Interview: Linda Porrett, flower-festival designer

Interview: Linda Porrett, flower-festival designer

‘I don’t arrange flowers at home. They’re usually just stuck in a vase’ I’m partly retired now, but I still work two days a week as a medical secretary. These are very trying, very challenging times. We’re all separated in different offices now in our cottage hospital — it’s not an acute hospital, but if we’re not there, the GPs don’t get the information they need for the patients. I joined a flower club when my children were small. My background was in fashion design, and, when we moved back to Sussex over 30 years ago, I channelled my artistic abilities into flower design. I know many members who combine this with the enjoyment of arranging flowers through being members of NAFAS, the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies. Arranging flowers in a church setting or any beautiful building or garden is, for me, very therapeutic. I’m proud of all the designs I do for competitions and floral events, but I’m particularly proud of gaining a Gold Ribbon — which is awarded to a competitor for achieving three consecutive first prizes at the NAFAS national shows — and several gold medals at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, including four Best in Show awards. Designing for Chelsea is quite different from national shows, because you’re having to think about the Royal Horticultural Society and what they stand for. They like something floral, which respects the flowers, without too much manipulation. They like fresh flowers rather than dried ones. You have to respect your customer, make sure your flowers are in tip-top condition, and the mechanics — wood, perhaps — has to be pristine. Colour is always important to me. I like to make sure I use colours appropriate to the title. Most shows usually give exhibitors a title, which you have […]

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