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Flower show launches floral designer’s career

Flower show launches floral designer’s career

Ellerslie International Flower Show has done it again – launched the career of a new designer.

This year’s Supreme Award has been won by a floral designer with just three years’ experience.

Carol Laloli is still stunned with the award, won for her moving floral tribute to New Zealand’s war dead.

The evocative display of multiple crosses of foliage and flowers, suspended on a frame of pohutukawa and hanging over a wreath of native foliage and exotic flowers beat every other entry in the show – including gardens designed by much more experienced exhibitors.

A fulltime mother for 10 years, Carol qualified as a florist just three years ago. Last year, exhibiting with a colleague, she won a bronze award.

This year, exhibiting alone, she struck gold – and more. "I really don’t think it’s sunk in," she said yesterday. "I was absolutely elated to get a gold medal – to get anything more than that, I didn’t think it was possible."

She’s even more thrilled because putting the design together was a real tribute to the Kiwi spirit. Her husband and brother-in-law built the frame, the pebble surround was glued together by friends, and shells and other "bits and pieces" were gathered during school holiday trips to the beach.

Carol knows the Supreme Award is the perfect platform on which to launch her new career, creating one-off floral designs for homes, businesses and exhibitions.

She is in good company. Ellerslie International Flower Show Design Director Karen Lowther says her winning exhibits at the show over the years are what allowed her to build a successful design practice.

With the highest number of gold awards of any New Zealand exhibitor, Karen is now using her new role to help first-time entrants create eye-catching show gardens.

A major trap for new designers is simply not realising the amount of time and preparation that goes into preparing an exhibition garden for Ellerslie, says Karen. Exhibitors had 2½ weeks on site this year, and some were still rushing at the last minute.

Gardens should be planted four to five days before the show opens, to allow the plants to naturalise and look like they have been there forever. "It can take a day just to groom a garden," she says. That’s an awful lot of dead-heading and leaf shining!

But all that work is worthwhile, she says. "I tell designers, you’ve got the perfect opportunity whether you are qualified or not, to show 70,000 what you are capable of.

"Ellerslie launches careers."


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