Interflora florists from across the UK and Ireland, with at least four years professional floristry experience, were invited to enter the Interflora Florist of Year competition heats as a way to develop and showcase their exceptional floristry skills and creativity.
During the competition the florists were asked to create a naturally-inspired bridal design, a small floral tree and a surprise item- a wedding table centrepiece- which was briefed on the day. The competitors were able to complete one of the items, the bridal design, in advance of the competition but had to construct the other two designs within a set time limit, under the judges’ eyes.
Each design was then scored by the panel of expert judges, which included members of the UK Floristry Judges Guild.
Daring, quirky, avant-garde, once again the quality of the creations has pushed the boundaries to offer something new, different and distinctive to catch the eye and capture the imagination.
Meet the winners who will now go on to compete at the Grand Finale to be held at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park next year….
Neil Whittaker of The Design Florist, Irlam, Manchester
With 30 years’ experience behind him, Neil is a seasoned competitor in the floristry industry and has previously represented the UK at the Interflora Word Cup. When it comes to competing, Neil always says that the best advice is “stay calm and use the time to your best ability.”
Judge Tracy Thomlinson said Neil’s Floral Tree design was “technically exquisite.”
Vicky Rymel of Hubbards, Coventry.
She said: “I am very pleased with my achievement and was delighted with my bridal piece as it was very delicate and intricate and took hours to make.” And when it comes to those first-time competition nerves, Vicky has this top tip; “Enjoy it! You’ll have so much fun on the day!”
Erica Tippett of Bleujen Florist, Bude.
Erica embarked on her floristry career at the age of 19 and now says there’s nothing else she’d rather do for a living. Her stunning floral tree design really captured the imagination of the judges. We can see why!
Charlotte Cooke, Hilarys, Abergavenny.
Charlotte says she caught the competition bug a long time ago and started out aged 6! This year her efforts were recognised at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, where she won a silver medal for her floral design. Talking about competing Charlotte said: “Don’t be afraid to give it a go. Once you’ve done once, you’ll want to do it again and again.”
Vinny Yeates of Flowers by Lucy, Kilkenny.
Talking about the event Vinny said: “I was really pleased with my floral tree design. To create it I dug up a tree, sprayed it with liquid rubber, then peeled off the rubber when it had dried and filled it with plaster. I then decorated it with floral material including white orchids and hypericum berries. It looked incredibly lifelike and I think this is what impressed the judges.”
Tracey Griffin of Sandra’s Florst, Holbury
Tracey has gotten a taste for competitions and has grown up competing in floristry events, thanks to helping out in her mum’s flower shop. She says, “You never stop learning and aspiring to get better. It’s all down to preparation. You almost learn more from when you don’t win. That said, I’m really pleased and delighted with this outcome!”
Lucinda Knapman of Broadwater Flowers, Worthing
With 25 years in floristry under her belt, Lucinda has achieved a number of successes in her career as a florist, including wins in competitions such as the Flower Council of Holland and the Society of Florists. When it comes to competing, she believes that it is a great way to promote yourself and your skills. She says, “Have a go! You can increase your floristry skills and learn from other competitors at the same time.”
Arkadiusz Wozniacki of Flowers by Arkadius, Edinburgh
Hailing from Poland, Arkadiusz has had a great deal of success in his native country and is now looking to continue that winning streak in the UK. He says, “I’d like to become one of the top designers in Britain. From the age of 10, I have been working with flowers and I was really pleased with my wedding piece for this competition.”
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