Green Fingers Turn To Gold

A team of floristry students have returned triumphant after scooping gold at the recent Harrogate Spring Flower Show.

The team from East Durham College’s Houghall Campus took part in the ‘College Exhibition Stand Competition’ at the annual show, which is organised by the North of England Horticultural Society and was held on 22nd – 25th April.

The full time students, all enrolled on a Level 2 NPTC Floristry course, attend the College from across the region including Sunderland, Gateshead, Sedgefield, Durham, Spennymoor, Newton Aycliffe and Stockton. The winning team were Rachel Davis, Kay Dawson, Sarah Dorward, Paula Green, Regina Jackson, Shelley Jefferson, Faye Mackender, Charlotte Parker, Jackie Peters, Alice Pickerill, Natalie Scott, Kate Stokoe and Janine Webster.

This was only the second time the College had been invited to compete in the competition, following the Silver medal won at last year’s show. Floristry Lecturers Sue Lee and Meg Ellison are absolutely delighted with the team’s effort and success to go one better and claim a gold medal.

Sue Lee, explained: “The title of the college completion was Told in verse, where students had to select a poem which they depicted using an interesting and varied range of floristry skills.

“Robert Frost’s Fire and Ice was chosen by the Houghall team. The team depicted fire on one side of the stand and ice on the other, to represent the idea of when the world ends - will it end in fire or ice.

“We are thrilled by the students’ creativity and the range of skills they showed. It was a fantastic effort.”

The focal area of the stand was a willow structure created by Janine and Jackie, who wove the willow around a metal structure, to create a vortex spiral, on to which flowers were attached, shades of red/autumnal flowers on the fire side and white and silver flowers and foliage on the ice side.

The team also used two trees to attach tropical flowers such as Strelizias, Proteas, Eremurus, Grevillea and Anthuriums for fire and White Phalaenopsis Orchids, Veronicas and Anthuriums for ice. Panicum and Bear grasses created an explosion at the top of the willow stand to demonstrate the eruption of the vortex.

Alice and Kay painted a selection of verse on the backdrop to emphasis the two separate areas - and Regina, Paula and Sarah made the 3D impression of the world. A swirl of coloured gravel, stones, mirrored plates and goldfish bowls finished the base of the stand and linked all the elements together.

Student Kay Dawson, from Newton Aycliffe, also achieved an individual Bronze Award at the competition for her design in the Tell me a story category. She created an arrangement to represent children’s book Skellig by David Almond.