Published: 25 May 2012
A Show Picture of Flowers
We visit the National Association of Flower Arrangers at RHS Chelsea 2012 to see what they have created for the show.

The traditional image of a world famous garden with a contemporary floral display overlay resulted in a stunning three dimensional picture at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012.

NAFAS members at RHS Chelsea 2012
The impact with this year’s National Association of Flower Arrangers Societies [NAFAS] display was that the whole space was replicating the atmosphere of the artist Monet’s garden at Giverny in France.
The name given to the floral display was ‘Inspired Images Create Lasting Impressions’, appropriate when linked to one of the world’s greatest impressionist painters.
A team of NAFAS members helped create this amazing display under the leadership of international floral designer Jonathan Moseley. His knowledge and design skills were evident in the way show visitors could view certain scenes through large flower decked frames; these were brilliant at concentrating the eye to specific details within the display, just as an artist directs the eye on a canvas work of art.
Several features within the display added interest to the observant visitor, one being the square glass vase containing water lily leaves from Chatsworth House garden, these made a link to another historic garden with a famous water lily story for having the first flowering in England of the giant Victoriaamazonica lily.  A modern twist in the display was the use of clear vertical columns filled with water and bubbles rising up through in order to add movement to the scene. The  key focal point within this spectacular floral display was a scaled down version of Monet’s famous green bridge made from tightly bound green stems of Cornus sericea ’Flaviramea’, as it glowed in the afternoon sunlight within the Great Pavilion it linked the whole display together to highlight the beauty of its curved structure.
‘Floating’ on the painted surface of the show display were dozens of water lily flower heads and leaves reminding the visitor of Monet’s fascination with water and the lilies, especially in his later years. He was so inspired by them that is estimated that he painted three hundred pictures of his water garden from his sixtieth birthday up to his death in 1926.

New Dimension


Artist Paul Fennell at RHS Chelsea 2012
Visiting the show to see the NAFAS display was an important visitor who knows the garden and sees it at all levels and from many different angles. James Priest is the Head Gardeners who now oversees the garden and how it is maintained. He is also developing ideas about it’s future, especially new planting schemes that must keep the image of the garden without keeping it as a static display within a museum environment. He commented on how the Chelsea display had interpreted the garden very well and had created a new dimension by overlaying and intertwining the floral garden with the water garden.
Throughout the day artist Paul Fennell was adding to the visitor experience by painting a Monet style picture; this was auctioned to raise funds for a Breast Care Charity. 
This floral display by the members of NAFAS was inspiring and highlights just how important it is to use a range of art forms to draw attention to the beauty of the natural world and the human interventions. Monet used his garden as an outdoor studio and gathered inspiration within it; at Chelsea 2012 we had an opportunity to do the same.
Reported by Chris Allen  

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