Ribble Valley florist wins silver at Chelsea Flower Show

Lancashire Telegraph: BACKING A WINNER Sara, with her design BACKING A WINNER Sara, with her design

A RIBBLE Valley florist is feeling blooming marvellous after winning silver in the world famous Chelsea Flower Show.

Sara Collinge, who set up her business a year ago, created a jockey 'silk' out of pink flowers and foliage to pick up the prestigious award in the Chelsea Florist of the Year category.

The 48-year-old of Church Street, said it was an experience of a lifetime which had left her overjoyed, especially as it was her time enterting the Royal Horticultural Society competition.

"I feel like this is all happening to someone else. It is weird and wonderful at the same time. It was a surreal moment and extremely nerve wracking." she said.

Sara secured the medal, alongside six other competitors, with her entry which consisted of flowers carefully arranged to look like a jockey’s silk shirt.

“We actually had to design and make a jockeys’s silk, the shirt that they race in, made from at least two thirds fresh flowers and foliage material.

“I had a layered base of leaves and from there I had to just built up layers for the main pattern from textured materials including painstakingly sticking tiny pink flowers on with glue in the back of the car whilst we were driving down to Chelsea.”

Ms Collinge opened Flowers With Passion in Ribchester a year ago after running The Carmen Rose Tearooms in the town.

Last year she scooped two trophies at Southport Flower Show, as well as taking part in the RHS Flower Show at Tatton.

"I am already thinking about next year's show because the heats are in just a few weeks, so I will have to bring myself back to earth after my fantastic experience and start thinking about my next entry." she added.

Sarah Horne, of Sarah Horne Flowers in Leamington Spa, took the gold medal and was named as the RHS Chelsea Florist of the Year 2011.

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