3 November 2020
To all my friends at Clophill & District Flower Club - November Newsletter
How are you? How long will this go on? How long will it be before we can hold one of our friendly evenings following our shared interest in flowers? How will we manage to organise a socially distanced, fully sanitised and safe meeting? There are so many questions and unknowns in these uncertain times.
I just want you to know that you are not forgotten and as soon as it is safe to do so we will meet again and we can share an enjoyable evening together. I have been quite busy monitoring developments at Osborne House, the headquarters of NAFAS, as there have been some problems, including the National Chairman resigning, some management reorganisation and of course the Covid-19 effect. I am sure there will be some clubs that will close as a result of the virus and financial problems but please be assured that our Club is very secure with an excellent Committee and a healthy bank balance.
Our Autumn challenge inspired some members to create a seasonal wreath. Thank you to Noreen for suggesting it.
I am attaching details, below, of a Home Counties Area idea for a Christmas Competition. This will be on-line with photographs of exhibits emailed for judging. It is just for fun and to inspire you to be creative.
Home Counties Area of NAFAS
An exciting new event to inspire your creativity ready for Christmas.
We are holding an on-line flower arranging competition for members of Home Counties.
Entries should be emailed to Rekha Naidoo (Media Officer)
to the email address below by 30th November.
The photographs will be collated into a file and sent numbered anonymously
to Lesley Sturdy who will judge them.
The winners will be informed and the results will be published on the Area website.
The Title: ‘It’s Christmas Time’
An exhibit: Fresh plant material should predominate but artificial material is permitted.
Size: 60cm x 60cm x 90 cm height
The design should be photographed with a plain background.
Please email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 30th November
using Christmas Competition as the Subject
Please include your name, telephone number and your Flower Club
You may remember that one of our members Linda O’Toole was very successful in the photography Competition at the National Show last year with pictures of her creative work. She has recently gained a First Prize in another National Photography Competition that was announced at the online AGM. It was a surprise to hear our Club mentioned and a surprise for Linda too!
The Flower Arranger magazine for the Winter and Christmas has now been delivered. It is packed with ideas and information. It is now the time to renew the subscriptions through the Club. The special member’s rate is £12.80 for 4 issues. If you would like to receive this excellent publication please contact Kate or me.
John and I had a really relaxing holiday in Scotland and Northumberland, in beautiful surroundings and places to walk. It helped to set us up for the Winter and whatever may happen in the next few months. It is a shame we will be missing our Christmas demonstration but of course we must keep safe.
With my very best wishes
Chairman of Clophill & District Flower Club
28 September 2020
To all my friends at Clophill & District Flower Club - September Newsletter
Here is my latest update to keep you informed, to let you know that you are not forgotten and one day we will meet again as we have always done to share our love of flowers and also friendship. The days are getting shorter and things are still not looking good but I hope my news will give you some hope and things of interest.
In August the Committee met for the first time since February. We had a lovely afternoon in Ann S’s garden – socially distanced of course. We began with Pimms and lots of chat. Then we held a meeting to discuss Club matters, followed by a delicious afternoon tea. We discussed future meetings and decided that the Club will not resume until February 2021 at the earliest due to the Covid-19 restrictions and the risks to all our members. Joan has rebooked most of this year’s demonstrators in 2021 and 2022, so you haven’t missed them! Our Charity fund that we had started at the beginning of 2020 will be carried over to next year.
I know that some clubs in Home Counties Area have begun to meet but they have fewer members and larger halls than us but now I think the latest restrictions will make a difference to their plans. The Area has now got a new website flowershomecounties.com. Please look on it for all the latest news and the Area News (usually a booklet) is now published on there.
Last weekend the Club was asked to do wedding flowers for
a small wedding. Two members, Ann S. and I spent
Friday morning in Silsoe Church arranging blue, yellow and
white flowers for a rustic styled wedding.
We all enjoyed to be arranging and working together.
This is the beautiful pedestal that Ann S. created.
The profits will be donated to the Club funds for our charity fund.
Noreen, one of our active members, has challenged us to make
an Autumn wreath or something seasonal that gives us pleasure.
This is her design.
If you are inspired to make something please send me a picture
so we can put it on our Club website
Linda, another very talented member, has been busy
during 'lockdown' making tiaras and necklaces using
dried plant material.
They are absolutely beautiful as you can see
( although rather small!!)
Take care and keep safe. With my very best wishes
Chairman of Clophill & District Flower Club
16th August 2020
To all my friends at Clophill & District Flower Club - August Newsletter
Here we are yet another month without meeting, but August is the only month when we don’t normally meet as it is a time for holidays and meeting up with families. I hope you are beginning to see more people and having days out and even venturing on a holiday. I am so pleased that many of our members have visited Coton Manor Gardens after my last letter – in fact I think I should get some commission! Thank goodness for our gardens, plants and flowers.
I am still unsure when we will be able to resume our Club meetings. One problem we have is that it will be difficult to socially distance 75+ members in the Village Hall. I would love to welcome everyone but would hate to restrict numbers or anyone to feel uncomfortable. One day it will be possible and we will be able to flourish again.
I am still busy dealing with issues and uncertainty about NAFAS as COVID-19 has forced re-organisation at Headquarters. Our Area has agreed to pay a proportion of the Affiliation fees in order to keep clubs affiliated but will not be asking Clubs or members for Affiliation fees for 2020 in order to help smaller clubs. Therefore, there will be a reduction in our subscription for existing members, like you, next year to compensate for a losing a year of fun, friends and flowers.
In the meantime we will continue to keep in touch. I am sure you are aware we keep this website updated regularly. If you have an item of interest that you would like to share please send it to me by email and I will put it on the website and Facebook page. Home Counties Area is launching a new website later this month, so check that for more information from a wider view – www.flowershomecounties.co.uk . NAFAS is also having a new website designed, as this is recognised as the way to communicate in the future. So, watch this space!!
We don’t have to rely on social media as NAFAS continues, even through lockdown, to publish The Flower Arranger magazine. This is always full of ideas, inspirations and news for all those interested in floral art. As a member you receive a discounted subscription - £12.80 for 4 issues each year. Kate will be taking orders in October and will inform you how to renew a subscription with your next copy, but information will be on our website too if you would like to begin to subscribe. It is excellent value and remains the UK’s leading magazine in Floral Design.
I am so pleased the heatwave is over and we are now getting some rain. My garden is really drinking it up!
With my very best wishes
Chairman Clophill & District Flower Club
2nd July 2020
To all my friends at Clophill and District Flower Club - July Newsletter
We are really in unprecedented times that we have never experienced before. This evening we should all be meeting again, on a lovely Summer evening to watch a demonstration by Rekha Naidoo and to meet up with friends. I know we are all missing chatting to one another, sharing news, looking at the items on the charity and sales tables and hoping to win a prize in the raffle! Once again that is not possible and at the moment we don’t know when it will be. I like to keep in touch with all of you and pass on any news.
There has been great concern for the national organisation of NAFAS during these difficult times. The CEO Steven Lane says that ‘NAFAS is facing enormous challenges that are needed to transform NAFAS into a healthy, vibrant association that members will be proud of and that will attract a new younger generation of floral designers’. These challenges are of concern to all Areas of NAFAS and the Officers of Home Counties wish to support them but recognise that there will be changes at Area level. I am your Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Area. My priority is Our Club and will ensure that it stays in excellent shape and good hands with an experienced Committee.
The Home Counties Area of NAFAS was to celebrate its Diamond Anniversary this year. Unfortunately all events that had been planned, including a Special Afternoon Tea, a trip to Cumbria and a Flower Festival at Hatfield House have been cancelled. Hopefully they will be held in 2021. Clophill and District Flower Club will celebrate our Sapphire 45th Anniversary in 2021 so we can look forward to some special Club events, when we can all be together again. You will all need new blue outfit!
I have always enjoyed our Club trips that Celia and Gillian organise. This year they have had to cancel three trips. I am sure we have all missed them and hope that we can get back on a coach and have a good day out. One of the first trips they organised was to Coton Manor Gardens, which are inspirational. Last week John and I went to visit them again for a day out. They were open, not crowded, the café was serving take away food and drinks and the toilets were open! The gardens were looking beautiful with colour themed beds of perennial plants, lots of roses and clematis, streams and ponds and many interesting areas. I can recommend a visit as it was a bit of normality, relaxing and full of ideas and of course I bought some more plants! Check the website for details www.cotonmanor.co.uk
I hope you are keeping well. I am sure your garden looks great. Perhaps you have tried a new hobby or skill during the lockdown but don’t forget about flower arranging. Keep looking at the You Tube videos as they are full of ideas.
With my very best wishes
Chairman of Clophill and District Flower Club
5th June 2020
To all my friends at Clophill and District Flower Club - June Newsletter
The sun is still shining, the birds are singing and everything in my garden is growing well. This is due to lots of attention and regular watering. I find that it is very therapeutic to go around in the evening and water all my special plants but it also makes me see more jobs to do the next day. I am sure you are doing the same and hoping that soon there will be some rain as we desperately need it.
This week we should be meeting again for our June demonstration but unfortunately that did not happen. All the NAFAS clubs are waiting to hear when we can hold large gatherings of members and that will depend on the Government, the Village Hall but mainly on the confidence of all our members. It will be ‘sometime in the future’ and I am sure we will all look forward to that.
If you are missing watching a demonstrator I can recommend the short demonstrations from the Wessex and Jersey Area of NAFAS. Each Saturday there is a new 20 minute demonstration given by National demonstrators and they are free to watch on their website. The first one is by Angela Turner using lovely rustic and natural materials – the second one is by Michael Bowyer who does a Constance Spry design and a beautiful parallel design using garden plant material. I am looking forward to the next 9 weeks that they have planned. Go to www.nafaswessexandjersey.co.uk – click on Enter site – View videos.
Each week I have a lovely friend who gives me a flower arranging challenge. I get some supermarket flowers and some random accessories that I have to incorporate into my design and then photograph it. The items have included some flower pots and a length of copper tube, some Lego and little dolls, 5 pairs of spectacles and this week 2 rubber ducks and a ceramic swan with pink roses and spray carnations. It is not easy covering little yellow ducks in silver foil to compliment the pink flowers. Oh well – it keeps my skills up!
I would just like to end with a thought which a flower arranging friend of mine once shared with me:
“There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness, when shared, is doubled. If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy. Today is a gift, that’s why it is called the present.”
With my very best wishes
Chairman of Clophill and District Flower Club
Information from NAFAS Education Committee member, Gill McGregor: Explore and make Craft projects at home
We have received this information from our Area Chairman, Audrey Balderstone, to share with clubs in the Home Counties area. I am sure many of you know Gill McGregor and she has certainly demonstrated at Clophill & District Flower Club on many occasions. However, Gill is also on the NAFAS National Education Committee and has devised this information to help with school work. We thought it would be good to share this with you all, please see what Gill has created:
Help with school work; let’s Explore and make Craft projects at home
To help entertain young children whilst schools are closed, I have devised a range of free “How to” Educational, Craft worksheets focusing on different subjects. I originally made these for our niece’s 3 children, but as more friends asked for these worksheets; we thought they should be offered to all who are looking after young children at this time. I am developing more but currently the topics are:
Let’s look at . . . . .
Ancient Egyptians Key Stage 2
The Nile Crocodile
Each worksheet has facts, templates, “How to” make instructions and examples and even some written tasks and research ideas which all or some of the worksheet can be completed by young children with adult supervision.
Please pass this information on to anyone you think may find these work sheets useful.
Go to my website to download the worksheets: www.gillmcgregor.com
To share go to my Gill McGregor or Gill McGregor College Facebook pages.
To visit my website for Free flower Arranging Videos www.gillmcgregor.com
I hope you are all finding enjoyable the emerging colours in the garden, as well as the warm weather. To all, please keep safe and well.
8th May 2020
Hello to all my friends at Clophill and District Flower Club - May Newsletter
Another month has passed and we are still in Lockdown, not able to meet and share our love and interest in flowers and flower arranging. In some ways I think we are all adjusting to this new way of life with time to do all those jobs in the house and garden, knowing that if they don’t get done today there is always tomorrow. Every day is much like the next!
I thought I would give you an update as we should be meeting on Thursday for our Open Meeting with Tony Brown. It is a great shame this has been cancelled but Joan, our Programme Secretary, has booked him to come next year. If you bought a ticket for the meeting you will get a refund when we meet again.
We have cancelled the demonstrations in June and July and, again, Joan has been able to rebook Arnaud Metairie and Rekha Naidoo for next year. I really miss our monthly meetings and had looked forward to seeing Arnaud as I had heard great reviews of him. Oh well – something to look forward to!
There is so much uncertainty for the future at our Club and we can only be guided by the Government and NAFAS. Large gatherings will be very difficult and I am aware that you will only come back when you feel comfortable and confident. There will always be a warm welcome whenever that is. The Committee will be discussing concessions for Members who have paid their subscriptions for 2020 but until we know what will happen we haven’t held a Committee Meeting – not even via Zoom!!
I would like to thank Kate, our Flower Arranger magazine Officer, who very kindly sent out all the copies of the new Summer Flower Arranger. I know people enjoyed having something lovely, interesting and hopefully inspiring to read.
I was so pleased that many of you accepted the challenge to make a green ring for hope and the NHS and there are some pictures on our website and Facebook page. Here is another challenge that has been suggested – to make a ring or arrangement for VE Day. It would brighten things up for you and your neighbours. You can incorporate anything but why not make it a bit flowery and stick to red, white and blue? We still have lots to celebrate and hopefully the weather will also lift our spirits.
I hope you are keeping well and safe. I try to phone friends and members each day and keep in touch. I think networking is important, so please think of other members of the Club and give them a ring for a chat. I will keep in touch and update you on any news or developments.
Missing our meeting and the fun, friendship and flowers that we share at the Club,
With my very best wishes
Good morning! Another sunny morning which does make our spring flowers look bright and colourful, particularly if you are lucky enough to live near a bluebell wood.
Further to the recent post from our Chairman, Carolyn, including information about an idea by a NAFAS member to make 'Circles of Hope' and some examples.
Here are some more pictures of green rings recently made by a few of our members.
This one shows how lovely a ring can be by using only foliage
. . . . . and then adding some accessories too
Do watch for our posts of updates and information until we are able to meet again at our Club meetings.
Keep safe everyone and enjoy the signs of Spring all around us.
I do hope that you are keeping safe and making the most of being at home and in your garden. Last Thursday I felt very sad that the Club was not meeting as I always look forward to meeting everyone, catching up on news and sharing the evening with friends, watching a demonstration.
We are certainly experiencing unprecedented times with enforced isolation. I am fortunate that I have the company of my husband John and we are able to share things. Each morning we discuss over a cup of tea our plans for the day. John is getting all the little DIY jobs done and I now have time to sort out my flower arranging store, enjoy my garden and of course clean and tidy the house.
This week we have been informed of an idea from NAFAS sent by Katherine Kerr, who says:
….’ I am hoping as many people as possible make or find a ring and add a green ribbon to it and put it for the duration on front doors or prominent windows. The ring symbolises unending and everlasting love, the cycle of life and hope. Green is for renewal, balance and progress’....
This is Katherine's ring
These are my rings!
You can make your own ring from twigs, willow or vines
or use an old Oasis ring and then decorate it with
anything you can find in your collections of things.
We will keep in touch with you and hope that we can ‘resume normal service’ before too long. Please keep safe and enjoy the lovely sunshine that has been forecasted.
With my very best wishes
30th March 2020
Hello, my fellow flower friends,
Well, we have survived the first week of our enforced ‘holiday’ and I wonder how you have fared?
I have to admit that it has taken me a few days to adjust from my usual routine of being extremely busy to time stretching out before me. I had a very long list of things to do, but little motivation to get them done. The good weather and the garden were, of course, lifesavers, but towards the end of last week I felt rather ‘down’ which is most unlike me.
Part of the reason was that Thursday would have been my late husband’s birthday and on Friday my brother celebrated his 70th birthday. I was not able to be with either of them. Many of you will be facing similar days and anniversaries. Many of you, like me, will be ‘Home Alone’ and it looks as though we will be so for quite a long time.
Thankfully, I seem to have returned to my usual positive and energetic self, but I wanted to share with you that all of us may have days when it all seems too much. One way of helping ourselves is to help others. This is not physically possible for most of us at the moment, but we can phone, write or text friends, relatives and family. Thankfully, our church services are being streamed, but if yours are not, there is a service every Sunday morning on BBC1. There are also many exercise classes of course, and it is a good idea to do some gentle - or not so gentle - exercise every day. Who knows, we might come out of this fitter than ever!
A local Indian Restaurant near our church in Watford is making food which is being distributed from the church and my friend and I are helping to coordinate the delivery. If you live near Stanborough and would like to receive some, please let me know. (I realise this will not apply to the majority of you.)
Those who have access to the internet will know that there are many flower related YouTube videos available. NAFAS has a number of videos on YouTube so perhaps this is your opportunity to view some which will teach you how to use a pin-holder for instance!
Now that spring is here we can look forward to watching blossom trees come into bloom, bulbs flower and shrubs begin to ‘green up’. Nature has a great way of lifting the spirits and we have lots to look forward to in the garden. At the moment The Gardening Club at Enfield is offering a delivery service for all its products. One has to be a member, but joining is easy and not expensive, so at the moment you will be able to order summer bedding for instance. (Again, I realise this will only apply to a small number of you, but there might be a similar outlet near to where you live. It might be worth exploring.)
I leave you now with words from one of my favourite Irish poets, knowing that ‘time will come good’.
With prayers that you and your families will stay safe and well.
This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.
Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.
If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.
by John O'Donohue