Demonstrator: Theresa Rodrigues Her Title: Celebrations in Malaysia
We always have very good demonstrations at our club, but sometimes we have great ones – Thursday 6th October was one of them. Theresa Rodrigues, a lady born in Malaysia with an English education who moved to the UK, wowed us with her demonstration entitled “Celebrations in Malaysia”. A double Gold winner at Chelsea in 2015 and 2016, her reputation preceded her and we were delighted that she could accept our invitation to come to our club.
Her designs, each accompanied by really interesting and comical information about traditions, etc., depicted 6 different celebrations: Chinese New Year - where she used a large red Vietnamese lantern as a base to hold her flower container. Against a back drop of light green twisted foliage and woven bamboo a large spray of gold cymbidium orchids was added – following gasps from the ladies watching. Red and gold are thought to be lucky by the Chinese. She told us that her mum used to grow them in her garden! The International Dragon Boat Race came next.
A very large palm spathe represented the boat which held the ready prepared foliage. Theresa added several upright sprays of soft dusty pink orchids in place of the rowers and completed the design with groups of light green medalino sticks tied and spread to look like sails. The last design before the refreshment break represented a Hindu festival celebrating the peacock which is thought to be lucky. A large peacock’s tail appeared made from various coloured medalino sticks and actual peacock feathers, into which Theresa added an amazing number of pale lemon orchids - more gasps from the ladies watching.
Harvest Festival in Borneo came first after the break - very different from ours! The native people live in a Long House on stilts which can accommodate up to 100 people. A long bark container was used as the house into which Theresa added large foliage as the forest canopy. Added to this were purple and white dendrobium orchids and gold and red gloriosa to show the vitality of the harvest celebrations.
A Malay Wedding, in two placements side by side followed. Theresa explained that the couple sit on a dais under a canopy and are presented with gold (usually neck chains) by their guests. Two large stems of ornamental ginger depicted the couple and dracaena leaves and leucadendron were added. Completing the picture, she placed two plaited palm leaves in the front creating an archway through which the 'couple' were visible.
Her final design covered birthdays and anniversaries. To acknowledge our club’s Ruby year the flowers used were all different shades of ‘ruby’. A circle of mulberry pink hydrangea was filled in the centre with tall pink gladioli. Bright pink alstromeria were packed around the bottom of their stems and dark red gerberas were then interspersed throughout the design. The final touch was stems of amaranthus dripping from either side. Obviously Theresa used many other beautiful flowers in her designs such as anthuriums, dark red Kenyan roses, gerberas, leucadendron and some beautiful little stems with what looked like strawberries at the tip.
It is so difficult to paint an accurate picture in words of what we saw - better that you come to the club and watch for yourselves – you’ll be delighted!