Australian wildflowers were the focus of a national competition, designed to promote awareness of their use in floristry.
The competition, to create a hand held bouquet for a special occasion, was hosted by WildFlowers Australia. It attracted a record 154 entries from floristry colleges throughout Australia.
While some bouquets included vibrant red, orange and yellow flowers to depict a warming fire, others linked the austerity of winter to grief and loss and designed a sympathy bouquet.
Many entrants chose quintessentially Australian colours for their interpretation. The wildflower and foliage range grown in Australia includes many green and gold, red, orange and yellow choices.
Here are the winning bouquets from both categories.
Category 1: Where at least 75 per cent of the total plant material used in the design is flowers and foliages from species tracing their origins to either Australia or South Africa; up to 25 per cent may be traditional/exotic or tropical flowers.
Sophie Wood from Holmesglen Institute of TAFE, in Victoria, created, ‘Winter solstice’ – a wedding bouquet, which was inspired by the shortest day of the year and the ancient traditions associated with the winter solstice including, ‘the festival of the sun’ or ‘Yule’ which marked new hope and beginnings of a new solar year. Sophie created this crescent moon shape for ‘an unusual or non- traditional bouquet with dramatic presence. It represents new beginnings for the bride and groom, a time to celebrate and the start of a new era for them. The bouquet features the complimentary romantic white, blush and grey tones of Blushing bride, ‘Ivory Pearl’ waxflower, flannel flower and silvery gum foliage. The shapes of the flowers are similar to stars, thereby complimenting the moon.
Category 2: ‘Purely Australian’. Designs using only Australian native flower and foliage products (species endemic to Australia)
Gayney Smith, from the Canberra Institute of Technology in the ACT, created a bridal bouquet inspired by Dorothea Mackellar’s ‘My Country’ where ‘pulsating oranges and reds of the sunburnt country are fringed by a vibrant, lush coastline surrounded by jewelled seas’. Grevilleas, banksias, kangaroo paws and waxflower represent the dry interior, blue grey eucalyptus leaves represent the rugged mountain ranges and purple Hardenbergia and lime green Acacia cognata become the coastal fringe. Her colour choices represent emotions and characteristics of relationships, from passion, to growth, imagination and compassion. The Hardenbergia has been cleverly twisted with wire, beads and pearls to represent the bride and groom facing the challenges of life to find a way together.