Avon Golden Anniversary

Well-laid plans and much preparation overcame Covid-related setbacks for this golden celebration

After some grey, chilly Christchurch weather, Saturday 16th October,2021 dawned bright, warm and sunny; perfect weather for Avon Floral Art Society to celebrate 50 years of floral fun.

The jubilee, attended by a mix of past and present members (including a great many ex-presidents) and floral designer friends of the club, was held at the Rossendale Vineyard on the outskirts of Christchurch.

A joyous time was had – against all odds – as, just days before the luncheon, Covid threw a spanner in the works. Thanks to lockdown, our eagerly awaited guest speaker, Francine Thomas, had to cancel travel from the North Island, as did FASNZ President Marianne Gibson.

That was not the only disaster to strike pre-party. Only 48 hours before the big day, party venue designer, Patricia Proctor, club member and internationally recognised event themer, was, due to unforeseen circumstances, unable to attend.

Luckily our plans for a luxurious golden party theme had been well laid and were competently executed by the hard-working committee. Black-clothed tables were decorated with swathes of gold. Stunning tall standing floral cascades dominated each table, augmented with golden pineapples and exotic sea creatures, golden tea light candles, and gold organza bags of Whittaker’s chocolates.

Large freestanding yellow and cream arrangements with flowers and foliage donated by local growers and members were strategically placed outside and inside the venue. Staff commented that the hall looked better than for any of their many weddings – a good commendation indeed for Avon and our fellow clubs!

And, thanks to technology, all was not lost! Patricia, with her many years of experience in the industry, called on long-time colleague, Chris Shepherd of Shipleys (Audiovisual Technology), who, with consummate ease, connected us via video to the irrepressible and unflappable Francine to demonstrate three lovely designs. Chris worked his magic for Patricia too, so she could join the party from her home.

The jubilee truly was a celebration of five decades, with a speech by founding and now life member Carol Rains who, together with first secretary Marion Bishop, created a stunning free-standing arrangement for the hall, and the cutting of the anniversary cake by Marion and current president Kim Clarke.

From the initial mix and mingle with cocktails and canapes in the garden, sharing of a delicious buffet, fabulous flowers, numerous generous spot prizes donated and sponsored by local businesses, plus camaraderie between members old and new forged through the mutual love of floral art and nurtured at Avon Floral Art, a truly memorable day was enjoyed by all.

Cynthia Kepple

Avon Floral Art Club
Jewels of Spring

The ‘Jewels of Spring’ workshop in August 2020 was an opportunity for Avon Floral Art club members to get creative with tiny treasures from their gardens.

The brief was simple: Miniature and Petite arrangements, all to Flair definitions. Miniature must be no greater 100mm overall, and Petite is a design over 100mm and less than 230mm overall. Workshop leaders, Rosemary Grigor and Liz McLeod, provided bright green square cards of the correct dimensions so members could check their completed designs. There were also wise words from some of our experienced judges: “When competing, designs should fill only two thirds of the allocated space”.

The small size requirements did not discourage members from producing a variety of classic and modern styles. In one design, a European parallel was cleverly downscaled, utilising tiny grape hyacinths and miniature daffodils. A complementary pair of Miniature and Petite pavé designs made an appealing grouping, while a more minimalist design made good use of an elegant container and hellebores in the Petite class.

Shells, tiny shoes, and a baby bird’s nest made interesting containers for Miniatures, while several clever members made both Miniature and Petite stand-alone hand tied bouquets.
Members were aware, too, of keeping everything in scale. This was quite a challenge, but made easier by an abundance of small blooms, berries and foliage.

It was the use of early spring flowers and foliage that made the designs vibrant and colourful. Miniature daffodils, violets, cyclamen and camellias were shown to advantage in the Miniature designs. Slightly larger helleborus blooms, baby chrysanthemums, succulents, plus berries, ivy and ferns, were seen in the Petite arrangements. Thin branches and dried seed pods also provided elegant structure to some designs.

The whole meeting was full of joie de vivre with members thoroughly enjoying their Lilliputian challenge!


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