There is no doubt that taking part at RHS Chelsea Flower Show is the ultimate goal for a florist, however preparing for competitions wherever they are is a thrilling, exciting and important part of a florists CPD (Continued Professional Development).

Check lists can alleviate fears of forgetfulness and give a natural order to your planning schedule. We have identified the following key to help you to achieve your competition goals:

1/  Get yourself a dedicated notebook for the event and begin by exploring your brief.

2/  Start drawing your ideas in the notebook. We cannot stress enough that drawing will focus your design mind. If you don’t hit upon the design instantly – keep going until it does and it doesn’t have to be a work of art, just a simple line drawing, where you can see proportions and forms will do just as well.

First sketch for Chelsea brief.

Lisa Fowler’s first sketch for RHS Chelsea 2015.

3/  List the Principals and Elements of design and use them as a checklist throughout the process to keep you on track for an harmonious design.

4/  Structure is next, what will the flowers sit on? How will they be supported? This is where you get experimental. Recently the Academy of Floral Art hosted a workshop with the International Designer Francoise Weeks, who has a wonderfully intuitive enquiring mind, working out ideal structures for her designs and she generously shared her ideas with us. This is a good time to talk to other designers to glean ideas that help.

4/  The FLOWERS at last! to be chosen to suit the design, competition, and be fit for purpose, to follow the rules and last for the duration of the event. They must be int the best possible condition considering colour combinations, form, and texture carefully.

5/  Before you begin to add your flowers, plan the techniques that will turn your beautiful ideas into stunning, creative and impactful designs. It is the techniques that will identify you as a trained florist and will set you apart as a creative designer and importantly use your very best workmanship. They are the finishing touches that will win you awards. Click here to see how Lisa Fowler made her beautiful tree.

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The finished RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal design by Lisa Fowler.

And finally, a positive, methodical and determined attitude will help you to enjoy the process of taking part in competitions, and if you do enjoy the adrenaline, you will soon be signing up for more.

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Lisa Fowler with her tree at Chelsea.

If you would like any advice on competition work, your tutor will help you, so talk to them and start your competition career and win accreditations that will promote your business.