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Chelsea Flower Show: How Northern Ireland student rose to occasion to scoop bronze award

Megan Ingram with the award she picked up at the Chelsea Flower Show
Megan Ingram with the award she picked up at the Chelsea Flower Show

By Linda Stewart

This is the spectacular throne of roses that won Megan Ingram (18) a bronze medal at the Chelsea Flower Show.

The Belfast teenager was one of three Greenmount College students who reached the finals of the prestigious horticultural show.

And her long labours with the secateurs through the last few weeks have borne fruit - or at least flowers.

Last night Megan said she was shocked but delighted to win bronze in the Chelsea Flower Show's Young Florist of the Year competition and for her creation to go on display in the Great Pavilion.

"I am thrilled to be bringing home a bronze medal, which has to be the biggest highlight of my year at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE)," she said.

Floristry lecturer Anne-Marie Grant, who accompanied the finalists to the show, said: "The judges loved Megan's use of monochromatic colours, from deep cerise pink to soft romantic blush."

Fellow student Clare McAuley (23) from Comber also made it to the finals of the Young Florist of the Year competition, while Anne Kirkwood (35) from Londonderry is contending for the Florist of the Year title.

Visitors at the David Austin Roses display during the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Visitors at the David Austin Roses display during the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
The Cherub HIV Garden: A Life Without Walls at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 22, 2018. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
The Silent Pool Gin garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 22, 2018. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
The Urban Flow garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 22, 2018. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
The Pearlfisher garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 22, 2018. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
The Skin Deep garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 22, 2018. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
The Wedgwood garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 22, 2018. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
The Seedlip Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 22, 2018. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
The Lemon Tree Trust garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 22, 2018. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
The M&G garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 22, 2018. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
The Myeloma UK garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 22, 2018. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
The VTB Capital Garden - Spirit of Cornwall at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 22, 2018. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
The New West End garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 22, 2018. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
The LG Eco City Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 22, 2018. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
The Morgan Stanley Garden for the NSPCC at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 22, 2018. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
The Wuhan Water Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 22, 2018. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
The Trailfinders South African Wine Estate garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 22, 2018. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
The David Harber and Savills Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 22, 2018. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Visitors at the David Austin Roses display during the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 22, 2018. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Visitors at the David Austin Roses display during the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 22, 2018. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Visitors at the David Austin Roses display during the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 22, 2018. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 21: A large flower shaped floral display outside a shop during the Chelsea in Bloom floral art show on May 21, 2018 in London, England. This year is the 13th Chelsea in Bloom and the theme is 'Summer of Love', inspired by the Royal Wedding and the 1960's/70's cultural revolution. The floral show is also a competition that is entered by various Chelsea retailers, restaurants and hotels with entries being judged by an expert panel. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 21: A woman takes photos of a floral display outside a clothing shop during the Chelsea in Bloom floral art show on May 21, 2018 in London, England. This year is the 13th Chelsea in Bloom and the theme is 'Summer of Love', inspired by the Royal Wedding and the 1960's/70's cultural revolution. The floral show is also a competition that is entered by various Chelsea retailers, restaurants and hotels with entries being judged by an expert panel. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 21: A large Volkswagen logo shaped floral display outside a shop during the Chelsea in Bloom floral art show on May 21, 2018 in London, England. This year is the 13th Chelsea in Bloom and the theme is 'Summer of Love', inspired by the Royal Wedding and the 1960's/70's cultural revolution. The floral show is also a competition that is entered by various Chelsea retailers, restaurants and hotels with entries being judged by an expert panel. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 21: A heart shaped floral display in a shop window during the Chelsea in Bloom floral art show on May 21, 2018 in London, England. This year is the 13th Chelsea in Bloom and the theme is 'Summer of Love', inspired by the Royal Wedding and the 1960's/70's cultural revolution. The floral show is also a competition that is entered by various Chelsea retailers, restaurants and hotels with entries being judged by an expert panel. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 21: Heart shaped floral display in a jewellery shop window during the Chelsea in Bloom floral art show on May 21, 2018 in London, England. This year is the 13th Chelsea in Bloom and the theme is 'Summer of Love', inspired by the Royal Wedding and the 1960's/70's cultural revolution. The floral show is also a competition that is entered by various Chelsea retailers, restaurants and hotels with entries being judged by an expert panel. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 21: Flowers amongst a large floral display outside a shop during the Chelsea in Bloom floral art show on May 21, 2018 in London, England. This year is the 13th Chelsea in Bloom and the theme is 'Summer of Love', inspired by the Royal Wedding and the 1960's/70's cultural revolution. The floral show is also a competition that is entered by various Chelsea retailers, restaurants and hotels with entries being judged by an expert panel. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II looks at a display of roses on the Peter Beale stand as she visits the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show in London on May 21, 2018. The Chelsea flower show, held annually in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, opens to the public on May 22. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / RICHARD POHLERICHARD POHLE/AFP/Getty Images
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II looks at a display of roses on the Peter Beale stand as she visits the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show in London on May 21, 2018. The Chelsea flower show, held annually in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, opens to the public on May 22. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / RICHARD POHLERICHARD POHLE/AFP/Getty Images
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II looks at a display of roses on the Peter Beale stand as she visits the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show in London on May 21, 2018. The Chelsea flower show, held annually in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, opens to the public on May 22. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / RICHARD POHLERICHARD POHLE/AFP/Getty Images
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II looks at a display of roses on the Peter Beale stand as she visits the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show in London on May 21, 2018. The Chelsea flower show, held annually in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, opens to the public on May 22. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / RICHARD POHLERICHARD POHLE/AFP/Getty Images
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) is presented with a Chinese silk scarf depicting two whales after she looked at the Chinese show garden at the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show in London on May 21, 2018. The Chelsea flower show, held annually in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, opens to the public on May 22. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / RICHARD POHLERICHARD POHLE/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOT - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II looks at a display of roses on the Peter Beale stand as she visits the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show in London on May 21, 2018. The Chelsea flower show, held annually in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, opens to the public on May 22. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / RICHARD POHLERICHARD POHLE/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOT - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II visits the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show in London on May 21, 2018. The Chelsea flower show, held annually in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, opens to the public on May 22. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Chris JacksonCHRIS JACKSON/AFP/Getty Images

This year's theme - fittingly, given the recent royal nuptials - is A Spring Wedding, and competitors had to construct a floral throne that goes on display in the Great Pavilion.

Floristry runs in Megan's family. Her granny founded Alexander Florists in Belfast and was followed into the business by Megan's father. Now Megan has followed suit.

The CAFRE student said she had been inspired by an opulent tapestry look, using her favourite flowers of roses, freesia and eustonia.

"I wanted to make it look like it was plumped-up cushions that you could sit on and it would be comfortable," she explained.

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