Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland duo set to blossom at Chelsea Flower Show

Two students from Northern Ireland's College of Agriculture Food & Rural Enterprise have made it to the final of the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show.

Florists Eilis Quinn and Clare McAuley crafted hand-tied presentation bouquets to secure their places in the Final of the RHS Young Chelsea Florist of the Year Competition later this month.

Level 2 Diploma student 17-year-old Eilis from Newry said she was delighted to have made it to the final.

She added: “I’m really excited to be taking part in such a prestigious horticultural show and have started to work on my final piece for the competition.

"It’s a floral kite and we will be judged on colour, technique, idea and composition - so there has been lots of designing and trying out different techniques over recent weeks to get it right. We are so lucky to have fantastic facilities at Greenmount and great staff supporting us.”

Clare McAuley (22), from Newtownards who is also studying her Level 2 Diploma in Floristry, said: “Getting this far in the competition is in itself just incredible. Everyone has heard of the Chelsea Flower Show so the pressure will be on to get the challenge they set us just right.

"It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase our talent and what we have learnt from our floristry lecturers at Greenmount. I’m really looking forward to soaking up the atmosphere and seeing all the competition entries and other exhibits.

“I love the whole process of deciding on what flowers, colours and fresh foliage I’ll use to represent my interpretation of the design brief. But we’ve only a few days left to prepare and create our designs which must have visually dominant fresh flowers before showcasing them to a worldwide audience.“

Head of Horticulture at CAFRE, Paul Mooney, said: “It’s a fabulous achievement for the students to get to the final of such a prestigious event. I’m very proud to say that our Greenmount florists already have an amazing track record of design competition success with a current student or CAFRE floristry graduate winning a Chelsea Medal in each of the last five years.

“We are doing all we can at CAFRE to support the girls and to cheer them on to great success at the show.”

The Chelsea Flower Show takes place from May 23 - 27.

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