.

Over the last 45 years, she's learned what makes an exhibit stand out.

"And I try to do something that's different, that I've never seen before," added Wilfreta.

She calls herself a perfectionist and saves many of her final touches for the Flower Show floor.

"But I think about it, it's in my mind's eye as my mother used to say. When you're doing this you can't please everyone, you have to please yourself," said Wilfreta.

Wilfreta has three exhibits this year dubbed, "Sit-In," "Twiggy" and lastly, her "Abstract."

"And in the Abstract you want to sort of think outside the box a little bit," she said.

She says it's not the competition, but the friendships she's developed at the Flower Show that keeps her coming back year after year.

'I never missed a year and it wasn't, I didn't set out to do that, it's just something that I wanted to do. This is fun," said Wilfreta.
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