Florists competing to represent the country

Rachel Matthews and Natalie Alexandroff, both from Worthing, will be competing against each other and three other florists at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show
Rachel Matthews and Natalie Alexandroff, both from Worthing, will be competing against each other and three other florists at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

Two florists from Worthing are getting ready to compete in the final of a national competition which celebrates excellence in floral design.

Rachel Matthews, owner of Greenfingers in Montague Road, and Natalie Alexandroff, team member, will show their skills in the grand final of Interflora’s Florist of the Year.

Natalie, who retrained as a florist nine years ago, said: “I’ve never done anything like this before and I’m delighted to have reached the final, although it’s quite daunting too. I’ve always had a creative streak and like coming up with new ideas.”

The pair, who entered the competition together for mutual support, will be up against each other and three other contestants in front of a live audience at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show on July 3.

The winner will go on to represent Great Britain and Ireland at the Interflora World Cup next year.

Rachel said: “I used to compete when I was younger and reached a few finals but I haven’t done anything like this for a while.

“It’s good to meet the other florists and see how different people approach the brief, it all helps fire your creativity and give you new ideas to take back to the shop and our customers.”

At the competition, they will be creating a series of designs within the theme ‘A Summer Garden Party’.

Rachel and Natalie will need to complete four mandatory items in total, and they will be allowed to make one of the pieces, a floral picnic basket, in advance.

Two of the other creations, a garden parasol and table arrangement, will be created within a set time limit and in front of an audience of show visitors.

The competition also includes a challenge where competitors are given just over an hour to interpret the surprise item brief, review the flowers, materials and tools available, and complete their design.

To buy tickets to the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, visit www.rhs.org.uk.