FLORISTS from throughout Northern Ireland met at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, (CAFRE) Greenmount Campus, for the British Florist Association (BFA) regional meeting.
The event included two fantastic design demonstrations and gave florists the opportunity to compete in the Irish Regional Heat of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Young Florist and Florist of the Year Competitions. This year competitors were asked to create a bridal design for a Gold Medal winning Chelsea gardener.
The demonstrator was up and coming designer, Karen Sherwin of George Preston Florist, Newry, who was awarded ‘Interflora Florist of the Future’ title in 2011. Karen created inspirational Valentine’s designs to give customers original ways to say ‘I love you’ and included many great ideas on working with colour to create personalised designs with the ‘WOW’ factor.
Competition work is vital to florists in developing their design skills and building the reputation of their business. The RHS Chelsea Competitions provide a terrific platform for a florist to showcase their skills to a worldwide audience. CAFRE floristry graduates have an amazing track record of competition success, particularly in the RHS Young Chelsea Florist Competition. Three CAFRE trained florists have reached the final of this competition since 2009, with Siobhan Hughes, George Preston Florist, Newry, becoming the first one to achieve an RHS Chelsea Bronze Medal in May last year.
Siobhan was delighted to win this year’s Ireland heat, and hopes to compete again in the Final at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May. It was a double success for Preston’s florists as the Florist Category was won by Karen Sherwin, who works in the same shop.
CAFRE provides a full time floristry training programme for those new to the business and there is also a part time route for those already employed in a flower shop and who want to achieve a nationally recognized qualification. So, if you are reading this and are thinking floristry might be for you, contact Greenmount Campus to find out more about the Level 2 and Level 3 Diploma in Floristry programmes.
Freephone 0800 0284291 or check the college website: www.cafre.ac.uk for course information, or come to the next Greenmount Open Evening on Wednesday 24 April from 2-9pm.