7 November 2023
To all my friends at Clophill & District Flower Club - October Newsletter
I am writing this from North Yorkshire. The Autumn colours are beautiful, the scenery is spectacular and so far the weather has been good. We have been to Whitby, it was very busy and of course we enjoyed fish and chips - delicious! Unfortunately, I missed the November meeting but I left things in the capable hands of my Vice-Chairman Ann Swain. It was a different evening as we had a speaker instead of a demonstrator - Corrine Price who has been head gardener at Wrest Park and the Swiss Garden at Shuttleworth. Her illustrated talk ’The Swiss Garden – A Regency Gem’ - was of interest to many of our members as well as visitors from the area.
Several of our members attended a Special Area Day on 3rd October that featured the Principles and Elements of Design and how they apply to our arrangements, competition exhibits and demonstrator’s designs. Our Club was very involved in the day as I was the ‘compere’, Lesley Sturdy educated us on the elements of design and several of our members created designs to illustrate her talk.
And Linda O’Toole gave us tips on how to effectively photograph our designs. It was a very interesting and informative day.
Ann Swain led an activity on plant identification
Our Area AGM/Lunch/Demonstration will be on 22 November at Spotlight Theatre, Broxbourne. In the morning a short AGM will be held followed by a seasonal buffet lunch. There will be a seating plan and we will sit at large round decorated tables. In the afternoon there will be demonstration by Tracey Griffin – a National Demonstrator from Hampshire and her title is ‘Snowflakes’. Tickets are £35 and you can order them from Gillian at our Club.
On 7 December our Christmas demonstration - 'Floral Festivities' - will be by Robin White, who was Designer of the Year at the National Show in Islington. I know this will be excellent and tickets are available from Gillian on 07960 662334 or through the contact tab on this website.
If you are interested in joining our Committee please give me a ring to get more information.
I hope to see you on 7 December.
With my best wishes,
27 September 2023
To all my friends at Clophill & District Flower Club - September Newsletter
Autumn is now with us but there are still some lovely warm days to enjoy. I think we are lucky in our part of the country as we seem to avoid the extremes of the weather that other parts receive.
I would like to announce we have a new member of our Club!! Her name is
Rosie Bloom and I entered her into the Clophill Scarecrow Festival at the weekend.
She sat motionless all weekend and most of the time she looked asleep or ‘spaced out’
I hope you don’t feel she is a reflection on our membership and will put off new
members, as she looks frumpy and has dreadful varicose veins! She enjoys flowers and can arrange very well!
I hope you enjoyed Fiona Harrison’s demonstration on 7th September. The new arrangement for refreshments went well and we will continue to use disposable cups but many of you were very thoughtful and brought their own mugs. This made things much easier for Ann and Joan serving and then clearing up.
Next meeting the Charity table will be ‘Anything flower arranging or floristry’ – vases, containers, sticks, fabric, mechanics, wood, bases. So if you are planning on de-cluttering please bring some donations. In November we will have ‘Anything Christmas’
On 5th October we have Sandie Draper coming to demonstrate – ‘Inspired by Nature’. She is new to our Club but
is an experienced and talented designer.
Then in November we are having a different type of evening as we have Corinne Price, a speaker coming to talk about garden design and restoration. She has been head gardener at Wrest Park and the Swiss Garden at Shuttleworth and her illustrated talk is ’The Swiss Garden – A Regency Gem’. I am sure it will be of interest to many of our members.
Our members won prizes at the Houghton Conquest Show and at the Shefford Craft and Produce Show. Well done to those who entered.
Our Area AGM/Lunch/Demonstration will be on 22nd November at Spotlight Theatre, Broxbourne. In the morning a short AGM will be held followed by a seasonal buffet lunch. There will be a seating plan and we will be sat at large round decorated tables. In the afternoon there will be demonstration by Tracey Griffin – a National Demonstrator from Hampshire and her title is ‘Snowflakes’. Tickets are £35 and you can order them from Gillian at our Club.
In December our Christmas demonstration will be by Robin White, who was Designer of the Year at the National Show in Islington. I know this will be excellent and tickets will be available from Gillian at the next two meetings.
Ann Swain and I are planning some new flower arranging classes, catering for beginners and more experienced, starting on 12th October. If you are interested please let me know. I will have registration forms at our next meeting with all the details or if you are not able to be at next week's meeting send a message via the 'Contact' on this site.
I hope to see you on 5th October. With my best wishes,
30 August 2023
To all my friends at Clophill & District Flower Club - August Newsletter
Well the Summer is almost over but I am looking forward to the Autumn with warm days and lots of changing colours. We didn’t have a meeting in August, although the Committee had a very social afternoon tea in my garden and the sun shone all the time – in fact I was worried it was going to be too hot! We held a short committee meeting but mostly it was chatting, eating and drinking!
I think most people enjoyed Rekha Naidoo’s demonstration in July as her designs were very colourful and different as they reflected her Indian culture.
Next month on 7th September we have Fiona Harrison demonstrating at our club for the first time. She is one of the ‘rising stars’ in our Area as she enjoys entering shows, as well as demonstrating and teaching. Her title is ‘The Golden Age of Ocean Travel’. Fiona won a First prize at the recent National Show and awards at Blenheim Palace, Hampton Court and Hylands House shows. I am sure we will have a good evening.
The Charity table is very successful and the Committee have decided to have books again as the theme next Thursday as we still have a lot in the cupboard. If you want to donate some new stock please bring it along.
The Committee are aware that as we have 85 members + visitors it makes a lot of washing up from serving the tea and coffee, so we have decided that we will use disposable cups (recyclable) or if you wish to bring your own mug we will fill it up for you! We want to be eco- friendly but we want to be fair to Joan and Ann our hostesses so that they are not stuck in the kitchen. If you are able to offer help with serving please let them know.
At Barton Village Show Sunday 23rd July I was delighted that one of our new members Felicity Pinner entered two classes and gained two First Prizes. Well done Felicity for having the courage to enter a competition and creating two lovely designs. Don’t forget the Shefford Craft and Produce Show on 9th September – details in my last newsletter.
Last month I sent details of A Special Area Day on 3rd October, to be held in Wheathampstead. The day will be full of activities relating to floral art where all members have to chance to learn more about the Principles and Elements of Design from several experienced tutors who will teach you how they relate to our arrangements, demonstrating and competitions. Please think about coming as I am sure you will enjoy the day. Please ask Celia or me for a registration form at the Club meeting.
Advance Notice. Our Area AGM/Lunch/Demonstration will be on 22nd November at Spotlight Theatre, Broxbourne.
I hope to see you on 7th September. With my best wishes,
Chairman of Clophill & District Flower Club
6 July 2023
Rekha Naidoo - 'Festivals of India'
Clophill & District Flower Club welcomed Rekha Naidoo as the demonstrator at its July meeting. Rekha’s title was ‘Festivals of India’ and each of her designs and entertaining talk related back to family, religion, culture and the traditions of India.
The first design – Raksha Bundhan– was a traditional triangular shape using red and yellow carnations and depicted the strong relationship between brothers and sisters. The foliage element consisted of palm leaves, phormium and green hypericum.
The design sat on a stand which Rekha had made herself using 2 hanging baskets wired together and covered with willow weaved through and decorated with red and yellow colours which are auspicious and tie in with the flowers.
The second design was set on a tall, intricately decorated silver pot. It consisted of gold ting ting, liatris, proteas, celosia, green anthuriums, hosta leaves and laurel. The design celebrated Navrati – 9 days of celebrations for good over evil where a different colour is worn each day for Garba Dancing using Dandyia sticks.
Diwali is celebrated each November. This was represented by a non floral foam design consisting of tin cans covered in colourful saree borders with aluminium wire scrunched inside to balance the flowers and a few stones to add weight. Roses and carnations were the floral element of this design. The tins were placed in front of tall candlesticks to represent this Festival of Light.
Vaisaki is a Sikh celebration of harvest festival, and depicts faith in Guru Nanak. The container for this design was styled as a colourful turban with the floral element being orange proteas and green roses plus Raphis palm leaves complimented with a green medelino bow.
The 5th design also celebrated Sikhism. This was a parallel design which consisted of white agapanthus, leucodendron, variegated aspidistra leaves, sisal and representation of the 10 gurus (mentors) in various vibrant colours.
Rekha’s final design was placed on a tall column which she had constructed from insulation board and covered with gorgeous, colourful sari borders. The flowers she placed on top were bright yellow trailing calla lilies over soft ruscus with the central bowl being filled with orange leucospurnum, red and pink roses, yellow and mauve carnations and mauve chrysanthemums. This design celebrated the colourful festival of Holi, where powder of all colours is thrown at each other.
Each of the designs included embellishments in the form of decorated sticks or beads relating to Indian tradition and culture.
Clophill & District Flower Club meet on the first Thursday of the month (except August). New members and visitors are always welcome to join us. For further details see our programme and contact us if you need any additional information.
5 July 2023
To all my friends at Clophill & District Flower Club - July Newsletter
I have just got back from a very relaxing holiday in Scotland. We stayed in Blairgowrie for a week and visited Balmoral Castle where it was interesting to see the influence King Charles has had already on renovating the gardens. It was a very peaceful place and of course with many recent memories. We, also, went to Scone Palace where the gardens were extensive and there were lots of Royal connections, including the Stone of Scone. We travelled over to the west coast for the weekend and visited Dumfries House on the way. Unfortunately this was the only time the weather affected our holiday as it poured with rain and this curtailed our visit.
The first thing I did when I got home was to walk around my garden to see all the things that have grown whilst we were away – including the weeds. Everything has come on well and I am so pleased I have great neighbours who have looked after it for the past two weeks.
I hope you enjoyed our Club meeting in June with David Wright. He had lovely garden plant material and his wire sculptures gave the demonstration another dimension, although he didn’t use them as accessories!
On Thursday 6th July we have Rekha Naidoo and her title is ‘Festivals of India’. I am sure it will be a lovely evening as she always puts a lot of preparation into her demonstrations.
The theme for the Charity table at the July meeting is books. The Charity table is proving very successful and the Committee are so pleased that you are all contributing and taking an interest in it. Last month we made £60 from the plants and then we restocked for the Plant Stall at the Village Fete on 17th June and we raised another £68. I am very grateful to Jan Bird and Val Colliss for running the stall all afternoon on a warm day.
Barton Village Show Sunday 23rd July. There is a Floral Art Section with 3 classes. All details are on the schedule that can be collected from the Club on Thursday or from Barton-le-Clay Parish Council. Please take the opportunity to enter a show and use your flower arranging skills.
Shefford Craft and Produce Show 9th September. Schedules will be available at our Club meeting on Thursday with details of the Floral Art Classes. This will be another opportunity to enter a competition – just for fun, an experience.
A Special Area Day on 3rd October, to be held in Wheathampstead. The day will be full of activities relating to floral art where all members have to chance to learn more about the Principles and Elements of Design from several experienced tutors who will teach you how they relate to our arrangements, demonstrating and competitions.
Please think about coming as I am sure you will enjoy the day. Details will be available at our meetings or contact me.
I hope to see you on Thursday but if not a reminder that we don’t meet in August and our next meeting will be on 7th September.
With my best wishes,
1 June 2023
David Wright - '20/20 A Vision'
Our demonstrator on 1st June was David Wright from Norfolk, a new demonstrator to our Club, whose title was “20/20 A Vision”.
David had just returned from Scotland and his first arrangement of red roses, thistles and chrysanthemums echoed the colours of the Union flag and incorporated a fallow deer antler. A pre-done matching arrangement had a crown, represented the late Queen’s love for Scotland.
Next came a foam-free exhibit on a tall frame using a pin holder in a cone shaped container with fatsia leaves, alstroemeria and small red gerbera.
Mixed greenery with roses and sunflowers came next. He apologised for the small headed sunflowers explaining that since Brexit flowers from overseas are not only more expensive but also not as good quality. This was followed by a Japanese inspired arrangement of lime green carnations and his final exhibit contained white antirrhinums, white roses, pink carnations and alliums.
All of his arrangements used beautiful greenery both purchased and from the garden. As well as being a florist and flower arranger David makes sculptures out of chicken wire - everything from full sized stags to hares.
NAFAS our national association is encouraging arrangers to use less floral foam. This is difficult for a demonstrator as the arrangements are raffled at the end of the evening. David now tries to use smaller pieces of foam in his designs and encouraged us all to do the same. He also said not to soak the foam in the sink as small particles get into the water supply but to use a bucket and pour the remaining water over the garden where it will slowly disperse.
Following the vote of thanks the arrangements were raffled.
Visitors are always welcome at our meetings. Our next demonstrations are:-
July – Rekha Naidoo - “Festival of India”.
August – no meeting.
September – Fiona Harrison - “The Golden Age of Ocean Travel”.
22 May 2023
To all my friends at Clophill & District Flower Club - May Newsletter
Member’s Day in late April was enjoyed by 140 members and it was lovely a group of our members attended.
Katherine Kear, our National Chairman began by answering questions from the floor and then gave an excellent talk. The buffet was well presented with a good variety of savoury and sweet items. Lucy Ellis gave a demonstration all about diamonds with some beautiful designs.
On 12 May I went to the National Competitions at Gloucester Cathedral with 3 friends from the Club. It was a great weekend in a super location. On Friday evening I went to the Penno and Price demonstration that was very entertaining and the stage looked amazing at the end. The Cathedral provided a beautiful venue with 18 classes that were very varied and reflected the history and fabric of the building. There were 216 exhibits and the Show was of a high standard. Rekha Naidoo and Theresa Rodrigues represented Home Counties in the Area Class ‘ On the Shoulder’s of Giants’. Their design was spectacular and gained a Commended Award, which was excellent as there were 14 in the class all of a high standard. Rekha is demonstrating to our Club in July and Theresa came last year.
Fiona Harrison gained a 1st prize in Class 12 ‘Celebrating Courage’ .
Fiona is coming to demonstrate to us in September – so we get the best!
Linda O’Toole entered ‘Echoes of the Green Man’
with an amazing design.
I was proud of all of them and appreciated them entering from Home Counties. Lesley Sturdy was the Competitions Secretary and played a large part in the organisation of the Show. Well done to all of them!
On 1 June we have David Wright coming to us for the first time to demonstrate ‘20/20 A Vision’.
The theme of the Charity Stall will be plants, cuttings and seedlings so if you have any donations, I am sure they will appeal to the members. If there are any left we will take them to the Clophill Village Fete on 17th June where we annually have a Plant Stall in aid of our Charity, Noah Enterprises. Luton
There is a Flower Festival and Fete at Flitwick 27th and 28th May. Barton Village Show Sunday 23rd July. There is a Floral Art Section with 3 classes. All details are on the schedule that can be collected from the Club on Thursday or from Barton-le-Clay Parish Council. Please take the opportunity to enter a show and use your flower arranging skills
I hope to see you on 1st June. With my best wishes
4 May 2023
David Thomson - 'This That and the Other'
In May we held an Open Meeting when we have many visitors and members to come and enjoy watching a National Demonstrator who is given a large flower allowance so that we are treated to 7 large and exotic designs. There were 14 arrangements as raffle prizes so the lucky ones filled their cars with masses of flowers – it was a good thing they didn’t walk or come on a bus!!
David Thomson from Chelmsford was our demonstrator and he was very flamboyant and entertaining. His designs were mainly monochrome as he like to use shades and tints of one colour in each arrangement so that everything harmonises.
His flowers were unusual, large and mainly exotic. He used beautiful pink anthiriums that he wove into a large circular frame and them some orchids on another frame. These did not require floral foam as we are encouraged to use it more sparingly.
David created a large exotic design in a big pot and put in birds of paradise flowers and gerbera.
He placed sunflowers into a yellow container to make a really sunny design.
In a white design he used some rose lilies that were most unusual as they a double with frilly centres and no stamens to drop pollen that stains.
Everyone loved his last design that has several placements all in shades of lilac and purple and he received a standing ovation!
In June we have another gentleman from Essex coming to entertain us. David Wright and his title is 20/20 A Vision,
so we will have to see what that brings!
Anyone is welcome to attend our meetings at the Village Hall on the 1st Thursday of each month and they will receive
a warm welcome.
On 17th June we will be holding a plant stall at the Village Fete at St Mary’s Church in aid of our charity
for 2023 and we hope to have lots of plants, cuttings and seedlings. Any donations would be gratefully received.
26 March 2023
To all my friends at Clophill & District Flower Club - April Newsletter
Spring is here and we have a lot to look forward to in the next few months. I have seen lots of bunting and flags going up ready for the Coronation next Saturday. I am sure it will be an exciting spectacle and a day for many to remember. I am pleased that Ann and I went to Westminster Abbey in March as NAFAS haven’t been asked by the King to do the flowers as he has his own florist Shane Connolly who is organising them. We will be watching with interest!
I am looking forward to our Open Meeting on Thursday 4th May when we have David Thomson demonstrating ‘This, That and the Other! He is very entertaining and an excellent National Demonstrator. There are still some tickets left £6 for Members and £10 for visitors. If you haven’t already got a ticket please phone Gillian or me. There will be the Sales table with plants but not a charity table this month.
1st June we have David Wright coming to us for the first time to demonstrate ‘20/20 Vision’
The National Show is being held on 12th and 13th May in Gloucester Cathedral. Details are on the NAFAS website.
We send our best wishes to Linda O’Toole who is entering and representing our Club. There are 4 people from Home Counties and I will be looking with great interest when I visit the Show for 2 days with some members from the Club.
There is a Flower Festival at St Peter & St Paul's Church Flitwick on 27th and 28th May.
Barton Village Show is on Sunday 23rd July . There is a Floral Art Section with 3 classes
‘A Walk through my Garden’ An exhibit using garden flowers or a bunch of flowers costing no more than £10
‘A Tribute to King Charles’ An exhibit
‘Tea for One’ An exhibit on a tea tray
All details are on the schedule that can be collected from the Club on Thursday or from Barton-le-Clay Parish Council. Please take the opportunity to enter a show and use your flower arranging skills. Some of our members entered the Houghton Conquest Spring Show and were very successful even some new members who have only just joined our classes and Club.
Our popular flower arranging classes are still going well and full of eager ladies who produce some amazing designs. At the moment we are exploring Contrasts in line, form, colour, rhythm and texture. It is also a very social group who enjoy exchanging materials and ideas.
With my best wishes
13 April 2023
'Nature's Angels' by Doug Howard
Our April meeting was held a week later than usual due to Easter dates and this month our demonstrator was Doug Howard with his title 'Nature's Angles'. Doug is a valued member of our club and an Area Demonstrator. Our members were looking forward to a colourful evening of flowers and chat. They were not disappointed.
For his first design, Aspidistra and Fatsia leaves, caught by the frost turning them brown, were used against a beautiful drift wood sphere on a wooden base. Tall Pussy Willow, Arum Lily leaves and graceful Ferns, together with blue Iris, green Hellebores and yellow Daffodils, lovely spring design arranged in a pin holder and no foam.
Next a tall black metal twisted stand held a high arrangement of yellow Salix Caprea (Pussy Willow), golden Roses, yellow and orange Gerbera. Bergenia leaves, Spotted Laurel and ferns against a trellis of tall Bamboo canes. A lower placement repeating the roses, Gerbera and pussy willow together with Dianthus (green tricks). Green Midelino canes to the side of the arrangement took the eye in that direction while the roses were placed to take the eye upward toward the top arrangement.
Natural, rustic birch sticks secured into a wooden base. Pussy Willow and Virginia Creeper was woven though the sticks to resemble a bird nest. Into this were placed glass tubes to hold the flowers and water. A design with blue, red and mauve Freesias, yellow Daffodils and soft ferns. Simple but beautiful and no foam.
Then, after a refreshment break, Doug's fourth design was a two-tier arrangement including twisted Palms, Fatsia leaves, golden Yew and Fern. Mauve Alliums, salmon pink Elegance Alstroemeria and crimson Wax Flowers. Tall slim foliage took the eye from the bottom arrangement up through the second.
Doug's next design comprised a panel of black wrought iron, with white Midelino canes, rope webbing and cork screw hazel twigs woven through and around the panel in bands. A beautiful stem of green Phalaenopsis Orchids wired across the panel with a single flower from the stem and three green and white Puff Ball flowers on the opposite side. Flowers were set in water tubes, again no foam.
Lastly, an arrangement with gold Gerbera, white Carnations, purple Lisianthus, red Naomi Roses. Glossy green leaves which had been curled and twisted into shapes and gold foliage. Two smaller but similar arrangements were placed above. With the deep purple, red and white flowers the design was fit for a king which was represented with a royal crown to celebrate the forthcoming coronation of Charles 111.
Our next club meeting is on 4 May with National Demonstrator David Thomson and his intriguing title: 'This, That and The Other'. Doors open as usual at 6.45pm for prompt start at 7.30.