One Radnor YFC member’s floral art skills are in full bloom, winning her the top spot for two consecutive years.
Emily, from Rhayader YFC, impressed the judges for a second year with the design she created for the under 16 category at the national final which had the theme of Caught in the Fisher’s Net.
Emily took part in the NFYFC Floral Art finals at the Malvern Autumn Show where her fishing net and shipwreck design reeled in the points, putting her ahead of nearly 40 other competitors.
It was amazing to win Radnor YFC rally and have the chance to represent my County at national for the second year running. I never expected to win two years in a row, especially with 39 competitors. I can't believe it happened.
Under 16 Floral Art winner
Emily, 13, first won the national final in 2022 for a Blue Peter Boat design she created for the competition theme of a British TV programme. This year’s design developed the boat idea further and used blue delphiniums, eryngium, white carnations, calla lillies and aspidistra leaves for sails and oars.
Emily worked with local florist and Rhayader YFC Club Leader Sian Davies from Cwtta Inspirations to help her plan out the design.
“I don't have plans for how I want to use my floristry skills in the future but it is definitely something to consider now,” said Emily when asked if she was thinking about floristry as a career.
For Lowri Davies from Glamorgan, it was the first time she had won a national final after four times reaching the national final.
Competitors in the under 21 category were given the theme of steampunk, so a more industrial style was required.
When I first saw the theme, I didn’t know what it was. I did a bit of research and a lot of cogs came up, and I liked the idea of creating a stand that had cogs. Once I knew what era it was from, I chose the orange and purple colours for my flowers.
Under 21 Floral Art winner
Lowri had support from a local florist in Gower, who she says helped her develop the design. With practices in short supply as she’d moved away from home to university, Lowri was surprised at her success on the day.
“I was pretty amazed to win. There’s a lot of pressure at the final. You have to keep an eye on time and know how long you have left. I enjoyed the theme and if you enjoy it, that makes it so much easier to come up with the ideas.”
Lowri, who’s studying criminology at university, said she only got into floristry through YFC.
“My advice to others is if you enjoy the theme, then go for it as you’ll get more ideas,” added Lowri.
It was through Purton and Cricklade YFC that the under 28 winner Eleanor Gassor was first introduced to floristry.
The 26-year-old civil servant first entered the competition nearly 10 years ago and hasn’t looked back.
I had never touched a flower before I joined YFC. We’re quite a small club and it was one of those competitions that carries quite a lot of points at the rally but no one was interested in it, so I decided to give it a go.
Winner under 28 Floral Art
Eleanor found lots of support from former members and family. She now attends The National Association of Flower Arranging Societies (NAFAS) competitions to get tips and regularly reads NAFAS magazine, which helped with planning her design for the unusual theme of an item that is destined for the dustbin!
“I found it quite hard at first as the theme was so open. Our rally was foam free, so I decided to make the upcycling part of the mechanics,” explained Eleanor who was inspired by an article about using orchids against green.
Eleanor cut an old fireguard into three pieces to use as her framework and placed the orchids in small yoghurt pots that had been covered in green string.
“I really liked the freshness of it and I liked how that was a complete contrast to something that was destined for the bin. I liked the orchids because you could leave them all on the one stem and it still creates movement.”
Despite her success at the finals, Eleanor’s not ready to trade in her job as a civil servant to move into floristry.
“I have helped a few friends with their wedding flowers but it’s not something I’m looking to do full time. I enjoy the creative side of the floral art competition,” she added.
NFYFC’s Floral Art competition was judged by members of NAFAS and intermediate judge Jackie Charnock said the standard was exceptional.
“I have had a fantastic time, you have done some beautiful work, really exceptional. We’d like to have them over in the marquee with NAFAS, they really are of that standard. Well done to everyone.”
The Floral Art competition is held at the Malvern Autumn Show by kind permission of the Three Counties Agricultural Society.