Earlier this month, the College Day at New Covent Garden Flower Market in London took place and it was attended by nearly 400 students. It’s the ninth time that the event has been organised and this was the last one before the Market redevelopment begins next year.
Helen Evans, Director of Business Development commented: “The aim of the Flower Market College Days is to introduce the next generation of florists to the workings of New Covent Garden Flower Market and to the art of purchasing. Since we launched the annual event back in 2008, over 3000 floristry students and their tutors have taken part, and it is always fully booked.”
There were inspirational demonstrations by top London florists Ellie and Anna from The Flower Appreciation Society, Charlotte and Jen from Jane Packer Flowers and Alan Simpson of Hybrid Flowers. Plus arguably the highest design standard yet in the Flower Market College Day team competition.
The Flower Appreciation Society
I was delighted to be asked to compere the event again and the morning started off with demonstrations by The Flower Appreciation Society. We ran three sessions for the Level 2 students and each time Ellie and Anna made a stunning hand-tied bouquet featuring lots of British blooms including delphiniums, spray roses, chocolate cosmos and dahlias. (P.S. If you missed it first time round, here’s a link to my Flowerona Reflects video, which features footage of the day, including close-ups of their bouquets.)
We chatted about their floral journey including when they first met in a pub in London, discovered their shared passion for flowers, how they’ve grown their business, companies they’ve been working with recently, their plans for the future and of course, their beautifully illustrated book, ‘The Flower Appreciation Society: An A to Z of All Things Floral‘, which even dedicates a whole section to their favourite Flower Market traders.
Jane Packer Flowers
All 300 Level 2 students then came together for a Christmas demonstration by Charlotte and Jen from Jane Packer Flowers. Charlotte created stunning festive designs whilst we chatted about her personal floral journey, the workings of the Jane Packer Flowers business and current floristry trends, plus the mechanics of each of the designs she was making.
Design 1 – Wreath featuring mini poinsettia plants, skimmia, rose hips, copper sprayed magnolia leaves and pine.
Design 2 – Candle Table Arrangement featuring roses, succulents, eucalyptus pods and eucalyptus populus.
Design 3 – Hand-Tied Bouquet featuring roses, calla lilies, magnolia foliage and asparagus fern.
Meanwhile, upstairs, Alan from Hybrid Flowers gave Christmas Wreath-Making Masterclasses for students, showcasing his pick of the best of Foliage Row.
The College Day Competition 2015
Tasked with creating a wreath for the front cover of Country Living magazine’s Christmas issue and equipped with a budget of £30 and an Oasis foam wreath, the Level 3 and Level 4 students worked in teams to source, design and create the piece within 2.5 hours.
It was the combined marks of design (judged by the UK Floristry Judges Guild) and purchasing (assessed by CGMA) that revealed the deserving winners:
1st place: Plumpton College
2nd place: Capel Manor College
3rd place: Hadlow College
1st place: Academy of Floristry
2nd place: Merrist Wood College
3rd place: Merrist Wood College
It was such an incredible day which I was thrilled to be part of. And it was made even more so rewarding when I read the wonderful comments from some of the students on social media after the event.
(Images : General – Clive Boursnell, Floral Designs – Rona Wheeldon | Flowerona)