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Sophie crowned champion of Flower Market’s coronation contest

Sophie crowned champion of Flower Market’s coronation contest

4 May, 2023

Sophie crowned champion of Flower Market’s coronation contest

Sophie Powell of Unidentified Floral Object (UFLO) was the winner of this morning’s Crowning Glory competition at New Covent Garden Flower Market.

Customers of the Flower Market were asked to work with a wholesaler to create a floral Crown to mark and celebrate the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. In recognition of their Majesties commitment to all things sustainable, competition judge Caroline Marshall Foster, Editor of The Florist Trade Magazine was looking for entries that highlighted sustainable principles and practices.

Left to right - Graeme Diplock of Green & Bloom holds the winner's prize for Sophie Powell of UFLO, who holds her winning crown alongside judge Caroline Marshall Foster and Jo Breare of CGMA

Sophie, who is renowned for her floral headware work, won £500 to spend in the Market for her sustainably created crown, the frame of which she made using recycled wire and branches wrapped with Salim twigs and Bird’s Nest Fern. To give it an even more regal feel, Sophie used royal purple Aquilegia and “because it reminded me of Tudor Trousers”, she topped it off with Fritilaria.

UFLO worked with products bought from Green & Bloom and Porters Foliage. Judging the competition, Caroline Marshall Foster, Editor of The Florist Trade Magazine, said: “I absolutely loved this design. It ticked all the sustainability boxes and the use of relatively few stems had so much impact. As the renowned “Queen of Headdresses”, Sophie proved her skills brilliantly once again.”

Caroline Marshall Foster, Linda Cottee, John Hardcastle of Bloomfields and Jo Breare of CGMA

In second place was Linda Cottee Flowers, who won £250 and in third was Peter Allan Bodnar, florist at Westminster Abbey, who won £150, also to spend in the Market.

Linda Cottee’s crown had a willow wreath frame and a cotton base to replicate ermine. Totally foam free, it was built on moss and water vials. Linda used Magnolia and Pussy Willow for the main structure, as well as Statice, Lisianthus and Eryngium. The top of the crown was created with Craspedia. After the competition, the crown was being taken to Wright Brothers restaurant at Battersea Power Station, to be part of its Coronation celebration across the weekend.

Linda worked with Bloomfield Flowers to put her entry together. Judge Caroline said: “This was impressive due to its awesome scale. The fact that it was foam free showed that with experience, this type of work is possible. I can’t wait to see how Wright Brothers will display it; I’m sure it will be a favourite selfie spot this weekend!”

Left to right - Peter Allan Bodnar, Caroline Marshall Foster, Ian Leggatt of Whittingtons and Jo Breare of CGMA

In third, Peter Allan Bodnar had used recycled insulation pipe for his innovative crown frame. He used Ceropegia (String of Hearts), Phaleanopsis (moth Orchids), Sea Lavender and Bear Grass. He is one of the ‘three amigos” who share the floristry duties at Westminster Abbey and also runs the Floral Hearts charity, which provides floristry workshops to the over-65s.

Most of Peter’s creation was recycled, but he also worked with Whittingtons. “The wiring was very meticulous,” said Caroline. “I loved Peter’s recycling and reusing concepts. It was very regal and also wearable, which let me channel my Queen Caroline!”

The prizes were presented by Caroline and Jo Breare, General Manager at Covent Garden Market Authority. Jo said: “This was great fun – the Flower Market wanted to mark the Coronation in our own way. The top three entries were all fantastic and I’m sure they gave Caroline an early-morning headache as she had to select an order.

“Everyone at New Covent Garden Flower Market thanks all of the entrants for the time and effort they put into their magnificent entries. Congratulations to the winners!”

Tommy Leighton
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