Floristry students preparing for RHS Chelsea Flower Show competition!

May 2018

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(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

Further Education floristry students and staff at Writtle University College are preparing their entry for a top competition at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show!

The 15 Level 2 and 3 Floristry students have been invited to exhibit at RHS Chelsea in the final of the Future Florist competition.

They qualified for the competition after achieving a Silver Medal at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show last Summer for their exhibit of fantastical bugs made from fresh flowers and plants.

They will now go up against three other colleges – one other finalist from the southern heat at RHS Hampton Court Palace and two from the northern qualifier at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park – for the title.

With the Chelsea Flower Show opening only three days after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Royal Wedding, the brief is to create a floral arch for a Spring wedding.

The team will be supplied with a metal arch 2.5m tall and will cover at least two-thirds of it in fresh flowers and plant material. The four competition arches will form a beautiful floral walkway for visitors.

Elaine Thackray, Further Education Lecturer in Floristry, said: “This is a fabulous opportunity to showcase students’ skills and to promote what can be achieved with one of our Floristry courses.

“The University College has recently been graded Ofsted Good for the second consecutive year and our Floristry department was given a Grade 1, outstanding, with the inspector highlighting the high standards that our tutors set for our students. Working on an exhibit for RHS Chelsea Flower Show requires the very best skills and professional standards, which is invaluable experience for our students and their CVs.”

The final Writtle University College design has been drawn up after 30 students submitted their proposals.

The design features Apple Blossom, Ranuncula, Anemone, Foxglove, Clematis, Jasmine, Aquilegia, Campanula, Sweet William, Lily of the Valley, Nigella, as well as Peony, Rosemary, Silver Birch, Purple Beech and Honeysuckle. The team will be using British-grown flowers, kindly donated by The Midnight Garden Flower Farm on the Cambridgeshire/Suffolk border and are being sponsored by West Bergholt-based Oak View Landscapes.

The students will need to make the archway in six hours, so are practising on a mock archway created by a Level 2 Agriculture student.

Level 3 Diploma in Floristry student Heather Lucas, from Maldon, is one of the students taking part. She said: “It’s really exciting to be involved in this project and it’s a huge opportunity to be able to do work for such a prestigious event as the Chelsea Flower Show! It’s a big responsibility – everyone is going to see the work I’ve done as a student at Writtle.

“I have produced lots of smaller scale designs such as hand-tied bouquets and arrangements but not a large scale construction such as this. Eventually I would like to set up my own wedding and events floristry business so this is excellent experience for me and I’m sure clients will be impressed when they ask for an archway and I can tell them that I’ve made one of those at Chelsea!”

Level 2 Diploma in Floristry student Lesley Worboys, from Sandon, said: “As a mature learner with a background in teaching and a lifelong interest in flowers I never thought that I would be helping to create a showpiece for RHS Chelsea Flower Show less than two years after enrolling on the course! This is a fantastic opportunity to be involved in such a high-profile event and to support the FE Floristry department, which I’m very grateful for.”

To find out more about the Further Education Floristry courses at Writtle, please visit: