Climbing High

This competition is held in an old Abbey that has been converted to a function centre. It has great atmosphere (as you can see from the background) and a good staging area for large designs such as this one which was on a supplied circular base 1.25m diameter meaning the height would be at least 2m.

These large, all around designs need good planning around plant material that will provide both proportion and scale. It’s no good deciding you want to design with roses if you need hundreds to make the scale impact of a large competition design.

I decided to base this design on plant material that appeared to be “climbing” to a point above the bulk of the design. One side is based in two sections of banksia with pre-drilled holes for upright placements of dried twisted vine and long lengths of bamboo. This is backed by a single large gymea lily leaf wedged (at the base) between the two banksia sections.

The second structure is a metal stand (previously a tall tealight holder) that has a natural “wave” shape. You can see where I have used it in another design by clicking here. To repeat the gymea lily leaf placements I actually have two, one shadowing the other, which in turn, gives depth to the design. Once again the twisted vine is prominent and continues across the diagonal bamboo stick placement to join the two parts of the design. Dried zanthorhoea flower spikes are in both sections of the design as well as fresh kangaroo paw as this provided great variety of heights to the flower placements.

This design placed second.

Judges comments: It was very difficult to choose between this and the winning design. More connection between the two halves of the design would enhance this one but overall a very good example of a contemporary design including many advanced techniques.

My review: Yes I can see it looks a bit stark and despite my advice at the beginning of this post, I have not chosen the most appropriate plant material (the kangaroo paw flowers) for the scale of this design. They are not in proportion to the other much larger plant material pieces. I could either have massed them together in group placements or chosen plant material with a larger flower head that could also “climb” such as large arum lilies.

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