Great Barrier Reef

Class title: Great Barrier Reef
Staging: floor, 1 metre square, height 2m, judged front and sides
For those of you who are not aware, the Great Barrier Reef is a long coral reef off the coast of Queensland, Australia. It is an area of natural beauty famous for its brightly coloured coral and clown fish (as depicted in the movie Finding Nemo) but currently threatened by natural and man made invasion.

Very few times in all my years of competition have I depicted an underwater scene. This time I wanted to make the design show both the plant material and the fish that inhabit this area. The most important element to keep in mind is that horticultural material must predominate. It would be very easy to have lots of coral, sponges etc but these are not horticultural material, although seaweed is.


I have purposely angled my design diagonally onto the base to give it more visual depth and help me with keeping the side views as interesting as the front since it will be judged from three angles.

Once again my trusty standard lamp provides the base and height support for the wonderful foliage depicting tall seaweed varieties. The rod helps to suspend my feature – fish that appear to be swimming through the design. These fish are made by folding palm leaves and attaching them to a length of steel grass with double sided tape. By varying the length of the grass you can get the placements at different angles in the design. If you need to weigh down the fish for lower placement add a small bead inside the fish body.

You can see a video of the technique or step by step instructions by clicking here.

At the base of the design is some actual seaweed, both dried and fresh with a few pieces of coloured coral.

Judging feedback: The fish are an impressive innovation in this design. It could be improved by ensuring the lower placement of foliage does not take your eye out of the design as everything else keeps the viewer moving around and in the design. Some more colour may have worked at the base of the design.

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