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This year there is a special competition for colleges, with the theme Flights of Fancy.  This links in with Tatton Park’s Art Biennial theme.   The colleges were given a space of 2m x 2.5m to work within.


The award for best exhibit was given to Askham Bryan College, for their stunning design ‘The Sun’.  They also achieved a Silver-Gilt medal.  Their designs featured a frame of copper pipes holding perspex rings and rings covered in coloured wool.


Hundreds of test tubes held flower in shades of red, oranges and yellows including phalaenopis orchids, gloriosa, calla lilies, oncidium orchids, craspedia, and echivaria.  Strands of threaded hypericum berries hung around the design.


Bishop Burton College gained a Bronze Grenfell medal for their design, ‘The Flight of Amy Johnson’. They used flowers to represent places that Amy travelled to on her pioneering flights in the 1930s, including England, Australia and India. They used orchids, scabious, celosia, calla lilies, agapanthus, echinops, alliums, anthuriums, cinnamon sticks and aloe vera plants.


Water meadows and flights of floral ‘birds’ were the inspiration behind East Surrey College’s design, they were awarded a Silver Grenfell medal.  They used frames woven with textiles and test tubes to hold materials in place.  Their design featured strelitzia, longiflorum lilies, anthuriums, roses, chrysanthemums, snake grass and gerberas.

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Flower of the week – Phalaenopsis orchid

Common name: Moth orchid

Botanical Names: Phalaenopsis

Origin: Indonesia and Java

Colours: White, yellow, pink and purple

Their name is pronounced fal-a-nop-sis, which comes from the Greek phalaina meaning moth and opsis meaning resemblance. They were brought to the UK in the 1800s, and were one of the first tropical orchids grown in Victorian collections.  They are now a very popular potted plant. There is more than 50 species in the phalaenopsis family, many with fancy colours.


Orchids grow naturally in many climates, although they prefer warm temperatures between 19-30 degrees Celsius.  This makes them tolerable to centrally heated houses.  Humidity is important for these orchids, they prefer to be placed in bathrooms or kitchens but spraying the leaves will also help.

The arching stem that provides flowers will bear up to 15 large flat flowers with a waxy texture. They are easy to keep at home and will often flower for several months if they like the conditions.  They should be kept away from fruit, vegetables and old flowers as they are sensitive to ethylene gas given off by them.  The plants are good at removing xylene released from computer screen, paints and varnishes.


Orchids have always been a premium flower prized for their rare beauty and elegance.  They are available all year round and are one of the few flowers which wholesalers sell per head, compared to per stem for other flowers.  Although the flowers heads are often have much larger than those of potted orchids.  As phalaenopsis orchids are one of the dearer cut flowers they tend to be used mainly in wedding work.  They are exquisite in bridal bouquets and gently flutter like a butterfly when carried.

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Essex based florists Curtis & Ford have been awarded two medals in the RHS Chelsea Florist of the Year competition 2012. An amazing achievement! they are only business to gain two medals in the same year.  The floristry competition attracts hundreds of entrants from around the country and showcases the best in professional floristry.  The double success comes after winning international awards in 2011.

The brief was to design and produce a large Chandelier to be hung at a Jubilee dinner for the Queen.  Amy Ford gained a Silver-Gilt medal for her stunning white and lace chandelier design.  Amy Curtis was awarded a Bronze medal for her beautiful design that had a very natural and organic feel to it.


Amy Curtis
Amy has worked in floristry for 9 years; she has studied business management at A Level and gained a Foundation Degree in professional floristry at Writtle College.  Amy is relatively new to competing and was thrilled to qualify for this years Chelsea Flower Show.  She said “Many florists compete to qualify for the Chelsea final their entire careers without ever qualifying… so the fact that one of us qualified was fantastic but to both qualify and to both achieve a medal is just fantastic, we are very proud of all the hours of work we have put in!”


Amy’s design featured hundreds of branches bound with paper covered wire holding tiny test tubes.  The tubes contained phalaenopsis orchids, freesia, roses, eryngium, anemones and spray roses.  It was adorned with beads, crystals drops and diamante brooches. The intricate design took over 350 hours to complete.

Amy Ford
Amy has completed A Levels in Art & Design, Photography and English Literature.  She found floristry at 21 after studying Glass design.  Amy has since gone on to complete levels 2, 3 and 4 in floristry.  Amy gained the highest practical grade in the country for her Level 4 exam.


To prepare for Chelsea piece Amy painstakingly made over 100 panels with fabric, beads and wire.   They were sewed, crocheted and beaded; each panel took 2.5 hours to make.  On the competition day Amy worked from 4am on Wednesday right up until the final whistle at 12.45am Thursday to finish her design.  She used various techniques on her piece, she layered and wove bark and leaves onto the panels and dotted flowers throughout.  Amy made 18 beaded panels for each tier using a total of 20,000 beads!


Many of the flowers were glued onto the design but some of the more fragile flowers were placed in tiny test tubes.  Most of the flowers were arranged in a massed style, Amy used reindeer moss, phalaenopsis orchids, white Lydia spray rose, Romantic Pepita spray rose, tanacetum, triteleia, spray carnations, brunia, cotton bush and hyacinth.

Both designs are now on show at Serenity Bridal, 17 St.Botolphs Street, Colchester.

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Following on from yesterdays post, here are the final 5 of my top ten green flowers.


5 – Viburnum Opulus
Each viburnum flower head is a cluster of lots of tiny pale green flowers. There are several heads on a stem and each heads delicately bobs about.  Their soft green colour looks very natural mixed in any type of arrangement from bouquets to table centres and larger arrangements.

Green-Gladioli4 – Gladioli
Gladioli has made a come back in recent years with lots of gorgeous new colours. The acid green gladioli look anything but traditional.  The flower stems are very long and suit large designs like pedestal arrangements or tall vase designs.
Green-Lady-Slipper-Orchid3 – Lady Slipper Orchid
If you want an exotic feel to your wedding flowers you can’t go wrong with orchids.  These slipper orchids are exotic and beautiful, mixed in a bouquet with other flowers or peeking above a table design.  Cymbidium orchids and dendrobium orchids are also available in green.  Orchids are one of the dearer flowers but they are striking and very long lasting.  Cymbidium orchids are perfect for submerging in tall cylinder vases.
Green-Goddess-Arum-Lily2 – Green Goddess Arum lily
These impressive flowers also known as callas lilies, have huge heads that unravel as they open.  They are very tall so are perfect for big vase arrangements or pedestal arrangements.  They are a premium flower but they offer a big impact for their price tag and will last several weeks in a vase.
Super-Green-Rose1 – Super Green Rose
Roses had to be number one in the top ten, they are still one of the most popular wedding flowers. This rose is exactly what it’s name suggests, a huge green rose. Super Green is a type of rose known as a garden rose or cabbage rose as it has lots of petals and opens up very big.  Roses work well in any wedding flowers from bouquets to arrangements.

Super green rose –foxpointfarms.com
lady slipper orchid – hiloorchidfarm.com
Green Goddess Arum -  plantsgaloreonline.co.uk
Gladioli – gee-tee.co.uk

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Green flowers may seem like an unusual choice for wedding flowers, but green can be a very beautiful and natural colour scheme.  There are plenty of green flowers to choose from whether you prefer soft sage green or bright lime green, you can even get acid green flowers.  Adding green flowers to a mixed colour design will ‘lift’ the other colours.

Counting down from number 10:

Green-Chrysanthemum10 – Feeling Green Spray Chrysanthemum
This is a spray type of chrysanth so it has several heads on a stem.  The flowers are very hardy so are good for designs that won’t be in water.  The uniform shape of these chrysanths looks great in compact designs like pomanders or spheres of flowers.
Green-Trick-Dianthus9 –  Green Trick Dianthus
These unusual looking flowers are a type of sweet william, from the carnation family.  You usually see them in small bunches of pinks and reds.  This fluffy flower is a spherical shape and looks a bit like moss.  It looks great mixed with a vibrant colour in modern textured bouquets or kept simple with white flowers and foliage.
Green-Hydrangea8 – Hydrangea
For summer weddings Hydrangea are the perfect flower.  The large blooms come in various shades of green from a soft pale colour to lime to and green with hints of pink.  Hydrangeas work well with a country garden theme or a more contemporary look.  They are also  lovely grouped together for bridal bouquets. Hydrangea may seem a little pricey but they are at least twice the size of most flowers and fill a lot of space in an arrangement.
Green-Chrysanthemum7 – Shamrock Chrysanthemum Bloom
This is the second chrysanth in my top ten list, but it looks so different to chrysanth spray I had to include it.  You would be forgiven for not regconising these flowers as Chrysanthemums.  Their spiky shape and vivd lime colour is a million miles away from the old fashioned chrysanth sprays supermarkets offer.  These blooms work best in large contemporary designs and look fabulous mixed with bright exotic flowers.
Green-Amaranthus6 – Amaranthus
This flower has beautiful flowing heads that look lovely anywhere flowers can naturally trail or hang down.  The edge of a mantelpiece arrangement, hanging from a garland at the church entrance or hanging from a bouquet.  It is a pretty alternative to ivy or grasses.
My top 5 green flowers will follow in tomorrows post.
Green Trick Dianthus – sieraflowerfinder.com
Amaranthus – Petitfleurevents.com

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