Doug Howard March 2020

‘What a good demonstrator we had this evening. All the arrangements so different and flower colours so carefully chosen’

This  comment  summed up everyone’s reaction as we welcomed Doug Howard back to BFAS to present ‘Brilliantissimum’ – the first demonstration of our Diamond Anniversary Year. There was a relaxed atmosphere: he gave us useful tips, introduced us  to dynamic balance  (see Summer 2019 Flower Arranger) , to new plant material  (Jatropha Firecracker) and sundries ,  gave an interesting and entertaining commentary whilst using his skill to produce a  display of varied and colourful floral designs ( there were  two non foam designs including the use of a pinholder) – the stage certainly  looked ‘brilliant’ at the end of the evening.

This year we have also reintroduced ‘Your Turn’ when members interpret a title and  bring along their arrangements – this is not a competition and not judged but designed to share ideas . The title was ‘Spring around the Corner’.  There were some beautiful and inspirational arrangements. We were pleased with the number of responses and thank members who participated  – we are always delighted with the talent and expertise we have amongst our membership. Our next Your Turn is in July when the title is ‘Summer Gardens’.

What a ‘brilliantissum’ start to  our Diamond Anniversary Year – thank you Doug for starting it of so well.

AGM February 2020

It is always good to welcome a  large number of our members to the AGM. 2019 was another successful and varied year for the Society .  The demonstrations had been inspirational and enjoyable and  there had been a challenging workshop run by Gill McGregor. We had an interesting and enjoyable visit to the NAFAS Diamond Show in August.  A  members evening when the theme  ‘recycling and no floral foam’   saw a wide variety of mechanics and containers used which resulted in many beautiful arrangements. We also asked members to complete a questionnaire which gave us their ideas and comments on how to take the society forward. Everyone was thanked for their hard work and help during the year – members for their contributions, volunteers and committee members. 

We were delighted that we were able to present a cheque for £1096 to Bedford Hospital Charity (Primrose Car Scheme) which we had raised in memory of Ann Gray. The Primrose Cars make  over 1000 patient journeys  each year  transporting patients from the Bedford area to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge for their radiotherapy treatment. We were pleased that Ann’s son, Peter, was able to join us for the presentation.

After the business part of the evening we welcomed Claire Pick from Bedford Borough Council who spoke to us about the beautiful flower planting along Bedford Embankment and other public areas in the Borough. We did not envy the gardeners planting 43000 tulip bulbs in just a few  days!

We look forward to 2020, our Diamond Anniversary year, which starts on March 3rd with Doug Howard presenting ‘Brilliantissimum’ and includes two open Evenings and a celebratory Dinner.

Jacqui Aldous December 2019

It was a cold, frosty evening  which set the scene for our  BFAS  December meeting on Tuesday together with a very festive sales table, a plant stall with seasonal foliage and  Christmas refreshments. In addition to producing  beautiful seasonal designs  Jacqui Aldous  kept us very entertained with her humorous stories  as she presented her ‘Christmas Magic’ demonstration.  By the end of the evening we were certainly in a relaxed and festive mood and we all left feeling more ready for the preparations and the celebrations ahead.

The designs were varied in shape and colour (not always traditional Christmas colours)  resulting in a beautiful, final stage display.  There were tributes to John Denver and The Muppets , Jacqui’s favourite NAFAS demonstrator (we won’t spill the beans who!) and to her favourite Christmas show in addition to the more traditional themes of  Winter Wonderland and The Night Before Christmas.

Jacqui used a vast selection of foliage including various varieties of pittosporum, rosemary, arbutus, eucalyptus, skimmia and the expected holly and spruce. Flowers included eustoma hot lips, carnations, mimosa, agapanthus, delphiniums, roses, chrysanthemums, clematis and orchids. ‘Christmassy’ accessories  which embellished the designs included baubles, apples, peppers, cones, reindeer, silver birch and red glitter twigs. This only gives a flavour of the arrangements which we have tried to show in the pictures we have included below. There is also one of  the first complete design – thank you Jacqui for a allowing us to include those and also for a very entertaining evening.

Thank you also to everyone who generously donated to and then participated in our very successful bottle tombola the proceeds of which go to our charity.  Many of you have also taken quizzes – thank you – this is the first of several  proposed fund raising activities.  

 We have had a varied and interesting year; demonstrations, workshops and visits – thank you to everyone who has worked hard in any way to make this happen.  A very Merry Christmas to all and best wishes for a Happy and Healthy 2020 – we look forward to seeing you at the AGM on February 4th as we also look ahead  to  our Diamond Anniversary year.

Teresa Rodriguez November 2019

It was another damp, dismal evening outside but we were transported to Singapore by Teresa’s presentation ‘Flowers by the Bay’

Everyone associates orchids with Singapore and they were the main feature together with gloriosa in the beautiful first design. Using a wide variety of flowers and foliage in lovely containers  we then had arrangements representing landmarks in the city including the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and its infinity pool,  the heritage gardens,  the cloud forest and the supertrees.

Thank you Teresa for an interesting and informative evening and for allowing us to share pictures of your lovely designs – they really tell your story better than I can write it!

Yvonne Tan October 2019

It was damp and dreary outside, but Yvonne brought some sunshine to the stage with her arrangements inspired by her ‘Holiday in the Sun’ in Cyprus. The arrangements reflected various aspects of the holiday experience: the first glimpse of the island from the plane, the food and drink, and a boat trip. Some of the representations within the designs included phormiums as kebab sticks, calla lilies and plaited palms as waves, cordylines as sails and red gladiator roses as meat.

As always, there was a wide variety of shape and design in the arrangements  with  beautiful flowers, foliage and containers. We were introduced to a new type of    gerbera called pastini with curly petals.      

The presentation was friendly and entertaining – managing a Segway and swimming from the boat were two interesting stories and members went away from the evening with a smile on their faces! Along the way Yvonne offered advice and ‘hints’ such as how to ‘curve’ calla lilies, different leaf manipulation and which flowers to cut straight rather than slanted.

Thank you Yvonne for an enjoyable evening and for allowing us to include pictures of your arrangements.

Pauline Foster September 2019

We were delighted to welcome Pauline Foster to Bedford for the first time this month.

Her presentation was ‘Dressing the Dandy’ which reflected her interest in costume and history.

She delighted us with six very different designs – traditional and contemporary – which included Beau Brummell, Edward VIII (and his golfing interest), James Bond (Diamonds are Forever), Matadors and Madame de Pompadour.

The wide variety of arrangements used  beautiful containers complemented with accessories  which also reflected Pauline’s love of craft. There was also an extremely wide variety of  beautiful flowers, combination of colours and foliage.  Foliage included periwinkle, hostas, laurel, heuchera, bergenia, tillandis air plants, cordyline, conifer and eucalyptus. Flowers included  clematis, spray roses, delphiniums, crocosmia, chrysanthemums, callas, orchids, carnations and pin head protea.

The stage looked beautiful at the end of the evening and there were many happy raffle winners – thank you Pauline for an interesting, informative and entertaining evening.

NAFAS Diamond Show August 2019

We had a lovely, enjoyable outing to the NAFAS Diamond Show in Islington this month. There was so much to do and to see that it is impossible to do the show justice here – flowers were everywhere in the Design Centre and shop windows had been decorated in nearby Camden Passage. The photos below give just a very small flavour of the day.

Jane Ellis July 2019

We were pleased to welcome Jane back to Bedford again this month. The designs represented things that delight us hence her title ‘A Box of Delights’. We had  representations of pancakes, coffee and Turkish Delight, as well as the pleasure we get from the garden and from looking at the moonlight.  

There was a  wide variety of beautiful flowers (including stocks, gerbera, sunflowers- with and without the petals, clematis, lisianthus, peonies, callas, roses and pin head protea)  and foliage (including fatsia, winter flowering honeysuckle, beech, rosemary, bergenia , phormium and eucalyptus).   The mechanics used  were also varied; foam free using a grid made from tape,  the use of minimal floral foam, a hand tie within a frame made from twisted tendrils from a kiwi plant in addition to more traditional mechanics in lovely containers.

The stage at the end of the evening was also a ‘delight’ with beautiful, different and colourful designs and there were many happy raffle  winners.

Thank you Jane for an instructive, entertaining and enjoyable demonstration. Thank you also for allowing us to post a couple of pictures

Members Evening June 2019

We had a relaxed, informal evening this month when over fifty members participated in our ‘hands on’ members evening. The theme was ‘recycling and no floral foam’ . Originally we all thought it would be a challenge but mechanics included pin holders, chicken wire, pebbles, twigs,  marbles,  structures made from midelino sticks and sand. Containers varied from treacle tins and decorated milk containers to teapots as well as traditional containers. The stage  was transformed from a ‘take your pick of five roses’ to a lovely,  diverse and varied display of arrangements demonstrating the creativity and skill of our members.

During the evening we  took the opportunity to ask members to complete a questionnaire to get their ideas and comments on how we might take  the society forward. We enjoyed a delicious bring and share supper and had more opportunity to chat to fellow members than at a usual meeting. We finished the evening with a plant quiz – a male insect (four letters) seemed to be the clue that caused most difficulty!

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

Jenni Baker May 2019

We were pleased to welcome Jenni Baker back to Bedford and  were grateful to her for  filling  in as our original demonstrator  was  unable to come.

Jenni’s theme was ‘The Feminine Touch’;  she produced six designs which represented the life and work of six influential ladies – the presentation was made more interesting as we had to guess the lady involved from the clues Jenni gave.

We started with the bright colours (orange lilies, deep pink mini gerberas and Mario roses) representing the ceramic artist   Clarice Cliff; we then moved on to a white design (avalanche roses, stocks and gypsophila) representing the white garden at Sissinghurst  and the work of Vita Sackville West who was a poet and novelist as well as a garden designer.

Next came Mary Quant (or Barbara Mary Blunkett Green), the Welsh fashion designer with a   parallel design using red carnations, mini gerberas and Anastasia chrysanthemums against a copper wire frame filled with black and red sisal. (One of several complementary accessories produced by Jenni’s husband) Then, a real change  with  yellow gerberas (for daisies) and bluebells representing the countryside and the work of natural scientist and writer Beatrix Potter.

Modern sculpture by Barbara Hepworth was the theme for the fifth design  –  anthuriums  and carnations against a background of phoenix palms and willow structures filled with florist wrap representing sails. The presentation wouldn’t have been complete without the influence of a flower arranger and the last design represented the work of Julia Clements . This lovely arrangement included pink aqua roses, cerinthe,  and chrysanthemums together with a wide variety of foliage  laurel, soft ruscus, euonymus, pussy willow, pittosporum and redwood.

Thank you Jenni for an interesting and entertaining evening  – thank you also for allowing us to share pictures of your lovely designs.