Saturday, 25 September 2021

April aims to be best young florist

A FLORIST from Henley is bidding to become the best in Britain in her age group.

A FLORIST from Henley is bidding to become the best in Britain in her age group.

April Bennett, 24, who works at Bluebells of Henley in Reading Road, will compete against 15 other hopefuls at the Chelsea Flower Show next month.

It is the third year running that she has made the final of the Royal Horticultural Society’s young florist of the year competition.

Miss Bennett, who trained at the Berkshire Agricultural College and has worked at Bluebells since September, said: “Last year I got a silver gilt for a tree inspired by Alice in Wonderland and the year before I got bronze when we had to make a dress out of flowers.

“On the day you’re given four to six hours to set up but you have to do a lot beforehand. The tree last year was two metres high and really hard to make and then set up. Once the judges say time is up you’re not allowed to touch it anymore.”

She qualified for the final at a regional heat in Stanwell Moor, Surrey, in January, where she had to create a bouquet for a bride getting married on the beach.

Miss Bennett said: “There were lots of seashells, lots of pale blues, corals, sandy colours and textures.

“It’s really exciting when you find out what you have to make beforehand. You get nervous but you want to make sure it looks perfect.

“Usually they go with something big. I was a few points off gold last year so this year I’m really going for it.”

Miss Bennett, who lives in High Wycombe with her fiancé Tim, first worked at a florists in Marlow when she was 16.

She said: “It started as a Saturday job but I really enjoyed it so I decided to make a career out of it.

“I didn’t know what to expect but I saw the others working on bridal designs and a real variety of stuff and found it inspirational.

“I really enjoy the work, whether it’s bouquets for birthdays, parties or brides. My favourite is the bridal work because I can work with the couple and help them realise their vision.

“Roses are my favourite flowers — I know it’s a cliché, but they are beautiful.”

Before she started at Bluebells she spent three months working in a shop in Sneek, a city in Holland.

Miss Bennett said: “We get a lot of flowers from there and it’s a good place to go and be inspired.

“They have a real passion for flowers and different ways to design and work with them.”

Bluebells was opened in 2013 by Molly Grimes and her daughter Amy Bryant. Miss Bennett said: “The shop has been very supportive of me entering the competitions.”

The Chelsea Flower Show takes place from May 24 to May 28.

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