Wednesday March 09, 2011 | 10:51 PM

Hundreds of people turned out tonight for the Portland Flower Show's opening gala. Inside two halls in the sprawling Portland Company Complex, 16 teams of exhibitors created the most refreshingly green landscapes. Party-goers mingled among the waterfalls and the butterflies, enjoying appetizers, sipping drinks and casting votes for the people's choice award, which will be announced at the close of the show on Sunday.

Tonight 10 awards, including the most prestigious Best in Show prize, were handed out.

And who snapped up that Best in Show award?

Pray's Masonry & Landscaping and Skillins Greenhouses. Here Chad Skillin and John Pray accept the award from WCSH-6 news anchor Cindy Williams and Portland Flower Show director Jan Love. The team also took home the Pierson Nurseries Award, for best use of native woody plants.

In addition to the Best in Show, a number of other awards were presented.

Here Jan and Cindy congratulate Yves Joyal of Madawaska Hardscape Products and Gabe Rubino of Seko's Creative Garden Design. Their exhibit won the best hardscape award.

The other winners were:

Beatrix Farrand Design Award - Landmarc's Inc. and O'Donal's Nursery

The Cary Award (best use of hardy, northern plants) - Landmarc's Inc. and O'Donal's Nursery

* The Designers' Task Award (for functional design) - Stonescapes & Watergardens and Picture Perfect Landscapes

* Kitchen Door Garden Award - Cozy Acres Greenhouses

* Lyle Littlefield Commemorative Award (best use of new or underused woody plants) - Ron Forest & Sons Fence Company, Estabrook's and Mercier Landscaping

* Melvin Estabrook Inqenuity Award - Petal Pushers Garden Place and Stonewalls & Repair

* Palette Award - Jaiden Landscaping Inc.

* Roger Luce Award (best use of underused herbaceous plants) - Landmarc's Inc. & O'Donal's Nursery

Kerry Sullivan of Portland is another award winner I met at tonight's party. She won first place in the show's essay contest in the 10 to 13 year old category. Her winning words about a single flower earned her $50 and two tickets to the party. She sweetly brought her mom, Danielle Sullivan, as her plus one.

The Flower Show is open daily through Sunday and tickets cost $15 at the door (kids under 12 are free). Not only will you be able to see the impressive landscape designs, but you'll also be able to peruse the wares of close to 100 vendors selling gardening and decor related items.

Check out tomorrow's paper, where the Press Herald's long-time garden columnist Tom Atwell will have a full report on this year's designs and plants.

And I'll have more snapshots and details about the party in the March 13 edition of the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Until then, I hope to see you out and about.

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Avery Yale Kamila dishes about southern Maine's hottest parties.

Avery can be contacted at 791-6297 or
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