February 2016 AGM Jane Markham

Following the formal aspects of the AGM, we were very pleased to welcome as our speaker, Jane Markham, Manager of the Warden Abbey community vineyard.

Some of us were unaware of the existence of the vineyard,  but it has a long and varied history and Jane shared  some of it with us.  Now a community vineyard, it is a not-for-profit venture and works in partnership with various organisations to provide social, health and educational benefits for Bedfordshire.

At the end of a most interesting and informative talk we were able to taste some of the wine made from grapes grown in the vineyards.  Very nice it was too.



Lyn Jones August 2014

Many flower clubs don’t have a demonstration in August, but at BFAS we have decided that as part of our commitment to education we will offer NAFAS trainee demonstrators and club members an opportunity for additional practise in front of an audience and this year we were especially pleased to welcome one of our own members, Lyn Jones.

Before the demonstration we were wondering about the title -”Memories from the Box” Was it a post box, a jewellry box or maybe a hat box? In fact, it was none of these, Lyn’s arrangements depicted some of the old favourites from the era before flat screen televisions when most homes had a tv set in the corner of the living room that was often referred to as ‘The Box’.

Lyn asked the audience to guess the names of the programmes she had chosen so we can’t spoil the fun for future audiences by giving the answers, but her background in craft and tv makeovers resulted in some original and creatively designed containers and props as you can see in the photos.

As a contrast for her flowers, Lyn used a variety of garden foliage from her own garden as well as some from friends, neighbours and other local sources (those who were there will know where we mean!) Three beautiful large headed white hydrangeas were added to the first design and the second used small tangerine gerberas and scarlet anthuriums. The third arrangement definitely had the ‘bling’ factor and included white carnations, pink roses and a mauve orchid.

For a change, we had refreshments midway through the presentation and it worked very well.

The fourth arrangement was a basket of garden flowers:- pink anenomes, pink larkspur, verbena, white agapanthus, michaelmas daisies and pink roses. For the next design, fatsias and ferns suggested a lush tropical feel and orange lilies completed the effect. The final arrangement reflected romance and centred around a large silver candelabra with foliage that complemented the beautiful red roses.

Well done Lyn and thank you for a lovely evening.


Visit to Chatsworth 10th May 2014

The weather was iffy, but the company was good and it was generally agreed to be a lovely day out.

With limited time we made straight for the House on our arrival. There were many beautiful and inspiring  floral arrangements in the rooms and corridors with both traditional and contemporary designs on display; plenty of wonderful photo opportunities.

After a quick bite to eat it was time to queue for the demonstration. It was good to swap notes with members from other flower clubs as we waited.

Jonathan’s demonstration was first class.  An innovative and talented designer, Jonathan kept our attention for the whole 75 minutes and his passion for his work was obvious. He worked quickly, deftly and with precision, yet was able still to talk eloquently about Chatsworth’s history, the preparations for Florabundance, the gardens, his designs, the plants he used and give us  a few tips too.   The end result was super -the stage looked stunning at the end of the presentation.

There were six arrangements for raffle prizes and two of them were won by people from our party! Off stage the arrangements looked wonderful of course, but BIG.  We had the benefit of a 49 seater coach  so the arrangements could have a seat each ( there were only 23 of us), but  we had to remove some of the taller stems  in order to get them home safely.  See picture below.

We managed by the skin of our teeth to get enough support to make this outing possible so  thank you very, very  much to all those members and friends who came.





Frankfurt Christmas Market 7th December 2013


An outing not centred around flowers was a bit of a departure for us, but our trip to Birmingham Christmas market went very well. Special thanks to Rosemary who rallied her friends’ support to make the trip viable. You know, flower club people are such nice people.

Surprisingly, the market was not easy to find , but I have sent a message to say that as non-locals we would have appreciated more way-finding information.

On the whole the stall holders were friendly and helpful, and I think the market was representative of the flavour of the markets in Germany. It is true that there were several stalls of the same type, but the same often applies to any British market. As a group we enjoyed the delights of German mulled wine (Gluhwein), grilled sausages, pretzels, gingerbread, crepes and chocolate covered marshmallows. There were hand made wooden toys, Christmas decorations and jewellery for sale as well as a number of other different craft stalls. With music to listen to and street entertainers to watch, the time passed very quickly and it was late in the day before we realised our feet were aching.

A good day out.

PS. To make you smile –

Sheila asked one of the stall holders whether they sold a particular type of German rum and was told they only had French wines!!

A few photographs give an indication of the atmosphere  (with thanks to Ikuyo for her contribution)

Lesley Sturdy- May 2013

It was good to welcome Lesley back to BFAS last Tuesday.  Her demonstration entitled  ‘Around the World’ was  inspired by her own round the world trip and the flowers illustrated different elements of Fiji, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, France and finally home again to England.

Lesley produced an array of different styles of arrangement and used a wide variety of flowers and foliage. There were some very happy raffle winners!  Although not always originating from the country being depicted, the flowers and foliage did convey the desired impression; the Akito roses, white carnations and gypsophila worked very well to reflect the Maori name for New Zealand –Aotearoa -which is often translated as ‘land of the long white cloud’.  Lesley also  used palms, fatsia and aspidistra leaves, asparagus fern, arum italicum, rhamus, dried roots, camellia branches, cotoneaster, gerberas, calla lilies, philadelphus(mock orange),  narcissi, Singapore orchids, hydrangeas, tulips, pink roses and hellebores.


Area Members Day

On Thursday 11th April eight BFAS members went to Broxbourne Civic Centre for the Area Members’ Day. The event was well attended which meant car parking problems for some, but once inside there were stalls to browse, raffle tickets to buy and coffee and biscuits aplenty. A buffet lunch was ready at twelve with a varied and tasty selection of sandwiches, nibbles, fruit and cakes. There was more than enough for everybody, but a table to eat at would have been very welcome.

At one o’clock the guest demonstrator Mr Barry Grey from Cheshire was introduced. Barry is an international demonstrator and one of Britain’s most celebrated floral designers. The inspiration for this demonstration was a poem he wrote entitled ‘Gently Flow Upon the Senses’

Much of the foliage for the first design came from the garden despite the late Spring and this was enhanced with bright orange roses grown at high altitude in the mountains of Equador.

The second design was mainly in shades of pink to capture the colours of the dawn sky; pink anthuriums and cymbidium orchids with curled aspidistra leaves.

A terracotta stone urn was the container for the third design. Garden foliage was the basis of a traditional arrangement using orange lilies, orange alstroemeria, pink carnations and yellow gerberas.

The fourth design was more modern and Barry used frames covered in gold metallic  wire and flower tubes to which he added vibrant green Anastasia chrysanthemums and ferns. This design was, Barry joked, for those who preferred ‘a bunch’ rather than a foam based flower arrangement.

Three placements of lemons and sunflowers in wooden fruit crates made up the fifth design, ‘Sweet and Sour’.

The sixth design was made up of sweet smelling flowers and foliage and included ‘antique look’ Columbian carnations and eucalyptus.

The final design, ‘Under the Sea’, was an arrangement of driftwood, white gypsophila, white orchids and white carnations. As he put the finishing touches to the design the hall echoed with John Denver singing ‘You Fill Up My Senses ‘(Annie’s Song).

Barry received a standing ovation from the audience and a heartfelt vote of thanks. Later, Barry told our Chairman that he is looking forward to coming to Bedford next year and promised a stage full of flowers!