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  • Writer's pictureTracy Rowbottom

Chelsea 2017- What an amazing experience

Here I am standing proudly next to my gorgeous Dragon Kite having won a Bronze Medal at Chelsea Flower Show!

I had an amazing time, the weather was beautiful and I have come away feeling really excited and enthused.

This was not my first time having the privilege of competing at Chelsea, I have previously won Gold, Silver and Bronze medals but my last time was 2008 and to return after nine years was just a little bit daunting.

I am so thrilled that I took the leap and entered the heat, from then on it has been a roller coaster of creativity.

I entered the last heat as work commitments (and a little self doubt)

got in the way and I won with 95 marks out of 100, wowee that was a confidence boost!!!

I nearly didn't go as I had decided half way there that my very sculptural piece wasn't good enough, thankfully I pulled myself together.

That was only eight weeks before set up day at Chelsea and the beginning of an amazing period of creativity, it was lovely to be so focused on a creative project and take some time out of the normal stresses and strains.

I experimented with paper making, which I love and I am definitely going to use that technique again. I have a whole kit of interesting things to add texture and colour to my paper now so I can't let all of that go to waste.

I played around with different foliage, looking at texture and colour and the way the light reflected through them and eventually chose Croton leaves as a focus for my design, they gave me the base for my colour choices and then I was off.

My design featured six circular panels of flower framed hand made paper reducing in size in vibrant golden yellow and raspberry red. the paper was laced with dried Croton leaves to carry through the theme. The seventh front panel was the show stopper. I made an intricate frame from bolsa wood stained with raspberry red ink and then created a stained glass effect with the Croton leaves. In the centre I created a frame with pipe cleaners and built up a dragon head using Vanda and Cymbidium Orchids, Hypericum, Craspedia, Santini, Carnations and Gloriosa.

Yes there were things in hindsight I would have done a little differently but overall I was delighted with the finished piece and proud that my design stood out, I love sculptural work and I think that always shines through.

I met up with old florist friends and was delighted to make some new ones, I hadn't met most of the competitors before but as ever the florist community was friendly, open and enthusiastic. We supported one another through build up and congratulated one another on our various awards.

I do feel privileged to still be a part of this hardworking, friendly and creative community. My career has changed and developed over the years, sometimes having less emphasis on practical floristry and more on planning, design, product development and sourcing but I am delighted to still be involved in this amazing industry.

And I managed to get into the local paper and on the TV!

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