CAFRE students set to blossom at Chelsea Flower Show

Two talented floristry students attending the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), Greenmount Campus, have made it to the final of the world-famous Royal Horticulture Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show.

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, taking place later this month.

Level 2 diploma student, Eilis, from Newry, said she was delighted to have reached the final of such a prestigious horticultural show. She has started working on her final piece, describing it as a “floral kite”.

Speaking about the upcoming competition, she said: “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,” she added.

Clare McAuley from Newtownards, also studying the level 2 diploma course 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 learned in our floristry lectures at Greenmount.

“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,” said McAuley.

Head of Horticulture at CAFRE, Paul Mooney, congratulated the two students on reaching the final of the competition.

CAFRE students have a reputation for competition success, having reached the final of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in seven of the last eight years.

“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 graduate winning a Chelsea Flower Show medal in each of the last five years,” commented Mooney.

CAFRE, the well-known agricultural college in Co. Antrim, offers the only full-time floristry course in Ireland.