Tree branch fragment found in a ditch on a dog walk inspires Saffron Walden florist to win medal at Chelsea Flower Show
PUBLISHED: 20:39 10 June 2017 | UPDATED: 20:39 10 June 2017
A piece of elder tree that Amanda Waples found in a ditch on a dog walk led Amanda Waples to win a silver gilt medal (just two marks off a gold) at Chelsea Flower Show.
Amanda, from Saffron Walden and a member of Thaxted Flower Club, worked on her design at show through the night, while the BBC were filming her and other designers.
Amanda, a professional florist, said: “Apart from the Thaxted Craft and Gardening Show and the Great Sampford Flower Show, I’ve done very little competition work and so I really had to step out of my comfort zone. I’m absolutely delighted. This was the first time I had entered at Chelsea as an indivudal.”
“All the Floral Design Studio exhibitors were working through the night the BBC were filming us. Unfortunately not for the Chelsea Flower Show coverage by Monty Don but to investigate whether flower arranging could be the subject for a Bake Off type programme. I think seeing us work from 9.45pm through to 6am on our exhibits the BBC appreciated that the pressure and challenges equalled any encountered by the Bake Off team.” She added: “For the floral arrangements, although there are hours of planning and preparation beforehand, they are not allowed to be pre-done and, once at the show, the designs are arranged by the exhibitors within a strict time frame through the night.”
Her design, inspired by a multi-branched piece of Sambuscus nigra (elder) found in a ditch, depicts bird migration, the class title was Destination Unknown.
Amanda used feathers, an empty nest and then English and African flowers to show the birds’ journey.
She explained: “The feathers floating through the design take your eye from the empty nest up through the two English placements and then through the continent of Africa. Among the African flowers were the flame lily and the ribbon plant, Amanda was supported by local grower, Fi Hudson, fromf Willows Farm Flowers, Stocking Pelham, who supplied flowers for the English sections of the design.
The design was finished off with its signature title, Where have the birds gone? With the help of the Tech team at Saffron Walden County High School, letters were laser cut from wood laminate and applied to a section of the branch.