Writtle College Floristry student a finalist in RHS Chelsea Florist of the Year

May 2015

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(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

A Writtle College Floristry student has been a finalist in the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show’s Florist of the Year competition.

Ayane Shimazu, from Japan, a Foundation Degree (FdA) Professional Floristry student, had to design and create a fantasy floral tree based on the theme of Alice in Wonderland.

Ayane just missed a bronze medal by one point but she was up against very stiff competition from two previous past winners and 11 other very experienced florists. This was the first time that Ayane had ever visited RHS Chelsea Flower Show, let alone competed, so the whole experience was a unique and challenging time, particularly in the middle of exams.

Ayane commented: “It was such hard work to prepare the tree. I spent many, many hours creating the details of wired flowers made with playing cards, spiders’ webs and even a key for the little door. The structure was the biggest thing I have ever made, so it was very complicated to make sure it stood straight and secure. I was worried that it would fall on the Queen when she went past!”

In fact the Queen did walk right past the exhibit and Ayane was thrilled to be inches away from her: “I also saw Prince Harry and Prince Charles – the whole day was so surreal and will probably never happen again for me. I am so lucky to be a finalist and be involved in the event on press day.”

Ayane has now completed her Level 5 course and will return to Japan to work in the floral industry.