Lynne Sharpe April 2024

‘Car Boot Collection’ was the intriguing title of Lynne Sharpe’s demonstration for  her first visit to Bedford. She kept us entertained all evening including tales of her purchases from car boot sales. These provided all the containers and props for her  beautiful designs. The containers  and arrangements were inspired by  and linked to her many interests and hobbies varying from campanology and baking, to holidays and gardening. Her knowledge of garden material was extensive and she imparted lots of tips throughout the demonstration. By the end of the evening the stage looked wonderful – the pictures below  give  just a flavour of the designs.   There were many very happy raffle winners. 

 In our  comments book  at the end of the meeting, a member wrote  ‘Wonderful entertainment, beautiful achievable arrangements. Look forward to Lynne’s next visit.’  

This really sums up a great evening. Thank you Lynne.

Barbara Collins March 2024

We were delighted to welcome Barbara Collins back to Bedford  this month.  It was also good to see so many members  and visitors at our first demonstration evening of 2024. Daffodils and polyanthus on the stage welcomed us at the beginning of the evening and we knew that Barbara’s  ‘The Joys of Spring’  presentation would not disappoint.

Barbara kept us entertained and also gave us many teaching tips as she produced six beautiful, inspirational but very different designs. We celebrated the  complete season;  from the early  Spring garden to  Mother’s Day through to Easter.

The hope of Spring was translated through the joyful bright flowers including hyacinths, tulips, sweet williams, irises, ornithogalum, lilies, carnations and a lovely green dianthus kiwi mellow together with a very wide variety of foliage much from Barbara’s garden.

Thank you   Barbara  for such an enjoyable evening; thank you  also for allowing us to publish pictures of your designs.

AGM February 2024

On a very wet, blustery  evening  we were delighted to see so  many members at our AGM when we reviewed another successful, enjoyable  but challenging year.   Committee members were thanked for their hard work and all members for their help, enthusiasm and commitment to the  success of the club.  Two committee members are standing down this year  and were thanked for their hard work and commitment especially in the  very challenging role as programme secretary which one member had undertaken for many years.

 After a short break we welcomed Caroline Luxford from the Bedfordshire Beekeepers Association  who gave an illustrated talk on ‘Honey Bees and Other Wild Bees’

We look forward to welcoming everyone on March 5th  to our first demonstration evening of 2024 when Barbara Collins  will present ‘The Joys of Spring’ and on March 9th to our Fundraising Fashion Show and Shopping Event at Oakley Village Hall at  1.45 pm for 2.30pm. (see below)

Sharon Badger December 2023

It was a cold and dismal December evening outside but once in the Hall the preparations for Christmas began; there were activities  raising money for charity (including a raffle of a beautiful wreath donated by Alison)  , a plant stall full of seasonal greenery, a festive sales table  and Christmas drinks and nibbles  to get us into the mood.

This continued as Sharon Badger presented her demonstration ‘It’s beginning to look like Christmas’ The first  arrangements in baskets   were suitable for everyone to adapt to welcome visitors into their homes .

The other three designs were more contemporary  including gift boxes and  candy canes ,  a hand tie in a stylish container filled with pink and purple baubles and a final graceful and elegant  silver themed design using fatsias, amaryallis and eucalyptus.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to a successful and enjoyable evening .

We wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a healthy and peaceful New Year and look forward to seeing you all in 2024.

Fiona Harrison November 2023

 We were pleased to welcome Fiona Harrison to Bedford for the first time this month. She transported us back to the 1920’s with her ‘ The Golden Age of Ocean Travel’ demonstration.  Beautiful arrangements, some with foam, some without,   included representations of the famous  White Star Shipping Line, The Great Staircase on a cruise liner and  afternoon tea being served on board .  These all reflected the glamorous and opulence of the time . Fiona used a large variety of plant material, including a lot of foliage from her own garden  both fresh and dried (and painted), Alongside this we were treated to many teaching tips but also a very comprehensive and interesting account of life in that era – life on board ship, the  changing relationship between the USA and the UK, the American desire to join the British aristocracy and much more!

Thank you, Fiona for a very enjoyable evening and congratulations on being appointed a National NAFAS teacher.

The pictures below give just a flavour of Fiona’s lovely designs. 

Nick Grounds October 2023

We were delighted to welcome Nick Grounds back to Bedford after over 10 years. The post after his last visit stated ‘ Nick kept us all amused and attentive with his tales of his life as an auctioneer whilst at the same time creating beautiful arrangements. The seemingly casual ease with which each arrangement appeared before us inspired and delighted everyone’;  and he certainly didn’t disappoint this time as he presented ‘Stems and Stuff’. A real variety of  innovative arrangements; a couple using foam but mainly foam free,  from a design just using a few gloriosa lilies attached to a bundle of bleached stems to large designs in a soup tureen and a galvanised colander using seasonal flowers and foliage.

Nick’s passion  and appreciation for nature were evident throughout which he shared with us through simple tips and wider nuggets of wisdom

Thank you Nick for a very delightful evening and to everyone else who contributed to its success.

Wreaths and chat September 2023

It was one of the hottest evenings of the year for our September ‘ in house’ meeting but  our thoughts were moving on to the later seasons. As a flower club we have taken up the challenge to be more environmentally focussed so this month members were challenged to make a ‘Sustainable Wreath’. No foam or wire! The club provided the wreath rings and twine;  from there everyone got creative and made some beautiful decorations. Many had autumnal colours ,  some were Halloween themed and we  even had  a Christmas one decorated with tinsel!- but they all looked great. They certainly indicated wreaths are not just for Christmas but can reflect seasonal changes throughout the year. We also had  fun quizzes, plant identification, and home made cakes . A very  enjoyable.  sociable and relaxed  evening when everyone had more time to chat to  other members than we  do on ‘demonstration’ evenings. Thank you to everyone involved in the organisation of the evening and the cake making!

Shirley Henderson July 2023

‘Take a Piece of Wood’  was the title of Shirley Henderson’s presentation as we welcomed her to Bedford for the first time.

It was a delightful theme with all arrangements set on or within  wonderfully different pieces of wood which were associated with special memories, nature or its sensory characteristics . The pieces varied  from a chair made from an old tree trunk  to rather large  ‘sticks’ collected by her grandson. The contrasting finishing on the wood   varied from highly  polished to very rustic. She also included   rolled bamboo garden edging –  a fair imitation of wood!

Shirley included a wide variety of flowers and foliage, one arrangement devoted to a supermarket bunch  supplemented with a few stems of garden material. We were also  introduced to a very useful houseplant phelbodium.

It was  a very informative evening as she shared her knowledge about trees. We all know ebony is the darkest wood but did you know holly is the whitest?

Thank you Shirley and Theresa for a very enjoyable and polished evening. The pictures below just give a flavour.

Sandie Draper June 2023

This month we were delighted to welcome Sandie Draper on her first visit to Bedford.  Since Covid there has been an increased awareness and appreciation of the contribution made by nature to mental, health and physical well being. Sandies  designs were all ‘inspired by nature’   both physically and mentally. The inspirations varied  from  passion, reflections, calmness, and joy  with  designs centred around an old piece of ivy, driftwood, the garden and woven grasses.

All the arrangements were beautiful and very different using a wide variety of  flowers  including  many British grown. All of them were enhanced in texture and colour  by  the inclusion of an even wider variety of foliage the majority  from Sandie’s garden .

One stunning design used just three orchid heads against a background of pieces of foamboard decorated with paper napkins, honesty and dried flower heads.

A different, happy  and inspiring evening enjoyed by all.

May 2023 ‘Coronation Celebration’ Evening

Our May ‘ In house’/members evening seems to be following a Royal tradition! Last year we made a royal pavement for the Platinum jubilee and this year the theme was ‘Coronation Celebration’ when we created arrangements for a street party table. The  crown, orb and sceptre formed the centrepiece and then we had  designs representing cakes, crowns, tea cups, champagne glasses, cream horns, cupcakes, flans – to name a few.  After the practical session we enjoyed a bring and share supper kindly provided by  members and  we attempted to complete quizzes and other puzzles! We  also had more time than usual to catch  up socially with each other. As one member commented as she left ‘ a lovely relaxed evening – thank you’.

Thanks go to everyone who helped with the organisation of a very successful evening but most of all to all  members for their enthusiasm and creativity.

The ‘collage pictures’ below can only give a ‘flavour’ of the evening.