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

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.

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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