Definition: A hanging design that appears to be free floating. Different to a mobile in that the components to not need to move independently.


Class Title: Fireworks celebrating 150 years of the Royal Horticultural Society of NSW

Staging: to be hung on supplied frame, space allowed 60cm width 180cm drop, judged from front

Having had this title a few times in the one year, I needed to ensure a completely different design or risk the judges (who had seen my other designs) disqualifying the design because they consider it a copy of one they have seen elsewhere.

This is an issue you need to be aware of, as you do not know how often you might get the same judge in different competitions and your work will not be judged if it is deemed to be a copy of something the judge has seen previously. I fell into this trap once, using the same style and large design pieces in a design in two different competitions. After the judging, I heard the judge say she had seen this design at another competition so I volunteered the information that I had done both designs. She felt that I had not changed the second design enough for her to consider it anything other than a copy of the first one and therefore it was disqualified. Lesson learned!

Here is the 150 Year Fireworks piece:



The backing for the whole design is plastic mesh (commonly sold as a garden mesh or gutter mesh for eaves). To this I can attach any number of items with wire for security so it is a great design medium to use. It works particularly well for a suspension when the backing of the display area is black as the mesh becomes almost invisible, heightening the “suspended” effect.

This Class was also “creative” so I could use a wide range of horticultural material both natural and manipulated. Each of the numerals is made with different floral material and techniques. You can see how this is done in the Technique Tutorial.

Number 1 is three pieces of curled bark wired to the mesh backing. Inside the bark I have placed small flowering succulents with some of the bracts having gold headed pins pushed through them.

Number 5 is made from twigs bundled together with gold decorative wire (which also attaches it to the mesh). Some of the twigs have star shaped beads glued to the ends.

Number 0 is a gold decorative wire shape with slices of banksia flower glued to it.

The top of the design is a burst of fireworks colours made from white cactus dahlias and autumn leaves of the Acer tree. Both these carry the star shape of bursting fireworks through the design.

Judging feedback: This is always considered a very tough competition and this design was the first time I have ever gained a placing here. The design could have been improved by brighter colours……it looks a bit like the fireworks are almost over!



Class title: Fireworks

Staging: to be hung on supplied frame, space allowed 40cm width 80cm drop, judged from front and sides


Using a palm spathe as the base, I have wired a cage of floral foam to the centre in which a group of Easter daisies have been placed in a starburst pattern. This is to give the appearance of a firework exploding against the night sky (the dark interior of the palm).



Extending from the centre are some long stems of kangaroo paw, each with an open flower which has a coloured star shape to it. These are to give the appearance of other fireworks in the area. Behind the Easter daisies are some spent grevilleas flowers as these also have “needles” of colours to resemble fireworks.

The hook to display the design is screwed into the back of the palm so it is not seen by the judge.

Judging feedback: This design was classed as NAS – Not According to Schedule. In ordinary words this means it was not judged as it was considered by either the stewards or the judge to not meet the Class requirements. The problem with this particular entry is that the top of the design is over the top of the display frame. Every part of the design must be within the display and size restrictions included in the Show schedule.


Class title: Fireworks

Staging: to be hung on supplied frame, space allowed 40cm width 80cm drop, judged from front and sides
I was fortunate to find an ideal piece of fallen tree with many drooping branches that could form the basis for this design. In my mind’s eye, I saw this design being the firework colour burst with dwindling colour sprays coming from the main burst.



It’s a bit hard to see from this picture, but the focal group of flowers at the top are contained in a star shape piece of floral foam so that when this is viewed from the side there will still be a “starburst” element.

The branches have random sections painted in a variety of colours using glitter nail polish – one of those “must have” items for your tool bag, they can be used in so many ways.

Some yellow nerines, a very conveniently shaped flower for fireworks, have been attached to the branches with thin yellow decorative wire. Where is the water for these nerines I hear you ask? A brilliant innovation from a very talented designer, Christine de Beer, test tubes made from drinking straws! The bonus in this design is that I could have them in either yellow to match the flower or contrasting colours for more “firework” effect.

Judges feedback: A balanced and evocative representation of the class title. How interesting the water sources are. I really like the added touch of the colour down the branches (the nail polish).

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