Once again a design on a day when we could only use Australian native flora. My idea of “rustica” revolves around old style country/rural lifestyles….perhaps because so much of my recent life has been on a farm.

My design is based around a delightful model chicken given to me by a special friend many years ago. She loved to see how I could use it in my designs and I enjoy using it these days to remember her joy for life although she is no longer with us.

The extension of the chicken for a rustic theme led me to the ubiquitous chicken coop (a fixture in many backyards of Australia in years gone by). Adapting a chicken coop idea would also give me depth for this bench staged design.

Two similar timber picture frames have been covered with chicken wire mesh and fixed at the base to two opposing pieces of timber. A bowl with a kenzan is hidden under banksia cones for a water source. Australian native flora (acacia, grevillea calistemon) are grouped in a random selection to give a feeling of being overgrown with taller native grasses reaching up over the top of the frames.

It’s important with any embellishment (non plant material such as the chicken) to ensure it does not dominate the design and that the plant material still tells the story of the class title. In other words, without the chicken in this design, would the title “Rustica” still be obvious?

This design placed second.

Judges Comments: A good interpretation with well chosen plant material. The embellishment does not dominate the design so is used appropriately.

The lower placements of banksia cones outside the frame draws the eye back down making the design appear bottom heavy. They are not needed in this design.

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