National Demonstrator: Nigel Whyles His Title: 'Deck The Halls'
On 5th December we really got into the Christmas spirit with a superb demonstration by Nigel Whyles, National Demonstrator from Telford.
His designs were all excellent as each one was different with a large variety of flowers and seasonal foliage.
He played appropriate music as he completed each arrangement and by the end his title ‘Deck the Halls’ was perfect as the stage at the Village Hall was decked to capacity with colour, styles , Christmas accessories and flowers.
The lucky raffle winners has something special to take home, as long as the arrangement would fit in their car.
2019 has been another successful year for the Club as our membership has increased to 82 so there is always a lively and friendly atmosphere at our meetings. We have an excellent Committee who organise activities and trips for the members as well as monthly flower demonstrations
The festive season began with a trip to Waddesdon Manor to see the house decorated for Christmas. Each room was on a different theme and the trees, lights and decorations were lovely. Outside there was a Christmas market in little wooden chalets and when it got dark the lights went on all around the house and garden with beautiful installations to walk around. Our trips are always popular and this was one of the best.
We have another programme of events and demonstrations planned for 2020. The AGM is on 9th January at 7.30pm and everyone is welcome to join us to start another year of Friendship , Fun and Flowers.
Demonstrator: Theresa Rodrigues Her Title: 'No Humbugs Allowed'
On 7th November, we welcomed back Theresa Rodrigues to our Club with her demonstration entitled ‘No Humbugs Allowed’. Christmas is definitely on the horizon, no doubt about that. We already see it in all the shops, and our floral demonstrator at the club’s November meeting gave more than a nod to the coming season with glitter and gold, and the wintery themes of her arrangements.
However, before we settled down to enjoy the flowers, we welcomed two special ladies from the Bowel Cancer Support team at Bedford Hospital. They brought along some of the “training dummies” purchased with our club’s charity donation of £800. These dummies help them to show patients how to use the specialist equipment when recovering from cancer surgery. These dummies are a helpful aid in demonstrating correct procedures. We were all very interested to learn about this very worthwhile use of the money donated.
Theresa Rodriguez, our floral demonstrator for the evening has been to our club many times, and her varied shapes and styles, and choice of flowers and foliage in her designs are always a delight. The peach roses (“Mayfair”) in her Jack & The Beanstalk arrangement were my particular favourite.
Winter was illustrated by mainly white arrangements, the snowball with silver sprayed foliage included gave us the feeling of the cold icy weather of winter.
Theresa’s use of the new partially biodegradable dark brown floral foam was an interesting tip to encourage us to move away from the traditional green, non-biodegradable type of floral foam.
Her crown representing the Three Kings contained some stunning tropical flowers based on a circle of foliage which had been sprayed gold.
Our next demonstration evening will be our Christmas Special in Clophill Village Hall at 7.30 pm on 5th December with “Deck the Halls” by Nigel Whyles. This event is sold out so it is for ticket holders only.
Please Note: Our Annual General Meeting will be held on at 7.30 pm on 9th January 2020 (the second Thursday in the month, NOT the first one), in Clophill Village Hall. Everyone welcome. Do join us to hear about our plans for 2020!
Demonstrator: Lisa Osborne Her Title: 'Fabulous Fusion'
An enjoyable evening with stunning flowers – this was Clophill and District Flower Club’s September 2019 meeting. Lisa Osborne, a local florist, with the title ‘Fabulous Fusions’ delighted all attending with her vibrant displays of flowers.
With her first arrangement, we saw a traditional design with a contemporary twist – hot pink roses, orange mini gerbera with bright purple wool covered hoops accentuating the flowers.
The second design comprised a wicker basket containing yellow dahlias, gloriosa orchids and predominating sun flowers.
Following our refreshment break, Lisa made a attractive mosaic design followed with plaited grass and groupings of sun flowers, orange mini gerbera and purple statice. After which Lisa named her next design 'Night and Day' containing white gerbera, mauve/white gladioli and black grasses.
Lisa’s final design was pink oriental lilies outlined with yellow gladioli. Each design was complemented with foliage to create contrast and balance and varied from aspidistra, fatsia, laurel, palm and heuchera leaves.
During the evening, Lisa told us about her working day as a florist – wedding, funeral, bouquet requests and the bespoke work where she has created clowns and greyhounds in flowers and foliage. Lisa buys her flowers from local growers as far as possible and on-line buying is now becoming more popular in addition to the huge lorries we regularly see delivering flowers from Holland.
Our last meeting on 4th July before the summer break brought a welcome return to Clophill of Joyce Furssedonn with her demonstration “ My Colouring Book”. Joyce, accompanied by her husband and willing ‘gopher’ Micky, hails from Knebworth and is a very popular demonstrator. She concentrated her designs around all the colours found in a pencil box and complimented all the quality flowers she used with a great variety of foliage from her own garden. We were so glad we had booked her this year as she told us during the evening that she will not be continuing to do demonstrations after December. A great loss to all the clubs in the Home Counties Area and beyond.
What we like about Joyce is that her designs are manageable to imitate, even for less experienced flower arrangers, and you don’t need a removal lorry to get them home if you win one in the raffle!
One of her designs followed the current lead of NAFAS to help the environment by arranging without using floral foam. Using a cube shaped slatted wooden box (made by Micky) and lined with Perspex to make it watertight, she placed chicken wire in the top and arranged her flowers in it to great effect. In this instance the whole design went into the raffle. All Joyce’s designs were worth winning and we will be sorry not to see her gracing the stage of the Village Hall in the future.
The club does not have a meeting during August but many members are going on a trip during the month to Islington for the NAFAS Diamond Anniversary “Floral Art & Design Show”, which promises to be spectacular.
We will be back at the Village Hall on 5th September when Sarah Hulatt is coming with her demonstration entitled “Fabulous Fusion”. Doors open 6.45 pm for a prompt start at 7.30pm. It is £5.00 for visitors which includes tea/coffee/biscuits half-way through the evening. Do come and join us and you will enjoy a lovely relaxing evening!
Demonstrators: Audrey Balderstone and Geoffrey Fox Their Title: 'Fun with Flowers'
During the day of the first Thursday of June members of Clophill and District Flower Club were very busy completing a number of interesting and beautiful arrangements in Silsoe Church. They were contributing their skills to a stunning Flower Festival called 'Brides and Blooms' which was enjoyed by members of the public over the course of the weekend. On Thursday evening the members could relax watching Audrey Balderstone and Geoff Fox give a demonstration in Clophill Village Hall entitled ‘Fun with Flowers’
Audrey started with a design which could be used in a church flower festival. Pussy willow stems had been used to make an outline of a church window to which she added purple liatris and red roses. She told us about some of the church flower festivals she had been involved in and what fun they had been. The audience agreed that they had had fun.
NAFAS wants us to use less floral foam so Audrey next used a structure of reeds in a vase to support the stems of the design.
Blue delphiniums and white Avalanche roses completed the arrangement. Audrey told us about the fun associated with entering competitions such as Chelsea and Harrogate.
Geoff used a curved stand with pink dendrobium orchids while he told us how he became interested in flower arranging and his work as chairman of Watford Club.
Next, Geoff used a pink pot with a grid and loops of Phormium with Antirrhinums and pink roses. To complete the evening a container was used that had featured when Home Counties Area held the assembly at Hatfield with an Elizabethan theme. This was another occasion when there was a great deal of fun with flowers. The final rich coloured display brought a very pleasant evening to an end with happy raffle winners carefully carrying home their arrangements.
Do join us to learn more about this art - we meet on the first Thursday of each month (except August) in Clophill Village Hall. Doors open at 6.45 for a prompt start at 7.30pm. Visitors are always welcome - £5 to include refreshments at half-time.
National Demonstrator: David Thomson His Title: 'Flora Mania'
On 2nd May David Thomson, the National Demonstrator, was at our May Open evening with his chosen title ‘Flora Mania'. David worked to a floral pallet, using one colour for each arrangement: pink, yellow, peach, cream, purple and finishing with an amazing African Sunset. The colours ranging from soft pale to dazzling bright dark, soft and dense textures.
A large willow basket was used for an arrangement in pink. Gerbera, Oriental Lilies, pink white and Aqua Roses, together with Eucalyptus and various greenery. Next, tall bright yellow Sunflowers, Calla Lilies, Carnations and Roses, Goldheart Ivy, Fatsia Japonica leaves and Euonymus made a stunning display in a tall iron container.
A sphere made from woven wood contained terracotta Antirrhinums, Gerbera, Roses in shades of peach. Aspidistra leaves woven and curled into different shapes gave depth to the arrangement. Following that a large bamboo urn covered in mother of pearl buttons contained white Delphiniums, creamy white Arum Lilies, Honey Bush (blue grey leaf), Snowflake Gerbera, Avalanche Roses and Orchids. A creamy delight.
Black Tia Leaves gave height to a mauve pot, Rosemary, Hebe, purple Alliums, Antirrhinums (snap dragons), Dancing Cloud Roses, Clematis and Vanda Orchids completed a purple design.
Lastly, we were shown the delights of an African Sunset. A three-foot urn in brilliant yellow, black and brown held yellow Gladioli, Ginger Lilies, orange Gerbera, pink Anthurium, orange and yellow tipped Heliconia and Gloriosa Orchids. Various greenery completed an amazing design.
Four designs had a twin making 10 arrangements for our raffle, the amazing final design was won by our Vice Chairman. David's arrangements were beautiful, his chatter entertaining, we hope he will return soon.
Our meeting on 6th June is with Audrey Balderstone and Geoffrey Fox and their demonstration entitled 'Fun with Flowers'. Do come and join us at Clophill Village Hall, the evening commences promptly at 7.30pm.
The Club has been very active with workshops, classes and the usual monthly demonstration.
In April Jo Poulter from Peterborough was the demonstrator at our monthly meeting. Her title was ‘Picture this …’ and each arrangement interpreted a famous painting, including Venus, Monet and Van Gogh. There was a variety of styles using some lovely flowers.
We organised a workshop for Ampthill Brownies to make a design for Mothering Sunday. Each Brownie had their own ideas and although they all had the same materials they were all different. There must have been some very happy mothers in Ampthill.
We visited Clophill Pre-school to make arrangements with the children for their mothers. They used yellow baskets filled with daffodils and blue grape hyacinths, or Muscari as one little girl very knowledgably corrected us with the botanical name! It is always a pleasure to visit the Pre-school and the children enjoyed the experience.
Our Flower arranging classes have been popular with amazing results from the beginners to the more experienced. Some of them entered the Houghton Conquest Horticultural Show in the Flower Arranging competition and seven of them received an award.
The Club is staging ‘Brides & Blooms’ a Flower Festival at Silsoe Church on 7 ,8 and 9th June. Every aspect of wedding will be depicted in flowers. See the article and poster below, for more information - it will be well worth a visit .
Carolyn Cranswick Chairman Clophill and District Flower Club
"Brides & Blooms" Flower Festival at St James the Great Church, Silsoe, Bedfordshire MK45 4DP
Members of Clophill & District Flower Club will be working with friends of St James the Great Church to stage the floral arrangements at this Flower Festival. All proceeds will be given to Friends of Silsoe Church.
Make a note of the date and come and enjoy what will be a wonderful celebration of Weddings, Anniversaries and, of course, flowers!
Demonstrator: Doug Howard His Title: 'Colourful Creations'
On 7th March 2019 we had a very enjoyable demonstration by Area Demonstrator, and a Club Committee member, Doug Howard from Stotfold (ably assisted by his wife, Janet). Doug’s title “Colourful Creations” was echoed in his multi coloured waistcoat and tie! As well as his love of colour, Doug’s love of different foliage ran through the whole demonstration.
He first used lovely spring flowers – iris, tulips, anemones with pussy willow - and seasonal variegated foliage.
After an arrangement of yellows and oranges including exotic kangaroo paw, Doug completed a tall narrow purple and cerise creation, with liatris, gerbera and carnations.
After a lovely arrangement of various foliage and pink anthuriums, we were off to Italy which Doug and Janet visit regularly. They will be celebrating their golden wedding this year so his final arrangement was of golden roses, white orchids, freesia and carnations.
Useful Tip - Doug told us that used floral foam can be rejuvenated by placing it in a bucket and carefully pouring boiling water over it. It can also be put in the bottom of plant tubs as it will release water slowly and help to make watering less frequent.
Demonstrator: Gill McGregor Her Title: 'The Romance of Spring'
For the first meeting of 2019, we welcomed Gill McGregor back to the club on 7th February with her demonstration entitled ‘The Romance of Spring’.
Gill’s first arrangement reminded us of our recent snowfalls. Alongside two owls she used evergreen foliage and white spray chrysanthemums in groups at the base adding contorted hazel catkins, blue iris and a few daffodils and tulips. Next a two-placement design with heart-shaped wire structures clearly indicated Valentine’s Day. Gill chose to add ferns, aspidistra and Fatsia leaves, lime green hypericum berries finishing with red roses and red anthuriums.
We were then shown the art of a ‘mirroring design’. Using a black raised rectangular container and working from the centre point, Gill added various large plain leaves and ferns of the same size to each side. Finally, two small white ornamental cabbages were placed at the centre and pale pink Singapore orchids completed the design – all radiating out from the centre. After a break for refreshments, the fourth arrangement was to celebrate Chinese New Year – 2019 being the Year of the Pig. Peach Avalanche roses, yellow broom and tulips along with ferns captured the feel of China and the addition of red leucospermum represented fireworks.
Whilst she chatted to us, Gill swiftly plaited a fern leaf and two of these were incorporated into the next arrangement which included large orange gerbera. We were reminded the importance of conditioning all materials before flower arranging and, in particular, how a few drops of bleach in the water before adding the gerbera will improve their lasting qualities. An upcycled emerald green top hat became the base of the final arrangement and once the Bells of Ireland and pale green carnations were added it was clear this would be to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. Pale coloured proteas and hard Ruscus placed in groups completed the design.
It was a very enjoyable evening. We were delighted to be entertained by such a talented NAFAS demonstrator/teacher/judge as well as an author of Floral Art Books. For further information do take a look at her website: www.gillmcgregor.com.