A FLORIST from Henley won an award at the Chelsea Flower Show.
April Bennett, who works at Bluebells of Henley in Reading Road, competed in the young florist of the year category at the annual horticultural competition last week.
She won a silver award after being tasked with creating a floral headdress that could be worn at a Brazilian carnival.
April, 24, says: “It was eight weeks’ work designing and making it. The idea was that it had to be wearable so someone could take part in a carnival.
“There was an extra challenge because they said it should not contain feathers. You can still create something that is floaty and reminds people of a carnival.”
April, who lives in High Wycombe with her fiancé Tim, says: “It is probably my favourite thing that I have done. I really liked the brief.”
Her design included senecio (green), leucospermum (orange), craspedia (yellow), phalaenopsis orchid (purple/pink), anthurium (bronze), gloriosa (pink), cymbidium orchid (green) and calla lily (orange).
April spent two weeks designing the headdress and another six making it. She was helped by work colleague Amy Bryant to set up the creation on a mannequin at the show.
She says: “We were given four hours to set up and finish all the fine details and make sure it looked perfect. It was hard with the fresh flowers because they have a short lifespan.
“I was quite nervous, especially once I had seen the other entries, but once it was ready I enjoyed the occasion.
“I’m really pleased with how it came out and there was a good amount of people saying how much they liked it.
“There were a lot of people at the show from Henley who recognised the shop name.
“People were asking questions about it and wanted to know the materials, how I made it and the process I went through. People were taking pictures and some even wanted to try it on!”
April was one of only four out of 16 finalists to receive the silver award with only the winner being awarded gold.
She had qualified for the final at a regional heat in Stanwell Moor, Surrey, where she had to create a bouquet for a bride getting married on the beach.
She had entered the competition twice before, winning a silver gilt for a tree inspired by Alice in Wonderland and a bronze award for a dress made of flowers.
The headdress will be displayed in the window at Bluebells until the flowers are past their best.
April says: “I might be able to save some things from it but otherwise it’s on to the next competition.”
She plans to enter the Chelsea Flower Show, run by the Royal Horticultural Society, again next year as well as other regional events.
Molly Grimes, co-owner of Bluebells, says: “April thrives on competitions and we are absolutely delighted that she won a silver medal.”